Ethics For Life A Text with Readings

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-02-22
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Both scholarly and practical, this text with readings provides a clear, well-organized overview of theoretical ethics. With a contemporary tone and framework, it aims to significantly improve students' ability to make real-life moral decisions. Multicultural coverage and attention to college students' moral development help readers relate the material to their own experience and their own moral growth.

Table of Contents

Section I The Study of Ethics 1

CHAPTER 1 Ethics: An Overview

What Is Ethics?

Normative and Theoretical Ethics

Philosophy and the Search for Wisdom

Metaphysics and the Study of Human Nature

Moral Knowledge: Can Moral Beliefs Be True?


CHAPTER 2 Moral Reasoning

The Three Levels of Thinking

Moral Analysis and Praxis

Overcoming Resistance

The Role of Is and Ought Statements in Ethics

Recognizing and Constructing Moral Arguments

Avoiding Informal Fallacies

Resolving Moral Dilemmas

A Final Word


CHAPTER 3 Conscience and Moral Development

Ethics and Human Development

Conscience: Culturally Relative or Universal?

The Affective and Cognitive Sides of the Conscience

Lawrence Kohlberg: The Stage Theory of Moral Development

Carol Gilligan: The Care Perspective

The Four Components of Moral Behavior

Moral Maturity: Moving Beyond Ethical Relativism


Section II Ethical Relativism

CHAPTER 4 Ethical Subjectivism: Morality Is Just a

Matter of Personal Feeling

What Is Ethical Subjectivism?

What Ethical Subjectivism Is Not

The Roots of Ethical Subjectivism in Romantic


The Kitty Genovese Syndrome

Critique of Ethical Subjectivism


“Subjectivism” by James Rachels

“Student Relativism” by Stephen A. Satris

CHAPTER 5 Divine Command Theory and Civil Religion

Religion and Morality

The Divine Command Theory

Critique of Divine Command Theory

Civil Religion, Society, and National Morality

Religion and the Moral Community

Does Morality Need Religion?


Euthyphro by Plato

“Civil Religion in America” by Robert Bellah

CHAPTER 6 Cultural Relativism: Is Morality Dependent

on Culture?

What Is Cultural Relativism?

What Cultural Relativism Is Not

Distinguishing between Cultural and Sociological Relativism

Social Darwinian Ethics: The Concept of Moral Progress

Ruth Benedict: Cultural Relativism as a Protest

against Social Darwinism

Cultural Relativism and the Moral Community

Cultural Relativism, Cross-Cultural Criticism, and Moral Progress

The Holocaust and Disillusionment with Cultural


Critique of Cultural Relativism


“Anthropology and the Abnormal” by Ruth Benedict

"Trying Out One's New Sword" by Mary Midgley

Section III Morality as Universal

CHAPTER 7 Ethical Egoism: Morality Is Acting in Our

Best Self-Interest

What Is Ethical Egoism?

Thomas Hobbes: Psychological Egoism

Ayn Rand: Objectivist Ethics and Rational Ethical


Ethical Egoism and Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Ethical Egoism and the Moral Community

Self-Interest and Happiness

Critique of Ethical Egoism


Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

CHAPTER 8 Utilitarianism: The Greatest Happiness


Utilitarianism and the Principle of Utility

Jeremy Bentham: Utilitarianism and Social Reform

John Stuart Mill: Reformulation of Utilitarianism

Mo Tzu: Utilitarianism as Universal Love

Utilitarianism and the Moral Community

The Principle of Utility in Public Policy

Critique of Utilitarianism


An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and

Legislation by Jeremy Bentham

Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill

CHAPTER 9 Natural Law Theory: Morality is Part of

Rational Nature

What is Natural Law Ethics?

Thomas Aquinas: Catholic Natural Law Ethics

Just War Theory

Henry David Thoreau: Natural Law Theory and Civil


Natural Law Theory and Contemporary Moral Issues

Critique of Natural Law Theory


The Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

CHAPTER 10 Deontology: The Ethics of Duty

Deontology and Duty

Confucius: Duty and the Community

Immanuel Kant: The Categorical Imperative

The Good Will and Proper Self-Esteem

"Confucius: Duty and Community"

Is the Duty Not to Lie Absolute?

Prima Facie Deontology 333

The Duty of Justice

Critique of Deontology


The Analects of Confucius Translated by Arthur Waley

Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Ethics by

Immanuel Kant

CHAPTER 11 Rights Ethics

The Emergence of Rights Ethics in Modern Society

John Locke: Natural Rights Ethics

The Marxist Critique of Natural Rights Ethics

Rights and Duties

Liberty (Negative) Rights and Welfare (Positive) Rights

Rights and the Moral Community

Critique of Rights Ethics


“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” Issued by the United Nations

Two Treatises of Civil Government by John Locke

CHAPTER 11 Virtue Ethics and the Good Life

Virtue Ethics and Character

Aristotle: Reason and Virtue

Aristotle and Confucius: The Doctrine of the Mean

David Hume: Sentiment and Virtue

Nel Noddings: Feminist Care Ethics

Is Virtue Relative to Culture, Social Status, and Gender?

Moral Integrity and the Unity of Virtue

Virtue and Moral Education

Critique of Virtue Ethics


Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education by Nel Noddings

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