Consider Ethics: Pearson New International Edition

Bruce N. Waller  
Total pages
November 2013
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Consider Ethics: Pearson New International Edition
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Offering a balance of theory and applications and a mix of text and readings, Consider Ethics begins with chapters covering ethical theory, each of which is followed by related, classical readings. The book concludes with an examination of six contemporary ethical issues presented in a pro/con format with introductory material that places each issue in context.


Featuring selections from the world’s most influential philosophers, this combination of primary texts and explanatory pedagogy presents the material in a clear, accessible way that does not sacrifice rigor. Making connections among different ethical theories throughout, the text helps students to engage the subject matter and apply theories to important contemporary ethical issues.



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Hallmark Features:

Written in an informal conversational style, the material is clear, accessible, and engaging.

Open and balanced presentation has no bias toward any one philosophical agenda, allowing students to formulate their own judgments about controversial issues.

Significant selections from primary sources – including Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Bentham, Mill, Darwin, Mencius, Frans De Waal, Annette Baier, Richard Rorty, A. J. Ayer, Susan Wolf,  and Thomas Nagel – expose students to the actual writings of important philosophical figures.

Shows theconnection between ethics and other fields – including science and social science – and compares ethical theories throughout the text, encouraging students to revisit, re-analyze, and perhaps even revise their opinions.

Numerous examples, often humorous ones, illustrate abstract philosophical ideas, capture students' attention, and facilitate their understanding.

Thought-provoking exercises at the end of chapters present stimulating problems and can be adapted for use in class discussions or as short written assignments.

In-depth coverage of free will and moral responsibility (Chapters 13 and 14) helps students see how their views are connected and consider the implications of various ethical

theories for questions about free will, just deserts, and the nature of ethical behavior.

Chapter 16 through 20 cover ethical debates on important social issues through paired readings in a “pro-con” format.  The chapters cover the death penalty, abortion, homosexual relations, animal rights, obligations to the impoverished in other countries, and terrorism.  Each debate includes an extensive introduction, exercises and questions, and suggestions for additional reading.

New to this Edition

New To The 3rd Edition:

TWO NEW "applied” chapters:  one examining the use of deceit in police investigations (with essays by law professors Christopher Slobogin and Margaret L. Paris), and a second debating the use of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics (with essays by Robert L. Simon and W. M. Brown).

UPDATED chapter on utilitarian theory adds an examination of Michael Slote’s “satisficing” version of the theory. 

NEW section on value pluralism, with new readings by Susan Wolf and Catherine Wilson on that question. 

NEW section on sentimentalism explores both the history and the contemporary development of the sentimentalist view of ethics, from Francis Hutcheson and Adam Smith to contemporary writers such as Simon Blackburn. 

NEW essays or excerpts from James Rachels, Bishop Joseph Butler, Adam Smith, Jonathan Bennett, Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, and (anthropologist) Elvin Hatch. 

NEW exercises in every chapter which: 1) Encourage readers to reach their own conclusions concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the various theoretical views. 2) Explore comparisons and disputes and connections among those views. 3) Consider the practical implications of the various theoretical perspectives. 

NEW boxed examples and special quotations scattered throughout every chapter. 



Table of Contents

1. Thinking About Ethics.

   Ethics and Critical Thinking.

   Studying Ethics.

   God's Commandments and Ethics.

   Religion and Ethics.

   Reading: Plato, Euthyphro.


2. Ethics and Reason.

   Reasoning about Ethics.

   Elements of Kantian Ethics.

   Criticisms of Kantian Ethics.


   Reading: Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals.


3. Ethics and Emotions.

   Follow Your Reason or Follow Your Heart?

   Objective and Subjective Feelings.



   Reading: Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature.


4. Utilitarian Ethics.

   Utilitarian Theory.

   Act- vs. Rule-Utilitarians.

   Utiliatarians and the Quality of Pleasures.

   Criticisms of Utilitarian Ethics.

   Nozick’s Challenge to Utilitarian Ethics

   The Uses of Utilitarian Ethics.

   Opposition to Utilitarianism.

   Reading: Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation.

   Reading: Mill, What Utilitarianism Is.

5. Social Contract Ethics.

   Framing the Social Contract.

   Fairness and Social Contract Theory: John Rawls.

   Gauthier's Contractarian Ethics.

   The Social Contract Myth and its Underlying Assumptions.


   Reading: Hobbes, Leviathan.


6. Egoism, Relativism, and Pragmatism.




   Readings: Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope.


7. Virtue Ethics.

   The Distinctive Focus of Virtue Ethics.

   The Strengths of Virtue Ethics.

   Criticisms of Virtue Theory.

   Virtue Theory and Medicine.

   Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.


8. Care Ethics.

   The Neglect of Women's Ethical Views.

   The Care Perspectives on Ethics.

   Women and Ethics.

   Reading: Baier, The Need for More than Justice.


9. The Scope of Morality.

   Who is Due Moral Consideration?

   Moral Agents.

   Darwin and the Moral Status of Nonhuman Animals.

   Reading: Darwin, The Descent of Man.

   Reading: Frans de Waal, Primates and Philosophers.


10. Ethical NonObjectivism.

   The Nature of Ethical Nonobjectivism.

   Arguments for Ethical Nonobjectivism.

   The Continuing Struggle Between Objectivists and Nonobjectivists.

   Reading: Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic.


11. Moral Realism.

   Contemporary Moral Realism.

   Moral Realism and the Argument from Simplicity.

   Moral Facts and Scientific Revolutions.

   Two Ways that Moral Realism Might Fail.

   Reading: Smith, Realism.


12. How Hard is Ethics?

   The Demands of Ethical Living.

   Comparing Ethical Systems on the Basis of Difficulty.

   Duty and Feelings.

   Reading: Mencius, Book of Mencius.


13. Free Will.



   Determinism and Free Will.

   Libertarian Free Will and the Rejection of Determinism.

   Reading: Wolf, Asymmetrical Freedom.


14. Freedom, Moral Responsibility, and Ethics.

   Types of Responsibility.

   Moral Responsibility and the Utility of Punishment.

   Conditions for Moral Responsibility.

   Moral Responsibility and Ethics.


   Reading: Nagel, Moral Luck.



15.  The Death Penalty.

   The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished – Stephen Bright

   The Death Penalty is Morally Legitimate – Louis Pojman



16.  Abortion

   Abortion is Immoral – Don Marquis

   Most Abortions Are Morally Legitimate – Bonnie Steinbock


17:  Animal Rights

   Nonhuman animals have no basic rights – Richard Posner

Nonhuman Animals Have Important rights – Peter Singer  



18:  Homosexual Sex

Homosexual sex is wrong -- John Finnis  

Homosexual relations are morally legitimate -- John Corvino   



19:  Can Terrorism Ever Be Justified?  

Terrorism is always wrong -- Tony Coady

Terrorism might sometimes be justified -- Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez  



20:  What Are Our Global Obligations to the Impoverished?

We have a limited moral obligation to help impoverished people in other countries -- Thomas Nagel

We have a very strong moral obligation to help impoverished people in other countries -- Thomas Pogge