Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues Paperback – Feb 22 2006
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1. Ethics and Ethical Reasoning. 2. Ethical Relativism. 3. Egoism. 4. Utilitarianism. 5. Kant's Moral Theory. 6. Contractarianism. 7. Morality and Human Nature. 8. Virtue Ethics. 9. Feminist Thought and the Ethics of Care. 10. Euthanasia. 11. Abortion. 12. Sexual Morality. 13. Equality and Discrimination. 14. Economic Justice. 15. Legal Punishment. 16. Environmental Ethics. 17. Animal Rights. 18. Stem Cell Research, Cloning, and Genetic Engineering. 19. Violence, Terrorism, and War. 20. Global Issues and Globalization. Appendix: How to Write and 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. During her 30 years of teaching, her instruction and writing focused primarily on the history of ethics and contemporary ethical issues. She enjoys reading widely, playing the piano, and traveling.
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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...
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!
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.
Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues
MacKinnion's text, Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues, is a modern examination of major moral theories and there application to today's moral issues. It is very well structured and would be an asset to any humanities or philosophy curriculum. The book also presents useful study tools for student to use. Also available to students is an interactive resource center and an e-Book feature.
The text is written in a way that flows well with either an eight week or a fifteen week course. The first half of the book explains the major ethical philosophies studied today. This can be matched up with the first half of a course, up to the midterm. The second half of this textbook is written to apply the theories learned in the first half of the book to the major moral issues of today; such as abortion, cloning, same sex marriage, and torture.
Each theory is given a clear discussion. They are viewed from all angles. First MacKinnion describes the basis of the theory. She then points out the strong suits and the flaws with the application of the theory. She also aids students by opening each chapter with an actual life application.
During the second part of the text, MacKinnion describes a major issue and the majority of the views associated with it. She then applies the major theories from the first half of the text to these issues. This allows students to see an application of what they have already learned. This aids in the building of a solid understanding of not only the theories but the appropriate application of them.
Added to the text for student aid, are some tools to help study. There is an appendix entitled, "How to Write an Ethics Paper." This offers useful information on paper writing for the course. An appendix, "Ethics in the News," shows news stories that raise ethical issues and spark classroom discussion. This also aids to this modern application of moral philosophies.
Also available for students is the e-Book. This allows for the use of a highlight feature, note taking, and a search feature. This will aid students in studying and researching for papers. There is also a Resource Center. This includes animated simulations that help readers make your own decisions on important ethical issues, chapter reviews, web links, and more.
Overall this text is a great addition to any classroom or online course. It will add to your students understanding level and aid them in research and studying. MacKinnion's structure matches up well with any course length and the added aids in the text help students and minimize the amount of assignments that the instructor must generate. I would recommend this text to any philosophy program.
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.