Reasons and Persons
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"Very few works in the subject can compare with Parfit's in scope, fertility, imaginative resource, and cogency of reasoning."--P.F. Strawson, The New York Review of Books
"Complex, brilliant, and entertaining....This book is chock-full of impressive arguments, many of which seem destined to become part of the standard analytic repertory....It is an understatement to say that it is well worth reading."--International Studies in Philosophy
"Extraordinary...Brilliant...Astonishingly rich in ideas...A major contribution to philosophy: it will be read, honoured, and argued about for many years to come."--Samuel Scheffler, Times Literary Supplement
"A brilliantly clever and imaginative book...Strange and excitingly intense."--Alan Ryan, Sunday Times (London)
"Not many books reset the philosophical agenda in the way that this one does....Western philosophy, especially systematic ethics, will not be the same again."--Philosophical Books
From the Back Cover
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In Summary, the book is exceptionally dense but deeply rewarding if you're patient with some of its ideas. I'm not sure I would recommend it to a lay-person interested in ethics (there are many other great ethics books that are more introductory), but if you are really into philosophy and aren't afraid of a profoundly rewarding but substantial challenge, then I couldn't recommend another contemporary philosophical work book more thoroughly other than A Theory of Justice.
Also worth noting: the softcover binding on the book is absolutely terrible. My softcover edition fell apart within a year and decent care of the book. Exasperated, I spent extra for a hardcover because I wanted to keep the book for a long time; it's that valuable to me. Assuming you get a softcover, would avoid traveling with the book at all and try to treat it very gently. The ideas in the book are why I gave it 5 stars, not the physical book of the softcover, which deserves maybe 2 stars.
The first part of the book is a technical dissection of the ethical behavior theories of self interest and collective utility. It ties together with the rest of the book, but if that is not your bag I think you can pretty safely skip it.
One stand out, for me, was the thorough destruction of theories of the Cartesian ego. It opened my eyes to the problems that idea has caused throughout history. (That is my realization, it is not in the book.)
It did not seem long. An excellent read overall.
The Kindle edition has about 10 typos, but in addition there is a fairly confusing typographical error in one of the appendices: a capital T is used instead of I in single quotes ('I'). Now you are warned, all of you who read 6 or 7 appendices in philosophy books. :)
Top international reviews
On first reading, the Preface fell out. Opening to any part of the book cracks whatever is passing for glue and pages are the next to go.
Looks and feels like a counterfeit copy. Would love to know what is going on with this imprint, under the venerable OUP umbrella.