Friday, January 26, 2024

Peter Kreeft's Book "Ethics for Beginners"

Peter Kreeft has taught philosophy at Boston College for more than 50 years. In this book Ethics for Beginners, he provides a good introduction to ethics for people of religious convictions, especially Roman Catholics. Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire) recommends the book which he describes as "a digestible introduction to moral philosophy woven together with Kreeft’s trademark wit and humor."

The book presents the thoughts of 32 great thinkers of history. Kreeft believes that studying the ideas of the great philosophers helps people to take responsibility for their own thoughts and opens the mind to arguments on both sides of controversies. 

He asks:

What qualifies you for ethical wisdom? It is not your ideological beliefs or scholarly expertise but your character traits. And those character traits come in pairs, so that it is very easy and very common to emphasize one half of each pair and forget the other one. These traits include:

• Adamant, committed honesty and flexible, experimental open-mindedness;
• A hard (logical) head and a soft (loving, empathetic) heart; toughness and tenderness;
• Fair, unbiased, impersonal detachment and personal commitment and loyalty;
• Impatience (passion) and patience (maturity);
• Idealism and practicality; and
• Profound seriousness and lightness, playfulness, and a sense of humor.

Peter Kreeft asserts that ethics is real, that good and evil are knowable, and that we are happier people when we act well. Kreeft claims that the study of ethics is important in answering life’ questions: What is the meaning of life? How should I live? How should I treat other people?

This book is especially appropriate for use with high school students.

The book is available to purchase on Amazon.

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