Higher Education

Morality in Practice, 8th Edition

  • James P. Sterba University of Notre Dame
  • Peter Bornschein
  • ISBN-10: 1133049966  |  ISBN-13: 9781133049968
  • 736 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2004, 2001, 1997
  • © 2013 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $174.00



MORALITY IN PRACTICE uniquely engages students in critical analysis of a wide range of positions on today's moral problems by presenting each chapter in two sections: Alternative Views and Practical Applications. The readings in the Alternative Views section present radically opposed viewpoints on today's most important moral problems. The introductions to each section as well as the selection and arrangement of the readings help students to overcome any crude relativism they may bring to the class, guiding them to the realization that some views do turn out to be more defensible than others. The selections in the Practical Applications section of each chapter offer court opinions, resolutions and declarations from various international organizations, and articles which all demonstrate how the broader issues introduced in the Alternative Views section play out in specific practical situation. The general introduction also shows how all the moral problems considered in the anthology are interconnected, such that a solution to any one of these moral problem requires a solution to the others as well.

Features and Benefits

  • Fresh coverage of key issues concerning morality including; the ethics of war and terrorism, genetic engineering, distribution of income and wealth, abortion, euthanasia, sex equality, animal liberation, human enhancement, and the environment.
  • This collection presents opposing viewpoints on all topics, while avoiding crude relativism by suggesting, through the introductions and through the orderings and selection of readings, how some views turn out to be more defensible than others.
  • Each section of the anthology concludes with one or more articles discussing specific practical applications.
  • A general introduction provides a background discussion of traditional moral approaches to ethics as well as a concrete answer to the question: "Why be moral?"
  • Section introductions help set out the framework for the discussion and criticism of the articles in each section.
  • Brief summaries at the beginning of each article enable students to test and improve their comprehension.

