Review Of "General Ethics" By A. Heller

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General Ethics develops a metaethical, sociological, and historical interpretive approach to ethics that flows from the central question of the book: "Good people exist--how are they possible?" Heller contends that ethics is a condition of the world, which is necessarily social and thus informed by a hierarchy of ethical norms. Her refreshing analyses of voluntary action, freedom, moral choice, responsibility, various mental states, and moral authority are provocative and imaginative. Unfortunately, Heller's discussion is marred by frequent opaque passages, too many needless neologisms (e.g., "congealed temporality"), and the excessive use of italics. Still, the book will be welcomed by those who have grown weary of continual rehashes of stock positions on trite subjects in ethics. Because of its style and orientation, the book will not appeal to everyone. However, it should be accessible--and of more than passing interest--to advanced undergraduates with a sound ground in recent Continental philosophy and with some familiarity with contemporary Anglo-American moral philosophy. A desirable acquisition for any academic library.


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