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Exploring Ethics

An Introductory Anthology

Fifth Edition

Steven M. Cahn

Publication Date - June 2019

ISBN: 9780190887902

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

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $59.99

A compact and cost-effective collection of readings on ethical theory and moral problems, with unparalleled representation of women philosophers


In this remarkably accessible, concise, and engaging introduction to moral philosophy, Steven M. Cahn brings together a rich, balanced, and wide-ranging collection of fifty-two readings on ethical theory and contemporary moral issues. He has carefully edited all the articles to ensure that they will be exceptionally clear and understandable to undergraduate students. The selections are organized into three parts--Challenges to Morality, Moral Theories, and Moral Problems--providing instructors with flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of ethics courses. Each reading is followed by study questions.

The fifth edition features twelve new articles and unparalleled representation of women philosophers, with nearly half of the essays authored or coauthored by women. A password-protected Instructor's Manual is available on the book's Ancillary Resource Center. Visit the book's free, open-access Companion Website for additional student and instructor resources.

New to this Edition

  • Sections on immigration, injustice, and prostitution
  • Selections on racism, sexism, climate change, and animal rights
  • Nearly half of the readings are authored by women


  • Offers a balance of ethical theory and contemporary moral problems, giving substantive coverage to both
  • More compact than other ethics readers--students are buying what they will actually use in their courses
  • Provides unparalleled representation of women philosophers, with twenty-four of the essays authored or coauthored by women
  • Includes study questions after each selection to reinforce material and encourage philosophical thinking

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. Most recently, he wrote Inside Academia: Professors, Politics, and Policies (2018) and Teaching Philosophy: A Guide (2018). Dr. Cahn is the editor of The World of Philosophy, Second Edition (OUP, 2018) and Exploring Philosophy, Sixth Edition (OUP, 2017).


"The inclusion of women authors is a great selling point for me, as I believe that the issue of the representation of women in philosophy is a serious problem. I would absolutely recommend Exploring Ethics to any instructor looking to adopt a new ethics textbook. It is a compact, affordable, and well-rounded introduction to the philosophical study of ethics."--Heath Allen, Oklahoma State University

"Exploring Ethics is an accessible, affordable anthology that provides an excellent balance of classical and contemporary works in ethical theory and applied ethics. The online student resources are really fantastic."--Nathan Stout, Tulane University

"Exploring Ethics far exceeds other ethics textbooks. I have no idea how it is so much cheaper than other options. I tell my students to buy--not rent--this book, because it will be a great resource for years to come."--Daniel Gluch, California State University, Sacramento

"This is a concise, well-edited anthology that contains many of the essential classics. The thoughtfully chosen selections are very engaging, and the helpful questions at the end of each article will further increase student engagement. The online student resources, including quizzes and flashcards, are also very useful. Finally, this text is very reasonably priced."--Elaine Yoshikawa, Arizona State University

"Exploring Ethics is an excellent introductory anthology for courses in introduction to normative ethics or introduction to applied ethics. The readings are at an appropriate length and are pitched towards an intro class. Further, and perhaps most importantly, the price point cannot be beat."--Elizabeth Scarbrough, Florida International University

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    1. Morality and Moral Philosophy, William K. Frankena
    2. Crito, Plato
    3. Phaedo, Plato
    * 4. Subjectivism, Julia Driver
    5. God and Morality, Steven M. Cahn
    6. The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, James Rachels
    7. Right and Wrong, Thomas Nagel
    8. Egoism and Moral Skepticism, James Rachels
    9. Happiness and Immorality, Steven M. Cahn and Jeffrie G. Murphy
    10. The Nature of Ethical Disagreement, Charles L. Stevenson
    11. The Rationality of Moral Action, Philippa Foot
    12. The Categorical Imperative, Immanuel Kant
    13. A Simplified Account of Kant's Ethics, Onora O'Neill
    14. Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill
    15. Strengths and Weaknesses of Utilitarianism, Louis P. Pojman
    16. The Nature of Virtue, Aristotle
    17. Virtue Ethics, Julia Driver
    18. The Ethics of Care, Virginia Held
    19. The Social Contract, Thomas Hobbes
    20. A Theory of Justice, John Rawls
    21. Gender Bias, Cheshire Calhoun
    22. Famine, Affluence, and Morality, Peter Singer
    23. A Reply to Singer, Travis Timmerman
    * 24. Immigration: The Case for Limits, David Miller
    * 25. Is There a Right to Immigrate? Michael Huemer
    * 26. Racisms, Kwame Anthony Appiah
    * 27. Sexism, Ann E. Cudd and Leslie E. Jones
    * 28. Value and the Gift of Sexuality,Elizabeth Anderson
    * 29. Taking Money for Bodily Services, Martha C. Nussbaum
    * 30. Markets in Women's Sexual Labor, Debra Satz
    31. Pornography, Oppression, and Freedom, Helen E. Longino
    32. The Case Against Pornography: An Assessment, Joel Feinberg
    * 33. Equality for Animals, Peter Singer
    * 34. Speciesism and the Idea of Equality, Bonnie Steinbock
    * 35. Getting Animals in View, Christine Korsgaard
    36. Speaking of Animal Rights, Mary Anne Warren
    37. Philosophical Problems for Environmentalism, Elliott Sober
    * 38. Ethics and Global Change, Dale Jamieson
    39. A Defense of Abortion, Judith Jarvis Thomson
    40. On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, Mary Anne Warren
    41. Why Abortion is Immoral, Don Marquis
    42. Virtue Theory and Abortion, Rosalind Hursthouse
    43. Active and Passive Euthanasia, James Rachels
    44. The Intentional Termination of Life, Bonnie Steinbock
    J. DEATH
    45. Death, Thomas Nagel
    46. The Badness of Death, Shelly Kagan
    47. The Meaning of Life, Richard Taylor
    48. Meaning in Life, Susan Wolf
    49. Meaningful Lives, Christine Vitrano
    50. The Trolley Problem, Judith Jarvis Thomson
    51. Turning the Trolley, Judith Jarvis Thomson
    52. Moral Saints, Susan Wolf

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