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Morals and Independence - An Introduction to Ethics John Coventry

Morals and Independence - An Introduction to Ethics

John Coventry

Published March 15th 2007
ISBN : 9781406738728
Paperback
112 pages
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 About the Book 

MORALS AND INDEPENDENCE AN INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS by JOHN COVENTRY, S. J., M. A. with a preface by D. M. MACKINNON Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen LONDON BURNS OATES 1949 PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY THE THANET PRESS FORMoreMORALS AND INDEPENDENCE AN INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS by JOHN COVENTRY, S. J., M. A. with a preface by D. M. MACKINNON Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen LONDON BURNS OATES 1949 PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY THE THANET PRESS FOR BURNS GATES WASHBOURNE LTD. 28 ASHLEY PLACE LONDON, S. W. x First published 1949 PREFACE FR. COVENTRY has asked me to write a preface to his book, and this I am very glad to do, quite apart from my personal regard for him. Morals and Independence seems to me an example of that rare species of philosophical work, the good introductory book. Too often where moral philosophy is concerned the student is offered as an introduction a work that he can too easily use as a substitute for a first-hand study of the subject. All teachers know introductory books to which students turn when the imminence of their final examinations induces a death-bed repentance on the state of their morals and the trouble is that very often the works are of such a kind that the students in question get away with it. Now it is a supreme virtue in Fr. Coventrys boofc that it just can not be abused in this way. It is in the proper sense an introduction. I quarrel with the author on many points both of interpretation and doctrine but as I read his book, again and again I was con scious how effectively and subtly the argument opened up the great questions, the questions discussed at length by the authors whom Fr. Coventry might properly call his masters. The reader isnt given the impression of a spurious simplicity, as if moral philosophy were something he could take easily in pills the author most effectively introduces his readers right into the real subject. For that reasonI hope they will be many in number, as curious and as argumentative as I know he would like them to be. D. M. MACKINNON Kings College, Old Aberdeen. I4th September, 1948. DE LICENTIA SVPERIORVM ORDINIS NIHIL OBSTAT EDVARDVS MAHONEY, S. TW. D. CENSOR DEPVTATVS 1MPRIMATVR B. MORROGH BERNARD WESTMONASTERH DIE XIII AVGVSTI MCMXLVHI CONTENTS PAGE I. WHY SHOULD I BE MORAL .. .. 9 II. HAPPINESS 12 Our aim in life The nature of happiness An end or an aim Is happiness the end of man III. DUTY 26 The one extreme The other extreme Desire Sense of duty and moral goodness Duty and desire Good The Good. IV. THE MORAL JUDGMENT 44 Everything is what it is . . . Moral and other judgments extreme views Via Media Why, then, should I be good The main lines of objection. V. FREEDOM 60 Defence of free will Limitations of freedom freedom from Responsibility freedom to Freedom and law Freedom and moral judg ment. VI. IS ETHICS ENOUGH 79 Pure ethics and religion The limitations of pure ethics The Christian view The Moral Agument for the existence of God VII. MORAL LAW 97 Moral law the Command Moral law the Code The Guardian of the Moral Law. I. WHY SHOULD I BE MORAL PERPLEXITIES of all kinds seem to arise the moment one tries to discuss ideas of right and wrong. It is not merely that one person, one class or one nation, tries to justify different lines of conduct from another, but there is the underlying difficulty of getting to grips with what lies at the bottom of it all. However much we may feel the need of an absolute morality, a certain standard of judg ment, it is not at all easy to arrive at such a fixed norm and basis of ethical ideas. This book developed out of an attempt to answer the question whichheads this chapter Why should I be moral It might seem that some apology was needed for writing so much to answer an apparently simple question. But really the reverse is the case. The least reflection on what is being asked shows at once that there is here a demand for a whole, coherent and certain theory of ethics. The question is simple, with that devastating simplicity of something ultimate and fundamental, and although it may in the end receive a simple answer, such an answer could only commend itself when set in a wide context of ideas...