The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 487–490 | Cite as

Thomas Hurka, The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-19-533142-4, $18.95, Hbk
  • Gwen Bradford
Book Review

Thomas Hurka’s The Best Things in Life strikes the uncommon balance of being engaging to those new to philosophy, and being enriching and rewarding to professionals. Hurka knits together concisely and accessibly many of the key views from his other works, Perfectionism, and Virtue, Vice and Value, as well as several papers into this accessible account of the main ingredients for the good life. Hurka’s philosophical views lend themselves exceptionally well to a book of this kind: his perfectionism is broad-minded and generates a pluralistic output of modes of the good life, and so is appealing to a wide audience. The book is a indeed a total success in this respect – Hurka’s genial tone is engaging, easy-going, straightforward and entirely unpretentious; the philosophical material is plausible and engaging enough for non-philosophers, yet sophisticated and challenging enough for a philosophical audience.

There are no footnotes; rather, each chapter ends with a description of sources and...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentRice UniversityHouston USA

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