Table of Contents

General Introduction.
Alternative Views.
1. John Hospers: The Libertarian Manifesto.
2. James P. Sterba: From Liberty to Welfare.
3. John Rawls: A Social Contract Perspective.
4. Charles Mills: Race and the Social Contract Tradition.
Practical Applications.
5. Supreme Court of the United States: Wyman, Commissioner of New York Department of Social Services v. James.
6. Supreme Court of the United States: Player v. Doe.
Alternative Views.
7. Garrett Hardin: Lifeboat Ethics: The Case against Helping the Poor.
8. Peter Singer: An Easy Solution to World Poverty.
9. Richard DeGeorge: Do We Owe the Future Anything?
10. James P. Sterba: The Welfare Rights of Distant Peoples and Future Generations.
Practical Applications.
11. Huemer, Michael: Is There a Right to Immigrate?
12. Christopher Wellman: Immigration and Freedom of Association.
Alternative Views.
13. Pope John Paul II: The Unspeakable Crime of Abortion.
14. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion.
15. Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral.
16. Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion.
17. Sally Markowitz: A Feminist Defense of Abortion.
18. James Rachels: Euthanasia, Killing, and Letting Die.
19. Bonnie Steinbock: The Intentional Termination of Life.
Practical Applications.
20. Supreme Court of the United States: Planned Parenthood v. Case 171.
21. Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, John Rawls, Thomas Scanlon, And Judith Jarvis Thomson: Assisted Suicide: The Brief of the Amici Curiae.
22. Supreme Court of the United States: Washington v. Glucksberg.
Alternative Views.
23. Andy Clark: Natural-Born Cyborgs.
24. Patrick Lin: The Ethics of Human Enhancement.
25. Francis Fukuyama: Our Postmodern Future.
26. Michael Sandel: The Case Against Perfection.
Practical Applications.
27. President’s Report on Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Alternative Views.
28. Susan Okin: Justice and Gender.
29. Christina Hoff Sommers: Philosophers against the Family.
30. Marilyn Friedman: Of Mothers, Families Men and Sex.
Practical Applications.
31. National Organization for Women (NOW) Bill of Rights.
Alternative Views.
32. Warren Farrell: Do Men Have the Power?
33. James P. Sterba: Do Men Have the Power – And If So Would They Want to Change?
34. David Benatar: The Second Sexism.
35. James P. Sterba: The Wolf Again in Sheep''s Clothing.
Practical Applications.
36. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
Alternative Views.
37. James P. Sterba: A Defense of Diversity Affirmative Action.
38. Terence J. Pell: The Nature of Claims about Race and the Debate over Racial.
39. Bill Lawson: What is Wrong with Affirmative Action.
40. James P. Sterba: Responses to Pell and Lawson.
Practical Applications.
41. Supreme Court of the United States: Grutter v. Bollinger.
Alternative Views.
42. Andrew Altman: The Right to Get Turned On: Pornography, Autonomy and Equality.
43. Catharine Mackinnon: Pornography, Civil Rights, and Speech.
44. Pamela Paul: Pornified.
Practical Applications.
45. United States District Court and Court of Appeals: American Booksellers v. Hudnutt.
46. The Supreme Court of Canada: Donald Victor Butler v. Her Majesty the Queen.
Alternative Views.
47. Barbara A. Gutek: Understanding Sexual Harassment at Work.
48. Ellen Frankel Paul: Exaggerating the Extent of Sexual Harassment.
49. Nancy ("Ann") Davis: Sexual Harassment in the University.
50. James P. Sterba: Understanding, Explaining, and Eliminating Sexual Harassment.
Practical Applications.
51. Supreme Court of the United States: Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc.
Alternative Views.
52. John Finnis: Homosexual Conduct Is Wrong.
53. Martha Nussbaum: Homosexual Conduct Is Not Wrong.
54. John Corvino: The Ethics of Homosexuality.
55. Maggie Gallager: What Marriage is For.
Practical Applications.
56. Supreme Court of Vermont: Baker v. Vermont (1999).
57. Supreme Court of the United States: Lawrence v. Texas.
58. Supreme Court of Massachusetts: Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health.
Alternative Views.
59. Peter Singer: All Animals Are Equal.
60. Michael Pollan: The Unnatural Idea of Animal Rights.
61. Paul W. Taylor: The Ethics of Respect for Nature.
62. David Schmidt: A Critique of Biocentrism.
63. James P. Sterba: Biocentrism Defended.
64. Karen J. Warren: The Power and the Promise of Ecological Feminism.
Practical Applications.
65. Congress of the United States: From the Animal Welfare Act.
66. Congress of the United States: Amendments to the Animal Welfare Act.
67. Supreme Court of the United States: Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill.
Alternative Views.
68. Karl Menninger: The Crime of Punishment.
69. C. S. Lewis: A Critique of the Humanitarian Theory of Punishment.
70. Edmund L. Pincoffs: Classical Retributivism.
71. James P. Sterba: Rational Choice Theory of Punishment
72. Ernest Van Den Haag: Deterrence and Uncertainty.
73. Jeffrey H. Reiman: Civilization, Safety, and Deterrence.
Practical Applications.
74. Supreme Court of the United States: Gregg v. Georgia.
Alternative Views.
75. James P. Sterba: Reconciling Pacifists and Just War Theorists.
76. Alan M. Dershowitz: Make Torture an Option.
77. David Luban: Torture and the Ticking Bomb.
78. Stephen Nathanson: Can Terrorism Be Morally Justified?
79. James P. Sterba: Terrorism and International Justice.
Practical Applications.
80. The Geneva Conventions Against Torture.
81. Dissenting Opinions in Boumediene v. Bush.

What's New

  • This 8th edition includes 30 new readings covering current topics such as: the welfare rights of future generations, bioethical implications of new technology, reconsidering Affirmative Action, pornography, torture in war, and the concept of "biocentrism".
  • A new section has been added that covers the topic of "Human Enhancement"
  • The following three sections have been heavily revised: "Distant Peoples and Future Generations", "Affirmative Action", and "War, Torture, and Terrorism".

Efficacy and Outcomes


"A well-rounded ethics book."

— Prof. Sandor Marai, Sinclair Community College

Meet the Author

Author Bio

James P. Sterba

Receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, James P. Sterba has gone on to publish (either as author or editor) many notable books, textbooks, and scholarly articles in the fields of ethics and social and political philosophy. He currently teaches at the University of Notre Dame.