Higher Education

Ethics and Politics: Cases and Comments, 4th Edition

  • Amy Gutmann Princeton University
  • Dennis F. Thompson Harvard University
  • ISBN-10: 0534626459  |  ISBN-13: 9780534626457
  • 448 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 1997
  • © 2006 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $117.75



A casebook that helps students recognize and assess the strengths and weaknesses of moral arguments in the making of public policy, ETHICS AND POLITICS: CASES AND COMMENTS is a special book for a unique course in the political science curriculum. Meant to be used in conjunction with other readings on political theory or moral philosophy, part one considers the ethics of process: the morally questionable means--violence, deception, and corruption--that are most commonly used by public officials. Part two discusses the ethics of policy: the valuable but often competing ends that public officials strive to achieve. Conflicting values, scarce resources, and stakes as high as life and death combine with the duties of public office to make choices among policy goals controversial and morally difficult. In both parts, each ethical issue is paired with case studies in contemporary American politics. For example, the controversy over the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay; or issues during the campaign and election of 2004.

Table of Contents

Recommended Reading.
1. Violence.
Introduction. The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb. Alternatives to the Bomb. Bombing the Bunker in Baghdad. Intervention in Somalia. Why Attack Iraq? Interrogating Detainees. Recommended Reading.
2. Deception and Secrecy.
Introduction. Disinformation for Qaddafi. The Iran-Contra Affair. George W. Bush on Iraq's Nuclear Weapons. A Standard of Candor. A Tale of Two Task Forces. Recommended Reading.
3. Privacy of Officials.
Introduction. The Confirmation of Justice Thomas. The Investigation and Impeachment of President Clinton. Recommended Reading.
4. Manipulation.
Introduction. Crafty Communications. Lyndon Johnson, Master Manipulator. The Texas Redistricting Caper. Statesman or Sap? Al Gore in Florida in the 2000 Election. Recommended Reading.
5. Official Disobedience.
Introduction. The Odd Couple. Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. George Shultz and the Polygraph Test. George Shultz and the Iran-Contra Affair. Agent Rowley Blows the Whistle. The Space Shuttle Challenger. The Space Shuttle Columbia. Recommended Reading.
6. Policy Analysis.
Introduction. Saving the Tuolumne. The Risks of Asarco. The Calculator. Listening to the City: What Should Be Built at Ground Zero? Recommended Reading.
7. Distributive Justice.
Introduction. Defunding Organ Transplants in Arizona. Rationing in Public: The Oregon Health Plan. Welfare Reform in Wisconsin. Death and Taxes. Recommended Reading.
8. Equal Opportunity.
Introduction. Affirmative Action at AT&T. Affirmative Action at the Michigan Law School. The Vouchers that Made Milwaukee Famous. A Golfer's Handicap? Recommended Reading.
9. Liberty and Morality.
Introduction. Decriminalizing Marijuana for Medical Use. Tossing Dwarfs in Illinois. Making Marriage Gay. The Controversial Curriculum. Recommended Reading.
10. Liberty and Life.
Introduction. Administering Abortion Policy. Abortion in South Dakota. Regulating Abortion Late in the Term. Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research. Ethics Without Borders? Clinical Trials of AZT. Recommended Reading.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Amy Gutmann

Amy Gutmann is President of the University of Pennsylvania, where she is Professor of Politics with secondary appointments in the Department of Philosophy, the Annenberg School of Communication, and the Graduate School of Education. She is also Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor Emeritus of Princeton University where she was provost, dean of the faculty, and founding director of the University Center of Human Values. Her books include IDENTITY IN DEMOCRACY; DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION; COLOR CONSCIOUS: THE POLITICAL MORALITY OF RACE (co-authored with K. Anthony Appiah); and DEMOCRACY AND DISAGREEMENT, AND WHY DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY? (both co-authored with Dennis Thompson). She has published over 100 articles and essays in democratic theory, education, and the ethics of public life. In 2003, Gutmann was awarded Harvard University's Centennial Medal for "graduate alumni who have made exceptional contributions to society." She has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the National Academy of Education, and a W.E.B. Dubois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Dennis F. Thompson

Dennis F. Thompson is Professor of Government and the Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He is also a professor in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the founding Director of the University Center for Ethics and the Professions, and Senior Adviser to the President of the University. Thompson's most recent book is JUST ELECTIONS: CREATING A FAIR ELECTORAL PROCESS IN THE UNITED STATES. His other books include: DEMOCRACY AND DISAGREEMENT, (jointly authored with Amy Gutmann), THE DEMOCRATIC CITIZEN: SOCIAL SCIENCE AND DEMOCRATIC THEORY IN THE 20TH CENTURY, JOHN STUART MILL and REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, ETHICS IN CONGRESS: FROM INDIVIDUAL TO INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION, and POLITICAL ETHICS AND PUBLIC OFFICE, which won the American Political Science Association's Gladys M. Kammerer award for the best political science publication in the field of U.S. National policy in 1987. His articles have appeared in such journals as the American Political Science Review, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Political Theory, and Ethics. Professor Thompson's current teaching and research concentrate on democratic theory and political ethics.