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Ethics (Oxford Readers)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Apart from being a fine philosopher, Singer is also an excellent editor. I have been using this anthology for years in ethics classes and students like it very much. The selections are short and to the point. There are selections from all historical periods covering most of the major viewpoints. What makes the anthology exceptional is that Singer also includes intriguing, unexpected material, like a short selection about the desert saints, a piece about a relationship between Kant and a friend, a short selection about Gandhi. There's also a fine selection of material about primate ethics. A really good book for classroom use, but also a great collection for the general reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a very good intro to ethics and meta-ethics. Singer is a good writer and his piece at the beginning is almost worth the price of the book alone. It's more of an overview of the classic texts than a state of the art primer on modern research (e.g. the newest primate studies, psychological / neuroscience based studies, etc.).... then again it was written in 1994. Anyway, a good book if you want to read up on classic texts, but might want to go elsewhere for newer stuff.
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on August 5, 2013
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Easy read for the novice philosopher as well as a good brief read for someone more advanced. Singer does a great job of compiling the thoughts of some of the worlds greatest minds on Ethics.
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11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
the review by Heersink seems factually incorrect. He claims that Singer overlooks Kant's Categorial Imperative, and doesn't even mention Aquinas in the section on Natural Law Theory. However, a perusal of the Table of Contents reveals that neither of these claims are true. While the other criticisms offered might yet hold (I have not read this book), false accusations by Heersink of incompetence on the part of Singer make the aforementioned review questionable.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Really? when I flipped through the pages, half of the book's text print is cropped out, it is ENTIRELY BLANK. I spend 46 dollars plus tax and I get a fake copy of the book with no context within it?
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
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I ordered this for a class I am registered for. It's not something I would have purchased otherwise. Hopefully it turns out to be interesting.
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14 of 57 people found the following review helpful
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No matter how one feels about Peter Singer as an ethicist, this books shows he's thoroughly incompetent as an editor. I am rather surprised that Oxford University agreed to put its imprint on this volume as an "Oxford Reader." The selections from pivotal ethicists, e.g., Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Bentham, and Sidgwick are ridiculously lowly, inconsequential, or scattered, so "coherence" is lost. Their minor pericopes omit their critical and vital insights; all their important ideas are egregiously overlooked. E.g., Aristotle's doctrine of the mean, eudaimonia, Kant's doctrine of Kingdom of Ends, Categorical Imperative, are just some of the major omissions. Natural law theory doesn't mention the name of Aquinas. The selections that support an evolutionary orientation are a little bit better. The selection from Hume on benevolence is marginal. The essays by Ayer and Wittgenstein are great, but not enough to justify this book. I can't imagine what this book is good for. It certainly fails as an introduction to ethics. It also fails as a current controversy in ethics. It might be used as an intermediate ethics course for some of the pericopes. To say this book is a disappointment is an understatement.

Disclaimer: Singer is a utilitarian. I don't know how anyone in the 21st C. can use utilitarianism as an "ethic" much less as a system of "morality." Scheffler, Williams, Nozick, et alia should have put this nonsense to rest, as Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and even Hitler were great utilitarians, which is precisely the point. But that aside, I think it skews his editorial judgments as well. For ethics, Aristotle, for morality, Kant, and for benevolence, Smith and Hume. Otherwise, leave the utilitarian calculus for tyrants.
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