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Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy) 2nd Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415803885
ISBN-10: 0415803888
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"There have been many introductions to ethics but none comes close to the clarity and student-friendliness that characterize Gensler’s Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction. The content is not only informative but also a pleasure to read. Gensler’s resourcefulness keeps producing engaging questions that hold the reader’s attention from cover to cover. Thoroughly researched and rigorously argued, this revised and amplified second edition will prove very valuable to lecturers of ethics and students for many years to come."Louis Caruana, S.J., Reader in Philosophy, Heythrop College, University of London

“Gensler's Ethics affords a concise and coherent account of the most significant frameworks of ethical thinking in contemporary ethics. It also offers readers a consistent and rigorous mode of analysis of each position. The text is replete with study questions and bibliographical resources. This second edition also adds a helpful new section on virtue ethics.”James Swindal, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Duquesne University

About the Author

Harry J. Gensler, S.J., is Professor of Philosophy at John Carroll University in Cleveland. Some of his other books include Formal Ethics (1996), Ethics: Contemporary Readings (2004), Anthology of Catholic Philosophy (2005), Historical Dictionary of Logic (2006), Historical Dictionary of Ethics (2008), and Introduction to Logic, Second Edition (2010).
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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (January 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415803888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415803885
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Too many simplistic Hitler references (surely Nazism and racism are not the only moral evils?) and overly rationalized speculations about irrational human motives here, but this is a pretty solid (and thin!) paperback that delivers a breezy overview of different philosophical views of the good and what it requires of us. Father Gensler, a Jesuit moral philosopher, does a serviceable job of presenting both sides of every theory without resorting to straw men caricatures. As a quick summary of the pros and cons of different ethical views like utilitarianism, it's a pretty handy little book, and the accompanying exercises on Gensler's website (the "EthiCola" program) are a neat interactive supplement.

However, the treatment is inconsistent at times, and you'll find yourself arguing with Gensler to give a fair shake to certain theories he may be too quick to dismiss with vague refutations. He also relies too heavily on a Kantian duty ethics framework, limiting his analysis to theories of the good and the duties they require, without delving into more nuanced ethical concerns. Too much time is spent refuting other ethical theories as a prelude to advancing the author's own "Golden Rule consistency" theory based on the maxim (or central duty) of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Things become clear once Gensler finally unveils his theory for practicing the Golden Rule in a logically consistent way, but it's just a variation on Kant. As Gensler himself puts it on p. 93: "In many ways, my GR consistency view is a contemporary restatement of Kant's approach to ethics." Practically speaking, I'm not sure what Gensler's view contributes to human moral behavior, other than pointing out its frequent lack of logic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very solid work on philosophical ethic. It brings to readers wide perspective on controversial issues. This book is good source for discussion groups.
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Format: Paperback
Gensler spends the last chapter ("Synthesis") of this ethics textbook arguing that on the basis of consistency and the golden rule, abortions are immoral, starting the moment after conception takes place. One of his arguments is: "Do you consent to the idea of my killing you now? No! Do you consent to the idea of my killing your yesterday? No! When you were five years old? No! When you were five days old? No! Just before you were born? Yes!" This is inconsistent according to Gensler.

But this is simply fallacious. The seed is not an oak tree, so what is true of the oak tree may or may not be true of the seed, and what is true of the seed may or may not be true of the oak tree, even if they are connected by imperceptibly small changes over time. If I want a doctor to give me chemotherapy as a 40 year old for cancer, does it follow I want a doctor to give me chemotherapy for cancer when I am 2? If I want my friend to hold me underwater for 2 minutes as a game in the pool when I am 10, does it follow I want my friend to hold me underwater for 2 minutes as a game when I am 1? If I want to drink alcohol when I am 20, does it follow I want to drink alcohol when I am 2? If I don't want to eat for 2 days when I am 20 for religion, does it follow I don't want to eat for 2 days as an infant for religion? If I don't want my mother to support me financially when I am 30, does it follow I don't want my mother to support me financially when I am 3? If an adult does or doesn't consent to being killed doesn't tell us anything about whether or not a fetus should be aborted.

Gensler should re-read Judith Jarvis Thomson's classic article and then Margaret Olivia Little's article on abortion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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