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The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the Twenty-First Century Moral Landscape Hardcover – September 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078686897X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786868971
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,435,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Examples drawn from recent headlines abound—everything from Martha Stewart to physician-assisted suicide—along with lesser known lawsuits and anecdotes from Allen's past in this survey of want v. should. Throughout, Allen, a philosopher and professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, applies her own ethical thinking, rooted in caring and in faith in the practical efficacy of ethics, while also expounding other ethical takes on the issues: cheating as a paradigm of ethical failure, differing theories of moral education, ethical training for doctors and lawyers, business scandals, why illegal drug use is not ethically blameless. Allen also takes on ethical problems posed by new and emerging technology, from designer babies to cosmetic surgery. She identifies duties we owe to our communities—fighting de facto segregation and voting regularly—and, in conclusion, outlines an agenda for ethical living. Allen sometimes lays on examples to the point of exhaustion, and the ethical analysis, while usually astute, can get thin. (A passage on sex in the workplace proves that "mixing business with intimacy is commonplace.") She is best when she is personal: telling stories that draw on her African-American background; recounting how she once had an affair with her best friend's boyfriend. Also welcome is Allen's voice, which combines intelligence and wit with accessibility and warmth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Bornus on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I approached THE NEW ETHICS with curiousity and anticipation, expecting a discussion and analysis of new ethical territory brought about by advances in science, technology, information, and cultural interchange. The introduction of the book does a good job of fostering this expectation, with the idea that modern society presents us with the task of "choosing well" among many options and capabilities rather than merely "coping well" as would have been more common in earlier generations without our technologically-facilitated potential.

However, after the introduction the book begins to drift away from such a promising beginning, advancing a swampy foundation for an ethical framework: the evolving sensibilities of common culture. "...any notion that being ethical requires unwavering adherence to strictly construed general rules is out of sync with contemporary ethical theory and popular practice" (p. 26). In other words, we make up ethics as we go along. With such a premise, then, the book goes on and on with anecdotal descriptive accounts of ethical dilemmas and positions of others, and the author's frequent autobiographical segues that are more memoir than relevant, in an attempt to give the reader a certain sensibility of the author's approach to how ethical decisions should be framed and determined.

Allen's definition of "ethics" is based on the concept of "care" for others, holding that ethics and morality are essentially equivalent. But throughout the book there is a lot of sloppy formulation and lack of needed citation. The book does not discuss how we know what we know, nor what is the basis for our decisions (media, popular culture, limited knowledge, decision-filters, etc.) that would illuminate the activity of making "ethical" decisions.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C J Allen on November 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The New Ethics is written by Anita Allen. In her book the author emphasises the need for understanding today's moral dilemas and how to learn and grow from these examples so that we maintain a standard of ethical living for ourselves. I think that the author does a good job in telling the stories of past ethical problems in a interesting way and in a way that I can apply it to my own life.

The author gives us some guidelines on how to evaluate and solve moral dilemas of our time. The following are some of her main points:

1. All people have something to contribute to the moral landscape of today. Everyone is important.

2. Avoid temptation and cheating.

3. Don't rely on I'm sorry. Know that not doing it in the first place means more than apologies.

4. Understand your mistakes and the mistakes of others and learn from them.

5. Educate and foster good ethics and care in our young people.

6. Digging at ourselves allows us to uncover ethical questions that need to be answered.

7. Educate oneself so that you know what questions to ask.

8.Know that your ethical choices affect others in good ways and bad ways.

9. Religion and tradition are important in giving us ethical backgrounds but it's okay to question these teachings so that we evolve with the new times.

These arguments are presented through stories of personal experience and through the history of others.

I think these guidelines are a great way of making sure that a person of today is striving to be a ethical person.This book helps you understand the need to care about how our actions can hurt ourselves and others more than we think.
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Format: Hardcover
Anita L. Allen is Professor of Law and professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and a senior fellow in the bioethics department of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, a collaborating faculty member in African studies, and an affiliated faculty member in the women's studies program. In 2010 President Barack Obama named Allen to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She has written other books such as Debating Democracy's Discontent: Essays on American Politics, Law, and Public Philosophy and Why Privacy Isn't Everything: Feminist Reflections on Personal Accountability (Feminist Constructions).

She writes in the Introduction to this 2004 book, "I have the right background for surveying the ethical landscape, a task others with similar backgrounds have performed for general audiences in the past. But writing a PERSONAL book recommending my vision of better ethics required extra gumption. It is no small matter to invite strangers to peer into your intimate moral universe. Indeed, my credentials qualify me as an expert in an academic discipline or two but not as a saint beyond reproach."

Here are some quotations from the book:

"Because cheating is out of hand in our society, an anticheating ethic has got to be brought front and center. We can reduce cheating and the temptation to cheat by taking responsibility for revising the policies, practices and laws that discourage fair play." (Pg.
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