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Moral Reasoning

A Text and Reader on Ethics and Contemporary Moral Issues

David Morrow

Publication Date - June 2017

ISBN: 9780190235857

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

In Stock

Teaches students to think critically about moral issues, emphasizing analysis, evaluation, and construction of moral arguments


Offering students an accessible, in-depth, and highly practical introduction to ethics, Moral Reasoning: A Text and Reader on Ethics and Contemporary Moral Issues covers argumentation and moral reasoning, various types of moral arguments, and theoretical issues that commonly arise in introductory ethics courses, including skepticism, subjectivism, relativism, religion, and normative theories. The book combines primary sources in moral theory and applied ethics with explanatory material, case studies, and pedagogical features to help students think critically about moral issues.

Visit www.oup.com/us/morrow for student and instructor resources.


  • Includes clear and comprehensive discussions by David Morrow of moral reasoning, ethical theory, and contemporary moral issues along with a thorough set of readings in these areas
  • Readings include both standards of moral theory and classic and contemporary sources in applied ethics from an uncommonly diverse set of authors; nearly one-third of the readings are authored by women
  • Offers coverage of standard contemporary moral issues along with more cutting-edge topics like race, sex, and climate change
  • Illustrates aspects of moral reasoning using actual arguments from the applied ethics literature
  • Explains the use of analogical reasoning, thought experiments, and counterexamples in ethics
  • Includes dozens of detailed case studies drawn from real events, fiction, and film
  • Incorporates Chinese and African ethics
  • Provides "guiding questions" to help students understand primary sources, discussion questions for each chapter and reading, and a detailed appendix on writing an ethics paper

About the Author(s)

David Morrow is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University. He has also taught moral philosophy and critical thinking at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at Hunter College. He is the coauthor, with Anthony Weston, of A Workbook for Arguments: A Complete Course in Critical Thinking, Second Edition (2015) and the author of numerous papers in applied ethics.


"The writing is fresh, insightful, and pitched perfectly for those interested in approaching ethics in a practical, hands-on way."--Brett Fulkerson-Smith, Harper College

"Morrow's prose is clear, his chapters are well organized, and there is a natural flow in each chapter from real-world scenarios to technical vocabulary, conceptual problems, and case studies for discussion and reflection."--Albert Spencer, Portland State University

"This text is an excellent choice for a course on ethics that is designed to engage undergraduates in all majors."--Joni Doherty, Franklin Pierce University

Table of Contents

    A Note to Instructors
    Part I. Reasoning About Moral and Non-Moral Issues
    1. An Introduction to Arguments
    2. Moral Arguments
    Part II. Ways of Reasoning About Moral Issues
    3. Reasoning with Obligations
    4. Reasoning with Consequences
    5. Reasoning with Virtues and Vices
    6. Reasoning with Principles and Counterexamples
    7. Reasoning by Analogy
    8. Answering Moral Questions
    Part III. Moral Theory and Moral Reasoning
    9. Skepticism, Subjectivism, and Relativism
    10. Religion and Moral Reasoning
    11. Normative Theories, Part 1
    12. Normative Theories, Part 2
    Part IV. Appendices
    Appendix 1. How to Write an Ethics Paper
    Appendix 2. Additional Case Studies
    Part V. Readings
    Tips on Reading Philosophy
    Moral Theory
    Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals
    Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
    John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
    Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
    Stephanie Collins, Care Ethics: The Four Key Claims
    Mencius, Essential Mengzi: Selected Passages with Traditional Commentary
    Kwasi Wiredu, The Moral Foundations of an African Culture
    Moral Issues
    Yolanda Estes, Mutual Respect and Sexual Morality
    Tom Dougherty, Sex, Lies, and Consent
    Anne W. Eaton, A Sensible Antiporn Feminism
    J.L.A. Garcia, The Heart of Racism
    Laurence Thomas, What Good Am I?
    Xiaofei Liu, No Fats, Femmes, or Asians
    Mary Anne Warren, On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
    Don Marquis, Why Abortion Is Immoral
    Judith Jarvis Thomson, A Defense of Abortion
    Susan M. Wolf, Physician-Assisted Suicide
    James Rachels, Active and Passive Euthanasia
    J. Gay-Williams, The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia
    Capital Punishment
    Ernest van den Haag, The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense
    Stephen Nathanson, An Eye for an Eye? The Morality of Punishing by Death
    Thaddeus Metz, African Values and Capital Punishment
    Henry Shue, Torture
    Alan M. Dershowitz, Should the Ticking Time Bomb Terrorist Be Tortured?
    Jeff McMahan, Torture in Principle and in Practice
    Jeff McMahan, The Ethics of Killing in War
    Cheryl Abbate, Assuming Risk: A Critical Analysis of a Soldier's Duty to Prevent Collateral Casualties
    Bradley J. Strawser, Moral Predators: The Duty to Employ Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles
    Peter Singer, All Animals Are Equal
    Bonnie Steinbock, Speciesism and the Idea of Equality
    Alastair Norcross, Puppies, Pigs, and People: Eating Meat and Marginal Cases
    Global Poverty
    Onora Nell, Lifeboat Earth
    Peter Singer, Famine, Affluence, and Morality
    Fiona Woollard, Saving Strangers: What Does Morality Demand?
    Climate Change
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, It's Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations
    John Broome, Morality and Climate Change
    Sarah Krakoff, Parenting the Planet