Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues / Edition 4

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The most comprehensive collection of its kind, Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Third Edition, is organized into three parts, providing instructors with flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of courses in moral philosophy. The first part, Historical Sources, moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus) through medieval views (Augustine and Aquinas) to modern theories (Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Kant, Bentham, and Mill), culminating with leading nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers (Nietzsche, James, Dewey, Camus, and Sartre). The second part, Modern Ethical Theory, includes many of the most important essays of the past century. The discussion of utilitarianism, Kantianism, egoism, and relativism continues in the work of major contemporary philosophers (Foot, Brandt, Williams, Wolf, and Nagel). Landmark selections (Moore, Prichard, Ross, Ayer, Stevenson, Hare, Baier, Anscombe, Gauthier, and Harman) reflect concern with moral language and the justification of morality. The concepts of justice (Rawls) and rights (Feinberg) are explored, as well as recent views on the importance of virtue ethics (Rachels) and an ethic influenced by feminist concerns (Held). In the third part, Contemporary Moral Problems, the readings present the current debates over abortion, euthanasia, famine relief, animal rights, the death penalty, and whether numbers should play a role in making moral decisions.

The third edition expands Part II, Modern Ethical Theory, adding essays by Onora O'Neill, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Allan Gibbard, Nicholas L. Sturgeon, and Martha Nussbaum. Part III, Contemporary Moral Problems, features new essays on abortion by Mary Anne Warren, Don Marquis, and Rosalind Hursthouse; an essay on the death penalty by Stephen Nathanson; and a debate between John M. Taurek and Derek Parfit on when and why one should save from harm a greater rather than a lesser number of people. The book concludes with an essay by Judith Jarvis Thomson on the trolley problem. Wherever possible, each reading is printed in its entirety.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There are so many excellent selections covering a broad range of authors and topics that instructors have a more than ample pool from which to construct any number of rich syllabi, allowing for lots of flexibility. I have used this book nearly every semester for more than a decade. It still seems to me to be the best."—William J. FitzPatrick, University of Rochester
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195335965
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/13/2008
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 960
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven M. Cahn is Professor of Philosophy at The City University of New York Graduate Center.

Peter Markie is Curators' Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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Table of Contents

I Historical sources
Introduction 1
1 Euthyphro 5
Defence of Socrates 16
Crito 33
Phaedo (115d-118) 42
Republic (selections) 44
2 Nicomachean ethics (selections) 124
3 Letter to Menoeceus 178
Leading doctrines 180
4 Enchiridion 183
5 Enchiridion on faith, hope, and love (selections) 195
6 Summa contra gentiles (selections) 202
7 Leviathan (selections) 218
8 Fifteen sermons (selections) 229
9 An enquiry concerning the principles of morals (selections) 244
10 Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals 270
11 An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation (selections) 309
12 Utilitarianism 317
13 Beyond good and evil (selections) 352
On the genealogy of morals (selections) 355
Twilight of the idols (selections) 358
14 The moral philosopher and the moral life 361
15 The quest for certainty (selections) 373
16 The myth of Sisyphus (selections) 387
17 Existentialism is a humanism 396
II Modern ethical theory
Introduction 403
18 Principia Ethica (selections) 413
19 Does moral philosophy rest on a mistake? 419
20 The right and the good (selections) 429
21 Language, truth, and logic (selections) 439
22 The emotive meaning of ethical terms 445
23 Freedom and reason (selections) 456
24 The point of view of morality 466
25 Modern moral philosophy 481
26 A theory of justice (selections) 493
27 Why contractarianism? 516
28 Psychological egoism 527
29 Morality as a system of hypothetical imperatives 535
30 Consistency in action 541
31 Moral dilemmas and consistency 558
32 Some merits of one form of rule utilitarianism 568
33 A critique of utilitarianism 585
34 Moral judgment and the acceptance of norms 601
35 The nature and value of rights 614
36 The nature of morality (selections) 625
37 Moral explanations 636
38 The challenge of cultural relativism 651
39 Non-relative virtues : an Aristotelian approach 659
40 Reason, gender, and moral theory 679
41 The ethics of virtue 695
42 Moral saints 706
43 Moral luck 719
III Contemporary moral problems
Introduction 729
44 A defense of abortion 733
45 On the moral and legal status of abortion 744
46 An argument that abortion is wrong 754
47 Virtue theory and abortion 765
48 Active and passive euthanasia 779
49 Killing and letting die 783
50 Famine, affluence, and morality 789
51 Famine relief and the ideal moral code 797
52 The case for animal rights 809
53 The case for the use of animals in biomedical research 817
54 In defense of the death penalty 824
55 An eye for an eye : the morality of punishing by death 834
56 Should the numbers count? 844
57 Innumerate ethics 857
58 The trolley problem 866
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