Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit
Geoffrey Brennan, Robert Goodin, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith
Clarendon Press, 2007 M05 24 - 368 pages
During a career spanning over thirty years Philip Pettit has made seminal contributions in moral philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of the social sciences, philosophy of mind and action, and metaphysics. His many contributions would be remarkable enough in themselves, but they are made all the more remarkable by the ways in which Pettit connects them with each other. Pettit holds that the lessons learned when thinking about problems in one area of philosophy often constitute ready-made solutions to problems we faced in completely different areas. His body of work taken as a whole provides a vivid example of what philosophy looks like when done with that conviction. Common Minds presents specially written papers by some of the most eminent philosophers alive today, grappling with some of the themes derived from the larger programme that Pettit has inspired. How are we to do the best we can, whether in the domain of morality or politics, given that we are non-ideal agents acting in non-ideal circumstances? What is the normative significance of the capacity we have to engage in rational deliberation, both individually and collectively, about what to do? How are we to square our conception of ourselves as rational deliberators with the more mechanistic conception of ourselves and the world we inhabit that we get from the natural sciences? The volume concludes with a substantial piece by Pettit in which he gives an overview of his work, draws out the connections between its key themes, and provides a rich commentary on the preceding essays.
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