Everyday Ethics: Inspired Solutions to Real-Life Dilemmas

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“The perfect handbook for understanding what constitutes moral relations with friends, enemies, and one’s own self.”
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In an age when most of us spend more time thinking about what movie we’ll see than about how we want to lead our lives, nothing could be more timely and helpful than Everyday Ethics. In this refreshingly original book, Joshua Halberstam shows us how to develop a moral imagination—and have fun while doing it.

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Overview

“The perfect handbook for understanding what constitutes moral relations with friends, enemies, and one’s own self.”
Booklist

In an age when most of us spend more time thinking about what movie we’ll see than about how we want to lead our lives, nothing could be more timely and helpful than Everyday Ethics. In this refreshingly original book, Joshua Halberstam shows us how to develop a moral imagination—and have fun while doing it.

Halberstam demolishes the clichés of both religion and psychotherapy and entices us into looking at the small actions that make up the big picture of our character and values. Should we really refrain from making judgments? Should we let our conscience be our guide even if it urges us not to pay our taxes? Halberstam has something intriguing to say about these and many other issues. Witty and entertaining, Everyday Ethics is the moral equivalent of an aerobic dance session, as exhilarating as it is instructive.

The author of Virtues and Values: An Introduction to Ethics shows readers how to develop a moral imagination--and have fun doing it--as he demolishes the cliches of religion and psychotherapy and entices readers into looking at the small actions that make up the big picture of character and values.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This pragmatic guide aims to penetrate the thickets of moral confusion in contemporary society. Although the subject matter is serious and of perennial concern, Halberstam ( Acing College ; Virtues and Values ), who is professor in the philosophy department at New York University, shows that while ``it takes effort to get yur ethics right . . . ethics can also be fun.'' Morality in relationships, in the expression of emotions, in the matter of judgments, and in the choices imposed by modern life are some of the aspects he addresses, with considerable verve and wit. He concedes that today's society makes it difficult for people to tie together the many strands of their personal value systems, but contends that the average person can successfully do so nevertheless. BOMC selection. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Writing for the lay reader, philosopher Halberstam offers a refreshing change from ethics books that sound preachy or abstruse. Rather than setting down definite principles of moral conduct, he discusses how value judgments influence our responses to a variety of commonplace situations. The result is a potpourri of topics, ranging from the importance of controlling our emotions to the value of learning to use small talk. These tidbits whet the appetite but do not provide much substance or cohesion. Halberstam urges the reader to find values to live by, yet he tends to view values as relative: ``A moral failure anywhere else is a saint in Sodom.'' Because it will appeal to the type of reader who enjoys chatty and upbeat self-help books, Everyday Ethics is appropriate for large public libraries.-- Ilse Heidmann Ali, Kyle Community Lib., Tex.
Caroline Paulison
"Everyday Ethics" is the perfect handbook for understanding what constitutes moral relationships with friends, enemies, and one's own self in common situations (for instance, when a friend's life really is your business). No one needs a philosophy degree to understand the simple ethical ideas here, which include the philosophies of creeps and dutiful, saintly martyrs as well as the dangers of falling into moral cliches. While most modern ethics, such as consequentialism, focus on social morality, "Everyday Ethics" returns, in part, to the personal morality of the ancient Greeks, with a brief examination of Aristotle's three types of friendship. Halberstam emphasizes a person's responsibility (more existential than Kantian) for his or her thoughts, emotions, and actions, but he does not preach. The reading itself does, however, demand a thorough examination of one's self--one's ethical system as well as actions. After reading "Everyday Ethics", only those following the philosophy of creephood would see themselves as having no need for improvement.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670842476
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/1993
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.35 (w) x 6.34 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua Halberstam

Joshua Halberstam, Ph.D., divides his workday between teaching moral philosophy and directing marketing campaigns and managerial programs for a number of well-known companies. A frequent guest on "Oprah," he currently teaches philosophy at Columbia University. He is also the author of several other books, including Schmoozing and Everyday Ethics.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Pt. I The Morality of Relationships
1 Friends and Foes 3
2 The Morality of Romance (and a Bit about Sex) 25
3 Creeps and Saints 45
Pt. II The Morality of Expression and Emotion
4 Talk 63
5 Emotions 83
Pt. III The Morality of Making Judgments
6 Judging Yourself 103
7 Judging Others 125
8 Judging the Issues 145
Pt. IV The Integrity of Your Values
9 Nine Misleading Moral Cliches (and Their Cures) 167
10 The Value of Your Values 185
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