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Knowing What To Do

Knowing What to Do: Imagination, Virtue, and Platonism in EthicsKnowing What to Do: Imagination, Virtue, and Platonism in Ethics by Timothy Chappell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, I must correct a Goodreads error, for they have this book's author listed under her former and incorrect name. The author is Sophie Grace Chappell.

I heard Chappell lecture at Creighton University here in Omaha a few years ago and put this book on my "list" to read because I was impressed by her creative thinking.

I had wondered if this is a book I might use as a text in teaching Ethics. I think not, as it is more technical in places than my sophomores would enjoy, but the book will definitely shape how I approach teaching ethics.

Chappell criticizes all the dominate ethical theories for getting ethics wrong, primarily by trying to be THE way of living the good life. She rather thinks that the major theories give good, but not final and conclusive advice, some working better in certain situations than others.

What she instead advocates is a cultivation of the moral imagination which is accomplished through contemplation. In this view she draws upon Plato and Iris Murdoch.

Chappell has a rich undertanding of philosophical history and contemporary debates, including drawing on important aspects of other philosophical fields such as philosophy of mind.

A number of the chapters are necessary but technical contributions to recent arguments in analytical philosophy. I hope she will in the future write a book that more fully develops her positive ideas from the latter half of the book.

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