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The Virtues of Our Vices:
A Modest Defense of Gossip, Rudeness, and Other Bad Habits
Emrys Westacott

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"After reading this volume, one might quibble with some of the author's observations, although next week one might feel differently. This is what Westacott recognizes as a 'fluid' situation, an essential aspect of the topic at hand. In sum, The Virtues of Our Vices presents a highly stimulating argument for our individual and collective self-evaluations."--James Naiden, Rain Taxi

"Engaging, funny, and philosophically sophisticated, The Virtues of Our Vices challenges us to rethink conventional wisdom when it comes to everyday moral behavior."--World Book Industry

"Westacott's work is relevant to the practice of philosophical counseling. It proves to be a collection of what we might call conceptual case studies insofar as it takes up mundane, morally loaded issues, and evaluates them philosophically. . . . Works such as Westacott's can help counselors pinpoint and process some of these mundane interactions and judgments, to better enhance the client's critical thinking and quality of life. For the more examined life may after all be more worth the living. This work can also be helpful for philosophical practitioners in a corporate setting."--Graham Steers, Philosophical Practice


"Works on ethics often float above the flux and confusion of everyday life. Not this engaging book! Brimming with lively examples, Westacott's meditation reveals the bright side of some of our darker practices, such as gossip, sick humor, and rude behavior. While the writing is breezy, the analysis is both rigorous and lucid. By the turn of the last page, the delighted reader is sure to have developed a more nuanced and perhaps forgiving grasp of some of our most common transgressions."--Gordon Marino, editor of Ethics: The Essential Writings

"Philosophy should encompass not only the summits of life-and-death issues but the lowlands and occasional quicksand of everyday manners. Emrys Westacott is an ideal guide to this terrain, especially to the ethics of guilty verbal pleasures. The Virtues of Our Vices is a provocative exploration of the big issues underlying small talk."--Edward Tenner, author of Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences

"With insight and rigor, Emrys Westacott shows that what is small is not necessarily trivial, that analytic precision is compatible with fully accepting the messiness of real life, and that what matters is often lost in the cracks of the obvious, big moral debates of the day. This is a refreshingly original work which promises to bring quotidian ethics the wider attention it deserves."--Julian Baggini, cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Philosopher's Magazine

"If you have ever been accused of being rude when you were merely stating the truth, or called a gossip because you like to dwell on other people's actions, Westacott is for you. His linked studies of everyday vices offer elegant analysis of the goods that lurk in behavior that is usually condemned. This wise book is practical philosophy in the best sense."--Mark Kingwell, --Mark Kingwell, author of In Pursuit of Happiness: Better Living from Plato to Prozac

"Emrys Westacott writes in an accessible way, and often with humor, about topics that are of wide interest. He is right that the ethical questions that confront ordinary people in everyday life are important, even if philosophy has tended to ignore them."--David Benatar, editor of Ethics for Everyday

"In this enjoyable book, Westacott shows that the question of whether rudeness, snobbery, and other vices are wrong is more nuanced and delicate than it might appear."--Caspar Hare, author of On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects

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File created: 4/24/2017

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