John Rist surveys the history of ethics from Plato to the present and offers a vigorous defence of an ethical theory based on a revised version of Platonic realism. In a wide-ranging discussion he examines well-known alternatives to Platonism, in particular Epicurus, Hobbes, Hume and Kant as well as contemporary 'practical reasoners', and argues that most post-Enlightenment theories of morality (as well as Nietzschean subversions of such theories) depend on an abandoned Christian metaphysic and are unintelligible without such grounding. He also argues that contemporary choice-based theories, whether they take a strictly ethical or more obviously political form, are ultimately arbitrary in nature. His lively and accessible study is informed by a powerful sense of philosophical history, and will be of interest to both students and scholars of ethics.

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