Moral of the Story: An Introduction to Ethics / Edition 5

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This popular text uses examples from fiction and film to show how ethical theories can be applied. By linking abstract theory to “real life” through storytelling and story analysis, Rosenstand offers a remarkably effective way of helping students understand and evaluate moral issues.
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Editorial Reviews

Uses examples from the worlds of fiction and film to show how ethical theories apply to everyday life, linking abstract theory to real life through storytelling and story analysis. Describes plots of dozens of films, stories, novels, plays, and popular television shows that illustrate moral theories, issues, and dilemmas in the context of coverage of all major ethical theories. Works of female philosophers are better represented in this text than in many introductory ethics texts or anthologies. This edition includes new readings from classic works, and discussion of recent films. Includes a glossary. The author is affiliated with San Diego Mesa College. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780072963359
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 5/10/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 744
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

PART I: The Story as a Tool of Ethics

Chapter 1: Thinking About Values
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times?
Good and Evil
Is Morality Hardwired?
Values, Morals and Ethics
Debating Moral Issues: The Role of Religion, the Law, Logic, Emotions, and Story-Telling
Martha Nussbaum: Stories, Ethics, and Emotions
Primary Reading: Martha Nussbaum, Love's Knowledge
Primary Reading: Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect
Narrative: Smoke Signals
Narrative: Big Fish
Narrative: East of Eden

Chapter 2: Learning Moral Lessons from Stories
Didactic Stories
The New Interest in Stories Across the Professions
The Value of Stories in World Cultures
Stories of Values Across the Ages
Primary Reading: Plato, The Republic
Primary Reading: Aristotle, Poetics
Primary Reading: Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
Primary Reading: Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder
Narrative: Medea
Narrative: The Sorrows of Young Werther
Narrative: The Education on Mingo
Narrative: Pulp Fiction

PART II: What Should I Do? Theories of Conduct

Chapter 3: Ethical Relativism
How to Deal with Moral Differences
The Lessons of Anthropology
Refuting Ethical Relativism
James Rachels and Soft Universalism
Ethical Relativism and Multiculturalism
Primary Reading: Ruth Benedict, Anthropology and the Abnormal
Primary Reading: Dwight Furrow, Of Cave Dwellers and Spirits"
Primary Reading: John Steinbeck, Paradox and Dream
Narrative: The Poisonwood Bible
Narrative: Possessing the Secret of Joy
Narrative: Do the Right Thing

Chapter 4: Myself or Others?
Psychological Egoism: From Virginia Tech to 9/11
Psychological Egoism: From Glaucon to Hobbes
Shortcomings to Psychological Egoism
Ethical Egoism and Its Critics
Being Selfless: Levinas's Ideal Altruism vs. Singer's Reciprocal Altruism
Selfish Genes, or Fellow-Feeling? Dawkins, Midgley, Hume and de Waal
Primary Reading: Plato, The Republic
Primary Reading: Erik Katz, The Rings of Tolkien and Plato
Primary Reading: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Primary Reading: Ayn Rand, The Ethics of Emergencies
Primary Reading: Frans de Waal, Primates and Philosophers
Narrative: Friends episode: "The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS"
Narrative: Return to Paradise
Narrative: Atlas Shrugged
Narrative: The Lord of the Rings

Chapter 5: Using Your Reason, Part 1: Utilitarianism
Jeremy Bentham and the Hedonistic Calculus
Advantages and Problems of Sheer Numbers: From Animal Welfare to the Question of Torture
John Stuart Mill: Higher and Lower Pleasures
Mill's Harm Principle
Act and Rule Utilitarianism
Primary Reading: Jeremy Bentham, Of the Principle of Utility
Primary Reading: John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
Primary Reading: Peter Singer, A Convenient Truth
Narrative: The Blacksmith and the Baker
Narrative: The Brothers Karamazov
Narrative: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Narrative: Extreme Measures
Narrative: Runaway Jury

Chapter 6: Using Your Reason, Part 2: Kant's Deontology
Consequences Don't Count - Having a Good Will Does
The Categorical Imperative
Rational Beings Are Ends in Themselves
Beings Who Are Things
The Kingdom of Ends
Primary Reading: Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals
Primary Reading: Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals
Narrative: High Noon
Narrative: 3:10 to Yuma
Narrative: Match Point

Chapter 7: Personhood, Rights, and Justice
What Is a Human Being?
The Expansion of the Concept "Human"
Personhood: The Key to Rights
Science and Moral Responsibility: Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Research, and Cloning
Questions of Rights and Equality
Distributive Justice: From Rawls to Affirmative Action
Forward- and Backward-Looking Justice and Affirmative Action
Criminal Justice: Restorative Versus Retributive Justice
Primary Reading: The United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights
Primary Reading: John Rawls, Justice as Fairness
Primary Reading: Martin Luther King, Jr., A Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Primary Reading: John Bertreaux, Two Texts on Discrimination
Primary Reading: Diane Whitely, The Victim and the Justification of Punishment
Narrative: The Island
Narrative: Gattaca
Narrative: Mississippi Burning
Narrative: Hotel Rwanda
Narrative: Minority Report

