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Practical Philosophy

Practical Philosophy: Ethics, Society and Culture
In this wide ranging volume of philosophical essays John Haldane explores some central areas of social life and issues of intense academic and public debate. These include the question of ethical relativism, fundamental issues in bioethics, the nature of individuals in relation to society, the common good, public judgement of prominent individuals, the nature and aims of education, cultural theory and the relation of philosophy to art and architecture. Read Practical Philosophy.

Opinions and reviews
“What resources can philosophy bring to bear, when its enquiries are not theoretical, but practical? In Practical Philosophy John Haldane answers this question in a brilliant survey of key issues, showing us how a variety of theories can obscure or distort our view of the practical realities of life, family, and society. With admirable clarity he also shows us how philosophy can rescue us from such theorizing”.
Alasdair MacIntyre, University of Notre Dame.

“In Practical Philosophy, John Haldane eloquently makes the case for an approach to ethics that is distinctively practical thought with a view to action (as contrasted with theoretical thought that might possibly be applied to the domain of action). Taking his inspiration from a tradition that includes Aristotle, Aquinas, and Elizabeth Anscombe, Haldane argues that an orthodox dichotomy has long dominated both philosophical and everyday thinking: we must be either dualists or material reductionists. Both of these alternatives, however, neglect a subtle approach to intentionality and agency offered by the Aristotelian tradition. Haldane uses his illuminating approach to advance arguments on a number of controversial moral and political issues: the status of the foetus, the importance of the family, compensation for victims of crime, the basis of human solidarity across national boundaries. Although his conclusions are frequently controversial, Haldane always avoids polemics and the ideological parti pris, thus giving a welcome example of respectful and civil public argument.
Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago.

“In Haldane’s Practical Philosophy one sees a philosopher well aware of current work in his field but determined to recover both the prior social; reality and the syubstantive conception of the good which have to be in place before abstract notions of right, buty or moral obligation can be rooted in anything”
David Wiggins, University of Oxford.

“This book reminds me why I chose to study philosophy in the first instance.  It is refreshing to read such an accessible book which is takes ethics as its central focus and develops a range of arguments about the importance of ethics to daily life in our societies and cultures.  The feeling one gets is of sitting and listening to an experienced philosopher explaining questions across a range of issues. … A useful book both for readers with at least an introductory understanding of philosophy and ethics as well as those seeking an additional reader for a philosophy, ethics or social culture course”.
Erich von Dietze, Metapsychology.

Practical Philosophy should be widely read insofar as it offers a sound, classically grounded, view of the nature of human moral agents and the general parameters that define what constitutes living a ‘good human life’.  Haldane effectively demonstrates how this philosophical viewpoint is not a purely theoretical construct divorced from the lived experience of human beings in various societies and cultures”.
Jason Eberl, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.

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