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Closely examine the major areas of ethical theory as well as a broad range of contemporary moral debates using MacKinnon's acclaimed ETHICS: THEORY AND CONTEMPORARY ISSUES, Seventh Edition. Illuminating overviews and a selection of readings from both traditional and contemporary sources make even complex philosophical concepts reader friendly. Comprehensive, clear-sighted introductions to general and specific areas of ethical debate cover major ethical theories, including feminist ethics, contract theory, and ethical relativism, before delving into issues ranging from euthanasia and sexual morality to war and globalization. A broader range of voices and philosophical traditions in this edition includes continental and non-Western philosophers, with new readings from prominent ethicists. Increased coverage of contemporary dilemmas highlights issues of widespread interest, including torture and terrorism, "partial birth" abortion, cloning, same-sex marriage, and global distributive justice. An innovative online resource center offers, among other things, animated simulations. These simulations allows you to personally engage with dilemmas and thought experiments commonly presented in introduction to ethics classes and provide instructors with a way to seamlessly integrate online assignments into the class.

Barbara MacKinnon, University of San Francisco

Barbara MacKinnon is a professor emerita of philosophy at the University of San Francisco. During her 30 years of teaching, her instruction and writing focused primarily on the history of ethics and contemporary ethical issues. She enjoys reading widely, playing the piano, and traveling.
  • NEW! Two chapters, one on Feminist Thought and the Ethics of Care and one on Contractarianism.
  • NEW! Readings from influential ethicists and philosophers, including articles by Annette Baier, Thomas Hobbes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nel Noddings, Jean Paul Sartre, T. M. Scanlon, Amartya Sen, and C. L. Stevenson.
  • NEW! Overviews have been updated with timely events and current research to ensure that the examples are relevant and factual.
  • NEW! The innovative Resource Center has been updated and expanded, but still includes the interactive learning modules that use flash-animated ethics simulations.
  • NEW! A four color layout designed with readability and student interest in mind. Opening vignettes in each chapter are highlighted with illustrations to help today's visually-oriented student focus and engage with the text.
  • Effective learning aids: Study Questions at the beginning of each reading help students focus and become critically engaged with the content. Review Exercises at the end of each chapter can also serve as test or exam questions. Discussion Cases, following each chapter in the second part of the text, encourage profitable classroom discussion.
  • Valuable introductions to guide learning: Extended introductions in this edition's chapters on theory provide detailed summaries of the theories, major issues, positions, and arguments. Extended introductions for the applied ethics chapters highlight relevant cases and place information within the context of current news events.
  • Balanced presentation: This book introduces traditional ethics as developed in the European tradition, while still emphasizing a range of cultural, gender, racial, and international perspectives.
  • Assistance in writing papers: Because writing philosophy papers often poses a significant challenge for today's students, a 12-page appendix dedicated to writing ethics papers provides much-needed assistance. In addition, topics and resources for written assignments appear within discussion cases, the text's companion website, and within each end-of-chapter bibliography.
  • Intriguing chapter openings: Actual, interesting life events, hypothetical dialogue, or recent empirical data at the beginning of each chapter capture students' interest and direct their attention to the engaging readings that follow.
1. Ethics and Ethical Reasoning.
Why Study Ethics? Metaethics. What Is Ethics? Ethics and Religion. Ethical and Other Types of Evaluation. Ethical Terms. Ethics and Reasons. Alternate Theories: Intuitionism and Emotivism. Ethical Reasoning and Arguments. The Structure of Ethical Reasoning and Argument. Evaluating and Making Good Arguments. Ethical Theory. Types of Ethical Theory. Can Ethics Be Taught? READING: Plato Euthyphro. C. L. Stevenson The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms. Review Exercises.
2. Ethical Relativism.
