The aim of this book has been to construct a new ethical theory that will inspire future ethicists. To this end the most outstanding ethical theories previously advanced are reviewed and critically evaluated. Utilitarianism is found most successful, although also this position entails serious weaknesses and is opposed to strong common-sense intuitions. Amendments are therefore suggested, recommending that people identify rather than sympathize with each other. On this basis, the new theory, named Identification Theory, is constructed presenting definitions of the ethical concepts “good”, “bad”, “ultimate good”, and “ultimate aim” of humans. The theory also suggests how well-known ethical dilemmas may be solved and points to a procedure for making decisions that result in complete agreement among reasonable agents as regards selection of alternative in ethical dilemmas. For people who want to be informed of the present standing of ethics, reading this book is indispensable.
The authors are psychologists from the Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo. Both have been recipients of State Scholarships of Norway and are internationally well known for their contributions within vision research, having published about 70 scientific articles and the book “Duplicity Theory of Vision from Newton to the present” (Cambridge University Press, 2009). For many years they have been engaged in philosophical problems – especially problems related to epistemological and ethical topics.