Fagothey's Right and Reason : Ethics in Theory and Practice / Edition 9

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Overview

This book is designed for undergraduate courses in ethics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780675209144
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 2/19/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 9
  • Pages: 611
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Fagothey's Right and Reason introduces the reader to the living tradition of the Aristotelian-Thomistic ethical system, applying the wisdom of that tradition to the discoveries and problems of contemporary life. This text incorporates whatever seems worthwhile in later speculations as a genuine development, extension, clarification, or application of Aristotelian-Thomistic principles. In this ninth edition I have made every effort to be open to new insights and understandings while at the same time being aware that anyone's knowledge of the truth is always fragmentary. Newly discovered fragments of the truth need to be fitted into one's grasp of the whole, perhaps adding to it a new perspective or bringing out more clearly what is already known, and at times correcting a previous hasty judgment about what is currently being said or done.

We live in a pluralistic society in which any number of differing moral viewpoints coexist more or less peaceably with one another. That very pluralism has often prompted teachers to introduce their students to ethics by using anthologies of ethical writings. Fagothey's Right and Reason is for those students and teachers who have found this anthology approach unsatisfactory. This book provides the reader with one consistent point of view. Since everyone must begin somewhere to learn to think clearly and consistently about the moral problems we face daily at every level of our lives, the Aristotelian-Thomistic synthesis is an admirable base from which to make this start. Even in a pluralistic setting such as our own, moral positions are seen to be the result of a process of right reasoning and not the pure subjectivism of a "gut"reaction. Whether or not the reader is convinced by the Aristotelian-Thomistic synthesis as it is presented here, at the very least he or she has an excellent point of departure from which to discover something better or more adequate for life.

This book is designed for undergraduate courses in ethics. At the time of the first edition, such courses were commonly year-long or two-semester courses, the first semester devoted to ethical theory and the second to practical problems that arise in everyday life. Obviously, the teacher must adapt the material for the now more common one-semester or -quarter course. The book has been successfully used for introductory courses in ethics as well as for courses treating contemporary moral problems, business ethics, medical ethics, the ethics of war and peace, and various adult education courses. With the student in mind, every effort has been made to make the text readable and to provide discussion questions that are interesting and pertinent to everyday life. MAJOR CHANGES IN THE NINTH EDITION

Since the publication of the eighth edition, ethics itself has often been the focus of national attention. At almost every turn we have been faced with ethical situations: the truthfulness in government, the confidentiality on Wall Street, the rights of genetic parents to raise their children, the just treatment of immigrants, the rights of journalists to report on the private lives of presidential candidates and nominees to the Supreme Court, the merits of arms-control agreements, the appropriateness of capital punishment, the handling and disposal of nuclear wastes, and so on. Public comment and debate on various issues has served to underscore the fact of pluralism in our society and has prompted some philosophers to search for a common moral ground that we can all agree on.

Accordingly, Chapter 1, "Ethics," has been revised. In place of the section on the possibility of a science of ethics, there are now two new sections, one on ethics as a scientifically objective discipline and the other on ethics in a pluralistic society. Pluralism is a fact of life in the United States and throughout the free world. Even so, one position on a moral question is not necessarily just as good as another. Students need to develop the capacity to articulate their own views and to listen carefully to others in order to understand alternative positions before engaging in criticism. They must learn to converse constructively with people who do not think as they do. Such dialogue is necessary in any pluralistic society, for it is the only way we can develop sound public policies that have the support of all and contribute to the common welfare of all.

The discussion of so-called animal rights in Chapter 18, "Rights," has been completely redone to take into account the views of animal rights activists and environmentalists and to stress our stewardship over the entire range of the earth's goods.

The discussion of abortion in Chapter 19, "Life," has been almost entirely redone by presenting the strongest arguments both for and against abortion currently in use.

Chapter 20, "Health," has been given a new section on the AIDS crisis with some suggestions for containing the epidemic; the section on the right to die has been expanded to include a discussion of the morality of withholding nutrition and hydration from hopelessly ill patients.

The statement of the problem for Chapter 24, "Sex," has been redone in the light of the AIDS crisis. An almost entirely new section on the virtue of chastity, a revised section on selective abortion, a complete revision and expansion of the discussion of artificial insemination, and a new section on surrogate motherhood have also been added.

