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A Companion to Ethics Paperback – August 20, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0631187851 ISBN-10: 0631187855 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (August 20, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631187855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631187851
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.6 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A Companion to Ethics will provide an invaluable stimulus for anyone interested in ethics -- which is to say it will benefit anyone interested in the central questions of human life." David Seehouse, University of Liverpool; BMJ

"Peter Singer has directed this book very expertly. The contributors have set forth the facts about ethical systems with as much kind clarity as specialists can ever bestow upon the ignorant." The Independent

"A brilliant collection of articles." Pat Haggard, New Scientist<!--end-->

From the Back Cover

In this volume, some of today's most distinguished philosophers survey the whole field of ethics, from its origins, through the great ethical traditions, to theories of how we ought to live, arguments about specific ethical issues, and the nature of ethics itself. The book can be read straight through from beginning to end; yet the inclusion of a multi-layered index, coupled with a descriptive outline of contents and bibliographies of relevant literature, means that the volume also serves as a work of reference, both for those coming afresh to the study of ethics and for readers already familiar with the subject.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Eric Breitenstein on March 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a great introduction to all aspects of ethics. It leaves no area untouched: everything from Buddhist ethics to deontology, consequentialism, virtue theory, the nature of morality, and much much more is covered here. Indeed, I would say that anyone who wants a survey of this area of philosophy need look no further.
But the book has several glaring flaws. Notably, it appears that some of the choices of essays were slightly biased. A case in point: the two essays on comtemporary deontology and consequentialism. The essay on deontology appears to not be written by an actual deontologist, and the author spent most of the essay bringing up silly objections that even I, as a first year undergraduate philosophy major, could answer. This is in stark contrast to the essay on consequentialism, written in a tone that barely escapes arrogance by its end.
There is nothing wrong with having a die-hard supporter of consequentialism write an essay introducing people to the topic. If this book were better, all of the essays would've been written with just that goal in mind. To pick essays not written by people who actually subscribe to the ethical theory in question is simply poor editing, because often the writer reveals her ignorance. This reduces the quality of the book, instead of giving each ethical theory the best possible promulgation. Indeed, it's not as if deontology is so unpopular that Singer couldn't have found one to write about it.
If anything, a better choice of essays would've made this book more useful than it actually is. Indeed, one of the interesting things about the essay on "universal perscriptivism" by R.M. Hare, was that the table of contents actually claims that the article is written by the theory's originator and best spokesman.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
The selection of the articles in this book is excellent: not too deep in any of the subjects and gives a wide range overlook on the field of ethics, I read it with eas and joy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. D. E. McClean on September 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have used this text to teach ethics several times, and I will continue to do so. It has concise and clear articles by leading philosophers on a wide range of subjects, from the evolution and anthropology of ethics, to the various ethical theories, to meta-ethics and topics in ethics. Not only do I use it to teach, I use it as a quick handbook and reference when I need to refresh myself about specific arguments and ideas in ethics.

I hope that Peter Singer will bring a new edition to market sooner rather than later. But even if he does not, the current edition will continue to hold-up well. And even where one prefers to assign (primarily) primary texts to one's students in introductory ethics, this volume can be precisely what its title suggests - a great companion.
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