The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems / Edition 2

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Brief yet thorough and affordably priced, The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems, Second Edition, is ideal for courses in introductory ethics and contemporary moral problems. Featuring forty readings divided into four parts--Value Theory, Normative Ethics, Metaethics, and Moral Problems--it introduces students to ethical theory and a wide range of moral issues. The essays include selections from such historically influential philosophers as Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill alongside work by contemporary philosophers like Philippa Foot, Robert Nozick, Peter Singer, and Judith Jarvis Thomson. Detailed reading introductions provide helpful contextual information.

The second edition adds nine new readings, by Plato, Ayn Rand, A.J. Ayer, Harry Gensler, Alan Dershowitz, Alastair Norcross, Paul Taylor, Thomas Hill, Jr., and Philippa Foot. It also features new subcategories in Part IV. Moral Problems: Euthanasia and a Modest Proposal; Terrorism and Torture; The Treatment of Non-Humans (Animals and the Environment); Abortion; The Limits of the Law; and Children and Parents. Designed as a companion reader to Russ Shafer-Landau's textbook, The Fundamentals of Ethics, Second Edition, The Ethical Life, Second Edition, is also comprehensive enough to be used on its own.

The book is enhanced by an Instructor's Manual and Testbank on CD (thoroughly updated for the second edition) and a Companion Website at

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The selection of texts is excellent. The small size of this book is one of its real strengths, which means Shafer-Landau had to make some tough choices about what to include and what not to. The choices are pretty much just right."--Brian L. Merrill, Brigham Young University-Idaho

"Shafer-Landau's The Ethical Life is superior to Rachels' The Right Thing to Do. Shafer-Landau's reader, like its companion textbook, is both broader and deeper than Rachels'."--Eugene Marshall, Wellesley College

"Its strengths are that it is smaller and shorter than most introductions to ethics, it has a question discussion section at the end of each reading, and there are supplementary materials online."--Amber E. George, Le Moyne College

"The Shafer-Landau reader offers me much more flexibility [than Rachels' reader]. To think that I can get both [of the Shafer-Landau] books for $80, and that there might be a discount on bundling them together, is certainly a better option."--Jessica Logue, University of Portland

"The companion website is also a useful additional tool [that Rachels doesn't have]. I am highly likely to continue using these texts for future ethics courses, rather than the Rachels books."--Richard Hine, University of Connecticut

"The coverage is comprehensive. I appreciate the separation of value theory from normative ethics. The questions at the end of each reading are a bonus. I have adopted [The Fundamentals of Ethics] this term along with this anthology."--Patrick Martin Breen, College of Staten Island

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199773527
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 82,618
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Russ Shafer-Landau is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Table of Contents

*=New to this Edition
A Note on the Companion Volume
1. Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus
2. John Stuart Mill, Hedonism
3. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
4. Robert Nozick, The Experience Machine
5. Richard Taylor, The Meaning of Life
6. Jean Kazez, Necessities
* 7. Plato, Euthyphro
8. Philippa Foot, Natural Goodness
* 9. Ayn Rand, The Ethics of Emergencies
10. J.J.C. Smart, Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism
11. Immanuel Kant, The Good Will and the Categorical Imperative
12. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
13. W.D. Ross, What Makes Right Acts Right?
14. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
15. Hilde Lindemann, What Is Feminist Ethics?
16. David Hume, Moral Distinctions Not Derived from Reason
* 17. A.J. Ayer, A Critique of Ethics
18. J.L. Mackie, The Subjectivity of Values
* 19. Harry Gensler, Cultural Relativism
20. Michael Smith, Realism
21. Renford Bambrough, Proof
22. Peter Singer, The Singer Solution to World Poverty
23. John Corvino, Why Shouldn't Tommy and Jimmy Have Sex? A Defense of Homosexuality
24. Jonathan Bennett, The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn
25. James Rachels, The Morality of Euthanasia
26. John Harris, The Survival Lottery
27. Michael Walzer, Terrorism: A Critique of Excuses
* 28. Alan Dershowitz, Should the Ticking Bomb Terrorist be Tortured?
* 29. Alastair Norcross, Puppies, Pigs, and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases
* 30. Paul Taylor, The Ethics of Respect for Nature
* 31. Thomas Hill, Jr., Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments
32. Judith Jarvis Thomson, A Defense of Abortion
33. Don Marquis, Why Abortion Is Immoral
* 34. Philippa Foot, Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect
35. Igor Primoratz, Justifying Legal Punishment
36. Stephen Nathanson, An Eye for an Eye?
37. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail
38. Michael Huemer, America's Unjust Drug War
39. Hugh LaFollette, Licensing Parents
40. Jane English, What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    Good material to have.

    Good material to have.

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    Posted February 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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