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What Is This Thing Called Ethics?


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Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Life and Death 1. Death and the Meaning of Life 2. Which Lives Count? 3. How Much Can we be Expected to do for One Another? Part 2: Three Starting Points in Moral Theory 4. Utilitarianism 5. Kantian Ethics 6. Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Part 3: Further Directions for Moral Thinking 7. Ethics and Religion 8. Morality and Contract 9. Critiques of Morality. Conclusion

About the Author

Christopher Bennett is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, UK. His research interests include moral, political and legal philosophy. His previous publications include The Apology Ritual: A Philosophical Theory of Punishment (2008).


'What is particularly appealing about this volume are its clarity of style, organization, and accessibility. Each chapter presents six or seven aspects of the problem in question, a conclusion, a set of excellent questions for discussion, and a good, short bibliography. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers.' - CHOICE 'This is an excellent introduction to ethics, and will be of great help and interest to undergraduate students, their tutors, and their lecturers ... It presents a very fair and balanced -- not to mention comprehensive and subtle -- examination of the subject ... The chapters are full of interesting and thought-provoking examples, and the writing is clear and engaging.' -- Michael Brady, University of Glasgow, UK 'Christopher Bennett's What is this thing called Ethics? is an engaging introduction to moral and applied philosophy. The author guides the reader through some of the central ideas in moral philosophy and introduces them to some of the main traditions of moral thought, such as utilitarianism, Kantianism and Aristotelianism. The author, however, also relates the theoretical issues to practical questions and considers some of the most crucial issues that allied philosophy has to tackle, such as questions concerning life and death and questions concerning the responsibilities that people have towards one another. As such, this book should prove invaluable to readers unfamiliar with philosophy and for students who need a clear and non-technical introduction to moral and applied philosophy.' -- Nick Buttle, University of the West of England, UK 'This introduction is outstanding. Christopher Bennett encourages his reader to actively reflect on key moral questions in a highly engaging book covering all major topics. This book is a must have for any student interested in the subject. It is accessibly written without sacrificing sufficient depth. The selection of major topics is wide-ranging and ideal for classroom use. I highly recommend this book.' -- Thom Brooks, University of Newcastle, UK 'This is a first rate introduction to ethics. What sets Bennett's book apart from the rest is the time he devotes to laying out the deep questions and problems that have motivated philosophical inquiry. In addition, Bennett addresses the challenges to ethics -- such as skepticism and relativism -- with unusual candor and intelligence.a This book would fit very well in an undergraduate ethics course, and is engaging and accessible reading for anyone interested in how philosophers have approached moral issues.' - Tamler Sommers, University of Houston, USA

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