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God, the Good, and Utilitarianism
Perspectives on Peter Singer


  • Editor: John Perry, University of St Andrews, Scotland
John Perry, Peter Singer, Charles C. Camosy, John Hare, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Brad Hooker, Tim Mulgan, David Clough, Toby Ord, Eric Gregory
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  • Date Published: February 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107050754

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About the Authors
  • Is ethics about happiness? Aristotle thought so and for centuries Christians agreed, until utilitarianism raised worries about where this would lead. In this volume, Peter Singer, leading utilitarian philosopher and controversial defender of infanticide and euthanasia, addresses this question in conversation with Christian ethicists and secular utilitarians. Their engagement reveals surprising points of agreement and difference on questions of moral theory, the history of ethics, and current issues such as climate change, abortion, poverty and animal rights. The volume explores the advantages and pitfalls of basing morality on happiness; if ethics is teleological, is its proper aim the subjective satisfaction of preferences? Or is human flourishing found in objective goods: friendship, intellectual curiosity, meaningful labour? This volume provides a timely review of how utilitarians and Christians conceive of the good, and will be of great interest to those studying religious ethics, philosophy of religion and applied ethics.

    • Reveals unexpected connections between utilitarianism and Christianity
    • Addresses practical moral problems such as climate change, abortion, animal rights and global poverty from multiple perspectives
    • Contains new essays by leading philosophers and theologians on the relation of happiness to ethics
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107050754
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction John Perry
    Part I. Framing the Debate:
    1. Where did utilitarianism come from? John Perry
    2. Engaging with Christianity Peter Singer
    3. Engaging with Peter Singer Charles C. Camosy
    Part II. Theoretical Issues:
    4. Morality, happiness, and Peter Singer John Hare
    5. Moral reason, community belonging, and global justice Lisa Sowle Cahill
    6. Acts or rules? The fine-tuning of utilitarianism Brad Hooker
    Part III. Practical Issues:
    7. What is good for the distant future? The challenge of climate change for utilitarianism Tim Mulgan
    8. How to respect other animals: lessons for theology from Peter Singer and vice versa David Clough
    9. Global poverty and the demands of morality Toby Ord
    10. Remember the poor: duties, dilemmas, and vocation Eric Gregory.

  • Editor

    John Perry, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    John Perry is Lecturer in Theological Ethics at the University of St Andrews, and formerly McDonald Fellow for Christian Ethics and Public Life at the University of Oxford. He is the author of The Pretenses of Loyalty (2011).


    John Perry, Peter Singer, Charles C. Camosy, John Hare, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Brad Hooker, Tim Mulgan, David Clough, Toby Ord, Eric Gregory

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