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What's Wrong?

Applied Ethicists and Their Critics

Second Edition

Edited by David Boonin and Graham Oddie

Publication Date - 02 February 2009

ISBN: 9780195337808

640 pages
7 1/2 X 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Authors meet their critics in the second edition of this unique contemporary moral problems reader


Is abortion morally permissible? Is it wrong to hunt animals for sport or to slaughter them for food? Should human cloning be permitted? Is torture ever justified?
Now in a second edition, What's Wrong? Applied Ethicists and Their Critics presents a thorough and engaging exploration of these complex questions and twenty-four other contemporary ethical issues. Employing a unique approach to teaching argumentation, editors David Boonin and Graham Oddie open each chapter with an influential article that takes a strong stand on a particular issue; the essays that immediately follow offer objections and critical responses to the arguments put forth in the featured selection. This format helps students learn how to better engage in debates because it illustrates how philosophers argue with each other. Featuring a new section on applied ethics and ethical theory, the general introduction to this second edition also describes strategies for understanding and evaluating the different types of arguments contained in the readings. Detailed part and chapter introductions--streamlined in this edition--enable students to see precisely how the arguments presented in the various writings are related to one another. Questions for Consideration and updated and expanded Further Reading Lists are included at the end of each chapter.
Featuring more than eighty readings organized into five parts--killing, sex, the family, race relations, and the state--What's Wrong? includes seminal essays by prominent philosophers alongside work by newer voices in the field. Addressing five new cutting-edge issues--overpopulation, campus hate speech codes, hate crime laws, torture, and global warming--the second edition includes fifteen new readings. Ideal for courses in applied ethics/contemporary moral problems and introduction to ethics, What's Wrong?, Second Edition, can also be used in critical thinking courses that emphasize philosophical argumentation.

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 2004


"I consider this to be the best collection available in applied ethics in terms of teaching students about constructing and understanding philosophical argument."--Clare Palmer, Washington University in St. Louis

"Each chapter is structured around not only a specific moral debate, but a particular argument. In this way, students receive a much more thorough exposure to current debates in applied ethics. By contrast, other ethics textbooks seem somewhat superficial, providing numerous readings without necessarily challenging readers to engage with moral debates in their full complexity."--Joshua Shaw, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Table of Contents

