Trying to understand morality involves grappling with seemingly irreconcilable conflicts between opposing theoretical positions. Originally published in 1986, this book offers a solution in terms of natural law, which involves reflections on the relevant aspects of human nature and the human condition, as well as on the special nature of prescriptive language. It also discusses several major movements in moral philosophy, both classical and contemporary and examines them in the light of a set of tests for an adequate moral theory.

chapter Chapter I|17 pages


chapter Chapter II|15 pages


chapter Chapter III|16 pages

Naturalism and intuitionism

chapter Chapter IV|8 pages


chapter Chapter V|17 pages

Prescriptivism (1): The legal model

chapter Chapter VI|22 pages


chapter Chapter VII|11 pages

Prescriptivism (2): Natural law

chapter Chapter VIII|6 pages

Morals and religion

chapter Chapter IX|15 pages

Prescriptivism (3): Rational autonomy

chapter Chapter X|19 pages

Prescriptivism (4): Objections and replies

chapter Chapter XI|10 pages

Form and content

chapter Chapter XII|8 pages

Morality and self-interest