Are you authoritarian or libertarian? Are we morally obligated to end the world? And just what's wrong with eating your cat?
Stangroom, cofounder of The Philosophers' Magazine, does a solid job of presenting common moral dilemmas in digestible form, though not with much depth or subtlety. With four sections of hypotheticals ("Ethical Impasses," "Rights and Responsibilities," "Crime and Punishment," and "Society and Politics") followed by a "Responses" section that addresses more than two dozen specific scenarios, this look at the philosophy of personality falls short of delivering a straightforward argument. With a format reminiscent of Two-Minute Mysteries and other books for younger readers, it is guaranteed to annoy some, as there's no apparent reason why the discussion of, say, whether torture is justified to stop a bomb from exploding does not follow directly upon the delineation of the situation. Furthermore, farcical names (e.g., Emperor Q. Woolius Liberalis) will appeal more to the inexperienced philosopher. There is some promise as interesting conundrums are addressed-for example, whether we should sacrifice one life to save five. Agent: Elwin Street. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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W. W. Norton & Company
November 18, 2012
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