Higher Education

Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life: Introductory Readings in Ethics, 8th Edition

  • Christina Hoff Sommers Clark University
  • Fred Sommers Brandeis University (Emeritus)
  • ISBN-10: 0495601616  |  ISBN-13: 9780495601616
  • 544 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2004, 2001
  • © 2010 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $190.00
  • Newer Edition Available



VICE AND VIRTUE IN EVERYDAY LIFE has been a bestseller in college ethics for more than two decades because it is well-liked by both instructors and students. Instructors appreciate it for its philosophical breadth and seriousness. Students welcome the engaging topics and engaging, carefully chosen readings. VICE AND VIRTUE IN EVERYDAY LIFE provides students with a lively selection of classical and contemporary readings on pressing matters of personal and social morality. The text includes an overview of seminal ethical theories, as well as a unique set of stimulating articles on matters of social responsibility, personal integrity and individual virtue. The chapter structure begins by helping students to understand the importance of character and sympathy then turns toward developing their comprehension of seminal ethical theories. Finally, students examine the role of ethics in social policy issues, and end by focusing on the meaning of life. While the readings consistently represent different points of view, the book maintains a strong sense of the importance of avoiding cruelty and practicing kindness in a well-lived life.

Features and Benefits

  • Chapter introductions pose the philosophical questions that provide chapters' foci; in addition, these introductions frame the reading selections therein.
  • Reading introductions provide brief biographical information about the authors as well as an overview of the key insights and positions to be encountered in each of the readings.
  • Study questions following each reading provide for fruitful out-of-class reflection or in-class discussion.
  • The inclusion of sacred texts and fiction selections exhibits the stylistic diversity of philosophical reflection.
  • Chapter introductions pose the philosophical questions that provide chapters' foci; in addition, these introductions frame the reading selections therein.

Table of Contents

Philip Hallie: From Cruelty to Goodness. Jonathan Bennett: The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn. John T. Noonan, Jr.: Three Moral Certainties. Philip Hallie: The Evil that Men Think – And Do. Tzvetan Todorov: Facing the Extreme: The War of All Against All. Anne Applebaum: The Gulag: Strategies for Survival. Stanley Milgram: The Perils of Obedience. Josiah Royce: The Moral Insight. Herman Melville: Billy Budd. Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil.
Herodotus: Morality as Custom. Ruth Benedict: A Defense of Moral Relativism. William Graham Sumner: A Defense of Cultural Relativism. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban: Cultural Relativism and Universal Rights. Jane Perlez: Uganda's Women: Children, Drudgery, and Pain. Lawrence Adam Lengbeyer: An Alternative to Moral Relativism. Louis Pojman: Who's to Judge?. Thomas Nagel: The Objective Basis of Morality. R.M. MacIver: The Deep Beauty of the Golden Rule. Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have a Dream. The United Nations Charter: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Plato: The Ring of Gyges. Thomas Hobbes: Of the State of Men without Civil Society. David Hume: Of Self-Love. Harry Browne: The Unselfishness Trap. James Rachels: Egoism and Moral Skepticism. Ayn Rand: The Virtue of Selfishness. Louis Pojman: Egoism, Self-Interest, and Altruism. Colin McGinn: Why Not Be a Bad Person? Peter Singer: Why Act Morally?
The Judeo-Christian Tradition. Robert C. Mortimer: Morality Is Based on God''s Commands. John Arthur: Why Morality Does Not Depend on Religion. David Hume: Of Benevolence. John Stuart Mill: Uilitarianism. Bernard Williams: A Critique of Utilitarianism. Robert Nozick: The Experience Machine. Ursula Le Guin: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. Immanuel Kant: Good Will, Duty, and the Categorical Imperative. Fred Sommers: The Holocaust and Moral Philosophy. Richard Taylor:Critique of Kant.
Aristotle: Happiness and the Virtues. Saint Augustine: Virtue and the Human Soul. Epictetus: The Art of Living. Vice Admiral James Stockdale: The World of Epictetus. Bernardo Mayo: Virtue or Duty? Alasdair MacIntyre: Tradition and the Virtues. Rachels: The Ethics of Virtue. Adam Smith: Of Justice and Beneficence. Charles Darwin: The Origin of the Moral Sense. Bowen McCoy: The Parable of the Sadhu.
6. VICE.
Plutarch: Vice. Saint Augustine: The Depths of Vice. Jonathan Edwards: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Dante Alighieri: The Hypocrites. Samuel Johnson: Self-Deception. Bishop Butler: Upon Self-Deceit. Immanuel Kant: Jealousy, Envy, and Spite. Leo Tolstoy: How Much Land Does a Man Need? A Parable on Greed.
Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality. John Arthur: World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case Against Singer. James Shikwati: "For Heaven''s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!" John T. Noonan, Jr.: An Almost Absolute Value in History. Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion. Judith Thomson: A Defense of Abortion. Don Marquis: Why Abortion is Immoral.
Immanuel Kant: On Duties to Animals. James Rachels: A Moral Defense of Vegetarianism. Peter Singer: Down on the Factory Farm. Michael Pollan: An Animal''s Place. Roger Scruton: The Case Against Animal Rights. Barbara Bergman: The Case for Affirmative Action. Shelby Steele: What is Wrong with Affirmative Action?
Tao Ch''ien: Substance, Shadow and Spirit. Bhagavad-Gita: Selection. Buddha: The Four Noble Truths. Leo Tolstoy: My Confession. Bertrand Russell: A Free Man''s Worship. Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus. Thomas Nagel: The Meaning of Life. Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialism is Humanism. Joel Feinberg: Absurd Self-fulfillment: An Essay on the Perversity of the Gods. Viktor Frankl: The Human Search for Meaning. The Book of Job: Selection.

What's New

  • Selections on contemporary issues focus more closely on what the college classroom is requesting: political and social issues of immediate relevance and newsworthiness—such as war, terrorism, justice, torture.
  • Additional study and essay questions per reading provide additional reinforcement and review opportunities.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Web Site  (ISBN-10: 0495601632 | ISBN-13: 9780495601630)

: Rich teaching and learning resources-including chapter-by-chapter outlines and reviews, a glossary and flashcards, tutorial quizzing, Internet exercises and helpful weblinks.

eBank Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 0495601640 | ISBN-13: 9780495601647)

Prepare for class more quickly and effectively with test bank questions. Contact your local Wadsworth Cengage Learning representative for a digital file of this resource.

Student Supplements

Web Site  (ISBN-10: 0495601632 | ISBN-13: 9780495601630)

Rich learning resources-including chapter-by-chapter outlines and reviews, a glossary and flashcards, tutorial quizzing, Internet exercises and helpful weblinks.

List Price = $.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who taught ethics at Clark University and the University of Massachusetts. Her recent books include a second edition of "The War Against Boys" (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) and "One Nation Under Therapy".

Fred Sommers

Fred Sommers is professor emeritus at Brandeis University. He continues to publish widely on logic, belief, and other philosophical topics. In 2005, MIT Press published a book of essays called "The New Old Logic", which honors Sommers' distinctive contributions to 20th century philosophy.