Practical Ethics / Edition 2

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Overview

Peter Singer's remarkably clear and comprehensive Practical Ethics has become a classic introduction to applied ethics since its publication in 1979 and has been translated into many languages. For this second edition the author has revised all the existing chapters, added two new ones, and updated the bibliography. He has also added an appendix describing some of the deep misunderstanding of, and consequent violent reaction to, the book in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where the book has tested the limits of freedom of speech. The focus of the book is the application of ethics to difficult and controversial social questions: equality and discrimination by race, sex, ability, or species; abortion, euthanasia, and embryo experimentation; the moral status of animals; political violence and civil disobedience; overseas aid and the obligation to assist others; responsibility for the environment; the treatment of refugees. Singer explains and assesses relevant arguments in a perspicuous, non-doctrinaire way. He structures the book to show how contemporary controversies often have deep philosophical roots; and he presents an ethical theory of his own that can be applied consistently and convincingly to all the practical cases. The book's primary readership remains teachers and students of ethics whether in philosophy or some other branch of the humanities or social sciences. However, such is the clarity of the book's style and structure that it should interest any thinking person concerned with the most difficult social problems facing us as we approach the twenty-first century.

This book contains no illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"....It is a widely read and widely taught introduction to the philosophical dimensions of practical moral problems.... All of the chapters have been revised and updated, and a chapter has been added on climate change. Singer's lucid style of exposition and argument are perfect for this sort of introductory text. Every library should have a copy of this book.... Highly recommended...."
—J. H. Spence, Adrian College, CHOICE

"...This third edition keeps the lucid style and provocative arguments of its predecessors, but with a more up to date perspective into current ethical challenges. This makes Practical Ethics not only an ideal text for university courses, but also for anyone who wants to dedicate some serious thinking into how she or he ought to live.... remains a relevant and welcome contribution to ethics."
—Laura Cabrera, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, Basel University, Metapsychology Online Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521439718
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 411
  • Sales rank: 948,922
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Singer is currently Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. He is the author or editor of more than forty books, including Animal Liberation (1975), Rethinking Life and Death (1996) and, most recently, The Life You Can Save (2009). In 2005, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 About Ethics 1
2 Equality and Its Implications 16
3 Equality for Animals? 55
4 What's Wrong with Killing? 83
5 Taking Life: Animals 110
6 Taking Life: The Embryo and the Fetus 135
7 Taking Life: Humans 175
8 Rich and Poor 218
9 Insiders and Outsiders 247
10 The Environment 264
11 Ends and Means 289
12 Why Act Morally? 314
Appendix: On Being Silenced in Germany 337
Notes, References, and Further Reading 360
Index 381
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2005

    Definitely Makes You Think

    Reading this book was a very validating experience for me. Growing up in Christian dominated America, I often found myself bewildered by many of the commonly accepted Christian stances: its okay to kill people on death row, but not an unborn fetus; euthanasia is okay for a sick dog, but not a sick person; its okay to kill animals for sport and war is okay too, but 'thou shalt not kill'; stopping premarital sex and gay marriage is more important than saving the 24,000 people who die of hunger each day. Singer presents a clear cut ethical stance and follows it through to all of the tough issues facing man today. He offers no apologies and he doesn't back down from his stance when he reaches controversial conclusions. He also explains where others have gone wrong in trying to address these very tough ethical questions. Additionally, I really enjoyed Singers writing style. Ethics can definitely be a dry subject but Singer brings it to life with telling examples and narratives. The book is divided into easily digestible sections, and Singer builds a foundation in early chapters which he uses to develop more complex stances about abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the environment, etc. Many of the conclusions in this book are hard to grasp against the current moral backdrop of the Western world, but Singer lays them out in a logical sequence that makes them hard to refute. I am not a Christian, but this book helped to show me just how influenced even I have been by Christian morality. We all need to take a look at our ideas about ethics and realize where they come from. This book may be a difficult read for some, but I think that is all the more reason that this book is a MUST read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    Outstanding, thought-provoking

    Very interesting book. Some conclusions are controversial, but impeccably argued and reasoned. At the very least, it will force you to confront how you examine basic ethical situations

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