"Government," Chapter 26, addresses some new and stronger arguments for and against capital punishment and offers a new conclusion that argues for abolishing the death penalty because of the current set of circumstances both here and abroad.

The discussion of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) in Chapter 31, "Capitalism," has been updated to take into account what corporations are doing with these plans in order to take advantage of incentives provided in the Tax Revision Act of 1986, one of those incentives being the conversion of ESOP into floor/offset ESOP pension plans. ADDITIONAL CONTENT AND FORMAT CHANGES

  1. The book is divided into seven parts, each having its own introduction to make it easier for the student to comprehend the book's structure. The order of the chapters is still the same, but the introductory matter for each of the seven parts is a brief prelection of what can be expected as the reader moves into the particular part.
  2. The section on Heidegger and conscience has been omitted from Chapter 4.
  3. The critique of Kant's moral philosophy in Chapter 12 has been simplified and clarified.
  4. A nontheistic argument for the immorality of murder has been added to Chapter 19.
  5. New information has been added on marijuana; the use of drugs in sports to enhance performance is discussed; and the moral assessment of drug use has been redone in Chapter 20.
  6. Some new reasons have been added to justify the gay liberation movement (Chapter 27).
  7. The discussion of inflation has been omitted from Chapter 31.
  8. New discussion questions have been added to 28 of the 36 chapters so that all the questions throughout the book now deal with specific contemporary moral problems.
PEDAGOGICAL FEATURES

Organization. The first half of the book, Chapter 1 through 18, deals with theoretical ethics and remains organized around 10 major theories covering the whole spectrum of ethical positions. Students do not come to ethics with much philosophical background. No one procedure can overcome that disadvantage, but the approach used in this text somewhat offsets lack of background. Law and duty cannot be omitted, but an appeal to them is kept toned down in favor of an emphasis on the dignity of the human person as rational and free. Natural law has a better chance of being understood and appreciated when it is seen as benefiting the lives of persons who live together in a shared culture and world. Even though its first principles do not change, natural law extends and develops in the course of shifting historical and social experience.

The latter half of the book, Chapters 19 through 36, is devoted to practical ethics and continues to make incursions into the domains of sociology, medicine, economics, and political science, but always from a consistent philosophical point of view.

The problem method. The problem method has been kept: introducing one of the major problems of ethics, explaining how it arose and why it is a problem, giving the main schools of thought on the subject with some historical background, stating the arguments for and against each proposed solution, weighing the arguments against one another, and finally, when possible, resolving the problem in light of the evidence and reasoning involved. Every effort has been made to avoid dogmatism and indoctrination. No apology is necessary either for expressing one's convictions or for being unable to resolve some thorny questions. Most problematic issues are treated by giving an equal number of arguments on each side, after which some ways of sifting out the truth are suggested. Traditional views are included, but they are countered with current criticisms.

Aids for the student. Like previous editions, this text offers the use of ordinary language rather than technical vocabulary, quotations from classical and modern philosophers, short summaries at the end of each chapter, questions for discussion, and reading lists that encourage the student to go to the sources. The bibliography has been thoroughly revised and updated. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am most grateful to those who have read and carefully critiqued my work and to my colleagues and friends who have encouraged me. Merrill Publishing Company obtained the experienced advice of the following excellent reviewers: Dr. Robert Hall, Niagara University; Dr. Joseph Lafaro, Gannon University; Dr. Thomas Baker, Gannon University; and Dr. Raphael Waters, Niagara University. Their suggestions and criticisms have had a marked influence on various aspects of this revision. Finally and most importantly, I am grateful for the time I had to know and work with Austin Fagothey.

