Cover image for The Examined Life By John Kekes

The Examined Life

John Kekes

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$30.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-00873-8

202 pages
6" × 9"
1992

The Examined Life

John Kekes

“A well-thought-out project, engaging, enlightening, and highly accessible for the audience it addresses. . . . After twenty years of philosophical reflection on the context for a virtue-based ethics, we now have a book which both offers us some content and reminds us along the way how important the virtues are for right living.”

 

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“A well-thought-out project, engaging, enlightening, and highly accessible for the audience it addresses. . . . After twenty years of philosophical reflection on the context for a virtue-based ethics, we now have a book which both offers us some content and reminds us along the way how important the virtues are for right living.”
“[Kekes’] discussion of ideals and commitments, wisdom, the good life, and happiness is deeply perceptive and among the best ever written. For readers who want to more fully understand the formal structure of how to live well, Kekes’ book is a must.”
“A welcome addition to the growing literature in an ethics that is unselfconsciously and unabashedly normative. It is concerned with what good lives are and how they can be achieved. At least in civilized contexts, good lives depend on self-direction, which itself depends on possessing the virtues of self-control, self-knowledge, moral sensitivity, and wisdom. These are discussed in detail and with insight.”
“One of the perennial tasks of ethics is to reconcile the claims of tradition, community, and convention with the desire for freedom, individuality, and self-direction. Among recent attempts to deal with this topic is a book [entitled] The Examined Life. . . . In a historical situation such as ours, when all cultures and traditions seem to be within each other’s reach, the virtue of moral sensitivity, singled out by Kekes as characterizing desirable self-direction, deserves special emphasis.”

John Kekes is Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the State University of New York, Albany. His most recent books are Moral Tradition and Individuality (1989) and Facing Evil (1990).

Content

Preface 9

Acknowledgments 11

1. An Approach to Good Lives 15

2. The Limits of Self-Direction: Human Nature 31

3. The Context of Self-Direction: Moral Tradition 45

4. Self-Direction 62

5. Ideals and Commitments 77

6. Self-Control 95

7. Self-Knowledge 114

8. Moral Sensitivity 129

9. Wisdom 145

10. Good Lives and Happiness 161

11. Good Lives and Justification 174

Notes 188

Works Cited 194

Index 199

Also of Interest

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