1st Edition

Theories of Ethics An Introduction to Moral Philosophy with a Selection of Classic Readings

By Gordon Graham Copyright 2011
    400 Pages
    by Routledge

    412 Pages
    by Routledge

    Theories of Ethics offers a comprehensive survey of the major schools and figures in moral philosophy, from Socrates to the present day. Written entirely in non-technical language, it aims to be introductory without being elementary, so that readers may quickly engage with selected readings from classic sources. The writings of major philosophers are explained in a structured exploration of recurrently important issues about right and wrong, good and evil, social relations and religious meaning.

    This book is a radical revision of Gordon Graham’s Eight Theories of Ethics (Routledge 2004). A hallmark of the new edition is the incorporation of primary readings into the text itself, making the book suitable as a stand-alone publication for any ethics course or for anyone wanting to know the history and arguments or moral philosophy. Primary sources include extracts from Aristotle, Camus, Hume, Kant, Locke, Mill, Nietzsche, Plato, Reid, and Sartre, as well as Aldo Leopold and James Lovelock. The new edition also offers extended treatment of the objective/subjective debate, social contract theory, Nietzsche on morality, recent interpretations of Kant, the relation between morality and the existence of God, and a full chapter on environmental ethics.

    Chapter 1: Ethics, Truth and Reason  1.1 Right and Wrong  1.2 Relativism and Subjectivism  1.3 Proof and Probability  1.4 Moral Realism  1.5 Moral Rationalism  1.6 Objectivism  Chapter 2: Contractualism  2.1 Justice and Beneficence   2.2 Promises and Contracts  2.3 John Locke and "tacit" consent.  2.4 John Rawls and "hypothetical" consent.  2.5 T.M. Scanlon and unreasonable rejection  2.6 Bernard Mandeville and The Fable of the Bees  Chapter 3: Egoism  3.1 Egoism versus Altruism  3.2 Psychological Egoism  3.3 Rational Egoism  3.4 Nietzsche and the Genealogy of Morality  3.5 The Nietzschean ideal  3.6 Desires and interests  Chapter 4: Hedonism  4.1 Egoism and Hedonism  4.2 The Cyrenaics  4.3 The Epicureans  4.4 John Stuart Mill on Higher and Lower Pleasures  4.5 Sadistic pleasures  4.6 Aristotle on Pleasure  Chapter 5: Naturalism and Virtue  5.1 Eudaimonia and the Good  5.2 Human Nature as Rational Animal  5.3 Ethics, Ethology and Evolution  5.4 Virtue Theory  5.5 The Natural as a Norm  5.6 Is the "good for man" good?  5.7 Natural good and freedom  Chapter 6: Existentialism  6.1 Kierkegaard and the origins of existentialism  6.2 Sartre and Radical Freedom  6.3 Anguish and Bad Faith  6.4 The Absurdity of Existence  6.5 Acting in Good Faith  6.6 The Creation of Value  6.7 Radical Freedom  Chapter 7: Kantianism  7.1 Virtue and Happiness: "Faring Well" and "Doing Right"  7.2 Kant and the Good Will  7.3 David Hume and Practical Reason  7.5 Pure Practical Reason and the Moral Law  7.6 Universalizability  Chapter 8: Utilitarianism  8.1 Utility and the Greatest Happiness Principle  8.2 Jeremy Bentham  8.3 Egotism, Altruism and Generalized Benevolence  8.4 Act and Rule Utilitarianism  8.5 Utilitarianism and Consequentialism  8.6 Ascertaining Consequences  8.7 Assessment and Prescription  8.8 Consequentialism and Spontaneity  8.9 Act and Rule  8.10 Summary - Does the End Justify the Means?  8.11 The Nature of Happiness  8.12 Measuring Happiness  8.13 Distributing happiness  8.13 Mill's "proof" and preference utilitarianism  8.14 Motivation and the limitless moral code  Chapter 9: Ethics and Environment  9.1 Extending the Moral Sphere  9.2 Pollution, Sustainability and Climatic Change  9.3 The Land Ethic  9.4 Deep and Shallow Ecology  9.5 Wilderness  9.6 Nature and Gaia  Chapter 10: Ethics, Religion and the Meaning of Life  10.1 Morality and Ordinary Life  10.2 God and Good: Plato’s Euthyphro  10.3 Kant and the Harmony of Happiness and Virtue  10.4 Moral Action and Religious Practice  10.5 The Myth of Sisyphus  10.6 Subjective Value and Objective Purpose  10.7 Life, Time and Eternity  10.8 Worship of the Sacred  Readings for Chapter 1: Treatise of Human Nature (excerpt) by David Hume  Essays on the Active Powers of Man (excerpt) by Thomas Reid  Readings for Chapter 2:  “The Second Treatise of Government” (excerpt) by John Locke  “Of the Original Contract” by David Hume  “Justice as Fairness” by John Rawls  Readings for Chapter 3The Republic (excerpt) by Plato  Twilight of the Idols (excerpt) by Friedrich Nietzsche  Readings for Chapter 4:  “The Epicurean” by David Hume  Nicomachean Ethics, Book X by Aristotle  “The Letter to Menoeceus” by Epicurus  Readings for Chapter 5:  Nicomachean Ethics, Books I & II, Aristotle  Readings for Chapter 6Existentialism is a Humanism (excerpt), Jean-Paul Sartre  Readings for Chapter 7:  “Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals” (excerpt) by Immanuel Kant  Readings for Chapter 8Utilitarianism (excerpt) by John Stuart Mill  Readings for Chapter 9:  “The Land Ethic” by Aldo Leopold  “A Personal View of Environmentalism” by James Lovelock  Readings for Chapter 10Euthyphro by Plato  Critique of Practical Reason (excerpt) by Immanuel Kant  “The Myth of Sisyphus” (excerpt) by Albert Camus


    Gordon Graham is Henry Luce III Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary.