Higher Education

Social and Personal Ethics, 7th Edition

  • William H. Shaw San Jose State University
  • ISBN-10: 0538452560  |  ISBN-13: 9780538452564
  • 472 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2008, 2005, 2002
  • © 2011 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $180.00
  • Newer Edition Available
  *Why an online review copy?
  • It's the greener, leaner way to review! An online copy cuts down on paper and on time. Reduce the wait (and the weight) of printed texts. Your online copy arrives instantly, and you can review it anytime from your computer or favorite mobile device.

If you prefer a print copy to review, please contact your representative.



SOCIAL AND PERSONAL ETHICS provides students with a sound introduction to ethical theory and issues through engaging readings on today's most hotly debated topics including war, marriage and sexual morality, business ethics, and a new section on voting and democracy. Author William Shaw begins with a preliminary introduction to ethical theory that assumes no previous formal philosophy instruction and then moves on to explore a variety of real-world ethical issues, In all, the book is composed of 52 classic and contemporary articles (ten of which are new to this edition) as well as three cases studies. To ensure that the text is as accessible as it is relevant, Shaw edited every article with an eye toward readability and added marginal summaries to help students focus on important points and concepts.

Features and Benefits

  • Part One of Social and Personal Ethics is a clear and practical guide to understanding the study of ethics; it is easy to understand regardless of one's previous experience studying philosophy. The book begins with a highly praised, accessible introduction to the study of ethics, written by the author. Five selections by Rachels, Aristotle, Kant, Mill and Ross introduce major ethical perspectives.
  • Throughout the text, readings are accompanied by succinct introductions with study questions and marginal summaries to guide students' reading. Many topics are accompanied by information from court cases that not only help to define the issue at stake, but also demonstrate ethical and legal reasoning.
  • Questions for review and discussion follow each essay, reinforcing the material and giving students the chance to hear others' thoughts and respond to them intelligently.
  • Readings have been selected and edited with an eye toward readability and student interest. Of particular note is Shaw's commitment to an accurate representation of modern diversity throughout the text, with stories from women, gays, and people of color all given voice.