Milton A. Gonsalves

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Table of Contents

I. THE SUBJECTIVE FACTORS IN MORAL LIFE.

1. Ethics.

2. Conduct.

3. Resposibility.

4. Conscience.

II. THE OBJECTIVE GOOD IN MORAL LIFE.

5. Good.

6. Pleasure.

7. Convention.

8. Consequences.

9. Intuition.

10. Reason.

11. Law.

12. Duty.

13. Freedom.

14. Situation.

15. Love.

16. Habit.

17. Happiness.

III. PRACTICAL ETHICS.

18. Rights.

19. Life.

20. Health.

21. Truthfulness.

IV. SOCIAL LIFE.

22. Society.

23. Family.

24. Sex.

V. POLITICAL LIFE.

25. State.

26. Government.

27. Protest.

VI. SOCIOECONOMIC LIFE.

28. Property.

29. Contracts.

30. Work.

31. Capitalism.

32. Marxism.

33. Earth.

VII. INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY.

34. Nations.

35. War.

36. Peace.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Preface

Fagothey's Right and Reason introduces the reader to the living tradition of the Aristotelian-Thomistic ethical system, applying the wisdom of that tradition to the discoveries and problems of contemporary life. This text incorporates whatever seems worthwhile in later speculations as a genuine development, extension, clarification, or application of Aristotelian-Thomistic principles. In this ninth edition I have made every effort to be open to new insights and understandings while at the same time being aware that anyone's knowledge of the truth is always fragmentary. Newly discovered fragments of the truth need to be fitted into one's grasp of the whole, perhaps adding to it a new perspective or bringing out more clearly what is already known, and at times correcting a previous hasty judgment about what is currently being said or done.

We live in a pluralistic society in which any number of differing moral viewpoints coexist more or less peaceably with one another. That very pluralism has often prompted teachers to introduce their students to ethics by using anthologies of ethical writings. Fagothey's Right and Reason is for those students and teachers who have found this anthology approach unsatisfactory. This book provides the reader with one consistent point of view. Since everyone must begin somewhere to learn to think clearly and consistently about the moral problems we face daily at every level of our lives, the Aristotelian-Thomistic synthesis is an admirable base from which to make this start. Even in a pluralistic setting such as our own, moral positions are seen to be the result of a process of right reasoning and not the pure subjectivism of a "gut" reaction. Whether or not the reader is convinced by the Aristotelian-Thomistic synthesis as it is presented here, at the very least he or she has an excellent point of departure from which to discover something better or more adequate for life.

This book is designed for undergraduate courses in ethics. At the time of the first edition, such courses were commonly year-long or two-semester courses, the first semester devoted to ethical theory and the second to practical problems that arise in everyday life. Obviously, the teacher must adapt the material for the now more common one-semester or -quarter course. The book has been successfully used for introductory courses in ethics as well as for courses treating contemporary moral problems, business ethics, medical ethics, the ethics of war and peace, and various adult education courses. With the student in mind, every effort has been made to make the text readable and to provide discussion questions that are interesting and pertinent to everyday life.

MAJOR CHANGES IN THE NINTH EDITION

Since the publication of the eighth edition, ethics itself has often been the focus of national attention. At almost every turn we have been faced with ethical situations: the truthfulness in government, the confidentiality on Wall Street, the rights of genetic parents to raise their children, the just treatment of immigrants, the rights of journalists to report on the private lives of presidential candidates and nominees to the Supreme Court, the merits of arms-control agreements, the appropriateness of capital punishment, the handling and disposal of nuclear wastes, and so on. Public comment and debate on various issues has served to underscore the fact of pluralism in our society and has prompted some philosophers to search for a common moral ground that we can all agree on.

Accordingly, Chapter 1, "Ethics," has been revised. In place of the section on the possibility of a science of ethics, there are now two new sections, one on ethics as a scientifically objective discipline and the other on ethics in a pluralistic society. Pluralism is a fact of life in the United States and throughout the free world. Even so, one position on a moral question is not necessarily just as good as another. Students need to develop the capacity to articulate their own views and to listen carefully to others in order to understand alternative positions before engaging in criticism. They must learn to converse constructively with people who do not think as they do. Such dialogue is necessary in any pluralistic society, for it is the only way we can develop sound public policies that have the support of all and contribute to the common welfare of all.

The discussion of so-called animal rights in Chapter 18, "Rights," has been completely redone to take into account the views of animal rights activists and environmentalists and to stress our stewardship over the entire range of the earth's goods.

The discussion of abortion in Chapter 19, "Life," has been almost entirely redone by presenting the strongest arguments both for and against abortion currently in use.