    *=New to this edition
    Introduction: What's Wrong with Arguing?
    1. Is Killing in War Wrong?
    Fullinwider and His Critics
    Robert K. Fullinwider, "War and Innocence"
    Lawrence A. Alexander, "Self-Defense and the Killing of Noncombatants: A Reply to Fullinwider"
    2. Is Euthanasia Wrong?
    Rachels and His Critics
    James Rachels, "Active and Passive Euthanasia"
    Winston Nesbitt, "Is Killing No Worse Than Letting Die?"
    Roy W. Perrett, "Killing, Letting Die, and the Bare Difference Argument"
    3. Is Abortion Wrong?
    Marquis and His Critics
    Don Marquis, "Why Abortion Is Immoral"
    Gerald H. Paske, "Abortion and the Neo-Natal Right to Life: A Critique of Marquis's Futurist Argument"
    Alastair Norcross, "Killing, Abortion, and Contraception: A Reply to Marquis"
    Peter K. McInerney, "Does a Fetus Already Have a Future-Like-Ours?"
    Thomson and Her Critics
    Judith Jarvis Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion"
    Baruch Brody, "Thomson on Abortion"
    Francis J. Beckwith, "Arguments from Bodily Rights: A Critical Analysis"
    4. Is Killing Nonhuman Animals Wrong?
    Regan and His Critics
    Tom Regan, "The Case for Animal Rights"
    Jan Narveson, "On a Case for Animal Rights"
    R.G. Frey, "Why Animals Lack Beliefs and Desires"
    R.G. Frey, "The Case Against Animal Rights"
    Alan White, "Rights"
    5. Is Failing to Contribute to Famine Relief Wrong?
    Singer and His Critics
    Peter Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"
    John Arthur, "World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case Against Singer"
    Michael Slote, "Famine, Affluence, and Empathy"
    6. Is Homosexuality Wrong?
    Levin and His Critics
    Michael Levin, "Why Homosexuality Is Abnormal"
    Timothy F. Murphy, "Homosexuality and Nature: Happiness and the Law at Stake"
    7. Is "Outing" Homosexuals Wrong?
    Mohr and His Critics
    Richard D. Mohr, "The Case for Outing"
    James S. Stramel, "Outing, Ethics, and Politics: A Reply to Mohr"
    David J. Mayo and Martin Gunderson, "Privacy and the Ethics of Outing"
    8. Is Adultery Wrong?
    Wasserstrom and His Critics
    Richard Wasserstrom, "Is Adultery Immoral?"
    Bonnie Steinbock, "Adultery"
    Don Marquis, "What's Wrong with Adultery?"
    9. Is Antioch's "Sexual Offense Policy" Wrong?
    Soble and His Critics
    Alan Soble, "Antioch's 'Sexual Offense Policy': A Philosophical Exploration"
    Eva Feder Kittay, "AH! My Foolish Heart: A Reply to Soble's 'Antioch's "Sexual Offense Policy": A Philosophical Exploration'"
    10. Is Prostitution Wrong?
    Ericsson and His Critics
    Lars O. Ericsson, "Charges Against Prostitution: An Attempt at a Philosophical Assessment"
    Carole Pateman, "Defending Prostitution: Charges Against Ericsson"
    Laurie Shrage, "Should Feminists Oppose Prostitution?"
    Karen Green, "Prostitution, Exploitation, and Taboo"
    11. Is the Traditional Family Wrong?
    Sommers and Her Critics
    Christina Hoff Sommers, "Philosophers Against the Family"
    Claudia Mills, "The Ties That Bind: Duties to Family Members"
    12. Is Neglecting One's Parents Wrong?
    English and Her Critics
    Jane English, "What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents?"
    Nicholas Dixon, "The Friendship Model of Filial Obligations"
    13. Is Same-Sex Marriage Wrong?
    Jordan and His Critics
    Jeff Jordan, "Is It Wrong to Discriminate on the Basis of Homosexuality?"
    David Boonin, "Same-Sex Marriage and the Argument from Public Disagreement"
    Andrew Sullivan, "Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality"
    14. Is Licensing Parents Wrong?
    LaFollette and His Critics
    Hugh LaFollette, "Licensing Parents"
    Lawrence E. Frisch, "On Licentious Licensing: A Reply to Hugh LaFollette"
    Pierre Lemieux, "Parent Licensing"
    15. Is Commercial Surrogate Motherhood Wrong?
    Anderson and Her Critics
    Elizabeth S. Anderson, "Is Women's Labor a Commodity?"
    Richard J. Arneson, "Commodification and Commercial Surrogacy"
    Alan Wertheimer, "Two Questions About Surrogacy and Exploitation"
    * NEW CHAPTER: 16. Is Causing Overpopulation Wrong?
    Parfit and His Critics
    * Derek Parfit, "Overpopulation and the Quality of Life"
    * Thomas Hurka, "Value and Population Size"
    * Don Locke, "The Parfit Population Problem"
    17. Are Reparations for Slavery Wrong?
    Horowitz and His Critics
    David Horowitz, "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks Is a Bad Idea for Blacks--and Racist, Too!"
    Robert Chrisman and Ernest Allen, Jr., "Ten Reasons: A Response to David Horowitz"
    Randall Robinson, "America's Debt to Blacks"
    18. Is Affirmative Action Wrong?
    Himma and His Critics
    * Kenneth Einar Himma, "Discrimination and Disidentification: The Fair-Start Defense of Affirmative Action"
    * Lisa Newton, "A Fair Defense of a False Start: A Reply to Kenneth Himma"
    * NEW CHAPTER: 19. Are Campus Hate Speech Codes Wrong?
    Meyers and Her Critics
    * Diana Tietjens Meyers, "Rights in Collision: A Non-Punitive, Compensatory Remedy for Abusive Speech"
    * Thomas W. Peard, "Diana Tietjens Meyers's Remedy for Abusive Speech: Objections"
    * NEW CHAPTER: 20. Are Hate Crime Laws Wrong?
    Wellman and His Critics
    * Christopher Heath Wellman, "A Defense of Stiffer Penalties for Hate Crimes"
    * Heidi M. Hurd, "Why Liberals Should Hate 'Hate Crime Legislation'"
    21. Does Racial Discrimination Make Capital Punishment Wrong?
    Nathanson and His Critics
    Stephen Nathanson, "Does It Matter If the Death Penalty Is Arbitrarily Administered?"
    Ernest van den Haag, "Refuting Nathanson"
    22. Is Racial Profiling Wrong?
    Levin and His Critics
    Michael Levin, "Responses to Race Differences in Crime"
    Laurence Thomas, "Statistical Badness"
    Louis P. Pojman, "Race and Crime: A Response to Michael Levin and Laurence Thomas"
    23. Is a Government Ban on Human Cloning Wrong?
    The President's Council on Bioethics and Its Critics
    * President's Council on Bioethics, "Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry"
    David B. Elliott, "Uniqueness, Individuality, and Human Cloning"
    David B. Hershenov, "An Argument for Limited Human Cloning"
    24. Is a Government Ban on Tobacco Wrong?
    Goodin and His Critics
    Robert Goodin, "No Smoking"
    Daniel Shapiro, "Smoking Tobacco: Irrationality, Addiction, and Paternalism"
    Graham Oddie, "Addiction and the Value of Freedom"
    25. Is Legal Punishment Wrong?
    Barnett and His Critics
    Randy E. Barnett, "Restitution: A New Paradigm of Criminal Justice"
    Franklin G. Miller, "Restitution and Punishment: A Reply to Barnett"
    Roger Pilon, "Criminal Remedies: Restitution, Punishment, or Both?"
    Stanley S. Kleinberg, "Criminal Justice and Private Enterprise"
    * NEW CHAPTER: 26. Is Issuing Warrants to Torture Wrong?
    Dershowitz and His Critics
    * Alan Dershowitz, "Tortured Reasoning"
    * Elaine Scarry, "Five Errors in the Reasoning of Alan Dershowitz"
    * Alan Dershowitz, "Reply to Scarry"
    27. Is Redistributive Taxation Wrong?
    Nozick and His Critics
    Robert Nozick, "Distributive Justice"
    Alan H. Goodman, "The Entitlement Theory of Distributive Justice"
    * NEW CHAPTER: 28. Is Ignoring Global Warming Wrong?
    Traxler and His Critics
    * Martino Traxler, "Fair Chore Division for Climate Change"
    * Stephen Gardiner, "Ethics and Global Climate Change"