Ethics Across Cultures / Edition 1

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This new text/reader for Introduction to Ethics courses explores the rich ethical traditions of the West and the East.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780072979022
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 9/10/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 520
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael C. Brannigan is the Leader of Clinical and Organizational Ethics at the Center for Practical Bioethics, based in Kansas City, Missouri. He was formerly Executive Director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Ethics as well as Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at La Roche College. Along with numerous scholarly articles on ethics, Asian thought, and cross-cultural studies, his books include Cross-Cultural Biotechnology, Healthcare Ethics in a Diverse Society, Ethical Issues in Human Cloning, Striking a Balance: A Primer in Traditional Asian Values, and The Pulse of Wisdom: The Philosophies of India, China, and Japan. Born in Fukuoka, Japan, and raised in Newport, Rhode Island, he received his Ph.D. in Philosophy and M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Leuven, Belgium. He has lectured widely on ethics, applied ethics, and intercultural perspectives, and has received various national and international awards. His other interests include athletics, music, and the martial arts. He and his wife Brooke, and their affably eccentric dog Seamus, are still discovering the richness of America’s Heartland.

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Table of Contents


Part One: Diversity and Ethics

Chapter 1: The Case for Cultural Diversity

Female Genital 'Excision' or 'Mutilation'?

1. Does the Fact of Diversity Lead to Ethical Relativism?

a. Cross-Cultural Discourse
b. Do Cultures Really Disagree with Each Other Morally?

2. Weaknesses in Ethical Relativism

a. Are All Cultures that Different?
b. Why Conclude That There Are No Objective Standards?
c. What Would Be the Consequences?

3. Strengths in Ethical Relativism

a. Evidence
b. Corrective
c. Tolerance

4. Are There Better Options?

Chapter 2: Critical Thinking and Moral Reasoning

Bifurcating the War in Iraq

1. What is Critical Thinking?

2. What Should We Avoid?: Fallacies
a. Ad Hominem
b. Appeal to Ignorance
c. Appeal to the Majority
d. Appeal to Tradition
e. Appeal to Feelings
f. Absolutizing Rules
g. Double Standards
h. Bifurcation
i. Hasty Judgment

3. Steps to Moral Reasoning

a. Step One: Know the Facts
b. Step Two: View These Facts from Various Perspectives
c. Step Three: Identify the Moral Issues
d. Step Four: Identify Factors That are Morally Relevant
e. Step Five: Clarify the Various Ways the Issue Can Be Hopefully Resolved
f. Step Six: Choose the Best Moral Option


Nina Rosenstand and Anita Silvers, "Moral Reasoning," from Brooke Noel Moore and Richard Parker's Critical Thinking
General Assembly of the United Nations, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights"

Part Two: The Quest for Universal Moral Standards in the West

Chapter 3: Aristotle and Aquinas: Teleology, Virtue, andNatural Law

Having a Child Via Cloning

1. Aristotle, Teleology and Virtue

a. Teleology and Happiness
b. Virtue and the Golden Mean
c. Example: The Virtue of Courage
d. Weaknesses in Virtue Ethics
e. Strengths in Virtue Ethics

2. Aquinas and Nature Law

a. Natural Law and Natural Inclinations
b. Natural Law and Gestation
c. Natural Law and Same-sex Marriages
d. Weaknesses in Natural Law
e. Strengths in Natural Law


Aristotle, from Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and II
Alan Donagan, from Human Ends and Human Actions: An Exploration in St. Thomas's Treatment

Chapter 4: Kant's Deontology

Billy Budd

1. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): Order and Reason

2. The Driving Force of Duty
a. Duty vs. Desire

3. The Categorical Imperative

a. First Formulation: Universalizability
b. Second Formulation: Persons as Ends

4. Weaknesses in Deontology

5. Strengths in Deontology


Immanuel Kant, from Groundwork of a Metaphysics of Morals
Herman Melville, from Billy Budd: Sailor

Chapter 5: Mill and Utilitarian Ethics

A 'Good' Terrorist?

1. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

2. What is Utilitarianism?
a. Jeremy Bentham's "Principle of Utility"
b. Mill's Revision of Bentham
c. Act and Rule Utilitarianism

3. Weaknesses in Utilitarianism

a. Time
b. Predictability
c. Whose Good?
d. Tyranny of the Majority
e. Does the End Justify the Means?
f. Is Utilitarianism a Justifiable Theory?

4. Strengths in Utilitarianism

a. Beyond the "I"
b. Common Sense
c. Economy
d. Situational


John Stuart Mill, from Utilitarianism
Elizabeth Anscombe, "Mr. Truman's Degree"

Chapter 6: Feminist Ethics

The Handmaid's Duty

1. The Spirit of Feminism and Its Landmarks

a. Women's Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment

2. Feminisms

a. Classical Feminism
b. Difference Feminism
c. Equity Feminism
d. Radical Feminism

3. Weaknesses in Feminist Ethics

4. Strengths in Feminist Ethics


Simone de Beauvoir, "Myth and Reality," from The Second Sex
Christina Hoff Sommers, "Who Stole Feminism?"
Andrea Dworkin, "The Politics of Intelligence," from Right-Wing Women

Part Three: The Quest for Universal Moral Standards in Non-Western Traditions

Chapter 7: Hindu Dharma

Roop Kanwar's Sati

1. What Is Dharma?

a. Preliminaries
b. Dharma as Ritual Duty
c. Dharma as Class Duties – Varnasrama Dharma
d. Seeing the One Self in the Other
e. Dharma as Universal Duties – Sadharana Dharma

2. Dharma and Life's Goals

a. Artha – Prosperity
b. Kama – Pleasure
c. Moksha – Self-Realization
d. Dharma in the Ramayana

3. Dharma, Duty, and Caste

4. What Is Karma?

5. Dharma's Weaknesses

a. Is Hindu Ethics Relativist?
b. What About Conscience?
c. What About Emotions?

