Actual Ethics offers a moral defense of the 'classical liberal' political tradition and applies it to several of today's vexing moral and political issues. James Otteson argues that a Kantian conception of personhood and an Aristotelian conception of judgment are compatible and even complementary. He shows why they are morally attractive, and perhaps most controversially, when combined, they imply a limited, classical liberal political state. Otteson then addresses several contemporary problems - wealth and poverty, public education, animal welfare, and affirmative action - and shows how each can be plausibly addressed within the Kantian, Aristotelian and classical liberal framework. Written in clear, engaging, and jargon-free prose, Actual Ethics will give students and general audiences an overview of a powerful and rich moral and political tradition that they might not otherwise consider.
James Otteson is associate professor in and chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. The author of Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life, he has held research fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, at the Centre for the Study of Scottish Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, and at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He has also received grants from the University of Alabama, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Earhart Foundation.
Part I. Working out the Position: 1. Personhood and judgment; 2. A matter of principle, Part I. The betrayal of personhood; 3. A matter of principle, Part II. Personhood writ large; 4. The demands of poverty; 5. The wealth of nations; Part II. Applying the Principles: 6. Schooling, religion, and other things you should be in charge of; 7. Moral hobgoblins: inclusion and exclusion; 8. More moral hobgoblins: extending rights; Part III. The End: 9. What is good for the goose.