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The Elements of Moral Philosophy Paperback – January 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0073386713 ISBN-10: 0073386715 Edition: 6th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 203 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education; 6th edition (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0073386715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0073386713
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Rachels, the distinguished American moral philosopher, was born in Columbus, Georgia, graduating from Mercer University in Macon in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He taught at the University of Richmond, New York University, the University of Miami, Duke University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he spent the last twenty-six years of his career. 1971 saw the publication of Rachels’ groundbreaking textbook Moral Problems, which ignited the movement in America away from teaching ethical theory towards teaching concrete practical issues. Moral Problems sold 100,000 copies over three editions. In 1975, Rachels wrote “Active and Passive Euthanasia,” arguing that the distinction so important in the law between killing and letting die has no rational basis. Originally appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, this essay has been reprinted roughly 300 times and is a staple of undergraduate education. The End of Life (1986) was about the morality of killing and the value of life. Created from Animals (1990) argued that a Darwinian world-view has widespread philosophical implications, including drastic implications for our treatment of nonhuman animals. Can Ethics Provide Answers? (1997) was Rachels’ first collection of papers (others are expected posthumously). Rachels’ McGraw-Hill textbook, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, is now in its fourth edition and is easily the best-selling book of its kind. Over his career, Rachels wrote 5 books and 85 essays, edited 7 books and gave about 275 professional lectures. His work has been translated into Dutch, Italian, Japanese, and Serbo-Croatian. James Rachels is widely admired as a stylist, as his prose is remarkably free of jargon and clutter. A major theme in his work is that reason can resolve difficult moral issues. He has given reasons for moral vegetarianism and animal rights, for affirmative action (including quotas), for the humanitarian use of euthanasia, and for the idea that parents owe as much moral consideration to other people’s children as they do to their own. James Rachels died of cancer on September 5th, 2003, in Birmingham, Alabama.

STUART RACHELS is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. He has revised several of James Rachels’ books, including Problems from Philosophy (second edition, 2009) and The Right Thing to Do (fifth edition, 2010), which is the companion anthology to this book. Stuart won the United States Chess Championship in 1989, at the age of 20, and he is a Bronze Life Master at bridge. His website is www.jamesrachels.org/stuart.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading this book.
MissXu
It should be labeled, "My opinions and how I manipulate the reader to believe what I think."
Donald S
I found this book to very helpful in my study of ethics and its associated theories.
Daniel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LyssaToldMe on February 3, 2013
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Honestly the changes between the 6th and 7th edition must be extremely minor. So far there have been no differences between the books in class. It gets the job done and is still up-to-date and accurate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann on August 4, 2012
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Very interesting textbook and well-written. This book kept me engaged for the entire semester. I truly recommend this book for not only philosophy classes but also for your personal pleasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Boris Yakubchik on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
A lucid, beautifully written overview of the theories historically proposed as "the right moral theory". The author gives generous renditions to all the theories he presents, and proceeds to describe their weaknesses with equal clarity.

If there is only one book you want to read about morality, make this it. I have a bachelor's degree equivalent knowledge of philosophy and read numerous introductory books; this is my favorite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ltche on December 22, 2011
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I just started back to school and am so glad i decided to check out the textbooks that Amazon has to offer. These books would of cost me roughly $60 each but i found them on here for $13!!!! And I'll be able to sell them back and get points towards my next semesters books! The books arrived in less than a week and in great condition!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MissXu on October 31, 2010
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The book itself is a easy read, but the price of the book is WAY overpriced. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading this book. Definitely a good beginning philosophy course book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philosophe on July 25, 2011
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I was required to buy this book for a graduate class... I think it can be a little simplistic. It's also clearly biased about certain issues - it seems to take for granted that there is no God. (Which actually is NOT a problem for me personally, but really takes the impartiality of a descriptive study of ethics out of the equation. Sometimes assumptions or statements in the examples actually irritate me). It's a good start to exploring some major themes in ethics, but there are better books - Louis P. Pojman's Ethics Discovering Right and Wrong (Thomson-Wadsworth, 2006) is a good example - to act as an introduction.
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They pretty much cover the gamet but not in depth. Easy read and a good introduction to ethical philosophies. Minimal changes between 6th and 7th edition - save some bucks here.
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I have used this textbook in my classes for about eight years. It is easy to read and provides multiple sides to each topic. My only complaint is how much a new edition costs and how little was changed in the most recent edition for the cost. I encourage my students to find used copies, which is common in college today, because the updates to the 7th edition were minimal.
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