Skip to main content

Black History Month: Select Books 30% Off

Harvard University Press - home
Inside Ethics

Inside Ethics

On the Demands of Moral Thought

Alice Crary

ISBN 9780674967816

Publication date: 01/05/2016

Request exam copy

Alice Crary’s Inside Ethics is a transformative account of moral thought about human beings and animals.

We have come to think of human beings and animals as elements of a morally indifferent reality that reveals itself only to neutral or science-based methods. This little-commented-on trend, which shapes the work of moral philosophers and popular ethical writers alike, has pernicious effects, distorting our understanding of the difficulty of moral thinking. Inside Ethics traces the roots of existing views to tendencies in ethics, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. Crary underlines the moral urgency of revisiting our approach in ethics so that, instead of assuming we confront a world that itself places no demands on moral imagination, we treat the exercise of moral imagination as necessary for arriving at an adequate world-guided understanding of human beings and animals.

The book’s argument is both rich and practically oriented, integrating ideas from literary authors such as Raymond Carver, J. M. Coetzee, Daniel Keyes, W. G. Sebald, and Leo Tolstoy and bringing them to bear on issues in disability studies and animal studies as well as elsewhere in ethics. The result is a commanding case for a reorientation in ethics that illuminates central challenges of moral thought about human and animal lives, directing attention to important aspects of these lives that are otherwise hidden from view.

Praise

  • This book is a sustained attempt to argue in favor of the claim that human and non-human animals alike are intrinsically ethically significant things, and in particular not beings whose ethical significance is a function of the ethical significance of some given set of attributes or capacities or interests they happen to possess. Anyone working on these topics will be obliged to take account of Crary’s distinctive contribution to current conversations, within and without philosophy, about the moral status of human beings and their fellow creatures.

    —Stephen Mulhall, University of Oxford

Author

  • Alice Crary is University Distinguished Professor in Philosophy at The New School for Social Research and the author of Inside Ethics.

Book Details

  • 304 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

From this author

Recommendations