Synopses & Reviews
Firmly established as the standard text for undergraduate courses in ethics, this concise, lively book combines clear explanations of the main theories of ethics with discussions of interesting examples. Topics covered include famine relief, homosexuality, and the treatment of animals. The text's versatility allows it to be widely used not only in ethical theory courses, but also in applied ethics courses of all kinds.
About the Author
James Rachels is University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birminghamand is widely respected in the field of moral philosophy. He is also the author of THE END OF LIFE: Euthanasia and Morality and CREATED FROM ANIMALS: The Moral Implications of Darwinism.
Table of Contents
About the Fourth Edition
CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS MORALITY?
The Problem of Definition
First Example: Baby Theresa
Second Example: Jodie and Mary
Third Example: Tracy Latimer
Reason and Impartiality
The Minimum Conception of Morality
CHAPTER 2: THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM
How Different Societies Have Different Moral Codes
The Cultural Differences Argument
The Consequences of Taking Cultural Relativism Seriously
Why There is Less Disagreement than it Seems
How All Cultures Have Some Values in Common
Judging a Cultural Practice to be Undesirable
What Can be Learned from Cultural Relativism
CHAPTER 3: SUBJECTIVISM IN ETHICS
The Basic Idea of Ethical Subjectivism
The Evolution of the Theory
The First Stage: Simple Subjectivism
The Second Stage: Emotivism
Are There Any Moral Facts?
Are There Proofs in Ethics?
The Question of Homosexuality
CHAPTER 4: DOES MORALITY DEPEND ON RELIGION?
The Presumed Connection Between Morality and Religion
The Divine Command Theory
The Theory of Natural Law
Religion and Particular Moral Issues
CHAPTER 5: PSYCHOLOLOGICAL EGOISM
Is Unselfishness Possible?
The Strategy of Reinterpreting Motives
Two Arguments in Favor of Psychological Egoism
Clearing Away Some Confusions
The Deepest Error in Psychological Egoism
CHAPTER 6: ETHICAL EGOISM
Is There a Duty to Help Starving People?
Three Arguments in Favor of Ethical Egoism
Three Arguments Against Ethical Egoism
CHAPTER 7: THE UTILITARIAN APPROACH
The Revolution in Ethics
First Example: Euthanasia
Second Example: Nonhuman Animals
CHAPTER 8: THE DEBATE OVER UTILITARIANISM
The Classical Version of the Theory
Is Happiness the Only Thing That Matters?
Are Consequences All That Matter?
Should We be Equally Concerned for Everyone?
The Defense of Utilitarianism
CHAPTER 9: ARE THERE ANY ABSOLUTE MORAL RULES?
Harry Truman and Elizabeth Anscombe
The Categorical Imperative
Absolute Rules and the Duty Not to Lie
Conflicts Between Rules
Another Look at Kant's Basic Idea
CHAPTER 10: KANT AND RESPECT FOR PERSONS
The Idea of Human Dignity
Retribution and Utility in the Theory of Punishment
CHAPTER 11: THE IDEA OF A SOCIAL CONTRACT
The Prisoner's Dilemma
Some Advantages of the Social Contract Theory of Morals
The Problem of Civil Disobedience
CHAPTER 12: FEMINISM AND THE ETHICS OF CARE
Do Women and Men Think Differently About Ethics?
Implications for Moral Judgment
Implications for Ethical Theory
CHAPTER 13: THE ETHICS OF VIRTUE
The Ethics of Virtue and the Ethics of Right Action
Some Advantages of Virtue Ethics
The Problem of Incompleteness
CHAPTER 14: WHAT WOULD A SATISFACTORY MORAL THEORY BE LIKE?
Morality Without Hubris
Treating People as They Deserve and Other Motives
The Moral Community
Justice and Fairness
Suggestions for Further Reading
Notes on Sources