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Explaining Value is a selection of the best of Gilbert Harman's shorter writings in moral philosophy. The thirteen essays, originally published between 1967 and 1999, are divided into four sections, which focus in turn on moral relativism, values and valuing, character traits and virtue ethics, and ways of explaining aspects of morality. An indication of the breadth of interest of the book can be given by mentioning a few of the compelling questions which Harman discusses: What accounts for the existence of basic moral disagreements? Why do most people think it is worse to injure someone than to fail to save them from injury? Why do many people think it is morally permissible to treat animals in ways we would not treat people? What is it to value something and what is it to value something intrinsically? How much of morality can or should be explained in terms of human flourishing, or the possession of virtuous character traits? How do people come to be moral? Harman's distinctive approach to moral philosophy has provoked much interest; this volume offers a fascinating conspectus of his most important work in the area.
Gilbert Harman is Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.