a1 Harward Center for Population and Development Studies, email@example.com
How practical can ethics be? To what extent is it possible to put ethics ‘to the use of life’, in the words of Samuel Johnson? In Practical Ethics, Henry Sidgwick offers the distillation of a lifetime of reflection on how to relate moral theory and practice. This book provides both a model and a cautionary example. Its lucid, urbane, and broad-gauged approach to practical moral issues is exemplary; but its very lucidity also exposes the moral risks in Sidgwick's attempt to isolate deliberation about these issues from fundamental moral premises, including the interlocking intuitionist, utilitarian, and paternalist premises buttressing his conclusions about legitimate practices of violence and deceit.