Ethics / Edition 1

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What is ethics? Where does it come from? Can we really hope to find any rational way of deciding how we ought to live? If we can, what would it be like, and how are we going to know when we have found it? To capture the essentials of what we know about the origins and nature of ethics, Peter Singer has drawn on anthropology, evolution, game theory, and works of fiction, in addition to the classic moral philosophy of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Kant, and Confucius. By choosing some of the finest pieces of writing, old and new, in and about ethics, he conveys the intellectual excitement of the search for answers to basic questions about how we ought to live. From the debates of Socrates and the profound writing of Rousseau to Jane Goodall's reflections on the ethics of chimpanzee kinship and Luther's commentary on the Sixth Commandment (thou shalt not kill), this engaging reader offers a complete and thorough introduction to the fascinating world of ethical debate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192892454
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/1994
  • Series: Oxford Readers Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 405,501
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Singer is DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He has made numerous TV appearances talking about ethics and animal rights; he is general editor of 'Studies in Bioethics' (OUP); extremely well known in Australia and a big name in ethics throughout the world.

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Table of Contents

A. The Long Search for the Origins of Ethics
1. Morality as the Advantage of the Stranger: A Debate between Socrates and Thrasymachus, Plato
2. Moral Virtue, How Produced, Aristotle
3. Are Humans Good by Nature? A Debate between Chinese Sages, Mencius
4. Of the Natural Condition of Mankind and the Laws of Nature, Thomas Hobbes
5. The Natural State of Man, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
6. Affection of Humanity: The Foundation of Morals, David Hume
7. The Noble Descent of Duty, Immanuel Kant
8. The Material Basis of Morality, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
9. The Origin of the Moral Sense, Charles Darwin
10. The Origins of Herd Morality, Friedrich Nietzsche
11. The Cultural Super-Ego, Sigmund Freud
12. In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan
B. Common Themes in Primate Ethics
I. Kinship
13. Helping Kin in Chimpanzees, Jane Goodall
14. A Universal Duty, Edward Westermarck
15. The Genetic Basis of Kinship, David Barash
II. Reciprocity
16. Chimpanzee Justice, Frans De Waal
17. Live and Let Live, Tony Ashworth
18. Reciprocal Gift-Giving among the !Kung, Lorna Marshall
19. The Kula Ring, Bruno Malinowski
20. A Single Word, Confucius
21. The Law of Hammurabi
22. Turn the Other Cheek, Jesus
23. The Whole Torah, while Standing on One Foot, Hillel
24. The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism, Robert Trivers
25. Tit for Tat, Robert Axelrod
III. Sexual Morality
26. Incest Avoidance among Chimpanzees, Jane Goodall
27. The Horror of Incest, Edward Westermarck
28. The Social Rules of Chimpanzee Sex, Frans De Waal
29. Adultery among the !Kung, Lorna Marshall
30. Incest and Adultery, The Bible
31. A Commentary on the Sixth Commandment, Martin Luther
32. The Double Standard, Donald Symons
C. The Role of Reason
33. Reason and Passion, David Hume
34. Pure Practical Reason and the Moral Law, Immanuel Kant
35. Addin Ethical Substance to Kant's Empty Formalism, G.W.F. Hegel
36. The Axioms of Ethics, Henry Sidgwick
37. Society the School, Custom the Headmaster, Edward Westermarck
38. A Lecture on Ethics, Ludwig Wittgenstein
39. Ethics for Logical Positivists, A.J. Ayer
40. Condemned to Be Free, Jean-Paul Sartre
41. The Objective Basis of Morality, Thomas Nagel
42. The Argument from Queerness, J.L. Mackie
43. Evolution and the Basis of Morality, Colin McGinn
44. Reason, Gender and Moral Theory, Virginia Held
45. Realism, Michael Smith
A. Ultimate Good
46. The Ceasing of Woe, The Buddha
47. The End for Human Nature, Aristotle
48. The Pursuit of Pleasure, Epicurus
49. A Stoic View of Life, Epictetus
50. The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus
51. The Saints of the Desert, W. B. H. Lecky
52. Story of a Good Brahmin, Voltaire
53. Push-Pin and Poetry, Jeremy Bentham
54. Higher and Lower Pleasures, John Stuart Mill
55. Good as the Satisfaction of Demands, William James
56. Desirable Consciousness, Henry Sidgwick
57. Beauty and Friendship, G. E. Moore
58. Truth and Ahimsa, M. K. Gandhi
59. The Right to Be Unhappy, Aldous Huxley
60. The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus
61. The Experience Machine, Robert Nozick
62. The Basic Values, John Pinnis
63. What Makes Someone's Life Go Best?, Derek Parfit
B. Deciding What Is Right
I. Natural Law, Natural Rights
. a. The Theory
64. Of the Natural Law, Aquinas
65. Our Rights in the State of Nature, John Locke
66. Declaration On Euthanasia, The Vatican
67. Absolute Human Rights, John Finnis
68. The Rationality of Side Constraints, Robert Nozick
69. Moral Aspects of Sterility Tests, Gerald Kelly
b. Criticism
70. Provincial Letters, Pascal
71. Natural Rights, Jeremy Bentham
72. On Nature, John Stuart Mill
II. Kant's Ethics of Duty
a. The Theory
73. The Categorical Imperative, Immanuel Kant
74. On a Supposed Right to Lie from Altruistic Motives, Immanuel Kant
b. Criticism
75. Maria von Herbert's Challenge to Kant, Rae Langton
76. The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn, Jonathan Bennett
III. Consequentialism
a. The Theory
77. The Principle of Utility, Jeremy Bentham
78. The Archbishop and the Chambermaid, William Godwin
79. Issues for Utilitarians, Henry Sidgwick
80. Desert Island Promises, J. J. C. Smart
81. The Structure of Ethics and Morals, R. M. Hare
b. Criticism
82. Ivan's Challenge, Fyodor Dostoevsky
83. The Personal Character of Duty, W. D. Ross
84. The Separateness of Persons, John Rawls
85. Jim and the Indians, Bernard Williams
86. Moral Saints, Susan Wolf
IV. Contract Ethics
a. The Theory
87. The Separateness of Persons, John Rawls
88. Why Contractarianism?, David Gauthier
b. Criticism
89. Duties concerning Islands, Mary Midgley
90. How Both Human History and the History of Ethics May be Just Beginning, Derek Parfit
Select Bibliography
Biographical Notes

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