Today's Moral Issues: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1/30/2012
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

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Today's Moral Issuescombines theoretical and practical readings on four general themes: first principles, liberty, rights and responsibilities, and justice and equality. The theoretical readings from classical philosophy, which appear at the beginning of each of the four parts of the book, are closely related to the contemporary readings that follow, which cover "hot button" issues of interest to today's students.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Moral Arguments


Making Moral Arguments

Exceptions to Moral Principles

Part I: First Principles


Confucius, from The Analects

Aristotle, from Nicomachean Ethics

St. Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologica

David Hume, from A Treatise of Human Nature

Immanuel Kant, from Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals

Jeremy Bentham, from An Introduction to thePrinciples of Morals and Legislation

John Stuart Mill, from Utilitarianism

W. D. Ross, from The Right and the Good

Nel Noddings, from Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Educaiton


Bertrand Russell, Our Sexual Ethics

Thomas A. Mappes, Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person

Roger Scruton, from Sexual Desire


Justice Byron White, Majority Opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick

Justice Anthony Kennedy, Majority Opinion in Lawrence et al. v. Texas

Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall and Justice Robert J. Cordy, Majority and Dissenting Opinions in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health

Stanley Kurtz, The Libertarian Question

Andrew Koppelman, The Decline and Fall of the Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Maggie Gallagher, (How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution: A Reply to Andrew Koppelman


International League of the Rights of Animals, Universal Declaration of the Rights of Animals

Peter Singer, from Animal Liberation

Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights

R. G. Frey, Moral Community and Animal Research in Medicine


Garrett Hardin, from The Tragedy of the Commons

World Commission on Environment and Development, from Our Common Future

Daniel Bonevac, Is Sustainability Sustainable?

Part II: Liberty


Aristotle, from Nicomachean Ethics

John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty


Milton Friedman, An Open Letter to Bill Bennett

William J. Bennett, A Response to Milton Friedman

Ethan A. Nadelmann, The Case for Legalization

James Q. Wilson, Against the Legalization of Drugs


Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justice William O. Douglas, Majority and Dissenting Opinions in Miller v. California

Catherine MacKinnon, Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech

The Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, The Question of Harm

Wendy McElroy, from Sexual Correctness


Plato, from The Republic

John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty

Stanley Fish, from There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It's a Good Thing, Too

Thomas Nagel, Personal Rights and Public SpaceChief Justice John Roberts and Justice John Paul Stevens, Majority and Dissenting Opinions in Morse v. Frederick

Part III: Rights and Responsibilities


Thomas Hobbes, from Leviathan

John Locke, from Second Treatise of Government

Edmund Burke, from Reflections on the Revolution in France

John Stuart Mill, from Utilitarianism

United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Justice Harry Blackmun, Majority Opinion in Roe v. Wade

Judith Jarvis Thomson, A Defense of Abortion

Mary Anne Warren, On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion

Rosalind Hursthouse, Virtue Theory and Abortion

Don Marquis, Why Abortion Is Immoral

Francis J. Beckwith, Personal Bodily Rights, Abortion, and Unplugging the Violinist

Alexander Pruss, I Was Once a Fetus: That is Why Abortion is Wrong


Supreme Court of New Jersey, Matter of Quinlan

J. Gay-Williams, The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia

James Rachels, The Morality of Euthanasia

Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, John Rawls, Thomas Scanlon, and Judith Jarvis Thomson, The Brief of the Amici Curiae

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Majority Opinion in Washington v. Glucksberg et al.

Toon Quaghebeur, Bernadete Dierckx de Casterlé, and Chris Gastmans, Nursing and Euthanasia


Cesare Beccaria, from On Crimes and Punishment

Justice William Brennan, Concurring Opinion in Furman v. Georgia

Justices Stewart, Powell, and Stevens, Majority Opinion in Gregg v. Georgia

Ernest van den Haag, from The Death Penalty: A Debate

Hugo Adam Bedau, The Case against the Death Penalty

Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, Is Capital Punishment Morally Required? The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs

Carol S. Steiker, No, Capital Punishment Is Not Morally Required: Deterrence, Deontology, and the Death Penalty


St. Thomas Aquinas, Whether It Is Always Sinful to Wage War?

Francisco de Vitoria, The Law of War on Indians

Hugo Grotius, from On the Law of War and Peace

Carl Von Clausewitz, On the Nature of War

Mahatma Gandhi, Non-Violence in Various Aspects

Richard A. Posner and Gary Becker, Preventive War

Part IV: Justice and Equality


Aristotle, from Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle, from Politics

John Locke, from Second Treatise of Government

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from On the Social Contract

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, from Manifesto of the Communist Party

Karl Marx, from Estranged Labor, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844

Karl Marx, from Critique of the Gotha Program

John Rawls, Justice as Fairness

Robert Nozick, from Anarchy, State, and Utopia


John Stuart Mill, from Principles of Political Economy

John Hospers What Libertarianism Is

Amartya Sen, Equality of What?

Charles Murray, from Losing Ground: American Social Policy

Elizabeth S. Anderson, What Is the Point of Equality?

Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, Air Conditioning, Cable TV, and an XBox: What Is Poverty in the United States Today?


Chief Justice Earl Warren, Majority Opinion in Brown v. Board of Education

Justice Lewis Powell, Majority Opinion in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

Antonin Scalia, The Disease as a Cure

Bernard R. Boxill, from Blacks and Social Justice

Thomas Sowell, "Affirmative Action": A Worldwide Disaster

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Majority Opinion in Gratz v. Bollinger et al.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Majority Opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger


Immanuel Kant, from Perpetual Peace

Garrett Hardin, from Living on a Lifeboat

Robert D. Putnam, from E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-First Century

Michael Huemer, Is There a Right to Immigrate?

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