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History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues

Fifth Edition

Edited by Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie

Publication Date - September 2011

ISBN: 9780199797264

992 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $89.95

Essentially three books in one, Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues is the most comprehensive and affordable ethics anthology available


Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Fifth Edition, features sixty-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 ancient Greece to the twentieth century. It moves from classical thought through medieval views to modern theories, culminating with leading nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers. The second part, Modern Ethical Theory, includes many of the most important essays of the past century. The discussion of utilitarianism, Kantianism, egoism, and relativism continues in the work of major contemporary philosophers, while landmark selections reflect concern with moral language and the justification of morality. The concepts of duty, justice, and rights are explored, as well as recent views on cultural relativism and an ethic influenced by feminist concerns. In the third part, Contemporary Moral Problems, the readings present the current debates over abortion, euthanasia, famine relief, animal rights, environmentalism, and the use of torture in interrogations, as well as essays on death and the meaning of life. Wherever possible, each reading is printed in its entirety.

The fifth edition features new readings from Cicero, Barbara Herman, and Judith Jarvis Thomson; an expanded selection from Joseph Butler's Fifteen Sermons; and a new translation of Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.

New to this Edition

  • · Three new readings: Cicero, On Duties; Joseph Butler, Fifteen Sermons (selections); and Barbara Herman, On the Value of Acting from the Motive of Duty
  • · Two updated readings: Hill Jr. & Zweig's translation of Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals has been replaced by Mary Gregor's translation; Thomson's paper, Turning the Trolley, is replaced with her earlier article on the same subject, The Trolley Problem.
  • · For the first time, an Instructor's Resource CD with reading summaries, essay questions, multiple-choice and true/false questions & answers, PowerPoint lecture outlines, and web-links to sites of interest. A companion website (www.oup.com/us/cahn ) with the same material from the Instructor's Resources CD, under password protection. Resources for students include interactive self-quizzes, questions for discussion, and web-links to sites of interest.

About the Author(s)

Steven M. Cahn is Professor of Philosophy at The City University of New York Graduate Center.

Peter Markie is Curators' Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Previous Publication Date(s)

September 2011
October 2008
January 2006


"There are so many excellent selections covering a broad range of authors and topics that instructors have a more than ample pool from which to construct any number of rich syllabi, allowing for lots of flexibility. I have used this book nearly every semester for more than a decade. It still seems to me to be the best."--William J. FitzPatrick, University of Rochester

Table of Contents

    *= New to this edition
    Introduction, Alasdair MacIntyre
    1. Plato
    Defence of Socrates
    Phaedo (115d-118)
    Republic (selections)
    2. Aristotle
    Nicomachean Ethics (selections)
    3. Epicurus
    Letter to Menoeceus
    Leading Doctrines
    4. Cicero
    * On Duties (selections)
    5. Epictetus
    6. Augustine
    Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love (selections)
    7. Thomas Aquinas
    Summa Contra Gentiles (selections)
    8. Thomas Hobbes
    Leviathan (selections)
    9. Joseph Butler
    * Fifteen Sermons (selections) [expanded]
    10. David Hume
    A Treatise of Human Nature (selections)
    An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (selections)
    11. Immanuel Kant
    Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals
    12. Jeremy Bentham
    An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (selections)
    13. John Stuart Mill
    14. Friedrich Nietzsche
    On the Genealogy of Morals (selections)
    15. Albert Camus
    The Myth of Sisyphus (selections)
    16. Jean-Paul Sartre
    Existentialism Is a Humanism
    Introduction, James Rachels
    17. G.E. Moore
    Principia Ethica (selections)
    18. H.A. Prichard
    Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake?
    19. W.D. Ross
    The Right and the Good (selections)
    20. A.J. Ayer
    Language, Truth, and Logic (selections)
    21. C.L. Stevenson
    The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms
    22. R.M. Hare
    Freedom and Reason (selections)
    23. Kurt Baier
    The Point of View of Morality
    24. G.E.M. Anscombe
    Modern Moral Philosophy
    25. J. L. Mackie
    Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong
    26. John Rawls
    A Theory of Justice (selections)
    27. David Gauthier
    Why Contractarianism?
    28. Joel Feinberg
    Psychological Egoism
    29. Barbara Herman
    * On the Value of Acting from the Motive of Duty
    30. Philippa Foot
    Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives
    31. Onora O'Neill
    Consistency in Action
    32. Ruth Barcan Marcus
    Moral Dilemmas and Consistency
    33. Richard B. Brandt
    Some Merits of One Form of Rule Utilitarianism
    34. Bernard Williams
    A Critique of Utilitarianism
    35. Joel Feinberg
    The Nature and Value of Rights
    36. Gilbert Harman
    The Nature of Morality (selections)
    37. Nicholas L. Sturgeon
    Moral Explanations
    38. Allan Gibbard
    Moral Judgment and the Acceptance of Norms
    39. John McDowell
    Values and Secondary Qualities
    40. Christine Korsgaard
    Skepticism about Practical Reason
    41. James Rachels
    The Challenge of Cultural Relativism
    42. Martha Nussbaum
    Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach
    43. Virginia Held
    Feminist Transformations of Moral Theory
    44. Susan Wolf
    Moral Saints
    45. Thomas Nagel
    Moral Luck
    Introduction, Peter Singer
    46. Judith Jarvis Thomson
    A Defense of Abortion
    47. Mary Anne Warren
    On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
    48. Don Marquis
    An Argument That Abortion is Wrong
    49. Rosalind Hursthouse
    Virtue Theory and Abortion
    50. James Rachels
    Active and Passive Euthanasia
    51. Philippa Foot
    Killing and Letting Die
    52. Peter Singer
    Famine, Affluence, and Morality
    53. John Arthur
    Famine Relief and the Ideal Moral Code
    54. Tom Regan
    The Case for Animal Rights
    55. Carl Cohen
    The Case for the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research
    56. Elliot Sober
    Philosophical Problems for Environmentalism
    57. Henry Shue
    58. Daniel J. Hill
    Ticking Bombs, Torture, and the Analogy with Self-Defense
    59. John M. Taurek
    Should the Numbers Count?
    60. Derek Parfit
    Innumerate Ethics
    61. Judith Jarvis Thomson
    * Turning the Trolley
    62. Thomas Nagel
    63. Richard Taylor
    The Meaning of Life

Teaching Resources

Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Fifth Edition  is supplemented for the first time by a robust support package.

*An Instructor's Resource CD contains reading summaries, essay questions, multiple-choice and true/false questions, PowerPoint-based lecture outlines, and relevant website links.

*A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/cahn provides most of the material from the Instructor's Resource CD along with student resources including interactive self-quizzes, questions for discussion, and helpful links.

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