Ethics for a Broken World
Imagining Philosophy after Catastrophe
Jacket image for Ethics for a Broken World
View larger image
Author(s): Tim Mulgan  
ISBN: 1844654885
ISBN-13: 9781844654888
Publication Date: 27 Oct 2011
Pages: 256 (234 x 156mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
Add to basket
Imagine living in the future in a world already damaged by humankind, a world where resources are insufficient to meet everyone’s basic needs and where a chaotic climate makes life precarious. Then imagine looking back into the past, back to our own time and assessing the ethics of the early twenty-first century. Ethics for a Broken World imagines how the future might judge us and how living in a time of global environmental degradation might utterly reshape the politics and ethics of the future. The book is presented as a series of “history of philosophy lectures” given in the future, studying the classic texts from a past age of affluence, our own time. The central ethical questions of our time are shown to look very different from the perspective of a ruined world. The aim of Ethics for a Broken World is to look at our present with the benefit of hindsight – to reimagine contemporary philosophy in an historical context – and to highlight the contingency of our own moral and political ideals.

"A bold, creative, provocative, ingenious and important book that will be of tremendous interest to students and teachers of ethical, political and environmental philosophy." – John Seery, Pomona College, California

"An excellent and hugely innovative introduction to political philosophy. By asking readers to imagine what our political philosophy might look like to members of a broken future, the book challenges many assumptions about resources and future generations that are implicit yet central to much contemporary political philosophy. The book offers a truly unique perspective, and will be a great benefit to students and teachers.” – Jonathan Quong, University of Manchester

"This book would be ideal for someone with some knowledge of contemporary ethical theories who wishes to read a critical discussion of them. It also serves as a useful reminder to those working in moral philosophy of the dependency of the discipline on the assumptions working in the social and political context in which theories are formed. What is particularly impressive about this book is the engaging style in which it is written. It is accessible, entertaining, and even funny." – Philosophy Now

"Mulgan offers a vivid way to bring out the con­tingency and context-dependence of our present way of thinking." – The Cambridge Humanities Review

"A proclaimed break with the profound anthropocentrism of philosophy of the modern age… opens the thought of what philosophy and ethics might become if it were to create a genealogy of the future." – Year’s Work in Critical Cultural Theory 2013

“Mulgan presents, with admirable clarity, key contemporary moral and political outlooks—rights-based (with a focus on Nozick), utilitarian (with a focus on Mill), social-contract (with a focus on Rawls), and democratic - but does so with a twist. While Nozick, Mill, and Rawls elaborated their views in an age of affluence, under favourable conditions, Mulgan’s book presents them from the viewpoint of a world in which favourable conditions no longer hold, due to the reckless behaviour of previous generations—including, crucially, those of the studied thinkers. In so doing, Mulgan offers a fresh and critical perspective on otherwise well-known theories…. The book is highly stimulating, thought-provoking, and successfully highlights the contingency of today’s moral dogmas.” – Mind

Tim Mulgan is Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. His books include Understanding Utilitarianism (Acumen, 2008).

Part I: Rights
Lecture 1: Nozick’s on rights
Lecture 2: Self-ownership
Lecture 3: The Lockean proviso
Lecture 4: Nozick in the broken world
Lecture 5: Nationalism
Part II: Utilitarianism
Lecture 6: Act utilitarianism
Lecture 7: Rule utilitarianism
Lecture 8: Well-being and value
Lecture 9: Mill on liberty
Lecture 10: Utilitarianism and future people
Lecture 11: Utilitarianism for a broken world
Part III: The Social Contract
Lecture 12: Hobbes and Locke
Lecture 13: Rawls
Lecture 14: Rawls and the future
Lecture 15: Rawls in a broken world
Part IV: Democracy
Lecture 16: Democracy
Lecture 17: Democracy and the future

Also available in Hardback (1844654877), priced 50.00

Click here to buy the hardback edition