The Fundamentals of Ethics

Paperback | July 4, 2014

byRuss Shafer-Landau

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This text carefully reconstructs and analyzes dozens of arguments in depth, and introduces 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 addressesissues that are often omitted from other texts, such as the doctrine of doing and allowing, the doctrine of double effect, and more.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, Third Edition.

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This text carefully reconstructs and analyzes dozens of arguments in depth, and introduces 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 addressesissues that are often omitted from other texts, ...

Russ Shafer-Landau is Chair and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of several books including The Ethical Life, Third Edition (OUP, 2014), Reason and Responsibility, Fifteenth Edition (2013), and Ethical Theory: An Anthology, Second Edition (2012). He is also the edito...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:July 4, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199997233

ISBN - 13:9780199997237

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Table of Contents

*=New to this EditionPrefaceNew to the Third EditionInstructor's Manual and Companion WebsiteA Note on the Companion VolumeAcknowledgmentsINTRODUCTIONThe Lay of the LandSkepticism about EthicsEthical Starting PointsWhat Is Morality? *Moral ReasoningThe Role of Moral TheoryLooking AheadPART ONE. THE GOOD LIFE1. Hedonism: Its Powerful AppealHappiness and Intrinsic ValueThe Attractions of Hedonism- There Are Many Models of a Good Life- Personal Authority and Well-Being- Misery Clearly Hampers a Good Life; Happiness Clearly Improves It- The Limits of Explanation- Rules of the Good Life - and Their Exceptions- Happiness Is What We Want for Our Loved Ones2. Is Happiness All That Matters?The Paradox of HedonismEvil PleasuresThe Two WorldsFalse HappinessThe Importance of AutonomyLife's TrajectoryUnhappiness as a Symptom of HarmConclusion3. Getting What You WantA Variety of Good LivesPersonal AuthorityAvoiding Objective ValuesMotivationJustifying the Pursuit of Self-InterestKnowledge of the Good4. Problems for the Desire TheoryGetting What You Want May Not Be Necessary for Promoting Your GoodGetting What You Want May Not Be Sufficient for Promoting Your Good- Desires Based on False Beliefs- Disinterested and Other-Regarding Desires- Disappointment- Ignorance of Desire Satisfaction- Impoverished Desires- The Paradox of Self-Harm and Self-Sacrifice- The Fallibility of Our Deepest DesiresConclusionPART TWO. NORMATIVE ETHICS: DOING THE RIGHT THING5. Morality and ReligionThree Assumptions about Morality and Religion- First Assumption: Religious Belief Is Needed for Moral Motivation- Second Assumption: God Is the Creator of Morality- Third Assumption: Religion Is an Essential Source of Moral GuidanceConclusion6. Natural LawThe Theory and Its AttractionsThree Conceptions of Human Nature- Human Nature as Animal Nature *- Human Nature Is What Is Innately Human- Human Nature Is What All Humans Have in CommonNatural PurposesThe Argument from HumanityConclusion7. Psychological EgoismEgoism and AltruismDoes It Matter whether Psychological Egoism Is True?The Argument from Our Strongest DesiresThe Argument from Expected BenefitThe Argument from Avoiding MiseryTwo Egoistic Strategies- Appealing to the Guilty Conscience- Expanding the Realm of Self-InterestLetting the Evidence DecideConclusion8. Ethical EgoismWhy Be Moral?Two Popular Arguments for Ethical Egoism- The Self-Reliance Argument- The Libertarian ArgumentThe Best Argument for Ethical EgoismThree Problems for Ethical Egoism- Egoism Violates Core Moral Beliefs- Egoism Cannot Allow for the Existence of Moral Rights- Egoism Arbitrarily Makes My Interests All-ImportantConclusion9. Consequentialism: Its Nature and AttractionsThe Nature of Consequentialism- Its Structure- Maximizing Goodness- Moral Knowledge- Actual versus Expected Results- Assessing Actions and IntentionsThe Attractions of Utilitarianism- Impartiality- The Ability to Justify Conventional Moral Wisdom- Conflict Resolution- Moral FlexibilityThe Scope of the Moral CommunitySlippery Slope Arguments *10. Consequentialism: Its DifficultiesMeasuring Well-BeingUtilitarianism Is Very Demanding- Deliberation- Motivation- ActionImpartialityNo Intrinsic Wrongness (or