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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Ethics Paperback – February 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; first edition edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028643259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028643250
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,547,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jennifer Parks and David Ingram teach ethics and social justice at Loyola University, Chicago. Jennifer grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and received her B.A. and M.A. degrees at Queens University before getting her Ph.D. at MacMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

David Ingram grew up in Whittier, California, received his B.A. from the University of California at Irvine before completing his Ph.D. at the University of California at San Diego.

They met four years ago, shortly after Jennifer was hired at Loyola, and the rest is history (yep, they're married). And yes, their collaboration extends into the classroom as well (they've team-taught classes on social justice and disability and travelled together to Guatemala as part of Loyola University Ministry's social justice alternative immersion break for students). Besides having two cats and a pug dog for their ethics laboratory (the critters are always fighting and making up), they also have two very loving and supportive families. David's ten-year old daughter Sabina and his identical twin brother have knocked him down a peg or two, which is a good thing for the readers of this book. Jennifer's mom, Lauretta (who won't divulge her age) has done the same for Jennifer; and so both David and Jennifer have become humbler (and hopefully better) persons. After all, it helps to know your own faults when writing a book on ethics!

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jay A. Haron on July 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
For the first hour or so, I really thought I had finally found a good review of ethics. The sections on Natural Law, Kant, virtue ethics and social contract ethics were very concise, understandable and informative. This all came to a screeching halt on page 134 when I encountered the sentence "And we know that voter registration lists...deprive many people (at least six million during the presidential election of 2000)of their right to vote." Sheer stupidity.

From that point on, the book became a primer on political correctness and silly politics. You can read about how cost-benefit analysis is unethical and leads to rampant pollution (page 199). We learn that "we the people(the common schmoes, the taxpayers) subsidize businesses, so they do owe us something" (page 221). Karl Marx would be proud...wealth redistribution defined under the guise of ethics. Also, we learn "Institutional discrimination is maintained by institutions that are racially neutral on the surface, such as local hiring and seniority retention (I wonder if the authors are tenured?)(page 256). The list goes on with all the lies of the sixties and seventies: affirmative action; vegetarianism; equivalent work; wearing animal products...

The only conclusion I could draw from the rest of the book is you can rationalize anything you want if you "combine systems" in another words extract what you like from Aristotle, Kant, Marx, Mill and discard the rest. Then you can justify any behavior you want to, just like Stalin did.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. head on March 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was a jewel wrapped in an Idiot's Guide cover. It is the standard length of most Idiot's Guide books , but it packs a lot of information in a few pages. The history of ethics and philosophy generally degenerates into a short boring expose' of the ancients, early Christian, Kant, Hegel, and then the modern Existentialists. What is unique about this book was the explanations of real life situations. The authors discuss Affirmative Action , abortion, and discrimination. After each ethical system is discussed in Idiot's Guide format, memorable points are liberally highlighted in side bars, which is really not too bad a gimmick for learning, a theoretical situation is discussed that the critics use to highlight the weak points of that system. I always thought of ethics and philosophy as static fields, making no progress, but it does show that though we may not be getting more ethical through the ages that there has been an evolution of sorts in the field of Ethics
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By old student on September 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Coming from someone that is awful at theories and had to pass an ethics class I have to say this book was a tremendous help to me. I read the college book and didnt have a clue how to apply the theories but this book showed me how to make sense of them in the modern world. I know alot of the reviews havent been to great but from a 45 year old non-traditional student I can only praise this book.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Anna on April 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
It might not be a bad book as an introduction to the ethics, it is very readable and covers most important areas of the subject of ethics. However there is no appreciation and respect to the complexity of the matter, authors heavily present reader with their opinions on the multiple moral dillemas and philosophycal questions. And what is even worse present their vision as the final and indisputable truths based on some quite primitive arguments.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Jeffrey Weil on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book does attack many of the current ethical problems, but while it tries to present several sides, it consistently comes down on the politically liberal side while giving short shrift to competing views.

For example, he does tip his hat to John Locke and John Stuart Mill, but does not give a thoughtful hearing to the idea of property rights and how the concept of just ownership can be used to attack environmental problems.

He is in awe of the Marxist platitudes of economic equality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Osipowicz on August 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had to prepare a short talk on the subject of ethics and this book gave me the right mind-set to write the talk. It is written in an easy format and I would recommend the book if you are interested in the subject.
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By abj on August 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
8/12/09 Beside the text itself, The book has extra columns,bordered mostly in 2" x 2" blocks captioned "Ethically Speaking","Do The Right Thing","Tried and True" and "Moral Musings" which make it easier to decide which sections readers want to read more about in the ongoing debates about: justification of what's considered "moral", or "require much work in order to help achieve wanted results,etc".From "Feminism" to Families", the book covers many issues . It also contains two Appendices: ("glossary" and "for future reference"), as well as an Index.
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