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Perfectionism is one of the great moralities of the Western tradition. It holds that certain states of humans, such as knowledge, achievement, and friendship, are good apart from any pleasure they may bring, and that the morally right act is always the one that most promotes these states. Defined more narrowly, perfectionism identifies the human good by reference to human nature: if knowledge and achievement are good, it is because they realize aspects of human nature. This book gives an account of perfectionism, first in the narrower sense, analysing its central concepts and defending a theory of human nature in which rationality plays a central role. It then uses this theory to construct an elaborate account of the intrinsic value of beliefs and actions that embody rationality, and applies this account to political questions about liberty and equality. The book attempts to formulate the most defensible version of perfectionism, using contemporary analytic techniques. It aims both to regain for perfectionism a central place in contemporary moral debate and to shed light on the writings of classical perfectionists such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and T.H. more

Product details

  • Paperback | 234 pages
  • 152 x 224 x 18mm | 381.02g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • line figures
  • 0195101162
  • 9780195101164
  • 590,084

Review quote

It is most welcome to have a hard-headed and carefully argued defence of perfectionism ... This book contains many tracts of careful, exact, and economic argument in support of its main position ... This book is to be recommended to those interested in political and moral philosophy ... stimulating, interesting and very much to be welcomed. * Utilitas * "This is a brilliant book....I know of no other discussion of human and moral good that is so rewarding....Highly original and deeply insightful."-Philosophical Books "Readers accustomed to the high conceptual and argumentative standards characteristic of analytic philosophy at its best will not be disappointed by Hurka's discussions. In every case, whether or not his arguments win conviction in the end, they invariably illuminate and leave the impression that the issues have been explored in a fair and even-handed way. Hurka's conclusions are also often becoming in their tentativeness and modesty: where he can find no definitive resolution of a question he has the candor to say so....Hurka has done a remarkable job of building an elegant and attractive version of perfectionism. Written with admirable rigor and clarity, his book will surely remain the definitive treatment of the theory by an analytic philosopher for a very long while. By presenting perfectionism in the best possible light he has done a great service to the theory's supporters and critics alike."-The Philosophical Review "Hurka's book is a clear formulation of perfectionism. It is historically informed and philosophically sophisticated. All readers will benefit."-Canadian Philosophical Reviewsshow more

Rating details

13 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 46% (6)
4 38% (5)
3 8% (1)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
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