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Ethics.
The Nature of Morality. Normative Theories of Ethics.
2. Ethical Relativism.
JAMES RACHELS: The Challenge of Cultural Relativism.
3. Four Rival Ethical Perspectives.
ARISTOTLE: Happiness, Function, and Virtue. IMMANUEL KANT: Good Will, Duty, and the Categorical Imperative. JOHN STUART MILL: Utilitarianism. W. D. ROSS: What Makes Right Acts Right?
4. Suicide and Euthanasia.
RICHARD B. BRANDT: The Morality and Rationality of Suicide. DAN W. BROCK: Voluntary Active Euthanasia. DANIEL CALLAHAN: When Self-Determination Runs Amok. JOHN HARDWIG: Is There a Duty to Die?
5. Abortion.
JOHN T. NOONAN, JR.: An Almost Absolute Value in History. MARY ANNE WARREN: The Moral Status of Abortion. DON MARQUIS: An Argument That Abortion Is Wrong. JUDITH JARVIS THOMSON: A Defense of Abortion. ROSALIND HURSTHOUSE: Virtue Theory and Abortion.
6. Animals, Vegetarianism, and Environmental Ethics.
PETER SINGER: The Place of Nonhumans in Environmental Issues. TIBOR R. MACHAN: Do Animals Have Rights? MYLAN ENGEL, JR.: Why You Are Committed to the Immorality of Eating Meat. R. M. HARE: Why I Am Only a Demi-Vegetarian. PETER SINGER: Reply to Hare
HOLMES ROLSTON III: Respect for Life. PETER SINGER: Reply to Rolston.
7. Liberty and Paternalism.
JOHN STUART MILL: On Liberty. GERALD DWORKIN: Paternalism. DAVID BOAZ: A Drug-Free America—or a Free America? U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY: Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization.
8. Marriage and Sexual Morality.
JOHN CORVINO: Why Shouldn’t Tommy and Jim Have Sex? MICHAEL PAKALUK: Homosexuality, Gay Marriage, and the Common Good. JACOB M. HELD: Gay Marriage: The Case for Equal Treatment. MIKE W. MARTIN: Adultery and Fidelity. NICHOLAS DIXON: Alcohol and Rape. HELEN E. LONGINO: Pornography, Oppression, and Freedom.
9. Voting and Democracy.
JOHN STUART MILL: Considerations on Representative Government. LOREN S. LOMASKY and GEOFFREY BRENNAN: Is There a Duty to Vote? EDITORS, HARVARD LAW REVIEW: The Case for Compulsory Voting.
10. Crime, Guns, and Rights.
DANIEL D. POLSBY: The False Promise of Gun Control. NICHOLAS DIXON: Handguns and Violent Crime. MICHAEL HUEMER: Is There a Right to Own a Gun?
11. Punishment and the Death Penalty.
WILLIAM H. SHAW: Punishment and the Criminal Justice System. ERNEST VAN DEN HAAG: The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense. JEFFREY H. REIMAN: Justice, Civilization, and the Death Penalty. U.S. SUPREME COURT: Atkins v. Virginia.
12. The Ethics of War and the Response to Terrorism.
DOUGLAS P. LACKEY: Pacifism. J. JOSEPH MILLER: Jus ad Bellum and an Officer’s Moral Obligations: Ignorance, the Constitution, and Iraq. AVISHAI MARGALIT and MICHAEL WALZER: Civilians and Combatants. JEFF McMAHAN: Torture in Principle and in Practice.
13. Race, Discrimination, and Affirmative Action.
BARACH OBAMA, A More Perfect Union. RICHARD A. WASSERSTROM: One Way to Understand and Defend Programs of Preferential Treatment. LOUIS P. POJMAN: The Case Against Affirmative Action. U.S. SUPREME COURT: The University of Michigan Affirmative Action Cases. LUCY WANG, Weight Discrimination.
14. Social Justice.
EDITORS, HARVARD LAW REVIEW: Never Again Shall A People Starve in a World of Plenty. JOHN ISBISTER: Welfare and Social Justice. ROBERT M. VEATCH: Let the Poor Sell Their Kidneys. D. W. HASLETT: Is Inheritance Justified? U.S. SUPREME COURT: Kelo v. City of New London.
15. Ethics in Business.
MICHAEL J. PHILLIPS: The Inconclusive Case Against Manipulative Advertising. THOMAS L. CARSON: The Ethics of Sales. MICHAEL DAVIS: Some Paradoxes of Whistleblowing. JOSEPH R. DESJARDINS AND RONALD DUSKA: Drug Testing in Employment.

What's New

  • A new reader-friendly two color design includes marginal summaries which elucidate important points and concepts.
  • Chapter 9: Voting and Democracy is brand new to this edition and includes readings from Mill, Lomasky and Brennan, and an editorial from the Harvard Law Review.
  • Ten new reading selections have been added, including JACOB M. HELD: Gay Marriage: The Case for Equal Treatment; JOHN STUART MILL: Considerations on Representative Government; LOREN S. LOMASKY and GEOFFREY BRENNAN: Is There a Duty to Vote?; EDITORS, HARVARD LAW REVIEW: The Case for Compulsory Voting; JEFF McMAHAN: Torture in Principle and in Practice; BARACH OBAMA, A More Perfect Union; LUCY WANG, Weight Discrimination; EDITORS, HARVARD LAW REVIEW: Never Again Shall A People Starve in a World of Plenty; ROBERT M. VEATCH: Let the Poor Sell Their Kidneys.


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: 1423926900 | ISBN-13: 9781423926900)

The website provides password protected access to an instructor's manual which contains multiple choice, true and false, and essay questions for each chapter in the book.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

William H. Shaw

The author and editor of numerous books and articles in the areas of ethics and social and political philosophy, William H. Shaw obtained a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the London School of Economics and teaches philosophy at San Jose State University, where he served as chair of the department for eleven years. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Hong Kong, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He has two other books with Cengage Learning, SOCIAL AND PERSONAL ETHICS and MORAL ISSUES IN BUSINESS (with Vincent Barry).