David Copp (editor), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory (Oxford Handbooks), New York 2006
In his preface the editor David Copp promises a demanding reading written at a professional level, but nevertheless accessible for any sophisticated reader with at least some background in philosophy. Offered are essays, each to a different subject on moral philosophy, divided in two parts: Methaethics (with the topics „Moral Realism“, „Theological Voluntarism“, „Ethical Naturalism“, „Nonnaturalism“, „ Antirealist, Expressivism and Quasi-Realism“, „Biology and Ethics“, „Sensibility Theory and Projectivism“, „Moral Sentimentalism and Moral Psychology“, „Moral Relativism and Moral Nihilism“, „Human Theory of Practical Rationality“, „Morality and Practical Reason: A Kantian Approach“, „Free Will and Moral Responsibility“) and normative ethical theory (with the topics „Value Theory“, „Some Forms and Limits of Consequentialism“, „Deontology“, „Moral Rights“, „Kantian Normative Ethics“, „Virtue Ethics“, „The Ethics of Care“, „Particularism and Antitheory“, „Intuitions in Moral Inquiry“, „Theory, Practice, and Moral Reasoning“). The essays are written by contemporary and at least amongst experts well-known ethical specialists such as e.g. Simon Blackburn, Jonathan Dancy, Thomas Hurka... Since each author writes on his specialists field all the essays are of high quality, although they are not written on an equal didactical level, this level is by times violently swinging from essay to essay, some are realy great written, others quite irksome, to my opinion. On any account an impressive overview concerning contemporary discussions is granted the reader. Especially nice in my mind is that the authors are not encapsulated in their realms, but are casting about different views and in this way are getting into discussion with them. Thus their own statements attain depth and plausibility. However, the many different points demand the reader's own cogitation, evaluation and decision.The complexity factor of this book reaches from relatively neat to quite tough and, indeed, Copp is right when he commends some philosophical background for a satisfying and successfull reading. I think, all in all, it is a fine book especially for students.
Jürgen Czogalla, 11.06.2013