What Is Ethical Relativism? Two Forms of Ethical Relativism. Strong Versus Weak Interpretations of Ethical Relativism. Reasons Supporting Ethical Relativism. The Diversity of Moral Views. Moral Uncertainty. Situational Differences. Are These Reasons Convincing? The Diversity of Moral Views. Moral Uncertainty. Situational Differences. Further Considerations. Moral Realism. Moral Pluralism. READINGS: Mary Midgley Trying Out One’s New Sword. Friedrich Nietzsche Master and Slave Moralities. Review Exercises.
3. Egoism.
Psychological Egoism. What Is Psychological Egoism? Is Psychological Egoism True? Ethical Egoism. What Is Ethical Egoism? Is Ethical Egoism a Good Theory? The Moral Point of View. Why Be Moral? READINGS: Plato The Ring of Gyges. Thomas Hobbes Self Love. Review Exercises.
4. Utilitarianism.
Historical Background. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. The Principle of Utility. A Consequentialist Principle. The Intrinsic Good: Pleasure or Happiness. Calculating the Greatest Amount of Happiness. Quantity and Quality of Pleasure. Evaluating Utilitarianism. Application of the Principle. Utilitarianism and Personal Integrity. Ends and Means. The Trolley Problem. Act and Rule Utilitarianism. “Proof” of the Theory. READINGS: Jeremy Bentham An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation(1789). John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism. Review Exercises.
5. Kant’s Moral Theory.
Historical Background: Immanuel Kant. What Gives an Act Moral Worth? What Is the Right Motive? What Is the Right Thing to Do? The Categorical Imperative. The First Form. The Second Form. Evaluating Kant’s Moral Theory. The Nature of Moral Obligation. The Application of the Categorical Imperative. Duty. Moral Equality and Impartiality. Perfect and Imperfect Duties. Variations on Kantian Moral Theory. READING: Immanuel Kant Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals. Review Exercises.
6. Contractarianism.
READINGS: Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan. T. M. Scanlon Contractualism and Utilitarianism.
7. Morality and Human Nature.
Natural Law Theory. What Kind of Law Is Natural Law? Historical Origins: Aristotle. Nature, Human Nature, and the Human Good. Evaluating Natural Law Theory. Natural Rights. Evaluating Natural Rights Theory. Is There a Human Nature. READINGS: Thomas Aquinas On Natural Law. John Locke Second Treatise of Civil Government. Jean-Paul Sartre Existentialism Is a Humanism. Review Exercises.
8. Virtue Ethics.
Virtues and Everyday Life. What Is Virtue? Evaluating Virtue Ethics. READINGS: Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics. Philippa Foot Virtues and Vices. Review Exercises.
9. Feminist Thought and The Ethics of Care.
An Ethics of Care. Is There a Gender Difference in Morality? The Source of Feminine Morality. Feminine Versus Masculine Morality. Feminist Thought. Evaluation of Feminist Thought and the Ethics of Care. READINGS: Nel Noddings Caring. Annette Baier The Need for More than Justice. Review Exercises.
10. Euthanasia.
Brain Death, Coma, and Persistent Vegetative State. Meaning and Types of Euthanasia. Active and Passive Euthanasia. Physician-Assisted Suicide. Pain Medication That Causes Death. Ordinary and Extraordinary Measures. Voluntary and Nonvoluntary Euthanasia. Combining the Types of Euthanasia. Morality and the Law. Making Moral Judgments About Euthanasia. The Moral Significance of Voluntariness. Active Versus Passive Euthanasia. Ordinary Versus Extraordinary Measures. Infant Euthanasia. READINGS: J. Gay-Williams The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia. James Rachels Active and Passive Euthanasia. Carl B. Becker Buddhist Views of Suicide and Euthanasia. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
11. Abortion.
Stages of Fetal Development. Methods of Abortion. Abortion and the Law. Abortion: The Moral Question. Arguments That Do Not Depend on the Moral Status of the Fetus. Utilitarian Reasoning. Some Rights Arguments. Arguments That Depend on the Moral Status of the Fetus. Method I. Method II. READINGS: Judith Jarvis Thomson A Defense of Abortion. Don Marquis Why Abortion Is Immoral. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
12. Sexual Morality.
Conceptual Problems: What Is and Is Not Sexual. Relevant Factual Matters. Sexual Morality and Ethical Theories. Consequentialist or Utilitarian Considerations. Nonconsequentialist or Kantian Considerations. Naturalness Considerations. Homosexuality. Prostitution. READINGS: D. P. Verene Sexual Love and Moral Experience. Richard D. Mohr Prejudice and Homosexuality. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
13. Equality and Discrimination.
