Firenze / Milano: Giunti Editore / Bompiani. Translated by Sergio Volodia Cremaschi & Massimo Reichlin (2023)
A New Italian translation of Principia Ethica coming almost 60 years after the 1964 translation by Gianni Vattimo with Nicola Abbagnano’s preface. The new edition makes room for the English text alongside the Italian translation; it includes the 1922 Preface, a bibliography of Moore’s ethical writings with critical literature, a chronology of Moore’s life and works, and an Index.
The Introduction by Sergio Cremaschi reconstructs the background of ideas, concerns and intentions from which Moore’s Principia Ethica originated. It stresses the role of religious concerns, as well as that of the Idealist legacy. I argue that PE is more a patchwork of incompatible lines of argument than a consistent work. It compares PE with Rashdall’s almost contemporary ethical work, suggesting that the latter defends the same general claims in a different and more plausible way, which manages to answer decisive objections. It ends with the suggestion that the emergence of Analytic Ethics was a more multi-faceted phenomenon than the received view would make us believe and the analytic tradition's wheat, that is, what logic can do for philosophy, has to be separated from the chaff, that is, the confused, and besides mutually incompatible, legacies of Utilitarianism and Idealism.