Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, though flawed attempt at establishing altruism, August 13, 2008
This review is from: The Possibility of Altruism (Paperback)
"The Possibility of Altruism" is a classic revival of Kantian ethics in the later twentieth century. Written early on in Nagel's career, it establishes his now-famous distinction between agent-relative and agent-neutral reasons, and argues that each agent-relative reason necessarily has an agent-neutral correlate. Furthermore, Nagel believed that these correlates bring along the initial motivational content of the original agent-relative reason, and transmit that content to other actors by virtue of their generalized format.

While interesting, the attempt is widely regarded mostly as a failure, including by Nagel himself - because of a convincing rebuttal from Nicholas Sturgeon, and concerned commentary by Samuel Scheffler and Phillip Petit. The most significant flaw in the argument seems to be Nagel's imprecision in how motivational content is generalized, and what motivation is provided to other actors. Nonetheless, this work marks the beginning of Nagel's attempts to argue that morality is derived from the tension between the subjective first-person perspective, and our ability to somehow see things more objectively, from a third-personal scientific perspective.

For a more philosophically mature, though less precise statement of Nagel's view, see "The View from Nowhere". Interesting discussions are provided by Christine Korsgaard in "The Sources of Normativity" and "Creating the Kingdom of Ends".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.3 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
$30.95 $23.20
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Reviewer

S. Morgan
(REAL NAME)   

Location: Rochester, NY USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 10,971,021