Civil Rights Laws: A Brief History. Racism and Sexism. The Principle of Equality. Justice. Social Benefits and Harms. Proof. Real Differences. Relevant Differences. Challenges to the Principle. Affirmative Action and Preferential Treatment. Consequentialist Considerations. Nonconsequentialist Considerations. READINGS: Robert K. Fullinwider Affirmative Action and Fairness. Martin Luther King Jr. Letter from the Birmingham Jail. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
14. Economic Justice.
Income Inequality. Health Care 283. Justice, Charity, and Efficiency. Process Distributive Justice. End State Distributive Justice. Equal Opportunity. Political and Economic Theories. Libertarianism. Capitalism. Socialism. Modern Liberalism. John Rawls’s Theory of Justice. Communitarianism. READINGS: John Rawls Justice as Fairness. Robert Nozick Distributive Justice. Amartya Sen The Idea of Justice. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
15. Legal Punishment.
The Nature of Legal Punishment. The Deterrence Argument. Problematic Aspects. The Retributivist Argument. Problematic Aspects. Punishment and Responsibility. The Death Penalty. On Deterrence Grounds. On Retributivist Grounds. Other Concerns. READINGS: Ernest van den Haag The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense. Hugo Bedau How to Argue About the Death Penalty. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
16. Environmental Ethics.
The Environment. Value. Anthropocentrism. Cost–Benefit Analysis. Human Environmental Impact. Ecocentrism. Deep Ecology. Ecofeminism. Sustainable Development. READINGS: William F. Baxter People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution. Bill Devall and George Sessions Deep Ecology. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
17. Animal Rights.
Sentience. Animal Rights. Animal Experimentation. Endangered Species. READINGS: Peter Singer All Animals Are Equal. Bonnie Steinbock Speciesism and the Idea of Equality. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
18. Stem Cell Research, Cloning, and Genetic Engineering.
Stem Cell Research. Legal and Ethical Issues. Human Cloning. Therapeutic Cloning. Reproductive Cloning. Ethical Issues. Genetic Engineering. Ethical Issues. Genetically Modified Plants and Animals. Ethical Issues. Genetic Screening. The Value of Privacy. Screening and Conflicts of Interest. READINGS: Leon R. Kass The Wisdom of Repugnance. Kerry Lynn Macintosh Illegal Beings: Human Clones and the Law. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
19. Violence, Terrorism, and War.
Violence. Terrorism. Ethical Issues. Pacifism. Just War Theory. Jus ad Bellum. Jus in Bello. Non-Traditional Military Conflicts. Weapons of Mass Destruction. War Crimes and Universal Human Rights. Torture. READINGS: Jean Bethke Elshtain What Is a Terrorist? Michael Walzer The Triumph of Just War Theory (and the Dangers of Success). Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
20. Global Issues and Globalization.
Rich and Poor Nations. Causes. Some Solutions. Ethical Considerations. Globalization. Values. Free-Market Capitalism. Modernization. READINGS: Peter Singer Famine, Affluence, and Morality. Herman E. Daly Globalization and Its Discontents. Vandana Shiva Principles of Earth Democracy. Review Exercises. Discussion Cases.
APPENDIX: How to Write an Ethics Paper.
The Content of the Paper. The Paper’s Structure. Format. Grammar, Spelling, and Gender. Types of Ethics Papers. A Historical Approach. A Problem in Ethical Theory. A Contemporary Moral Issue. Is It an Ethics Paper? Structuring or Analyzing an Ethical Argument. Reasons and Conclusions. Types and Sources of Evidence. Types of Reasons. Top-to-Bottom or Bottom-to-Top Reasoning? Using Analogies. Sample Ethics Papers. Historical Approach. A Problem in Ethical Theory. A Contemporary Ethical Issue.

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"Excellent, perspicuous, and well-balanced. Barbara McKinnon manages to give to a typical undergraduate a broad and nuanced survey of subtly theoretical and practical points, as well as introducing the student to some of the most vital contemporary ethical dilemmas faced by our culture and humanity per se." -- Will Kallfelz, New Mexico State University

"This text offers an effective balance between ethical theory and applied ethics, addressing all of the major theories and issues in clear, comprehensive and accessible units." -- Leigh Johnson, Rhodes College

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


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ISBN: 9781305959392
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ISBN: 9781305959415
Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero®, is a flexible, online system that allows you to import, edit, and manipulate content from the text's test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.