Introducing Ethics A Critical Thinking Approach with Readings

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-12-16
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Introducing Ethics: A Critical Thinking Approach with Readings combines guiding commentary and questions with a rich selection of concise, carefully edited, and accessible readings on ethical theory and contemporary moral issues. This unique introduction shows students how to do philosophy by first analyzing texts--identifying ethical positions and the arguments that support them--and then evaluating the truth of those positions and the soundness of the arguments. In doing so, it provides students with a uniquely engaging introduction to ethics that also hones their critical thinking skills.


* A unique Unit 1 gives students the conceptual tools to "do" philosophy with coverage of logic, arguments, moral reasoning, and reading and writing philosophy

* Extensive coverage of the three main areas of ethics--metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics--addresses issues often ignored by other texts, including ethics vs. science, moral responsibility, moral vs. legal issues, torture, terrorism, and more

* Unit and chapter introductions outline major themes and issues and explain why they matter

* Reading questions precede the essays and focus students' studying on key points, while discussion questions follow the readings and help students move into the evaluation phase

* "Argument Reconstruction Exercises" after each reading provide practice in identifying the premises and conclusions in the essays

* An Instructor's Manual with Test Bank on CD is available to adopters

* A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/mcbrayer provides all the material contained on the CD along with student resources

Author Biography

Justin P. McBrayer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Fort Lewis College, Colorado. He is the coeditor of Skeptical Theism: New Essays (OUP, 2014), and The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil (2013).

Peter J. Markie is Curators' Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri. He is the coeditor of Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues (OUP, 2011).

Table of Contents

Each reading selection is followed by Reading Questions, Discussion Questions, and Argument Reconstruction Exercises.
Chapter 1. Introductions
Chapter 2. The Method of Philosophy
2.1 Philosophy and Logic
2.2 Deductive Arguments
2.3 Inductive Arguments
2.4 Fallacious Arguments
2.5 Conditions and Analysis
2.6 Moral Reasoning
Chapter 3. True for You, But Not For Me
3.1 Moral Interpretation
3.2 Doxastic Interpretation
3.3 Epistemic Interpretation
3.4 Semantic Interpretation
3.5 Metaphysical Interpretation
Chapter 4. Reading Philosophy
4.1 Determining the Thesis
4.2 Reconstructing the Argument
4.3 How to Use this Text
Chapter 5. Writing Philosophy
5.1 The Goal of a Philosophy Paper
5.2 The Evaluation of a Philosophy Paper
5.3 The Content of a Philosophy Paper
5.4 The Structure of a Philosophy Paper
Chapter 6. Moral Facts
6.1 "Moral Nihilism," Gilbert Harmon
6.2 "Values in a Scientific World," Russ Shafer-Landau
6.3 "Four Arguments against Moral Knowledge," Russ Shafer-Landau
Chapter 7. Morality and Authority
7.1 "Does Morality Depend upon Religion?" John Arthur
7.2 "Humanistic Ethics," Kai Nielsen
7.3 "Master and Slave Moralities," Friedrich Nietzsche
7.4 "Moral Relativism," Gilbert Harman
7.5 "Ethical Relativism and Ethical Absolutism," Paul Taylor
Chapter 8. Moral Responsibility
8.1 "The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility," Galen Strawson
8.2 "Freedom and Necessity," A. J. Ayer
8.3 "Human Freedom and the Self," Roderick Chisholm
8.4 "Existentialism Is a Humanism," Jean-Paul Sartre
Chapter 9. Why Be Moral?
9.1 "The Virtue of Selfishness," Ayn Rand
9.2 "Three Failed Arguments for Ethical Egoism," James Rachels
9.3 "Right and Wrong," Thomas Nagel
9.4 "A Reconciliation Project," Gregory Kavka
Chapter 10. Value and The Good Life
10.1 "The Meaning of Life," Richard Taylor
10.2 "The Experience Machine," Robert Nozick
10.3 "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best," Derek Parfit
Chapter 11. Consequentialism
11.1 "Utilitarianism," John Stuart Mill
11.2 "Against Moral Conservatism," Kai Nielsen
11.3 "Some Merits of One Form of Rule Utilitarianism," Richard B. Brandt
11.4 "Turning the Trolley," Judith Jarvis Thomson
Chapter 12. Nonconsequentialism
12.1 "Natural Law," ISaint Thomas Aquinas
12.2 "Natural Law Ethics," Alfonso Gomez-Lobo
12.3 "The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals," Immanuel Kant
12.4 "What Makes Right Acts Right," W.D. Ross
12.5 "Hypothetical Contractarianism," John Rawls
12.6 "Non-Contractual Society: A Feminist View," Virginia Held
Chapter 13. Virtue and Care Ethics
13.1 "Virtue," Aristotle, translated by W.D. Ross
13.2 "Aristotle on Virtue," Rosalind Hursthouse
13.3 "Moral Saints," Susan Wolf
13.4 "Care and Context in Moral Reasoning," IMarilyn Friedman
13.5 "The Ethics of Care as Moral Theory," Virginia Held
Chapter 14. The Moral Community
14.1 "All Animals are Equal," Peter Singer
14.2 "The Ethics of Respect for Nature," Paul Taylor
14.3 "Are All Species Equal?," David Schmidtz
Chapter 15. Abortion
15.1 "An Argument that Abortion Is Wrong," Don Marquis
15.2 "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion," Mary Ann Warren
15.3 "A Defense of Abortion," Judith Jarvis Thomson
15.4 "Caring for Women and Girls Who Are Considering Abortion," Diana Fritz Cates
Chapter 16. The Environment and Sustainability
16.1 "Sustainability and Intergenerational Justice," Brian Barry
16.2 "Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments," Thomas E. Hill, Jr.
16.3 "Do We Consume Too Much?" Mark Sagoff
16.4 "Redefining the Good Life in a Sustainable Society," Lester W. Milbrath
Chapter 17. Famine Relief
17.1 "Famine, Affluence and Morality," Peter Singer
17.2 "Famine Relief and the Ideal Moral Code," John Arthur
17.3 "Feeding the Hungry," Jan Narveson
Chapter 18. Terrorism
18.1 "Terrorism: A Critique of Excuses," Michael Walzer
18.2 "Is Terrorism Distinctively Wrong?" Lionel K. McPherson
18.3 "The War on Terrorism and the End of Human Rights," David Luban
Chapter 19. Torture
19.1 "Is Torture Ever Morally Justifiable?" Seumas Miller
19.2 "Ticking Bombs, Torture, and the Analogy with Self-Defense," David J. Hill
Chapter 20. Euthanasia
20.1 "Active and Passive Euthanasia," James Rachels
20.2 "Active and Passive Euthanasia: An Impertinent Distinction?" Thomas D. Sullivan
20.3 "Self-Regarding Suicide: A Modified Kantian View," Thomas E. Hill, Jr.
20.4 "Buddhist Views of Suicide and Euthanasia," Carl B. Becker
Chapter 21. Capital Punishment
21.1 "Justifying Capital Punishment," Igor Primoratz
21.2 "The Case Against the Death Penalty," Hugo Bedau
Chapter 22. Morality and the Law
22.1 "The Harm Principle," John Stuart Mill
22.2 "Morals and the Criminal Law," Patrick Devlin
22.3 "France and the Ban on the Full-Face Veil: A Philosophical Analysis of the Arguments," Sarah Roberts-Cady
22.4 "Pornography, Oppression and Freedom: A Closer Look," Helen E. Longino
22.5 "The Feminist Case Against Pornography," Joel Feinberg
Argument Reconstruction Exercise Solutions

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