PART III: How Should I Be? Theories of Virtue

Chapter 8: Virtue Ethics from Tribal Philosophy to Socrates and Plato
What Is Virtue? What is Character?
Non-Western Virtue Ethics: Africa and Indigenous America
Virtue Ethics in the West
The Good Teacher: Socrates' Legacy, Plato's Works
The Good Life
The Virtuous Person: The Tripartite Soul
Plato's Theory of Forms
Plato's Influence on Christianity
Primary Reading: Plato, The Republic
Primary Reading: Plato, Apology
Narrative: A Man for All Seasons
Narrative: The Myth of the Cave
Narrative: The Truman Show
Narrative: Shrek

Chapter 9: Aristotle's Virtue Theory: Everything in Moderation
Empirical Knowledge and the Realm of the Senses
Aristotle the Scientist
Aristotle's Virtue Theory: Teleology and The Golden Mean
Aristotle's Influence on Thomas Aquinas
Some Objections to Greek Virtue Theory
Primary Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book II
Primary Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book III
Narrative: The Flight of Icarus
Narrative: Njal's Saga
Narrative: Lord Jim
Narrative: A Piece of Advice
Narrative: As Good as it Gets

Chapter 10: Contemporary Perspectives
Ethics and the Morality of Virtue as Political Concepts
Have Virtue, and Then Go Ahead: Mayo, Foot, and Sommers
The Quest for Authenticity: Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre, and Levinas
Primary Reading: Soren Kierkegaard, Johannes Climacus
Primary Reading: Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or
Primary Reading: Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism Is a Humanism
Primary Reading: The Paradox of Morality: An Interview with Emmanuel Levinas
Narrative: No Exit
Narrative: Good Will Hunting
Narrative: The Searchers

Chapter 11: Case Studies in Virtue
Courage of the Physical and Moral Kind
Compassion: From Hume to Huck Finn
Gratitude: Asian Tradition and Western Modernity
Virtue and Conduct: The Option of Soft Universalism
Diversity, Politics and Common Ground?
Primary Reading: John McCain, Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life
Primary Reading: Philip Hallie, Tales of Good and Evil, Help and Harm
Primary Reading: Lin Yutang, On Growing Old Gracefully
Narrative: Band of Brothers, Third Episode, "Carentan"
Narrative: The Life of Tom Horn
Narrative: The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Narrative: Schindler's List
Narrative: Eat Drink Man Woman
Narrative: Pay It Forward

Chapter 12: Different Gender, Different Ethic?
Feminism and Virtue Theory
What Is Gender Equality?
Women's Historical Role in the Public Sphere
First-, Second-, and Third-Wave Feminism
Classical, Difference and Radical Feminism
Primary Reading: Harriet Taylor Mill, Enfranchisement of Women
Primary Reading: Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
Primary Reading: Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice
Narrative: A Doll's House
Narrative: The Woman Destroyed
Narrative: Mona Lisa Smile

Chapter 13: Applied Ethics: A Sampler
The Question of Abortion and Personhood
Euthanasia as a Right to Choose?
Media Ethics and Media Bias
Business Ethics: The Rules of the Game
Just War Theory
Animal Welfare and Animal Rights
Ethics of the Environment: Think Globally, Act Locally
The Death Penalty
The Ethics of Self-Improvement: Narrative Identity
A Final Word
Primary Reading: Andrew Belsey and Ruth Chadwick, Ethics as a Vehicle for Media Quality
Primary Reading: Amber Levanon Seligson and Laurie Choi, Critical Elements of an Organizational Ethical Culture
Primary Reading: Scott Gottlieb, How Safe Is Our Food? FDA Could Do Better
Primary Reading: John Rawls, The Law of Peoples
Primary Reading: Jan Narveson, Morality and Violence: War, Revolution, Terrorism
Primary Reading: The Declaration on Great Apes
Primary Reading: Lee Hall and Anthony Jon Waters, From Property to Person: The Case of Evelyn Hart
Primary Reading: Ethics and the Environment
Primary Reading: A.O. Scott, Warning of Calamities and Hoping for a Change in 'An Inconvenient Truth'
Primary Reading: Michael Barone, Gore Twists Science, History
Primary Reading: Tom Sorell, Two Ideals and the Death Penalty
Primary Reading: Mark Fuhrman, Death and Justice: An Expose of Oklahoma's Death Row Machine
Primary Reading: Tristine Rainer, Your Life as Story
Narrative: 15 Minutes
Narrative: The Insider
Narrative: The Jigsaw Man
Narrative: The Life of David Gale



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