Cover of Elements of Ethics by Adriaan T. Peperzak
Elements of Ethics
Adriaan T. Peperzak


304 pages.
from $40.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804747691
Paperback ISBN: 9780804747707
Ebook ISBN: 9780804767088



This work renews the basic questions and principles of philosophical ethics and provides a thorough account of how being oneself presupposes freedom and responsibility. Elements of Ethics focuses on the descriptive and conceptual analysis of the experiences through which human lives become aware of themselves and shows how we are provoked to respond appropriately to the various dimensions and phenomena of the universe.

Operating on the provocative thesis that "if the ethical is real, it cannot be proved, because it is either nothing at all or an irreducible origin," this book pursues the question that defines ethics: "How should I live?" After setting out a preliminary definition of terms, Elements of Ethics gives insight into the relation of human individuals and the world by showing that the traditional separation between "is" and "ought" overlooks their profound coincidence, and by clarifying the determining, though often overlooked, role of affectivity and katharsis in all ethical experiences.

About the author

Adriaan T. Peperzak is Arthur J. Schmitt Professor in Philosophy at Loyola University, Chicago. He is the author or editor of over thirty books in five languages.

"This rich and elegant work by a renowed philosopher grapples with the 'givenness' of ethics and of self-in-community. Its scope is grand and its reach broad, but the whole is grounded in a precise, analytical delineation of the essentials of ethics and unfolds into a masterful synthesis."

—Thomas Sheehan, Stanford University

"Elements of Ethics is philosophical in the truest sense: it is not only rigorous and engaged in the language of western philsophy; it is good, just and beautiful."

Philsophy in Review/Comptes rendus philosophiques

"Elements of Ethics will appeal to those who are in search of an alternative to the dominant modes of ethical reflection practiced today, because it is clear, concrete, historically informed, and thought provoking."

The Journal of Religion