Higher Education

Living Ethics, 2nd Edition

  • Michael Minch Utah Valley State College
  • Christine Weigel Utah Valley State College
  • ISBN-10: 1111186510  |  ISBN-13: 9781111186517
  • 608 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2009
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $156.00
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Minch and Weigel's unique LIVING ETHICS casts a wide net, including traditional works of philosophy along with a diverse collection of voices from literature, science, popular music, and continental philosophy. Each chapter focuses on action, addressing an issue in the range of basic human activities like flourishing, believing, caring, consuming and nine other topics. The text approaches the study of ethics as a set of personal and provocative questions that have ethical significance for students' lives. This wide-ranging anthology, distinguished by its interdisciplinary selections, provides a comprehensive approach without separating theory from applied ethics. The book's breadth of readings integrates feminist and multicultural viewpoints for a broader range of perspectives and genres than any other text in this field. By highlighting contemporary issues and multiple disciplines, LIVING ETHICS will engage students with little or no experience in philosophy. LIVING ETHICS provides unique pedagogical features to help students taking their first philosophy class engage with primary texts: Introductions precede each reading, and throughout each selection, Reading Guides, Dialogue features, Critical Thinking, focus students' attention, encourage engagement with central arguments, clarify key concepts, and generally help keep students reading.

Features and Benefits

  • Practical relevance to students: The text's presentation of ethical principles is organized around basic human activities--such as learning, loving, reasoning, and relating--that have ethical significance and are deeply relevant to every aspect of students' daily lives.
  • Unique, interdisciplinary, multicultural approach: The text's broad approach and focus on personal concerns appeal to students with no philosophical background as well as philosophy majors. Classic and contemporary readings expose students to ethical reflections from a wide range of cultures, perspectives, and genres and include literary, journalistic, and other texts outside of academic philosophy.
  • Powerful learning tools to aid comprehension: Engaging introductions before each selection capture students' attention and highlight crucial themes. Critical-thinking questions focus attention on fundamental arguments and perspectives. Reading Guide inserts highlight key concepts and definitions, while Dialogue Boxes compare ideas in each section with those from other readings in the book.

Table of Contents

1. Plato: Allegory of the Cave.
2. Jiddu Krishnamurti: The Function of Education.
3. Michel Foucault: Truth and Power.
4. Michael Oakeshott: The Voice of Liberal Learning.
5. Bell Hooks: Teaching and Learning without Limits.
6. Gary Snyder: Axe Handles.
7. Immanuel Kant: Transition from Ordinary Rational Knowledge of Morality to the
8. John Stuart Mill: What Utilitarianism Is.
9. Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil.
10. Antonio Damasio: Descartes’s Error.
11. Jesse J. Prinz: The Emotional Construction of Morals.
12. Joushua Green and Liane Young: Trolley Problems.
13. Laurie Ann Whitt: Indigenous Peoples and the Cultural Politics of Knowledge.
14. Adrian Piper: Passing for White, Passing for Black.
15. Henrik Ibsen: An Enemy of the People.
16. e. e. cummings: Since Feeling Is First.
17. Aristotle: The Object of Life.
18. Marcus Aurelius: Rationality and Self-Discipline.
19. Alasdair MacIntyre: The Nature of the Virtues.
20. Brad J. Kallenberg: On Cultivating Moral Taste.
21. Kwame Anthony Appiah: Experiments in Ethics.
22. Adam Elga: On Overrating Oneself and Knowing It.
23. W. H. Auden: The Unknown Citizen.
24. Plato: Phaedo.
25. Epicurus: Letter to Menoeceus.
26. Søren Kierkegaard: The Present Age.
27. Friedrich Nietzsche: The problem of Socrates.
28. Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialism Is a Humanism.
29. Viktor E. Frankel: Man’s Search for Meaning.
30. Jean-François Revel and Matthieu Ricard: Buddhism and Death.
31. Franz Kafka: Before the Law.
32. Joy Harjo: The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window.
33. Plato: Euthyphro.
34. Augustine: Morality and the Love of God.
35. Kai Nielsen: Ethics without Religion.
36. Daniel Dennett: Morality and Religion.
37. George Mavrodes: Religion and the Queerness of Morality.
38. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Madman.
39. Bruce Cockburn: Lord of the Starfields.
40. Mary Midgley: Trying Out One’s New Sword.
41. Dwight Furrow: Of Cave Dwellers and Spirits: The Trouble with Moral Absolutes.
42. Joseph Henrich: Relative Justice.
43. William Ian Miller: Eye for an Eye.
44. Wendell Berry: My Great-Grandfather’s Slaves.
The Social Contract.
45. Thomas Hobbes: Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning Their Felicity and Misery.
46. John Locke: Of the Beginning of Political Societies.
76. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right.
48. Immanuel Kant: On the Common Saying "This May Be True in Theory, but It Does Not Apply In Practice".
49. Mencius: Justice and Humanity.
50. Plato: The Republic, Book II.
51. John Stuart Mill: On Liberty.
52. Michael Walzer: A Credo for this Moment.
53. David Schweikart: Capitalism and Its Discontents.
54. John Rawls: Principles of Justice.
55. Robert Nozick: Distributive Justice.
56. Philip Pettit: Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government.
57. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.
58. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality.
59. Thomas W. Pogge: The Moral Demands of Global Justice.
60. Kevin Bales: The New Slavery.
61. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
62. Michael Minch: When Soldiers Aren’t Heroes.
63. James Turner Johnson: Does the Defense of Values by Force Remain a Moral Possibility?
64. Sohail H. Hashmi: Interpreting the Islamic Ethics of War and Peace.
65. Robert L. Holmes: The Alternative to War.
66. Mohandas K. Gandhi: The Law of Love.
67. James P. Sterba: Terrorism and International Justice.
68. Douglas P. Fry: The Human Potential for Peace.
69. Marc Pilisuk: The Hidden Structure of Violence (from Who Benefits from Global Violence and War: Uncovering a Destructive System).
70. Wendell Berry: Thoughts in the Presence of Fear.
71. Daniel Berrigan: The Word as Liberation.
72. Wilfred Owen: Dulce et Decorum Est.
73. Mo Tzu: Universal Love.
74. Carol Gilligan: In a Different Voice.
75. Nel Noddings: Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education.
76. Philip Hallie: From Cruelty to Goodness.
77. Aroha Te Pareake Mead: Genealogy, Sacredness, and the Commodities Market.
78. Slavoj Zĭzěk: Living in the End Times.
79. Frans De Waal: The Age of Empathy.
80. Patricia Hill Collins: Black Feminist Thought.
81. Rosalind Hursthouse: Virtue Theory and Abortion.
82. Mary Anne Warren: The Moral Significance of Birth.
83. Don Marquis: Why Abortion is Immoral.
84. Mary Shelly: Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus.
85. John Locke: Second Treatise of Government.
86. Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations.
87. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto.
88. bell hooks: Re-Thinking the Nature of Work.
89. E. F. Schumacher: Buddhist Economics.
90. David Shipler: At the Edge of Poverty.
91. Henry David Thoreau: Conscience.
92. Ann Cudd: A Feminist Defense of Capitalism.
93. Alan Durning: How Much Is Enough?
94. Daniel Maquire: Population, Consumption, Ecology: The Triple Problematic.
95. Jerome M. Segal: Two Ways of Thinking.
96. Unknown: A Tiny Mexican Village.
97. Jonathan Safran Foer: Eating Animals.
98. Wendell Berry: Let Us Pledge.
99. Walter Pater: The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry.
100. Friedrich Nietzsche: Twilight of the Idols.
101. John Dewey: The Living Creature.
102. Denis Dutton: The Art Instinct.
103. Walt Whitman: Song of Myself (excerpts).
104. Aldo Leopold: The Land Ethic.
105. Paul W. Taylor: The Ethics of Respect for Nature.
106. Holmes Rolston, III: Naturalizing Values: Organisms and Species.
107. Arne Naess: The Shallow and the Deep, Ecological Movements.
108. Bill McKibben: Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.
109. Vandana Shiva: The Impoverishment of the Environment: Women and Children Last.
110. Paul Hawken: A Declaration of Sustainability.
111. Theodore Hiebert: The Human Vocation: Origins and Transformations in Christian Traditions.
112. Mary Oliver: Wild Geese.

