Ethical Theory: Classical and Contemporary Readings / Edition 6

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This authoritative and reader-friendly anthology will help you think through some of humanity's most persistent questions regarding right and wrong, good and bad. ETHICAL THEORY: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY READINGS cuts through the confusion and delivers a clear and comprehensive selection of readings from classical and contemporary sources. Presented in a dynamic pro and con format, with detailed summaries of each argument, this comprehensive anthology allows you to watch the ethical debate unfold before your eyes.

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Editorial Reviews

This introductory textbook describes the historical schools, major problems, and current trends concerning the study of ethics. Selections from key philosophers cover topics like relativism and objectivism, egoism, value, utilitarianism, deontology, virtue, metaethics, skepticism, religion, sociobiology, feminism, and determinism. Representing the span of the Western canon, selections are drawn from the ancient, modern, and post-modern periods. A glossary is included. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"It is the best anthology on ethical theory, as a matter of fact, it is the best by far."

"This is a great text, one I look forward to using for some time."

"His introductory analyses show a very strong grasp of the subject of each chapter. His ways of making distinctions and putting them into charts or tables is very helpful to teacher and students alike."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780495808770
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 156,368
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis P. Pojman (1935-2005) was Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at the United States Military Academy and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Copenhagen and a Rockefeller Fellow at Hamburg University. He received his D.Phil. in Philosophy from Oxford University in 1997.His first position was at the University of Notre Dame, after which he taught at the University of Texas at Dallas. Later, at the University of Mississippi, he served for three years as Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. In 1995, he became Professor of Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He most recently was Visiting Professor at Brigham Young University in Utah and Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Oxford University. Pojman won several research and teaching awards, including the Burlington Northern Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship (1988) and the Outstanding Scholar/Teacher in the Humanities at the University of Mississippi (1994). He wrote in the areas of philosophy of religion, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy and authored or edited more than 30 books and 100 articles. Pojman passed away in 2005.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Sixth Edition Part I: WHAT IS ETHICS? Plato: Socratic Morality: Crito. Part II: ETHICAL RELATIVISM VERSUS ETHICAL OBJECTIVISM. 1. Herodotus: Custom is King. 2. Plato: Objective Moral Forms. 3. Thomas Aquinas: Objectivism: Natural Law. 4. Ruth Benedict: A Defense of Ethical Relativism. 5. Louis Pojman: A Critique of Ethical Relativism. 6. Gilbert Harman: Moral Relativism Defended. Part III: MORALITY AND SELF-INTEREST. 1. Joseph Butler: Against Egoism. 2. Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism. 3. Plato: Why Be Moral? 4. Richard Taylor: On the Socratic Dilemma. 5. David Gauthier: Morality and Advantage. Part IV: VALUE AND THE SELF. 1. Robert Nozick: The Experience Machine. 2. Richard Taylor: Value and the Origin of Right and Wrong. 3. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Transvaluation of Values. 4. Derek Parfit: What Makes Someone's Life Go Best? 5. Thomas Nagel: Value: The View from Nowhere. 6. Derek Parfit: Later Selves and Moral Principles. 7. Bernard Williams: Persons, Character, and Morality. 8. Carol Gilligan: Women's Conception of Self and of Morality. 9. Sarah Clark Miller: The Need for Care: Gender in Moral Theory. Part V: UTILITARIANISM. 1. Epicurus: Pleasure. 2. Jeremy Bentham: The Utilitarian Calculus. 3. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism (complete). 4. J.J.C. Smart: Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism. 5. Kai Nielsen: Against Moral Conservatism. 6. Bernard Williams: Against Utilitarianism. 7. John Hospers: Rule-Utilitarianism. 8. Robert Nozick: Side Constraints. 9. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence and Morality. Part VI: KANTIAN AND DEONTOLOGICAL SYSTEMS. 1. Immanuel Kant: The Foundation for the Metaphysics of Morals (complete). 2. W. D. Ross: What Makes Right Acts Right? 3. Onora O'Neill: Kantian Formula of the End in Itself and World Hunger. 4. Thomas Nagel: Moral Luck. 5. Philippa Foot: Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives. 6. Judith Jarvis Thomson: Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem. Part VII: CONTRACTARIAN ETHICAL SYSTEMS. 1. Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan. 2. David Gauthier: Why Contractarianism? 3. John Rawls: Contractualism: Justice as Fairness. Part VIII: VIRTUE-BASED ETHICAL SYSTEMS. 1. Aristotle: The Ethics of Virtue (Books 1-4 complete). 2. Bernard Mayo: Virtue and the Moral Life. 3. William Frankena: A Critique of Virtue-Based Ethics. 4. Walter Schaller: Are Virtues No More than Dispositions to Obey Moral Rules? 5. Alasdair MacIntyre: The Nature of the Virtues. 6. Susan Wolf: Moral Saints. 7. Louis P. Pojman: In Defense of Moral Saints. Part IX: THE FACT/VALUE PROBLEM: METAETHICS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. 1. David Hume: On Reason and the Emotions: The Fact/Value Distinction. 2. G. E. Moore: Non-Naturalism. 3. A. J. Ayer: Emotivism. 4. R. M. Hare: Prescriptivism: The Structure of Ethics and Morals. 5. John Searle: How to Derive Ought from Is. 6. Geoffrey Warnock: The Object of Morality. Part X: MORAL REALISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF SKEPTICISM. 1. J.L. Mackie: The Subjectivity of Values. 2. Jonathan Harrison: A Critique of Mackie's Error Theory. 3. Gilbert Harman: Moral Nihilism. 4. Bruce Russell: Two Forms of Ethical Skepticism. Part XI: RELIGION AND ETHICS. 1. Plato: Morality and Religion: Euthyphro. 2. David Hume: Morality Independent from Religion. 3. Immanuel Kant: God and Immortality as Necessary Postulates of Morality. 4. George Mavrodes: Religious and the Queerness of Morality. 5. Kai Nielson: Ethics Without God. Part XII: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES TO CLASSICAL ETHICAL THEORY. A. Sociobiology and the Question of Moral Responsibility. A.1. Charles Darwin: Ethics and the Descent of Man. A.2. E.O. Wilson: Sociobiology and Ethics. A.3. Michael Ruse: Evolution and Ethics: The Sociobiological Approach. A.4. Elliot Sober: Prospects for an Evolutionary Ethics. A.5. J.L. Mackie: The Law of the Jungle, Evolution and Morality. B. The Challenge of Determinism to Moral Responsibility and Desert. B.1 Louis Pojman: Free Will, Determinism, and Moral Responsibility: A Response to Galen Strawson. B.2 Richard Taylor: A Libertarian Defense of Free Will and Responsibility. A Glossary of Ethical Terms.

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