Are you happy? Are you fulfilled? Are you living a good life? Are you a good person?
As the Tuscan sun beats down on another idyllic afternoon in your beautiful villa, you stop to ponder these questions. You seem to have everything you need and more – wealth, status, family and friends, a hot young wife, even robotic pool-cleaning fish. Who needs virtue when you have all that money can buy? You sip some more of your ice-cold Chablis, and gaze out at your robo-mown lawn.
And how do you define “goodness” anyway? Does being good make you happy? Does being happy require being good? And how does all this relate to fulfilment? Damn. Like pesky mid-summer midges, the questions don’t seem to want to go away, and with consternation you realise that you aren’t particularly well equipped to answer them – but who is?
Better call a philosopher.
Virtue: A Short-ish Guide To Moral Philosophy, Part 1, is a beginner’s guide to ethics, the first instalment in a five-part series. This first book focuses on Aristotle’s virtue ethics, part two will look at Kant’s deontology, and part three will explore Bentham and Mill’s utilitarianism. Part four will look at the application of these theories to specific subjects (applied ethics), and the final part will explore the deeper philosophical question of what ethics is (metaethics). Ideal for both the general reader and the student, the book is written in an accessible, engaging and humorous style, while explaining and critically engaging with key concepts and issues.