Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell the Publisher!
I'd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Perfectionism [Hardcover]

Thomas Hurka

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback --  
Save Up to 90% on Textbooks
Hit the books in Amazon.ca's Textbook Store and save up to 90% on used textbooks and 35% on new textbooks. Learn more.
Join Amazon Student in Canada

Book Description

April 29 1993 0195080149 978-0195080148
Perfectionism is one of the great moralities of the Western tradition. It holds that certain states of humans, such as knowledge, achievement, and friendship, are good apart from any pleasure they may bring, and that the morally right act is always the one that most promotes these states. Defined more narrowly, perfectionism identifies the human good by reference to human nature: if knowledge and achievement are good, it is because they realize aspects of human nature. This book gives an account of perfectionism, first in the narrower sense, analyzing its central concepts and defending a theory of human nature in which rationality plays a central role. It then uses this theory to construct an elaborate account of the intrinsic value of beliefs and actions that embody rationality, and applies this account to political questions about liberty and equality. The book attempts to formulate the most defensible version of perfectionism, using contemporary analytic techniques. It aims both to regain for perfectionism a central place in contemporary moral debate and to shed light on the writings of classical perfectionists such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and T.H. Green.

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr (Txt) (April 29 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195080149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195080148
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,123,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Hurka's book is a clear formulation of perfectionism. It is historically informed and philosophically sophisticated. All readers will benefit."--Canadian Philosophical Reviews

"Readers accustomed to the high conceptual and argumentative standards characteristic of analytic philosophy at its best will not be disappointed by Hurka's discussions. In every case, whether or not his arguments win conviction in the end, they invariably illuminate and leave the impression that the issues have been explored in a fair and even-handed way. Hurka's conclusions are also often becoming in their tentativeness and modesty: where he can find no definitive resolution of a question he has the candor to say so....Hurka has done a remarkable job of building an elegant and attractive version of perfectionism. Written with admirable rigor and clarity, his book will surely remain the definitive treatment of the theory by an analytic philosopher for a very long while. By presenting perfectionism in the best possible light he has done a great service to the theory's supporters and critics alike."--The Philosophical Review

"This is a brilliant book....I know of no other discussion of human and moral good that is so rewarding....Highly original and deeply insightful."--Philosophical Books

"Hurka's book is of most interest to ethicists, but it offers a useful device for evaluating utopian assertions about human perfection....His work is intellectually challenging..."--Utopian Studies

"...the book is engaging and carefully argued. It will be of good use for graduate courses and advanced undergraduate courses on normative theory."--Teaching Philosophy --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

10 line illus. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.ca
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Father's Perfectionism; 4.5 Stars April 9 2011
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
This is an interesting and very well argued effort to produce a plausible modern version of perfectionist moral philosophy. Hurka draws on a very rich prior perfectionist tradition that goes back to Aristotle and that Hurka argues includes an impressive variety of contributors including Aquinas, Marx, and even Kant. Hurka, however, dispenses with some of the historic justifications for perfectionism including Aristotle's teleology and Aquinas' dependence on theism. What follows is a form of Aristotelian perfectionism based on the basic intuition that the good is the development of the essential distinctive feature of human nature, rationality. From this plausible foundation, Hurka systematically develops a form of perfectionism which emphasizes development of human capacity with a strong consequentialist orientation. Hurka's development is quite impressive, leading to a form of perfectionism that is relatively liberal and egalitarian, as he says quite compatible or even favoring a mixed economy or social democratic state. He also discusses other versions of perfectionism, such as Nietzschean-like versions which he terms maximax versions in which perfectionism aims at cultivating the perfection of an elite few.

Hurka is quite frank about some of the limitations of perfectionist approaches. In this case, perfectionism is constrained by appeal to reasonable moral intuitions but without such constraints, very different and less attractive alternatives are plausible. Perfectionist approaches may not necessarily to lead to endorsement of common moral values, can lead to destructive elitism, and in some interpretations, denies the existence of rights. While Hurka's perfectionism is attractive, his discussion of limitations of the general approach points out what may be a major weakness of Hurka's approach. Hurka's perfectionism is plausible only by appeal to certain moral intuitions. But how firmly grounded are these intuitions? There is a relatively popular version of perfectionism that has little in common with Hurka's thoughtful program - Ayn Rand's Objectivism. This fervently elitist faux-Nietzchean ideology has a quite a few followers, some of them quite influential. Since few of Rand's followers have subjected Rand's books to the careful level of analysis used by Hurka, it must have considerable intuitive appeal.

Look for similar items by category