Rightness)The Problem of InjusticePotential Solutions to the Problem of Injustice- Justice Is Also Intrinsically Valuable- Injustice Is Never Optimific- Justice Must Sometimes Be SacrificedRule ConsequentialismConclusion11. The Kantian Perspective: Fairness and JusticeConsistency and FairnessThe Principle of UniversalizabilityMorality and RationalityAssessing the Principle of UniversalizabilityIntegrityKant on Absolute Moral Duties12. The Kantian Perspective: Autonomy and RespectThe Principle of HumanityThe Importance of Rationality and AutonomyThe Good Will and Moral WorthFive Problems with the Principle of Humanity- Vagueness- Determining Just Deserts- Are We Autonomous?- Moral Luck- The Scope of the Moral CommunityConclusion13. The Social Contract Tradition: The Theory and Its AttractionsThe Lure of ProceduralismThe Background of the Social Contract TheoryThe Prisoner's DilemmaCooperation and the State of NatureThe Advantages of Contractarianism- Morality Is Essentially a Social Phenomenon- Contractarianism Explains and Justifies the Content of the Basic Moral Rules- Contractarianism Offers a Method for Justifying Every Moral Rule- Contractarianism Explains the Objectivity of Morality- Contractarianism Explains Why It Is Sometimes Acceptable to Break the Moral RulesMore Advantages: Morality and the Law- Contractarianism Justifies a Basic Moral Duty to Obey the Law- The Contractarian Justification of Legal Punishment- Contractarianism Justifies the State's Role in Criminal Law- Contractarianism and Civil Disobedience14. The Social Contract Tradition: Problems and ProspectsWhy Be Moral?The Role of ConsentDisagreement among the ContractorsThe Scope of the Moral CommunityConclusion15. Ethical Pluralism and Absolute Moral RulesThe Structure of Moral TheoriesIs Torture Always Immoral?Preventing CatastrophesThe Doctrine of Double Effect- A Reply to the Argument from Disaster Prevention- How the DDE Threatens Act Consequentialism- Distinguishing Intention from ForesightMoral Conflict and ContradictionIs Moral Absolutism Irrational?The Doctrine of Doing and AllowingConclusion16. Ethical Pluralism: Prima Facie Duties and Ethical ParticularismRoss's Ethic of Prima Facie DutiesThe Advantages of Ross's View- Pluralism- We Are Sometimes Permitted to Break the Moral Rules- Moral Conflict- Moral Regret- Addressing the Antiabsolutist ArgumentsA Problem for Ross's ViewKnowing the Fundamental Moral RulesSelf-Evidence and the Testing of Moral TheoriesKnowing the Right Thing to DoEthical ParticularismThree Problems for Ethical Particularism- Its Lack of Unity- Accounting for Moral Knowledge- Some Things Possess Permanent Moral ImportanceConclusion17. Virtue EthicsThe Standard of Right ActionMoral ComplexityMoral UnderstandingMoral EducationThe Nature of VirtueVirtue and the Good LifeObjections- Tragic Dilemmas- Does Virtue Ethics Offer Adequate Moral Guidance?- Is Virtue Ethics Too Demanding?- Who Are the Moral Role Models?- Conflict and Contradiction- The Priority ProblemConclusion18. Feminist EthicsThe Elements of Feminist EthicsMoral DevelopmentWomen's ExperienceThe Ethics of Care- The Importance of Emotions- Against Unification- Against Impartiality and Abstraction- Against Competition- Downplaying RightsChallenges for Feminist EthicsConclusionPART THREE. METAETHICS: THE STATUS OF MORALITY19. Ethical RelativismMoral SkepticismTwo Kinds of Ethical RelativismSome Implications of Ethical Subjectivism and Cultural Relativism- Moral Infallibility- Moral Equivalence- Questioning Our Own Commitments- Moral Progress- Ethical Subjectivism and the Problem of Contradiction- Cultural Relativism and the Problem of ContradictionIdeal ObserversConclusion20. Moral NihilismError TheoryExpressivism- How Is It Possible to Argue Logically about Morality?- Expressivism and Amoralists- The Nature of Moral JudgmentConclusion21. Eleven Arguments against Moral Objectivity1. Objectivity Requires Absolutism2. All Truth Is Subjective3. Equal Rights Imply Equal Plausibility4. Moral Objectivity Supports Dogmatism5. Moral Objectivity Supports Intolerance6. Moral Objectivity Cannot Allow for Legitimate Cultural Variation *7. Moral Disagreement Undermines Moral Objectivity8. Atheism Undermines Moral Objectivity9. The Absence of Categorical Reasons Undermines Moral Objectivity10. Moral Motivation Undermines Moral Objectivity11. Values Have No Place in a Scientific WorldConclusionReferencesSuggestions for Further ReadingGlossaryIndex