The Elements of Moral Philosophy, in Three Books with a Brief Account of the Nature, Progress, and Origin of Philosophy
Though little known today, David Fordyce was an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and closely associated with liberal Dissenters in England. His Elements of Moral Philosophy was a notable contribution to the curriculum in moral philosophy and a widely circulated text in moral philosophy in the second half of the eighteenth century. It was first published as part of a comprehensive textbook system in 1748 and as a separate book in 1754. It is the latter that is now being reissued. The significance of The Elements is evidenced by the fact that it was included practically verbatim in the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1771). A Brief Account, Fordyce’s opening lectures to his Marischal class of 1743/44, has never before been published. David Fordyce (1711-1751) taught at Marischal College, Aberdeen. Thomas D. Kennedy is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Valparaiso University. Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
Firmly established as the standard text for undergraduate courses in ethics, this concise, lively book combines clear explanations of the main theories of ethics with discussions of interesting examples. Topics covered include famine relief, euthanasia, homosexuality, and the treatment of animals. The text's versatility allows it to be widely used not only in ethical theory courses, but also in applied ethics courses of all kinds.
"The celebrated division of philosophy among the ancients was into the rational or logical, the natural and the moral. Their moral philosophy contained these parts, ethicks taken more strictly, teaching the nature of virtue and regulating the internal dispositions; and the knowledge of the law of nature. This latter contained: 1. the doctrine of private rights, or the laws obtaining in natural liberty; 2. Oeconomicks, or the laws and rights of the several members of a family; and 3. Politicks, shewing the various plans of civil government, and the rights of fates with respect to each other. The following books contain the elements of these several branches of moral philosophy; which if they are carefully studied may give the youth an easier access to the well known and admired works either of the ancients, Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Cicero; or of the moderns, Grotius, Cumberland, Puffendorf, Harrington and others, upon this branch of philosophy"--Book. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
Socrates said that moral philosophy deals with 'no small matter, but how we ought to live'. Beginning with a minimum conception of what morality is, the author offers discussions of the most important ethical theories. He includes treatments of such topics as cultural relativism, ethical subjectivism, psychological egoism, and ethical egoism.