Matters of Life and Death / Edition 3

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Overview

MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH, Third Edition, is a collection of original essays by leading philosophers devoted to the major moral issues of the day, including abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, famine, war, suicide, the environment, and animal rights.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780070513303
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 10/1/1992
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Beauchamp is a well known and highly respected ethics professor. In addition to teaching at Georgetown University, he has served as a senior research scholar the Kennedy Instiute for the Study of Human Reproduction and Ethics. He has authored numerous successful texts, including Contemporary Issues in Bioethics (WAdsworth) and Ethical Theory in Business (PH). He was the General Editor with David Norton and M.A. Stewart of The Critical Ediotn of the Works of David Hume (Princeton U Press). He was formerly the Chairman of the Committee on Philosophy and Medicine of the American Philosophical Association and earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

James Rachels, the distinguished American moral philosopher, was born in Columbus, Georgia, graduating from Mercer University in Macon in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He taught at the University of Richmond, New York University, the University of Miami, Duke University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he spent the last twenty-six years of his career. 1971 saw the publication of Rachels’ groundbreaking textbook Moral Problems, which ignited the movement in America away from teaching ethical theory towards teaching concrete practical issues. Moral Problems sold 100,000 copies over three editions. In 1975, Rachels wrote “Active and Passive Euthanasia,” arguing that the distinction so important in the law between killing and letting die has no rational basis. Originally appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, this essay has been reprinted roughly 300 times and is a staple of undergraduate education. The End of Life(1986) was about the morality of killing and the value of life. Created from Animals (1990) argued that a Darwinian world-view has widespread philosophical implications, including drastic implications for our treatment of nonhuman animals. Can Ethics Provide Answers? (1997) was Rachels’ first collection of papers (others are expected posthumously). Rachels’ McGraw-Hill textbook, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, is now in its fourth edition and is easily the best-selling book of its kind.

Over his career, Rachels wrote 5 books and 85 essays, edited 7 books and gave about 275 professional lectures. His work has been translated into Dutch, Italian, Japanese, and Serbo-Croatian. James Rachels is widely admired as a stylist, as his prose is remarkably free of jargon and clutter. A major theme in his work is that reason can resolve difficult moral issues. He has given reasons for moral vegetarianism and animal rights, for affirmative action (including quotas), for the humanitarian use of euthanasia, and for the idea that parents owe as much moral consideration to other people’s children as they do to their own.

James Rachels died of cancer on September 5th, 2003, in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
I Meta-Ethics 3
II Normative Ethics 12
Ch. 2 Euthanasia 30
II An Historical Perspective 34
III Recent Developments 39
IV Arguments Supporting the Morality of Active Euthanasia 44
V Arguments Opposing the Morality of Active Euthanasia 50
VI The Question of Legalization 56
Ch. 3 Suicide 69
I The Definition of Suicide 71
II Principles Relevant to the Morality of Suicide 83
III Two Opposed Philosophies of Suicide 86
IV Suicide Intervention 95
V Assisted Suicide 104
Ch. 4 Morality and Violence: War, Revolution, Terrorism 121
I Moral Theory and Violence 121
II Morality and Violence 131
III Political Violence: War, Revolution, Terrorism 143
IV Concluding Reflection on the "Secular Problem of Evil" 157
Ch. 5 Capital Punishment 160
I The Right to Life and Capital Punishment 162
II The Morality of Punishment 169
III The Severity and Indignity of the Death Penalty 173
IV Capital Punishment and Social Defense 177
V Capital Punishment and Retributive Justice 185
Ch. 6 Abortion 195
I The Status of the Fetus 197
II The Problem of the Conflict of Claims 213
Ch. 7 Ending World Hunger 235
I Some Criteria for Moral Argument 237
II The Facts of Hunger and Famine 240
III Utilitarian Approaches to Hunger and Famine 248
IV Kantian Approaches to Some Famine Problems 258
V Utilitarians, Kantians, and Respect for Life 267
VI Nearby Hunger and Poverty 270
VII Practical Suggestions 272
Ch. 8 Animals and the Value of Life 280
II Is Human Life of Unique Value? 284
III The Value of a Person's Life 295
IV Animal Life 304
Ch. 9 The Search for an Environmental Ethic 322
I The Need for an Environmental Ethic 322
II Two Judeo-Christian Responses to the Environmental Crisis 339
III The Extensionist Approach to Environmental Ethics 347
IV The Ecocentric Approach to Environmental Ethics 358
Index 383
Acknowledgments 390
About the Authors 391
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