IN THE REVIEW

Who Can Tell Right from Wrong?

Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy

by Bernard Williams
This is a powerful, original, and deeply interesting work and many will find it a disturbing one. For it is calculated to unsettle more radically than has been done before the belief, cherished for so long and by so many, that philosophy can furnish or discover rational foundations for ethical …

Oxford and Mrs. Thatcher

On January 29 Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, one of the university’s most splendid buildings, was the scene of a doubly unprecedented event. More than a thousand dons assembled there, completely filling its floor space and elegant galleries, to vote on a proposal to confer upon the prime minister, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, …

Death and Utility

Practical Ethics

by Peter Singer
In Practical Ethics Peter Singer describes his moral position as “broadly Utilitarian.” Though he mentions, with some skepticism, a theory of rights and Kantian principles of autonomy as providing support for some of his practical conclusions, the main theoretical interest of this book, and also some of its difficulties, lie …

Morality and Reality

The Nature of Morality: An Introduction to Ethics

by Gilbert Harman

Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong

by J.L. Mackie
“If we can depend upon any principle which we learn from philosophy, this, I think, may be considered as certain and undoubted, that there is nothing, in itself, valuable or despicable, desirable or hateful, beautiful or deformed; but that these attributes arise from the particular constitution and fabric of human …

Holmes’s Common Law

The Common Law

by Oliver Wendell Holmes, edited by Mark DeWolfe Howe
This famous book, now admirably re-introduced to the general reader by Professor Mark Howe, resembles a necklace of splendid diamonds surprisingly held together at certain points by nothing better than string. The diamonds are the marvelous insights into the genius of the Common Law and the detailed explorations of the …