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A Practical Companion to Ethics

Fourth Edition

Anthony Weston

Publication Date - September 2010

ISBN: 9780199730582

144 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $22.95

A brief, hands-on critical-thinking approach to ethics that offers practical instruction in problem-solving


A Practical Companion to Ethics, Fourth 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 fourth 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, Fourth Edition, can also be used in any course related to critical thinking.


* A new chapter (3) covers ethical theories and better outlines the place of practical ethics within philosophy
* Significantly revised and expanded chapters (4 and 5) on conflicts of value and creative problem-solving in ethics offer additional guidance
* A new concluding chapter (6) on "Making a Difference" explains how students can incorporate ethical thinking and practice into their daily lives and includes a text box on "Writing to Make a Difference"

New to this Edition

  • · "For Practice" sections (review questions and material for reflection) at the end of every chapter offer a sharper assignment-oriented focus for this new edition
  • · New chapter 3 on ethical theories provides a useful first sketch of practical ethics within philosophy
  • · Discussion on how to deal with conflicts of values and creative problem-solving in ethics (Chapters 4 & 5) have been significantly revised and expanded
  • · New concluding chapter on "Making a Difference" explains how students can incorporate ethical thinking and practice into their daily lives, and also includes a new encouraging and informative box on "Writing to Make a Difference"

About the Author(s)

Anthony Weston is Professor of Philosophy at Elon University, where he has been named both Teacher of the Year and Scholar of the Year. He is the author of ten other books, including A 21st Century Ethical Toolbox, Creative Problem-Solving in Ethics, and Creativity for Critical Thinkers, all published in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2005
July 2001
September 1996


"A Practical Companion to Ethics is an elegant book, both in concept and execution. Weston's approach to the material is engaging, and the book is clearly written. The examples are real and challenging."--Robert Jensen, University of Texas at Austin

"This book provides an outstanding bridge between the student and the study of ethics. It is brief and accessible and stimulates readers to pursue each topic further."--Daniel Campana, University of La Verne

Table of Contents

    Each chapter ends with "For Practice" and "Notes" sections.
    1. Getting Started
    Who Needs Ethics?
    The Dogmatist and the Rationalizer
    Ethics and Diversity
    2. Beyond Authority
    The Limits of Rules
    The Limits of Commandments
    Thinking for Yourself
    3. Ethical Theories
    Systematizing Moral Values
    Three Ethical Theories
    Ethical Theories at Work
    4. When Values Clash
    Right versus Right
    Finding the Best Balance
    Moral Vision
    5. Creative Problem-Solving in Ethics
    Creativity and the Essence of Ethics
    Expanding Possibilities
    Reframing Problems
    6. Making a Difference
    Changing Your Life
    Changing the World
    Making Change Together