Basic Moral Philosophy

ISBN-10: 0495007978

ISBN-13: 9780495007975

Edition: 4th 2007 (Revised)

Authors: Robert L. Holmes

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Striving for a comprehensiveness that is rare in introductory ethics texts, BASIC MORAL PHILOSOPHY presents a clear and systematic approach to understanding major ethical and metaethical theories. Illustrating the historical roots of ethical theories and placing individual theories in the broader context of moral philosophy's basic problems, the text presents reasoned assessments of various theories in order to help students actively engage the material and develop their own theoretical viewpoints. This versatile book can be used in a number of different fashions: as a core text in any introductory ethics course, as a short introductory section on ethical theory at the beginning of a problems course or other courses in applied ethics (e.g., bioethics), as the ethics component of an introduction to philosophy course, or finally, as a supplementary review text for more advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
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Book details

List price: $155.95
Edition: 4th
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Wadsworth
Publication date: 3/14/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.00" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.968
Language: English

The Concerns of Moral Philosophy
The Nature of Ethics
Why Study Moral Philosophy?
The Origins of Morality
The Activity of Evaluating
Guiding and Directing Conduct
Value Judgments and Prescriptive Judgments
Normative Judgments and Descriptive Statements
Moral and Nonmoral Judgments
Three Kinds of Moral Problems
Discussion Questions
Theories of Moral Right and Wrong
Moral Legalism and Moral Particularism
Rights-Based Theories
The Relationship Between Goodness and Rightness
Axiological and Deontological Moral Theories
Strong and Weak Deontologism
Consequentialist and Nonconsequentialist Axiological Theories
The Balance of Good and Bad in Consequences
The Good of Self, Others, and Collectivities
Micro Ethics and Macro Ethics
Character and Conduct
Discussion Questions
The Ethics of Virtue
Virtue in Ancient Philosophy
Kinds of Virtue
Plato and the Virtuous Person
The Soul's Function
Virtue, Goodness, and Right Conduct
Some Parallels in Hindu Ethics
Aristotle and the Habits of Virtue
The Mean
Moral Perceptions
The Practical Syllogism
Aristotle's Deontologism
Moral Virtue and Right Conduct
The Priority of an Ethics of Conduct over an Ethics of Virtue
Discussion Questions
Virtue and Happiness
Plato and Aristotle on the Necessity of Virtue for Happiness
Perfectionism and the Highest Good
Augustine and the Permanence of the Highest Good
Does Everyone Desire Happiness? Nietzsche on Master Morality and Slave Morality
Is Moral Virtue Desirable?
The Importance of an Account of Conduct for the Ethics of Virtue
Discussion Questions
The Ethics of Conduct
Ethical and Psychological Egoism
Should We Seek Only Our Own Good?
Three Objections to Ethical Egoism
The Paradoxical Nature of Ethical Egoism
Psychological Egoism in Human Motivation
A Critique of Psychological Egoism
Butler's Argument
Discussion Questions
The Divine Command Theory
The Case of Abraham and Isaac
Greek and Christian Views of Human Nature
God's Commands According to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
The Relationship Between God's Will and Moral Rightness
A Problem for the Divine Command Theory
Commands to Do What Seems Impossibly Idealistic
An Attempted Reconciliation of the Commandment to Love with Human Judgments of What Is Possible
Does God Ever Command Us to Do What Is Wrong?
An Attempted Reconciliation of God's Commands with Human Judgments
Would God's Commanding the Torture of a Child Make It Right?
What Does It Mean to Call God Good?
Is God Extrinsically Good Because He Is a Loving God?
Can "Right" Be Defined by Reference to God's Commands?
Discussion Questions
Natural Law Ethics
Morality and Nature
What Does Natural Law Ethics Mean by "Nature"?
Stoic Natural Law Ethics
The Stoic Conception of Duty
Christian Natural Law Ethics
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Human and Theological Virtues
Problems for Natural Law Ethics: Homosexuality and Sexual Harassment
Natural Law as Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy
Is God Necessary for Ethics?
Discussion Questions
Morality Is Not Founded on Happiness
The Good Will
The Concept of Duty
Objective Principles and Hypothetical Imperatives
Subjective Principles or Maxims
The Categorical Imperative
Applying the Categorical Imperative
Treating Persons as Ends
The Will as Universal Lawgiver
Kant Not a Consequentialist
Discussion Questions
The Attraction of Consequentialism
Deontological Consequentialism
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value
Problems for Utilitarianism
Act Utilitarianism and Rule Utilitarianism
Actual Rule Utilitarianism and Ideal Rule Utilitarianism
Are AU and IRU Equivalent?
Can We Ever Know all of an Act's Consequences?
What Counts as a Consequence of an Act?
Discussion Questions
The Idea of Justice
Distributive Justice
Justice, Consistency, and Rationality
Three Conceptions of Distributive Justice
Distributive Justice as Pure Procedural Justice
The Transition to Metaethics
Discussion Questions
Ethical Relativism
Cultural Diversity
What Is Ethical Relativism?
Universalism and Absolutism
What Difference Does It Make Whether Relativism Is True?
Relativism and Moral Disagreements
Can There Even Be Genuine Moral Disagreements According to Relativism?
Is There Cultural Diversity in Basic Moral Beliefs?
Cultural Diversity in Basic Moral Beliefs Would Not Establish Relativism
Universalism and the Ground of Morality
Are Logic and Truth Themselves Relative?
Relativism and Moral Tolerance
Discussion Questions
Can Moral Principles Be Justified?
Diversity at the Level of Principles
Moral Foundationalism: Intuitionism and Naturalism
Ethical Naturalism
Rawls and the Original Position
Moral Coherentism
Problems in the Application of Rules and Principles
Discussion Questions
The Nature of Moral Judgments
Ethical Language
Categories of Ethical Terms
Categorial and Cross-Categorial Definitions
Are Rights Reducible to Deontic and Value Terms?
Are Ethical Terms Definable by Non-Ethical Terms?
Is Ethics Autonomous?
Autonomy and Reductionism
Is "Good" Indefinable?
Moral Realism
Ethical Naturalism and Intuitionism
The Naturalistic Fallacy
The Open-Question Argument
The Error Theory
From Meaning to Use
The Noncognitivist Objection to Cognitivism
Possible Cognitivist Replies
Discussion Questions
New Bearings in Ethics
Feminist Ethics
Questioning Traditional Ethics
What Is Feminist Ethics?
Minimalist Feminist Ethics: Wollstonecraft's Rights-Based Theory
A Standard Feminist Ethics: The Ethics of Caring
Radical Feminist Ethics
Feminist Objections to Traditional Ethics
Interpreting Feminist Ethics
Discussion Questions
Contextualism: An Ethics of Pragmatism
A Deweyan Approach to Ethics
Subjective, Actual, and Actionable Rightness
The Contextualist Alternative
Elements of the Moral Situation
Nurturing Goods
A Kantian Objection
The Importance of Personal Decision
Intuition or Emotion?
Conscience and Human Nature
Contextualism and Relativism
Universalism and a Moral Postulate
Discussion Questions
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