Higher Education

Ethics: Selections from Classic and Contemporary Writers, 11th Edition

  • Oliver A. Johnson University of California, Riverside
  • Andrews Reath University of California, Riverside
  • ISBN-10: 053845282X  |  ISBN-13: 9780538452823
  • 576 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2004, 1999
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $153.75
  *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.



This unique collection includes writings of the most important and influential moral philosophers of the Western tradition, from Plato to John Rawls. Chronologically organized to illuminate each writer's role in the history of ethics, the book's comprehensive coverage fosters a firm grasp of ideas in the history of Western moral philosophy, as well as contemporary moral philosophy. Selections from the contemporary period are designed to highlight the continuity between the history of moral philosophy and contemporary moral theory. The collection includes an introduction to ethical theory, introductions to each of the major historical periods, brief introductions to each selection, and new study tools to help focus students' reading.

Features and Benefits

  • Contains central readings from the most important writers in the history of moral philosophy in the Western tradition, as well as representative selections from major contemporary moral theorists.
  • Includes a comprehensive introduction to the study of moral philosophy, and introductions to each of the major historical periods.
  • Pedagogical material includes introductions to each reading, a list of "Key Concepts" and "Guiding Questions" prior to each reading to orient the reader, and study questions following each reading to assist students in absorbing and critically assessing the material.

Table of Contents

1. Socrates.
2. Plato.
3. Aristotle.
The Nicomachean Ethics.
4. Epicurus.
Epicurus to Menoeceus.
5. Epictetus.
The Encheiridion.
6. St. Augustine.
Of the Morals of the Catholic Church. The Enchiridion.
7. St. Thomas Aquinas.
Summa Contra Gentiles. Summa Theologica.
8. Thomas Hobbes.
9. David Hume.
A Treatise of Human Nature.
10. Immanuel Kant.
Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals.
11. Jeremy Bentham.
An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation.
12. John Stuart Mill.
13. Søren Kierkegaard.
The Journals. Either/Or. Fear and Trembling.
14. Karl Marx.
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts.
15. Friedrich Nietzsche.
Beyond Good and Evil. On the Genealogy of Morality.
16. G. E. Moore.
Principia Ethica.
17. W.D. Ross.
The Right and the Good.
18. A.J. Ayer.
Language, Truth and Logic.
19. Jean-Paul Sartre.
20. Bernard Williams.
21. John Rawls.
A Theory of Justice.
22. R.M. Hare.
A Utilitarian Approach to Ethics. Moral Thinking.
23. T.M. Scanlon.
Contractualism and Utilitarianism.
24. Thomas Nagel.
The View From Nowhere.
25. Bernard Williams.
Persons, Character and Morality.
26. Gilbert Harman.
Is There a Single True Morality?
27. Philippa Foot.
Does Subjectivism Rest on a Mistake?
28. Christine M. Korsgaard.
Self-Constitution in the Ethics of Plato and Kant.
29. Philip Quinn.
God and Morality.
30. Annette C. Baier.
The Need for More than Justice.

What's New

  • Each selection introduction is now followed by a list of "Key Concepts" that explain the new concepts in the reading and a set of "Guiding Questions" that help students to focus their reading.
  • This edition restores the selections from Kierkegaard, Marx, and Moore that were included in earlier editions.
  • This edition adds material from Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality, in a recent translation, to supplement the selection from Beyond Good and Evil.
  • Part Three adds an essay by Bernard Williams and substitutes a more recent essay by Christine Korsgaard.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"This is an outstanding text for introducing undergraduate students to the history of the development of ethics as it unfolded in the western world." -- Margaret Monahan Hogan, University of Portland

— Margaret Monahan Hogan

"I believe that given the fine choice of historically relevant articles on philosophical ethics and because of its pedagogical features, it is a worthy contender as a textbook to be used in introductory ethics course." -- Miguel Endara, Los Angeles Pierce College

— Miguel Endara

"I have used this exemplary text book for years; I wouldn't do without this book for at least three of my classes." -- Lorraine Marie Arangno, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

— Lorraine Marie Arangno, Ph.D.

"A good source of readings by the main moral philosophers throughout the history of ethics." -- Hadley T Michell, Taylor University

— Hadley T Michell

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Oliver A. Johnson

The late Dr. Oliver A. Johnson studied at Oxford University in England, and received his doctorate in philosophy from Yale University. He was one of the founding faculty members of University of California at Riverside, and was chairman of the philosophy department. He served as the Academic Senate Chairman and secretary-treasurer of the American Philosophical Association Pacific Division. He is known for his writings on ethics and the foundations of knowledge.

Andrews Reath

Andrews Reath has written extensively on many aspects of Kant's ethics. He has also edited (with Barbara Herman and Christine M. Korsgaard) RECLAIMING THE HISTORY OF ETHICS: ESSAYS FOR JOHN RAWLS (Cambridge University Press, 1997).