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History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues

Seventh Edition

Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie

Publication Date - October 2019

ISBN: 9780190949563

976 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $78.99

The most comprehensive ethics anthology, essentially three books in one volume: history of ethics, modern ethical theory, and contemporary moral issues


Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Seventh Edition, features fifty-nine selections organized into three parts, providing instructors with great flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of courses in moral philosophy. Spanning 2,500 years of ethical theory, the first part, Historical Sources, ranges from Plato to Nietzsche. The second part, Modern Ethical Theory, includes many of the most important essays of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The third part, Contemporary Moral Problems, presents the current debates over such issues as abortion, social justice, environmentalism, affirmative action, and sexual harassment. Nearly forty percent of the modern readings are authored by women. The book is enhanced by part introductions, selection introductions, and study questions. The seventh edition includes twelve new essays.

New to this Edition

  • Twelve new essays, featuring work by Joseph Butler, Henry Sidgwick, T.M. Scanlon, Noma Arpaly, Travis Timmerman, Tom Regan, Henry Shue, Karen Hanson, Laurence Thomas, Celia Wolf-Devine, N. Ann Davis, and Margaret Crouch


  • Offers instructors maximum flexibility with a rich selection of fifty-nine readings--twelve of them new-- on the history of philosophy, modern ethical theory, and contemporary moral problems
  • Features unabridged selections of major works throughout the text, including Plato's Euthyphro, Defense of Socrates, and Crito; Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals; Mill's Utilitarianism; and Sartre's Existentialism is a Humanism
  • Helps students get the most out of the presented ideas and arguments with robust pedagogy that includes part introductions, reading introductions, and study questions after each reading
  • Supported by a free, open-access companion website that provides additional study resources, including interactive self-quizzes and questions for discussion

About the Author(s)

Steven M. Cahn is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at The City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author or editor of more than sixty books. He is the editor of Exploring Ethics, Fifth Edition (OUP, 2019) and The World of Philosophy, Second Edition (OUP, 2018).

Peter Markie is Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is the author of Descartes's Gambit (1988) and the coauthor of Introducing Ethics (OUP, 2014).


"Ethics is a fine collection, one that is organized so that it can be tailored on a daily basis to an instructor's pedagogical goals. The introductions are models of clarity and accessibility for philosophy students, in particular for those who are new to philosophy."--Paul Hughes, University of Michigan-Dearborn

"The book's greatest strength is its excellent primary resources, which include a great variety of classical and contemporary authors. Students have access to the grand sweep of thinking in ethics and also pertinent information from prominent thinkers of today. The organization is helpful, and it matches much of what I teach in my ethics course."--L. Dean Allen, Northwest Florida State College

"I have looked at many other anthologies and this really is the best one for the survey course I teach. All of Cahn's anthologies, but especially this one, do an admirable job of abbreviating texts so that they are as accessible as possible, and so that they focus on the themes that carry over to other readings in the collection."--Gary Jaeger, Vanderbilt University