Chapter 20, "Health," has been given a new section on the AIDS crisis with some suggestions for containing the epidemic; the section on the right to die has been expanded to include a discussion of the morality of withholding nutrition and hydration from hopelessly ill patients.

The statement of the problem for Chapter 24, "Sex," has been redone in the light of the AIDS crisis. An almost entirely new section on the virtue of chastity, a revised section on selective abortion, a complete revision and expansion of the discussion of artificial insemination, and a new section on surrogate motherhood have also been added.

"Government," Chapter 26, addresses some new and stronger arguments for and against capital punishment and offers a new conclusion that argues for abolishing the death penalty because of the current set of circumstances both here and abroad.

The discussion of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) in Chapter 31, "Capitalism," has been updated to take into account what corporations are doing with these plans in order to take advantage of incentives provided in the Tax Revision Act of 1986, one of those incentives being the conversion of ESOP into floor/offset ESOP pension plans.

ADDITIONAL CONTENT AND FORMAT CHANGES

  1. The book is divided into seven parts, each having its own introduction to make it easier for the student to comprehend the book's structure. The order of the chapters is still the same, but the introductory matter for each of the seven parts is a brief prelection of what can be expected as the reader moves into the particular part.
  2. The section on Heidegger and conscience has been omitted from Chapter 4.
  3. The critique of Kant's moral philosophy in Chapter 12 has been simplified and clarified.
  4. A nontheistic argument for the immorality of murder has been added to Chapter 19.
  5. New information has been added on marijuana; the use of drugs in sports to enhance performance is discussed; and the moral assessment of drug use has been redone in Chapter 20.
  6. Some new reasons have been added to justify the gay liberation movement (Chapter 27).
  7. The discussion of inflation has been omitted from Chapter 31.
  8. New discussion questions have been added to 28 of the 36 chapters so that all the questions throughout the book now deal with specific contemporary moral problems.

PEDAGOGICAL FEATURES

Organization. The first half of the book, Chapter 1 through 18, deals with theoretical ethics and remains organized around 10 major theories covering the whole spectrum of ethical positions. Students do not come to ethics with much philosophical background. No one procedure can overcome that disadvantage, but the approach used in this text somewhat offsets lack of background. Law and duty cannot be omitted, but an appeal to them is kept toned down in favor of an emphasis on the dignity of the human person as rational and free. Natural law has a better chance of being understood and appreciated when it is seen as benefiting the lives of persons who live together in a shared culture and world. Even though its first principles do not change, natural law extends and develops in the course of shifting historical and social experience.

The latter half of the book, Chapters 19 through 36, is devoted to practical ethics and continues to make incursions into the domains of sociology, medicine, economics, and political science, but always from a consistent philosophical point of view.

The problem method. The problem method has been kept: introducing one of the major problems of ethics, explaining how it arose and why it is a problem, giving the main schools of thought on the subject with some historical background, stating the arguments for and against each proposed solution, weighing the arguments against one another, and finally, when possible, resolving the problem in light of the evidence and reasoning involved. Every effort has been made to avoid dogmatism and indoctrination. No apology is necessary either for expressing one's convictions or for being unable to resolve some thorny questions. Most problematic issues are treated by giving an equal number of arguments on each side, after which some ways of sifting out the truth are suggested. Traditional views are included, but they are countered with current criticisms.

Aids for the student. Like previous editions, this text offers the use of ordinary language rather than technical vocabulary, quotations from classical and modern philosophers, short summaries at the end of each chapter, questions for discussion, and reading lists that encourage the student to go to the sources. The bibliography has been thoroughly revised and updated.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am most grateful to those who have read and carefully critiqued my work and to my colleagues and friends who have encouraged me. Merrill Publishing Company obtained the experienced advice of the following excellent reviewers: Dr. Robert Hall, Niagara University; Dr. Joseph Lafaro, Gannon University; Dr. Thomas Baker, Gannon University; and Dr. Raphael Waters, Niagara University. Their suggestions and criticisms have had a marked influence on various aspects of this revision. Finally and most importantly, I am grateful for the time I had to know and work with Austin Fagothey.

Milton A. Gonsalves

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2004

    Excellent College Book

    This book is a great book for Ethics, especially students. Highly recommended

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