What's New

  • This edition reflects new issues that are currently prominent, such as the ethics of eating and synthetic biology. Many of the selections were published in 2008, 2009 or 2010. Additionally, many of the new readings represent the most recent thought and research on that particular topic.
  • The interdisciplinary perspectives are broader and at the same time more practical and readily usable. For example, most of the chapters now contain poetry as the literary selection, getting around the need to switch genres so often.
  • The book has a much more empirical focus, reflecting the fact that many ethical questions rely on a prior understanding of factual matters.
  • Three alternative tables of contents are provided. One lists the readings in chronological order, one lists them by discipline, and a third provides a more standard "theory, then applied issues" approach.
  • Many of the introductions to the more difficult chapters have been revised to give students a better understanding of the logic of the chapter and a more detailed understanding of what is to come.
  • New Readings include: Damasio: Descartes's Error, Prinz: The Emotional Construction of Morals; Sommers and Young/Green: Trolley Problems; Appiah, Experiments in Ethics, Elga, On Overrating Oneself and Knowing It, Auden: The Unknown Citizen, Revel and Richard, Buddhism and Death, Dennett: Morality and Religion, Miller Eye for an Eye, Pettit: Republicanism--A Theory of Freedom and Government, Wilkinson and Pickett: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Fry: The Human Potential for Peace, Pilisuk: The Hidden Structure of Violence, Owen: Dulce et Decorum Est, Zizek: Living in the End Times or Apocalypse at the Gates, DeWaal: The Age of Empathy, Collins: Black Feminist Thought, Ann Cudd: A Feminist Defense of Capitalism, Safran Foer: Eating Animals, Dutton: The Art Instinct, Whitman: Song of Myself (excerpts), McKibben: Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Living Ethics takes a diffuse approach to the study of ethics, drawing on a diverse set of readings to prompt students into reflecting on the role that ethics plays in their lives." -- Matt Stichter, Washington State University

— Matt Stichter

"A unique, but excellent wide-ranging introduction to ethics that combines theory and application." -- Jeanine Weekes Schroer, Arkansas State University

— Jeanine Weekes Schroer

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Michael Minch

Michael Minch earned his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He is chair of the Philosophy and Humanities Department at Utah Valley University and director of Peace and Justice Studies. He is the author of The Democratic Theory of Michael Oakeshott.

Christine Weigel

Christine Weigel earned her Ph.D from Temple University. She is chair of the philosophy department at Utah Valley State College.