Higher Education

Life and Death: A Reader in Moral Problems, 2nd Edition

  • Louis P. Pojman (deceased) Late of the United States Military Academy, West Point
  • ISBN-10: 0534508251  |  ISBN-13: 9780534508258
  • 592 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 1992
  • © 2000 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $168.50



This anthology examines 11 key issues dealing with the beginning and end of life, and presents a balanced set of 67 classic and contemporary readings on each of them. It is unique in its coverage of applied ethics, medical topics, and broad theoretical considerations of issues of life and death-the sanctity of life versus the quality of life, and the meaning of life and death. The section on Ethical Theory covers the classic theories as well as ethical relativism to orient students to the nature and importance of ethics. The section on the sanctity of life versus the quality of life examines a vital but often neglected issue in moral philosophy. Introductions and study questions accompany each major reading.

Table of Contents

Preface. I. ETHICAL THEORIES. A. Classical Theories. 1. Immanual Kant: Deontological Ethics. 2. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism. 3. Thomas Hobbes: Contractual Ethics. B. Relativism and Objectivism. 4. Herodotus: Custom is King. 5. Ruth Benedict: A Defense of Ethical Relativism. 6. Louis P. Pojman: A Defense of Ethical Objectivism. II. THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE. 7. The Bible: Genesis and Psalm 8: The Devine Creation of Humanity. 8. Albert Schweitzer: Reverence for Life. 9. Jonathan Glover: Against the Sanctity of Life Doctrine. 10. H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.: The Sanctity of Life and the Concept of a Person. 11. Daniel Callahan: The Sanctity of Life Principle: The New Consensus. III. DEATH AND THE MEANING OF LIFE. 12. Plato: Death and Immortality. 13. Epicurus: Death is Nothing to Us. 14. Richard Taylor: Does Life Have a Meaning? 15. Lois Hope Walker: Religion and the Meaning of Life and Death. 16. Jeffrie Murphy: Rationality and the Fear of Death. 17. Prasannatma Das: A Hindu Theory of Life and Death. IV. SUICIDE. 18. Thomas Aquinas: Suicide is Unnatural and Immoral. 19. David Hume: On the Naturalness of Suicide. 20. Albert Camus: Life is Absurd. 21. Richard Brandt: On the Morality and Rationality of Suicide. 22. Margaret Pabst Battin: Suicide: A Fundamental Right? V. EUTHANASIA. 23. Yale Kamisar: Against Legalizing Euthanasia. 24. Glanville Williams: For Legalizing Euthanasia: A Rejoinder. 25. James Rachels: Active and Passive Euthanasia. 26. Thomas Sullivan: Active and Passive Euthanasia: An Impertinent Distinction? 27. The Oregon Law on the Right to Die.VI. WHAT IS DEATH? THE CRISIS OF CRITERIA. 28. Robert M. Veatch: Defining Death Anew. 29. David Mayo and Daniel Wikler: Euthanasia and the Transition from Life to Death. VII. ABORTION. 30. John Noonan: Abortion Is Morally Wrong. 31. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion. 32. Baruch Brody: Against an Absolute Right to Abortion. 33. Mary Anne Warren: The Personhood Argument in Favor of Abortion. 34. Harry J. Gensler: The Golden Rule Argument Against Abortion. 35. Don Marquis: Why Abortion is Immoral. 36. Gerald H. Paske: Abortion and the Neo-Natal Right to Life: A Critique of Marquis'' Futurist Argument. VIII. HUMAN CLONING. 37. Leon Kass: The Wisdom of Repugnance. 38. National Bioethics Advisory Board: Against Cloning Human Beings. 39. Richard Lewontin: The Confusion over Cloning. 40. Gregory E. Pence: Will Cloning Harm People? IX. DEATH PENALTY. 41. Immanual Kant: Retributivism: The Right to Capital Punishment. 42. Thurgood Marshall: The Death Penalty is a Denial of Human Dignity. 43. Burton Leiser: A Retributivist Justification of the Death Penalty. 44. Hugo Adam Bedau: Against Retributive Justification of the Death Penalty. 45. Sidney Hook: The Death Sentence: Limited Use. 46. Ernest van den Haag and Louis Schwartz: The Death Penalty: Pro and Con. X. ANIMAL RIGHTS. 47. Immanuel Kant: We Only Have Indirect Duties to Animals. 48. Peter Singer: All Animals are Equal. 49. R.G. Frey: A Utilitarian Critique of Animal Rights. 50. Tom Regan: The Radical Egalitarian Case for Animal Rights. 51. Robert White: The Case for Animal Experimentation. 52. Tom Regan: The Case Against Animal Experimentation. 53. Mary Anne Warren: Difficulties with the Strong Animal Rights Position. 54. Carl Cohen: The Case Against Animal Rights. 55. James Rachels: Vegetarianism and "The Other Weight Problem". XI. WAR. Introduction. 56. Robert Phillips: Just War Theory. 57. Jan Narveson: A Critique of Pacifism. 58. Cheyney Ryan: A Defense of Pacifism. 59. The U.S. Catholic Bishops: Against the Use of Nuclear Weapons. 60. Charles Krauthammer: On Nuclear Morality. 61. Douglas Lackey: Missiles and Morals. 62. William James: The Moral Equivalent of War. XII. WORLD HUNGER. 63. Garrett Hardin: Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor. 64. William Murdoch and Allen Oaten: Population and Food: Metaphors and the Reality. 65. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence and Morality. 66. Richard Watson: Reason and Morality in a World of Limited Food. 67. John Arthur: Famine Relief and the Ideal Moral Code.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Louis P. Pojman (deceased)

Louis P. Pojman (1935-2005) was Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at the United States Military Academy and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Copenhagen and a Rockefeller Fellow at Hamburg University. He received his D.Phil. in Philosophy from Oxford University in 1997.His first position was at the University of Notre Dame, after which he taught at the University of Texas at Dallas. Later, at the University of Mississippi, he served for three years as Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. In 1995, he became Professor of Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He most recently was Visiting Professor at Brigham Young University in Utah and Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Oxford University. Pojman won several research and teaching awards, including the Burlington Northern Award for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship (1988) and the Outstanding Scholar/Teacher in the Humanities at the University of Mississippi (1994). He wrote in the areas of philosophy of religion, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy and authored or edited more than 30 books and 100 articles. Louis Pojman passed away in 2005.