Ruling Passions by Simon Blackburn

Simon Blackburn ( and puts forward a compelling and original philosophy of human motivation and morality. Why do we behave as we do? Can we improve? Is our ethics at war with our passions, or is it an upshot of those passions?

Blackburn seeks the answers to such questions in an exploration of the nature of moral emotions and the structures of human motivation. He develops a naturalistic ethics, which integrates our understanding of ethics with the rest of our understanding of the world we live in. His theory does not debunk the ethical by reducing it to the non-ethical, and it banishes the spectres of scepticism and relativism that have haunted recent moral philosophy.

Ruling Passions (1998) reveals how ethics can maintain its authority even though it is rooted in the very emotions and motivations that it exists to control. This is a defence of quasi-realism ( as applied to ethics.

348 pages in Clarendon Press paperback edition.

ISBN 978-0199241392

Professor Simon Blackburn

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