Most people believe that there are limits to the sacrifices that morality can demand. Although it would often be meritorious, we are not, in fact, morally required to do all that we can to promote overall good. What's more, most people also believe that certain types of acts are simply forbidden, morally off limits, even when necessary for promoting the overall good. In this provocative analysis Kagan maintains that despite the intuitive appeal of these views, they cannot be adequately defended. In criticizing arguments for limited moral requirements as well as those for unconditionally prohibited acts, Kagan offers a sustained attack on two of the most basic features of ordinary common sense morality.
`this is an important book
International Studies in Philosophy Vol XXX/I 1993
`Kagan writes with exemplary clarity and shows considerable ingenuity in arguing for his massively counterintuitive and really rather sinister thesis.' Times Higher Education Supplement
`The two points to stress about this book are: it is full of arguments that are themselves formidable. And it gives proper attention to pivotal but largely neglected issues.' Mind
Against ordinary morality; the structure of ordinary morality; doing harm; intending harm; withou constraints; avoiding the appeal; the appeal to cost; the negative argument; the positive argument; extraordinary morality.