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Elements of Moral Philosophy

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ISBN-10: 0078038243

ISBN-13: 9780078038242

Edition: 7th 2012

Authors: Stuart Rachels, James Rachels

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Firmly established as the standard text for undergraduate courses in ethics, this concise, lively book takes the reader on an in-depth tour of the major moral theories, always illustrating abstract ideas with concrete examples. Separate, self-contained chapters examine such theories as Egoism, Kantianism, Utilitarianism, Virtue Ethics, and the Social Contract Theory. Through this conceptual framework, the text addresses timely and provocative issues, including abortion, racism, euthanasia, poverty, marijuana, homosexuality, the death penalty, and vegetarianism. The text's versatility makes it an ideal choice for use not only in ethical theory courses, but also in applied ethics courses of…    
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Book details

Edition: 7th
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date: 12/1/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.704
Language: English

STUART RACHELS is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. He has revisedseveral of James Rachels’ books, including Problems from Philosophy (second edition, 2009) and The Right Thing to Do (fifth edition, 2010), which is the companion anthology to this book. Stuart won the United States Chess Championship in 1989, at the age of 20, and he is a Bronze Life Master at bridge. His website is

James Rachels, the distinguished American moral philosopher, was born in Columbus, Georgia, graduating from Mercer University in Macon in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He taught at the University of Richmond, New York University, the University of Miami, Duke University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he spent the last twenty-six years of his career. 1971 saw the publication of Rachels’ groundbreaking textbook Moral Problems, which ignited the movement in America away from teaching ethical theory towards teaching concrete practical issues. Moral Problems sold 100,000 copies over three editions. In 1975,…    

About the Seventh Edition
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
The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
Different Cultures Have Different Moral Codes
Cultural Relativism
The Cultural Differences Argument
What Follows from Cultural Relativism
Why There Is Less Disagreement Than It Seems
Some Values are Shared by All Cultures
Judging a Cultural Practice to Be Undesirable
Back to the Five Claims
What We Can Learn from Cultural Relativism
Subjectivism in Ethics
The Basic Idea of Ethical Subjectivism
The Evolution of the Theory
The First Stage: Simple Subjectivism
The Second Stage: Emotivism
The Role of Reason in Ethics
Are There Proofs in Ethics?
The Question of Homosexuality
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
Ethical Egoism
Is There a Duty to Help the Starving?
Psychological Egoism
Three Arguments for Ethical Egoism
Three Arguments against Ethical Egoism
the Social Contract Theory
Hobbes's Argument
The Prisoner's Dilemma
Some Advantages of the Social Contract Theory
The Problem of Civil Disobedience
Difficulties for the Theory
the Utilitarian Approach
The Revolution in Ethics
First Example: Euthanasia
Second Example: Marijuana
Third Example: Nonhuman Animals
the Debate Over Utilitarianism
The Classical Version of the Theory
Is Pleasure All That Matters?
Are Consequences All That Matter?
Should We Be Equally Concerned for Everyone?
The Defense of Utilitarianism
Concluding Thoughts
Are There Absolute Moral Rules?
Harry Truman and Elizabeth Anscombe
The Categorical Imperative
Kant's Arguments on Lying
Conflicts between Rules
Kant's Insight
Kant and Respect for Persons
Kant's Core Ideas
Retribution and Utility in the Theory of Punishment
Kant's Retributivism
Feminism and the Ethics of Care
Do Women and Men Think Differently about Ethics?
Implications for Moral Judgment
Implications for Ethical Theory
Virtue Ethics
The Ethics of Virtue and the Ethics of Right Action
The Virtues
Two Advantages of Virtue Ethics
Virtue and Conduct
The Problem of Incompleteness
What Would a Satisfactory Moral Theory Be Like?
Morality without Hubris
Treating People as They Deserve
A Variety of Motives
Multiple-Strategies Utilitarianism
The Moral Community
Justice and Fairness
Notes on Sources