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Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues [Paperback]

Barbara MacKinnon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 97.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 22 2006 0495007161 978-0495007166 5
Through a combination of the illuminating overviews composed by the editor and readings drawn from important traditional and contemporary sources, MacKinnon's acclaimed ETHICS provides students with a superbly balanced introduction to both ethical theory and the moral debates surrounding a variety of contemporary issues. Designed to offer instructors maximum flexibility and revised with the intention of providing reader friendly, but not superficial, access to many complex concepts, ETHICS is a comprehensive and clear-sighted introduction to both the general and specific arenas in which ethical deliberation is obliged to dwell.

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Part I: ETHICAL THEORY. 1. Ethics and Ethical Reasoning. 2. Ethical Relativism. 3. Egoism. 4. Utilitarianism. 5. Kant's Moral Theory. 6. Natural Law and Natural Rights. 7. Virtue Ethics. Part II: ETHICAL ISSUES. 8. Euthanasia. 9. Abortion. 10. Sexual Morality. 11. Pornography. 12. Equality and Discrimination. 13. Economic Justice. 14. Legal Punishment. 15. Environmental Ethics. 16. Animal Rights. 17. Stem Cell Research, Cloning, and Genetic Engineering. 18. Violence, Terrorism, and War. 19. Global Issues and Globalization. Appendix: How to Write an Ethics Paper. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Barbara MacKinnon is a professor emerita of philosophy at the University of San Francisco. Her teaching and writings during the 30 years she taught focused primarily on the history of ethics and contemporary ethical issues. Since her retirement in 2002, she enjoys reading widely, playing the piano, and traveling.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product. March 8 2010
Format:Paperback
The book arrived in perfect condition, looking like new and unused, within a week of ordering it. The pricing was also fair seeing as it is in its 5th edition (the most recent is the 6th) and the content is just as relevant and up to date as the latter. I would definitely order from this user again as it was reliable, quick and exactly as described by the seller.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great even for a beginner exploring many of today's ethical issues Feb. 5 2006
By J. Mariani - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I used this textbook in an undergraduate Communication Ethics course last year. It very helpful in introducing me to the study of ethics and how it fits into today's issues.

The book is divided into two parts: Ethical Theory (chapters 1-7)and Ethical Issues (chapters 8-19). The first part of the book actually gives you the "tools" to better discuss the issues raised in the chapters of the second part.

At the end of the book there is even a short appendix and sample ethics paper. This section helps the average student who is unfamiliar with the structure and reasoning behind a formal ethics paper.

I especially liked the way some that chapters began with scenarios that helped tie in each ethical theory to dilemmas we face everyday. It made it easier to understand and relate the thoughts of Kant and Aristotle to today's average person and the decisions they make-- their "moral dilemmas" and such.

Bottom line...well-organized, great for undergrads, an excellent source, and you probably use more everyday ethics than you think you do...
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource for Intro Ethics Sept. 1 2006
By esselle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I choose MacKinnon's 4th edition of this text, while in search of one that would work well for online instruction. I have since moved on to the current edition, which contains a few, but what I consider, significant and useful changes and expansions from the 4th.

For a lower division introductory course in ethics, I've found this text exceptionally useful. From an online perspective, I find it straightforward, clear, and concise. Whether used as the essential core resource, as a structural component from which to build and expand, or as a supplement, I think MacKinnon's text well worth consideration.

I read through quite a number (or as my daughter would say, 'mass quantities') of texts before making the decision to go with MacKinnon. While this text isn't the only resource I use in my courses, I do use it as the framework around which they are designed and built. Highly recommended from this online instructor!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Very Complete Book on Ethics Dec 4 2007
By Frederick S. Goethel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My daughter took an ethics course at a local community college this semester and this book was the textbook. As I was interested, I read along with the class (and even more) as the semester progressed.

The book is broken into 2 main sections: Ethical Theory and Ethical Issues. The first part contains the theory of ethics from a number of standpoints, including Relativism, Egoism, Utilitarianism, Kant's Theories and Natural Law. The second section is filled with discussions of ethical issues of today including pornography, euthanasia, abortion, sexual morality, environmentalism, animal rights, stem cell research and much more.

The book is comprehensive and very well written. It is easy to follow and gives latitude in the areas of ethics that are discussed. Finally, there is a sample ethics paper in the rear, making this a very comprehensive and useful textbook.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's not much you can do to mess up an ethics book, but . . . Dec 6 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
College ethics texts are similar and have been for decades. About half the book presents basic ethical theories. The other half presents current ethical conundrums. The books must be kept up to date to keep up with controversies of society. The last half of the book gives the students the chance to practice with what they have learned in the first half.

This particular text offers more "juicy" chapters than most, thus allowing the instructor to pick and choose the best issues to tackle. This makes the text as flexible as today's news. The text also offers an appendix on how to write an ethics paper. This is a welcome addition for those instructors, like me, who feel that students don't have the material mastered until they can argue a position in their own words.

But this text does mess up, even with all these benefits. I don't know exactly how it does it, nor could I put my finger on it. But there is something about the writing that was difficult for my students to comprehend. I found myself having to nurse them through all the chapters on ethics theory, often explaining the confusing portions with supplemental material. Part way through the semester the text itself became the supplemental material. There was, of course, that student who just has the ability to grasp the subject, but most struggled more than I was comfortable with. This will not stop me from using the text, but it will change the way I approach next semester.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tries to cover too much March 19 2013
By Doug Erlandson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Barbara MacKinnon's "Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues" is an example of an increasingly popular genre offered by textbook publishers. It is a hybrid between theoretical ethics and what is sometimes called applied ethics. One of the drawbacks of most of the textbooks in this genre is that in an attempt to cover two areas in one textbook they cover neither area well, or if one area is covered adequately, the other gets short shrift. MacKinnon's text is one of the latter.

Approximately one-quarter of her book is devoted to theoretical ethics. She covers all the standard approaches to decision making in the area of morality: relativism, utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, etc. However, each of these approaches is covered in such brevity as to not give the student a truly adequate understanding either of the approach as a whole or of the issues that are raised by these approaches. For example, she covers the difference between act and rule utilitarianism in a page. This is hardly enough for an adequate discussion. In addition, each of these approaches not only includes her own analysis but a selection from one (and often more than one) proponent of the view she is discussing.

Part Two of her book, which is the applied ethics section, takes up about three-quarters of the text. Here too she covers the issues that are standard in such texts--abortion, euthanasia, economic justice, discrimination, environmental ethics, animal rights, genetic engineering and cloning, among others. The general format is the same--her own analysis of the issue followed by articles representing various perspectives on the issue in question. Once again, her discussion of these issues tries to do too much and hence remains relatively superficial.

Although the collection of writings she includes is valuable, the anthologized articles are standard ones and can be readily found in other applied ethics texts. Given the high cost of the book, an instructor considering MacKinnon's book might want to keep looking.
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