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The Ethical Life

Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems

Fifth Edition

Author Russ Shafer-Landau

17 March 2021

ISBN: 9780190058241

544 pages

In Stock

Price: £62.99



Brief yet thorough and affordably priced, The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems, Fifth Edition, is ideal for courses in introductory ethics and contemporary moral problems. Featuring forty-two readings divided into four parts, it introduces students to ethical theory and a wide range of moral issues. The essays include selections from such historically influential philosophers as Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill alongside work by contemporary philosophers like Philippa Foot, Robert Nozick, Peter Singer, and Judith Jarvis Thomson. Detailed reading introductions provide helpful contextual information.

  • Contains 42 readings carefully selected for their engaging style and their accessibility and organized into four parts
  • Provides thorough coverage in a compact format
  • Can be used as a stand-alone reader or as a companion volume to Shafer-Landau's Fundamentals of Ethics, Fifth Edition, textbook
  • Includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter
  • Supported by a comprehensive ancillary program

About the Author(s)

Author Russ Shafer-Landau, Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Russ Shafer-Landau is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author or editor of several books including The Fundamentals of Ethics, Fifth Edition (OUP, 2020), A Concise Introduction to Ethics (OUP, 2019), and Living Ethics (OUP, 2018). He is also the editor of Oxford Studies in Metaethics.

Table of Contents

    A Note on the Companion Volume
    PART I The Good Life
    1. John Stuart Mill Hedonism
    2. Robert Nozick The Experience Machine
    3. Chris Heathwood Faring Well and Getting What You Want
    4. Brad Hooker The Elements of Well-Being
    5. Susan Wolf Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life
    PART II Normative Ethics Theories of Right Conduct
    6. Plato Euthyphro
    7. Thomas Aquinas Natural Law
    8. John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism
    9. Immanuel Kant The Good Will and the Categorical Imperative
    10. Thomas Hobbes Leviathan
    11. W. D. Ross What Makes Right Acts Right?
    12. Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics
    13. Hilde Lindemann What Is Feminist Ethics?
    PART III Metaethics The Status of Morality
    14. David Hume Moral Distinctions not Derived from Reason
    15. J. L. Mackie The Subjectivity of Values
    16. Gilbert Harman Ethics and Observation
    17. Mary Midgley Trying Out One's New Sword*
    18. David Enoch Why I am an Objectivist about Ethics (and Why You Are, Too)
    19. Sarah McGrath Moral Knowledge*
    PART IV Moral Problems
    20. Kwame Anthony Appiah What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For?
    21. Peter Singer The Singer Solution to World Poverty
    22. Onora O'Neill A Kantian Approach to Famine Relief*
    23 James Rachels The Morality of Euthanasia
    24. John Harris The Survival Lottery
    25. Christopher Heath Wellman Refugees and the Right to Control Immigration*
    26. Michael Huemer Is There a Right to Immigrate?*
    27. Peter Carruthers Against the Moral Standing of Animals*
    28. Alastair Norcross Puppies, Pigs and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases
    29. John Broome The Public and Private Morality of Climate Change*
    30. Thomas Hill, Jr. Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments
    31. Judith Jarvis Thomson A Defense of Abortion
    32. Don Marquis Why Abortion is Immoral
    33. Philippa Foot Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect
    34. Igor Primoratz Justifying Legal Punishment
    35. Stephen Nathanson An Eye for an Eye?
    36. Jeff McMahan Why Gun 'Control' Is Not Enough
    37. Michael Huemer Is There a Right to Own a Gun?
    38. Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from Birmingham City Jail*
    39. Daniel Hausman Affirmative Action: Bad Arguments and Some Good Ones
    40. Elizabeth Anderson The Future of Racial Integration
    41. Douglas Husak In Favor of Drug Decriminalization*
    42. Peter de Marneffe Against the Legalization of Drugs


"[This book] is an excellent companion to The Fundamentals of Ethics and a strong anthology in its own right. Indeed, I cannot envision a better anthology that meets similar length and price constraints. Shafer-Landau is an exceptionally clear writer." Robert Farley, Assistant Professor of Humanities at Hillsborough Community College "

"The writing style is excellent. Shafer-Landau does a very good job of summarizing the content of the individual readings. It covers a good mix of theoretical and applied topics, and provides a good mix of classic readings and newer readings, and that the price is right." Daniel Star, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston University "

"The text is an excellent source of primary materials for an ethics course. The study questions require students to engage in more than a cursory reading or skimming of the text, forcing them to seriously weigh the content of the chapters they read. It is approachable for our student demographic, the ancillaries are exemplary, and the content if both text reflects how instructors may approach ethics, either historically or topically.” John Holder, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pensacola State College "