On What Matters: Volume II

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, 2011 - Philosophy - 848 pages
4 Reviews
On What Matters is a major work in moral philosophy. It is the long-awaited follow-up to Derek Parfit's 1984 book Reasons and Persons, one of the landmarks of twentieth-century philosophy. Parfit now presents a powerful new treatment of reasons, rationality, and normativity, and a critical examination of three systematic moral theories - Kant's ethics, contractualism, and consequentialism - leading to his own ground-breaking synthetic conclusion. Along the way he discusses a wide range of moral issues, such as the significance of consent, treating people as a means rather than an end, and free will and responsibility. On What Matters is already the most-discussed work in moral philosophy: its publication is likely to establish it as a modern classic which everyone working on moral philosophy will have to read, and which many others will turn to for stimulation and illumination. The second volume of Derek Parfit's magnum opus is in four parts. The first presents critiques of his work by four of the world's leading moral philosophers. The second contains his responses. The third and longest part is a self-contained monograph by Parfit on normativity. The final part comprises seven new essays by Parfit on Kant, reasons, irrationality, autonomy - and why the universe exists.

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Review: On What Matters: Volume Two

User Review  - Edward - Goodreads

Two great passages: -"... the Golden Rule is theoretically inferior [to 2 other principles]. But this rule may be, for practical purposes, the best of these three principles. By requiring us to ... Read full review

Review: On What Matters: Volume Two

User Review  - John - Goodreads

Since I started studying philosophy, only three books have given me the feeling that drew me to philosophy in the first place: the feeling that every cell in my brain is completely engaged. Two of ... Read full review

About the author (2011)


Derek Parfit is one of the leading philosophers of our time. He is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, Global Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at New York University, and a Fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of Reasons and Persons (OUP, 1984), one of the most influential books in philosophy of the last several decades.

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