Reviews of Conversations on Ethics,
Oxford University Press (hardback;
Intellectually stimulating and highly entertaining
(...) Voorhoeve has a knack for teasing out revealing answers.
His probing questions often bring out the weakest or most revealing
parts of the interviewed philosophers' views (...) Exciting.
Krister Bykvist, The Philosophers' Magazine
49 (2010): 110-1. Full review
[A] beautifully produced
collection. (...) A pleasure to read as well as
philosophically valuable. Overall, it is an
excellent book, providing something different,
involving and very welcome.
Philosophical Investigations 33 (2010): 380-3. Full
A superb collection of interviews with leading figures in
moral philosophy: Voorhoeve deftly limns the broad outlines of their thought and
paints a physical picture of the setting, before interrogating his subjects'
theories. (...) [A]n exemplary demonstration of philosophical
discussion in action.
Steven Poole, The Guardian (6 February 2010).
The dialogue is always insightful. (...) The
interviewees turn out to be genuine philosophers, diligent and
enormously intelligent but nonetheless struggling and fallible. The
value of Voorhoeve's book is that it shows how great minds come to their
ideas and come to disagree on fundamental issues. (...) I can recommend
it to anyone who wants to delve deeper into ethics.
Ethical Perspectives 17 (2010): 680-3. Full review
[A] delight, both in conception and
in execution. (...) Voorhoeve's engagement with each thinker is
informed, precise, clear, and insightful. Each interview is a
pleasure to read. I can highly recommend Conversations on Ethics
as worthwhile for anyone interested in ethics.
Philosophical Practice 5 (2010): 712-3. Full review
Probes positions in a
precise and clear way. (...) The
conversational form is refreshing when
compared with other textual forms, like
the monograph. (...) Not only does it provide
readers with the outline of each interviewee's
position, but it also offers a personal
impression of each thinker. (...) Exciting.
Zeitschrift fuer medizinische Ethik
56  (2010): 376-8 Full review
Voorhoeve has a real gift for detecting the
vulnerable parts in any thinker's argumentation and exposing them in a
manner that forces the philosopher to produce a more comprehensive
account of her or his views. (...) [A]n excellent illustration of the
two desiderata that have inspired philosophical inquiry since the time
of Socrates: (...) a special ability for critical thinking [and] a
demand for honesty and authenticity.
Public Reason 2 (2010): 96-100. Full review
Accessible and even
potentially thrilling for the non specialist.
(...) Voorhoeve excels in many
conversations at probing the ideas of his
interlocutor. (...) A great contribution to the
Ethics & Economics
(2010). Full review
Richly instructive and
delightful to read. Voorhoeve has a
sophisticated command of his interlocutors'
philosophical views, and his questions often hit
the nail on the head. (...) The conversational
method, with its unique ability to dwell on the
more obscure or vulnerable junctions of a
philosophical view, helps deepen our
understanding of what is sometimes hidden
between the lines of systematic texts. (...)
[I}t provides the most valuable insights on the
nature of ethics.
Iyyun: The Jerusalem
59 (2010): 63-77. Full review
Nietzsche said that all great problems demand great
love. (...) Nietzsche was a hard man to please. But he would have felt
some satisfaction with Voorhoeve's eleven interviews. His philosophers
fight for their theories, defending them ferociously and lovingly. (...)
Almost always, one falls in with their reasoning--at least, this is what
happened to me. But, of course, this leads to inconsistency. For the
difference in their views is far too great. This is bewildering, and
teaches us a good lesson: not to be unmovable in one's attachments to
one's moral views. (...) It shows just how difficult moral calculation
and justification of one's views to others is.
Trouw (a Dutch daily
newspaper, 2010; click
here for the full article; translation mine.)
This book beautifully refutes the idea that
engaging with philosophical questions is difficult and tiring.
Uta Bittner & Tobias Eichinger,
Philosophisches Jahrbuch 118 (2011): 161-5. Full review
here; translation mine.
I have rarely enjoyed a philosophy book as much.
Voorhoeve's bold effort really works. He cunningly brings ethical theory
to life through insightful conversations with key philosophers and
scientists. Not only do the issues come alive, but the participants do
as well. Don't miss the chance to eavesdrop on these conversations.
Norman Daniels, Harvard University
Voorhoeve has interviewed many of the most
interesting and influential recent thinkers on ethical topics, expertly
focusing on their core positions and arguments in a series of insightful
philosophical dialogues. In doing so he has produced not only a
comprehensive introduction to contemporary ethical thought, but also a
real sense of the human beings behind the writings.
University College London
Information on an evening on the book at the
Harvard Humanities Center.
Reported in the
An evening on the book at philosophical cafe
Felix & Sofie (Amsterdam); on their
books of the month list for November 2009.
An interview about the book in the Journal of
Moral Philosophy, with John Garthoff.