The Elements of Moral Philosophy / Edition 7by James Rachels, Stuart Rachels
Pub. Date: 12/06/2011
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
Here is a clear,lively introduction to the major philosophical theories of morality,explaining why each theory has been accepted by some thinkers but rejected by others. To illustrate the various theories,and to reveal their implications,important current issues such as abortion,euthanasia,the treatment of nonhuman animals,racial discrimination,and nuclear weapons are discussed in depth.
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Table of Contents
RACHELS, THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY, 8E
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.WHAT IS MORALITY?
1.1. The Problem of Definition
1.2. First Example: Baby Theresa
1.3. Second Example: Jodie and Mary
1.4. Third Example: Tracy Latimer
1.5. Reason and Impartiality
1.6. The Minimum Conception of Morality
2.THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM
2.1. Different Cultures Have Different Moral Codes
2.2. Cultural Relativism
2.3. The Cultural Differences Argument
2.4. What Follows from Cultural Relativism
2.5. Why There Is Less Disagreement Than It Seems
2.6. Some Values Are Shared by All Cultures
2.7. Judging a Cultural Practice to Be Undesirable
2.8. Back to the Five Claims
2.9. What We Can Learn from Cultural Relativism
3.SUBJECTIVISM IN ETHICS
3.1. The Basic Idea of Ethical Subjectivism
3.2. The Linguistic Turn
3.3. The Denial of Value
3.4. Ethics and Science
3.5. The Question of Same-Sex Relations
4.DOES MORALITY DEPEND ON RELIGION?
4.1. The Presumed Connection between Morality and Religion
4.2. The Divine Command Theory
4.3. The Theory of Natural Law
4.4. Religion and Particular Moral Issues
5.1. Is There a Duty to Help the Starving?
5.2. Psychological Egoism
5.3. Three Arguments for Ethical Egoism
5.4. Three Arguments against Ethical Egoism
6.THE SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY
6.1. Hobbes’s Argument
6.2. The Prisoner’s Dilemma
6.3. Some Advantages of the Social Contract Theory
6.4. The Problem of Civil Disobedience
6.5. Difficulties for the Theory
7.THE UTILITARIAN APPROACH
7.1. The Revolution in Ethics
7.2. First Example: Euthanasia
7.3. Second Example: Marijuana
7.4. Third Example: Nonhuman Animals
8.THE DEBATE OVER UTILITARIANISM
8.1. The Classical Version of the Theory
8.2. Is Pleasure All That Matters?
8.3. Are Consequences All That Matter?
8.4. Should We Be Equally Concerned for Everyone?
8.5. The Defense of Utilitarianism
8.6. Concluding Thoughts
9.ARE THERE ABSOLUTE MORAL RULES?
9.1. Harry Truman and Elizabeth Anscombe
9.2. The Categorical Imperative
9.3. Kant’s Arguments on Lying
9.4. Conflicts between Rules
9.5. Kant’s Insight
10.KANT AND RESPECT FOR PERSONS
10.1. Kant’s Core Ideas
10.2. Retribution and Utility in the Theory of Punishment
10.3. Kant’s Retributivism
11.FEMINISM AND THE ETHICS OF CARE
11.1. Do Women and Men Think Differently about Ethics?
11.2. Implications for Moral Judgment
11.3. Implications for Ethical Theory
12.1. The Ethics of Virtue and the Ethics of Right Action
12.2. The Virtues
12.3. Two Advantages of Virtue Ethics
12.4. Virtue and Conduct
12.5. The Problem of Incompleteness
13. WHAT WOULD A SATISFACTORY MORAL THEORY BE LIKE?
13.1. Morality without Hubris
13.2. Treating People as They Deserve
13.3. A Variety of Motives
13.4. Multiple-Strategies Utilitarianism
13.5. The Moral Community
13.6. Justice and Fairness
Notes on Sources
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I’ve read several books as an adult that I very much regret not having encountered as an adolescent, and this is one of them. Prof. Rachels gives a concise and lucid description of the key ideas of western morality and ethics, presenting arguments from a variety of perspectives for each concept. In doing so, he sets the stage for the reader to take up the arguments by themselves or with others. Sections of the book deal with the pros and cons of cultural relativism (the idea that we shouldn’t judge the values of others), religious morality (guidance from divinities), selfishness (watch out for number one), utilitarianism (the best good for the most people), duty (Kant’s categorical imperative), feminism (do men and women have different, albeit equally important, values?) and the role of social contracts. Although Prof. Rachels surveys the history of western thought on these topics it was telling that he began with Socrates (quoting from Plato’s ‘The Republic’, “We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live”) and ends with a modified concept of virtues as first discussed in Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’. So it seems we still have a lot to learn from the ancient Greeks.
Reader friendly out of the long winded lots of books out there. Almost as good as my professor when he's on a roll.