6. Dharma's Strengths

a. Integrative Quality
b. Nondogmatic
c. Can Dharma Be a Universal Standard?


From the Bhagavad Gita
From the Ramayana

Chapter 8: Buddhist Ethics

Terror in Tokyo's Subway

1. The Three Signs of Existence

a. First Sign: Dukkha
b. Second Sign: Anicca
c. Third Sign: Anatman
d. Making More Sense of No-Self

2. The Four Noble Truths

a. The First Truth: Suffering Is Universal
b. The Second Truth: The Source of Suffering Lies in Craving
c. The Third Truth: We Can Free Ourselves from Suffering
d. The Fourth Truth: The Eightfold Path

3. The Middle Way

a. The Supreme Virtues and Middle Way

4. Weaknesses in Buddhist Ethics

5. Strengths in Buddhist Ethics


Shantideva's Compendium of Doctrine
Aung San Suu Kyi, "In Quest of Democracy," in Freedom from Fear

Chapter 9: Confucian Harmony

The Feetbinding of Elder Sister

1. The Confucian Legacy

a. Confucius
b. Mencius
c. Neo-Confucianism and Zhu Xi

2. Confucian Virtues

a. Jen – Humaneness
b. Li – Propriety

3. Filial Piety and Family

4. Weaknesses in Confucian Ethics

5. Strengths in Confucians Ethics

Mencius, "Niu Mountain," from The Book of Mencius, Book VI, Part 1
Zhu Xi, "Moral Cultivation"

Chapter 10: Ethics in Africa: To Be Is to Belong

Anna - and Lucien's Other Wives

1. Shattering the Stereotypes

2. What Is the Basis for Morality?
a. Religion Is the Source
b. Religion Is Not the Source

3. Identity and Ethics

a. Vital Force
b. Iwa
c. To Be Is to Belong

4. The Moral Authority of the Community

a. The Moral Authority of Elders

5. Weaknesses in African Ethics

6. Strengths in African Ethics


John S. Mbiti, "The Concepts of Evil, Ethics and Justice"
Kwasi Wiredu, "The Moral Foundations of an African Culture"

Chapter 11: Islamic Ethics

The Assassination of Anwar Sadat

1. Islam’s Image Problem

2. A Journey Through Islam
a. Muhammad’s Message of Submission
b. Rifts Over the Message – Sunnis, Shiites, and Sufis
c. Islamic Law
d. Setback and Renewal

3. The Five Pillars of Islam

a. The First Pillar – Tawhid
b. The Second Pillar – Salat
c. The Third Pillar – Saum
d. The Fourth Pillar – Zakat
e. The Fifth Pillar – Hajj

4. Does Islam Promote Violence?

a. Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Osama Bin Laden
b. Revisioning Islam

5. Weaknesses in Islamic Ethics

6. Strengths in Islamic Ethics


Avicenna (Abu 'Ali al-Husein ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Sina), from The Book of Healing
Muhammad Abd al-Salam Faraj, from "The Neglected Duty" (Al-Farida al-Gha'ibah)

Part Four: Can Ethics Save the World?

Chapter 12: Ethics and the Environment

Golfing with Silverspot Butterflies

1. Ecology, Biodiversity, and Human Lifestyles

2. Who/What Belongs to the Moral Community?

3. Who/What Pose the Major Threats?

a. Habitat Ruin
b. Alien Species
c. Population, Development, Extinction
d. Pollution
e. Global Warning

4. Sustainability

a. Energy Alternatives
b. Why Save Species?
c. Costs and Priorities

5. Weaknesses in Environmental Ethics

6. Strengths in Environmental Ethics


Mark Sagoff, "Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce"
Carl Becker, "Philosophy Education Humanity: From Western to Asian Environmental Ethics"

Appendix: Twenty Cases for Reflection

1. The Black Stork: Science, Fact, Value, and Culture
2. The Insanity Plea
3. The USA Patriot Acts I and II
4. Fertility Pills and Reproductive Rights
5. Zoe Warwick
6. The Japanese and Whaling
7. Beijing, the Olympics, and Human Rights
8. Assisted Suicide for Psychological Suffering?
9. Stoning for Adultery
10. Digital Angel
11. Hindu Widows
12. Mizuko Kuyo
13. AZT Research in Africa: Ethical Imperialism?
14. The SARS Virus
15. Herculaneum and La Oroya
16. Cell Phones and The Democratic Republic of Congo
17. Chelyabinsk
18. The Perks of an Education
19. The International Criminal Court
20. Nike's Right to Lie
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