The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature / Edition 4

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Now in its fourth edition, Louis P. Pojman and Lewis Vaughn's acclaimed The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature brings together an extensive and varied collection of eighty-five classical and contemporary readings on ethical theory and practice. Integrating literature with philosophy in an innovative way, the book uses literary works to enliven and make concrete the ethical theory or applied issues addressed. Literary works by Angelou, Camus, Hawthorne, Huxley, Ibsen, Le Guin, Melville, Orwell, Styron, Tolstoy, and many others lead students into such philosophical concepts and issues as relativism; utilitarianism; virtue ethics; the meaning of life; freedom and autonomy; sex, love, and marriage; animal rights; and terrorism. These topics are developed further through readings by philosophers including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Singer, Sartre, Nagel, and Thomson. This unique anthology emphasizes the personal dimension of ethics, which is often ignored or minimized in ethics texts. It also incorporates chapter introductions, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and biographical sketches of the writers.

The fourth edition features five new readings--by James Rachels, Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Levin, John Corvino, and Stephen Nathanson--and a new appendix on how to write a philosophy paper. A new Companion Website features resources for both students and instructors including reading summaries; true/false, multiple-choice, and essay questions; and PowerPoint slides. Ideal for introductory ethics courses, The Moral Life, Fourth Edition, also provides an engaging gateway into personal and social ethics for general readers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Moral Life is the best book I've ever used to teach introductory moral philosophy, anywhere. In fact, it is quite common for my students to report to me that they have kept the book after the course has ended because they are fascinated by the various readings."—Neil Delaney, University of Notre Dame

"Enticing, fresh, and classic."—Annette Mendola, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

"An incredible book. I would use no other. Students love it as much as I do."—Patricia Wheeler, Woodland Community College

"The organization is stellar and the selections are extremely unique. The test bank is truly incredible." —Charles J. Horn, University of Kentucky

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195396256
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 1008
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Louis P. Pojman was Professor of Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is the author or editor of more than thirty books including Classics of Philosophy, Third Edition (OUP, 2010).

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of several books including Bioethics, Second Edition, and Contemporary Moral Arguments, Second Edition, both published in 2012 by Oxford University Press.

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Table of Contents

*=New to this Edition
Each chapter ends with Further Readings.
Introduction: On the Nature of Morality
1. What Is the Purpose of Morality?
William Golding, Lord of the Flies: A Moral Allegory Louis P. Pojman, On the Nature and Purpose of Morality: Reflections on William Golding's Lord of the Flies Thomas Hobbes, On the State of Nature
2. Good and Evil
Herman Melville, Billy Budd Fyodor Dostoevsky, Why Is There Evil?
William Styron, Sophie's Choice Philip Hallie, From Cruelty to Goodness Stanley Benn, Wickedness Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil Richard Taylor, On the Origin of Good and Evil
3. Is Everything Relative?
Herodotus, Custom Is King Ruth Benedict, The Case for Moral Relativism
* James Rachels, Why Morality Is Not Relative Jean Bethke Elshtain, Judge Not?
Mary Midgley, On Trying Out One's New Sword Henrick Ibsen, The Enemy of the People
4. Utilitarianism
Seaman Holmes and the Longboat of William Brown, Reported by John William Wallace Jeremy Bentham, Classical Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism Refined Kai Nielsen, A Defense of Utilitarianism Bernard Williams, Against Utilitarianism Ursula Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas Aldous Huxley, The Utilitarian Social Engineer and the Savage
5. Deontological Ethics
Immanuel Kant, The Moral Law William K. Frankena, Kant's Theory W. D. Ross, Intuitionism R. M. MacIver, The Deep Beauty of the Golden Rule Richard Whatley, A Critique of the Golden Rule Ambrose Bierce, A Horseman in the Sky Charles Fried, The Evil of Lying Plato, Does Morality Depend on Religion?
Thomas Nagel, Moral Luck
6. Virtue Ethics
* Alasdair MacIntyre, The Virtues Aristotle, Virtue Ethics Bernard Mayo, Virtue and the Moral Life J.O. Urmson, Saints and Heroes Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Great Stone Face William Frankena, A Critique of Virtue-Based Ethical Systems
7. Virtues and Vices
Jesus of Nazareth, The Sermon on the Mount; The Good Samaritan Leo Tolstoy, How Much Land Does a Man Need? Greed Immanuel Kant, Jealousy, Malice, and Ingratitude Martin Gansberg, Moral Cowardice Epictetus and Others, The Stoic Catechism Vice Admiral James Stockdale, The World of Epictetus: Courage and Endurance
8. Ethics and Egoism: Why Should We Be Moral?
Plato, The Ring of Gyges Ayn Rand, In Defense of Ethical Egoism Louis P. Pojman, Egoism and Altruism: A Critique of Ayn Rand James Rachels, A Critique of Ethical Egoism
9. Does Life Have Meaning?
Voltaire, The Good Brahmin Epicurus, Hedonism Albert Camus, Life Is Absurd Louis P. Pojman, Religion Gives Meaning to Life Viktor Frankl, The Human Search for Meaning: Reflections on Auschwitz Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, The Four Noble Truth Bertrand Russell, Reflections on Suffering
10. Freedom, Autonomy, and Self-Respect
Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream Maya Angelou, Graduation Stanley Milgram, An Experiment in Autonomy Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism Is a Humanism Thomas E. Hill, Jr., Servility and Self-Respect Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron
11. Sex, Love, and Marriage
Immanuel Kant, On the Place of Sex in Human Existence John McMurtry, Monogamy: A Critique Michael D. Bayles, Marriage, Love, and Procreation: A Critique of McMurtry Bonnie Steinbock, What's Wrong with Adultery?
C. S. Lewis, We Have No "Right to Happiness"
Jane English, What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents?
* Michael Levin, Why Homosexuality Is Abnormal
* John Corvino, A Defense of Homosexuality
12. Is Abortion Morally Permissible?
Don Marquis, Why Abortion Is Immoral Judith Jarvis Thomson, A Defense of Abortion Mary Anne Warren, Abortion Is Morally Permissible Jane English, The Moderate Position: Beyond the Personhood Argument
13. The Morality of Euthanasia
Dan W. Brock, Voluntary Active Euthanasia J. Gay-Williams, The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia James Rachels, Active and Passive Euthanasia
14. Our Duties to Animals
George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant Peter Singer, Animal Liberation: All Animals Are Equal Carl Cohen, The Case Against Animal Rights
15. Our Duties to the Environment
Robert Heilbroner, What Has Posterity Ever Done for Me?
Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons William F. Baxter, People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution
16. International Justice and the Threat of Terrorism
God's Command to Destroy Jericho and Ai
* Stephen Nathanson, Can Terrorism Be Morally Justified?
Louis P. Pojman, The Cosmopolitan Response to Terrorism Thomas Nagel, What Is Wrong with Terrorism?
* Appendix: How to Read and Write a Philosophy Paper

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