The Fundamentals of Ethics

The Fundamentals of Ethics

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In The Fundamentals of Ethics, author Russ Shafer-Landau employs a uniquely engaging writing style to introduce students to the essential ideas of moral philosophy. Offering more comprehensive coverage of the good life, normative ethics, and metaethics than any other text of its kind, this book also addresses issues that are often omitted from other texts, such as the doctrine of doing and allowing, the doctrine of double effect, ethical particularism, the desire-satisfaction theory of well-being, and moral error theory. Shafer-Landau carefully reconstructs and analyzes dozens of arguments in depth, at a level that is understandable to students with no prior philosophical background. Ideal for courses in introductory ethics and contemporary moral problems, this book can be used as a stand-alone text or with the author's companion reader, The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems, which offers original readings exploring the topics covered in The Fundamentals of Ethics.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 134.62 x 205.74 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195320867
  • 9780195320862
  • 521,349

Review quote

"The Fundamentals of Ethics is a superb book: accessible, illuminating, and comprehensive. Shafer-Landau begins where students first confronting moral philosophy begin: with their everyday assumptions, expectations, and vocabulary. Through engaging questions and lively thought experiments, keeping jargon and overt instruction to an absolute minimum, he leads the reader to an articulate and self-aware grasp of the fundamental issues. In sum: the best such introductory text I know of."--Niko Kolodny, University of California, Berkeley"This is a great introduction to ethics, the finest that I am aware of. I am eager to use it in my classes. . . . It is similar in structure to the wildly popular Rachels introductory ethics text but better. . . . Shafer-Landau's writing is perfect for his intended audience."--David Sobel, University of Nebraska, Lincoln"The main strength in my mind is the clarity of the writing. Shafer-Landau has a gift for conveying the core ideas of diffshow more

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION; The Lay of the Land; Ethical Starting Points; Moral Reasoning; The Role of Moral Theory; Looking Ahead; PART ONE: THE GOOD LIFE; 1. HEDONISM: ITS POWERFUL APPEAL; Happiness and Intrinsic Value; The Attractions of Hedonism; 2. IS HAPPINESS ALL THAT MATTERS?; The Paradox of Hedonism; Evil Pleasures; The Two Worlds; False Happiness; The Importance of Autonomy; Life's Trajectory; Unhappiness as a Symptom of Harm; Conclusion; 3. GETTING WHAT YOU WANT; A Variety of Good Lives; Personal Authority; Avoiding Objective Values; Motivation; Justifying the Pursuit of Self-Interest; Knowledge of the Good; 4. PROBLEMS FOR THE DESIRE THEORY; Getting What You Want May Not Be Necessary for Promoting Your Good; Getting What You Want May Not Be Sufficient for Promoting Your Good; Conclusion; PART TWO: DOING THE RIGHT THING; 5. MORALITY AND RELIGION; Three Assumptions About Religion and Morality; Conclusion; 6. NATURAL LAW; The Theory and Its Attractions; Two Conceptions of Human Nature; Natural Purposes; The Argument from Humanity; Conclusion; 7. PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM; Egoism and Altruism; The Argument from Our Strongest Desires; The Argument from Expected Benefit; The Argument from Avoiding Misery; Two Egoistic Strategies; Letting the Evidence Decide; Conclusion; 8. ETHICAL EGOISM; Why Be Moral?; Two Popular Arguments for Ethical Egoism; The Best Argument for Ethical Egoism; Three Problems for Ethical Egoism; Conclusion; 9. CONSEQUENTIALISM: ITS NATURE AND ATTRACTIONS; The Nature of Consequentialism; The Attractions of Utilitarianism; The Scope of the Moral Community; 10. CONSEQUENTIALISM: ITS DIFFICULTIES; Measuring Well-Being; Utilitarianism Is Very Demanding; Impartiality; No Intrinsic Wrongness (or Rightness); The Problem of Injustice; Potential Solutions to the Problem of Injustice; Rule Consequentialism; Conclusion; 11. THE KANTIAN PERSPECTIVE: FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE; Consistency and Fairness; The Principle of Universalizability; Morality and Rationality; Assessing the Principle of Universalizability; Integrity; Kant on Absolute Moral Duties; 12. THE KANTIAN PERSPECTIVE: AUTONOMY AND RESPECT; The Principle of Humanity; The Importance of Rationality and Autonomy; The Good Will and Moral Worth; Five Problems with the Principle of Humanity; Conclusion; 13. THE SOCIAL CONTRACT TRADITION: THE THEORY AND ITS ATTRACTIONS; The Lure of Proceduralism; The Background of the Social Contract Theory; The Prisoner's Dilemma; Cooperation and the State of Nature; The Advantages of Contractarianism; More Advantages: Morality and the Law; 14. THE SOCIAL CONTRACT TRADITION: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS; Why Be Moral?; The Role of Consent; Disagreement Among the Contractors; The Scope of the Moral Community; Conclusion; 15. ETHICAL PLURALISM AND ABSOLUTE MORAL RULES; The Structure of Moral Theories; Is Torture Always Immoral?; Preventing Catastrophes; The Doctrine of Double Effect; Moral Conflict and Contradiction; Is Moral Absolutism Irrational?; The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing; Conclusion; 16. ETHICAL PLURALISM: PRIMA FACIE DUTIES AND ETHICAL PARTICULARISM; Ross's Ethic of Prima Facie Duties; The Advantages of Ross's View; A Problem for Ross's View; Knowing the Fundamental Moral Rules; Self-Evidence and the Testing of Moral Theories; Knowing the Right Thing To Do; Ethical Particularism; Three Problems for Ethical Particularism; Conclusion; 17. VIRTUE ETHICS; The Standard of Right Action; Moral Complexity; Moral Understanding; Moral Education; The Nature of Virtue; Virtue and the Good Life; Objections; Conclusion; 18. FEMINIST ETHICS; The Elements of Feminist Ethics; Moral Development; Women's Experience; The Ethics of Care; Challenges for Feminist Ethics; Conclusion; PART THREE: THE STATUS OF MORALITY; 19. ETHICAL RELATIVISM; Moral Skepticism; Two Kinds of Ethical Relativism; Some Implications of Ethical Subjectivism and Cultural Relativism; Ideal Observers; Conclusion; 20. MORAL NIHILISM; Error Theory; Expressivism; Conclusion; 21. TEN ARGUMENTS AGAINST MORAL OBJECTIVITY; 1. Objectivity Requires Absolutism; 2. All Truth is Subjective; 3. Equal Rights Entail Equal Plausibility; 4. Moral Objectivity Supports Dogmatism; 5. Moral Objectivity Supports Intolerance; 6. Moral Disagreement Undermines Moral Objectivity; 7. Atheism Undermines Moral Objectivity; 8. The Absence of Categorical Reasons Undermines Moral Objectivity; 9. Moral Motivation Undermines Moral Objectivity; 10. Values Have No Place in a Scientific World; Conclusionshow more

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234 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 21% (49)
4 38% (88)
3 28% (65)
2 9% (20)
1 5% (12)
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