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A Practical Companion to Ethics

Fifth Edition

Anthony Weston

Publication Date - September 2020

ISBN: 9780190090401

128 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches

In Stock

An elegant and accessible introduction to the practical skills and attitudes that make ethics work


A Practical Companion to Ethics, Fifth Edition, is a concise and accessible introduction to the basic attitudes and skills that make ethics work, like thinking for oneself, creative and integrative problem-solving, and keeping an open mind. This unique volume illuminates the broad kinds of practical intelligence required in moral judgment, complementing the narrower theoretical considerations that often dominate ethics courses. It offers practical instruction in problem-solving by demonstrating how to frame an ethical problem and deal effectively with ethical disagreements. The book also presents ethics as an ongoing learning experience, helping students to engage constructively with both the complexities of their individual lives and with the larger issues that exist in the world around them.

The fifth edition retains the most popular features of the previous edition, including challenging and relevant end-of-chapter exercises and brief text boxes that define key terms and review core strategies. The optimistic tone and brisk pace of the narrative provide an entertaining and intelligent guide to "everyday" morality. Ideal for introductory courses in ethics and applied ethics, A Practical Companion to Ethics, Fifth Edition, can also be used in any course related to critical thinking.

New to this Edition

  • Revisions and updates to every chapter tie this volume more closely to the author's comprehensive textbook, A 21st Century Ethical Toolbox, Fourth Edition (OUP, 2017)
  • A revised Chapter 3, An Eye for Moral Values, takes a more practical approach by covering the ethics of care and by looking extensively at broader families of moral values
  • The writing guide previously embedded in Chapter 6 is now expanded and restructured as an Appendix
  • Discussion on emerging Earth ethics added to Chapter 6


  • Challenging and relevant end-of-chapter exercises
  • Brief text boxes that define key terms and review core strategies
  • The optimistic tone and brisk pace of the narrative provide an entertaining and intelligent guide to "everday" morality
  • Appendix outlining tips for effective writing in ethics

About the Author(s)

Anthony Weston is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Elon University. He is the author of A 21st Century Ethical Toolbox, Fourth Edition (OUP, 2017), Mobilizing the Green Imagination: An Exuberant Manifesto (2012), and dozens of other books and articles.


"Challenging, motivating, inspiring, and above all beautifully written, this gem of a book encourages readers to take a mindfulness approach to ethics. This thoroughly readable book will pull your students out of the clutter of a hyper-mediated world and drop them into a world where the things that really matter are open-ended dialogue and transformative thinking."--Karen Scialabba, Marist College

"A Practical Companion to Ethics is remarkable in many ways. It is a very practical guide to implementing ethical thinking, as contrasted with many introductory texts. The text fills an obvious niche uniquely and very well."--Alistair Moles, Sierra College

Table of Contents


    CHAPTER 1. Who Needs Ethics?
    Flying by Instinct
    Dogmatists and Rationalizers
    Ethics and Diversity
    For Practice

    CHAPTER 2. Thinking for Yourself
    Beyond Moral Rules
    Beyond the Law
    Beyond Commandments
    For Practice

    CHAPTER 3. An Eye for Moral Values
    Families of Moral Values
    Using the Families of Moral Values
    Ethical Theories
    For Practice

    CHAPTER 4. When Values Clash
    Right versus Right
    Balancing and Integrating Values
    Moral Vision
    For Practice

    CHAPTER 5. Creative Problem-Solving in Ethics 6
    Creativity's Promise in Ethics
    How to Expand Possibilities
    Reframing Ethical Problems
    For Practice

    CHAPTER 6. Making a Difference
    Changing Our Lives
    Changing the World
    Changing Ethics
    For Practice

    Eight Tips for Effective Writing in Ethics
    Notes and Sources

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