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Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues 4th Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195335965
ISBN-10: 0195335961
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Terrific selection of primary and secondary works, at an affordable price!"--Lisa C. Isaacson, Columbia College

"This is the most useful ethics anthology I have ever seen!"--David Detmer, Purdue University

"Finally, an anthology put together exactly as I would do it. Excellent readings, nicely arranged, and no editorial interjections to compete with the instructor's choice of emphasis and mode of analysis."--John F. Heil, Jr., Trinity University

"Excellent source book; comprehensive and well-written."--S.L. Harrison, University of Miami

"A wonderful collection for diverse uses. The marriage of theoretical and applied readings is particularly useful in an introductory-level class where the practical import of studying ethical issues needs to be emphasized. The second section's Virtue Theory selections are uniquely well-chosen."--Kevin S. Decker, St. Louis University

"This is an excellent anthology containing many well-chosen readings from classical and contemporary sources. It can be used in both a moral issues course as well as a more traditional Introduction to Ethics course."--Andrew Ward, San Jose State University

"An extremely comprehensive survey of philosophical approaches to ethics in the Western tradition. The collection is nicely balanced and offers a rich assortment of the standard classics alongside some of the best recent work in ethical theory, metaethics, and applied ethics. The text would be an excellent choice for a rigorous undergraduate course in ethics."--Jordan J. Lindberg, Central Michigan University

"Very nicely done--an excellent selection of a broad range of material."--John G. Robinson, University of Massachusetts

"A terrifically comprehensive volume--leaves a wide scope for the construction of almost any introduction to ethics/philosophy course."--J.S. Taylor, Bowling Green State University

"This is one of the best introductory texts I have seen in a long time. It fits everything I have wanted to do in an ethics course."--Ted Vaggalis, Drury College --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Steven M. Cahn is a Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Peter Markie is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 4 edition (October 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195335961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195335965
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.2 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is about as comprehensive as it gets at this price. I know of no other book that presents the most common readings in meta-ethics, the history of ethics, moral language, normative ethical theories, and applied ethics. This gives the book a great deal of versatility for various focuses in introductory ethics courses.

Unlike many books of its kind, this book contains few things that are available in the public domain. Even for writings that are several hundred years old (or older) this collection tends to consist of scholarly editions of the text, which are not themselves in the public domain. Considering the relatively low cost of this book, that is a noteworthy fact. After all, it's irritating as a student to buy an expensive anthology which is 30-50% available for free online.

Another reviewer expressed dissatisfaction with the translations selected. All translators must wrestle with balancing accessibility with accuracy, and the results are not likely to be satisfactory to everyone. I can't say anything specifically about the Epicurus translations, but the works I'm more familiar with select (to my mind) acceptable translations. For example, the Aristotle is the Ross translation as revised by Ackrill and Urmson, which is not as good as the Irwin translation, but is better than the public domain Ross translation. The Kant readings are the Gregor translation, which is not public domain, and is generally considered the scholarly standard for that work. The Plato seems all to be Gallop translations, which are reasonably well-thought of and use more modern language than the Jowett. In general, for reasons that make economic sense, since this is an Oxford book the editions of these texts are mostly taken from editions published by Oxford.
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This is the best book I have come across that has good translations from all of the greatest philosophers. It is not too much of a read, and you don't get as lost reading like some other ethics books!
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I had to use this book for my college Ethics course, and it did a fine job of introducing me to the subject and Philosophy in general. I can honestly say that Ethics is what lured me to becoming interested in Philosophy.
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Format: Paperback
This book has absolutely atrocious translations of some of the older texts. Here's an example from Epicurus' Letters to Menoeceus

This text reads
"For it is then that we have need of pleasure, when we feel pain owing to the absence of pleasure; (but when we do not feel pain), we no longer need pleasure."

Every other translation reads something like
"When we are pained because of the absence of pleasure, then, and then only, do we feel the need of pleasure. "

That completely reverses the meaning of the text. I have never seen a book filled with so many ham fisted translations. I can't recommend this book to any professor who hopes to teach their students well, or any reader who hopes to understand these texts properly.
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Unfortunately our instructor utilized this textbook sparingly during the 2nd half of the semester, so I can't speak for all the segments. Since the text is 95% selections from the writings of various philosophers, it is pointless to critique the writing itself. There seemed to be a good cross-section of thought, and the larger percentage of pages devoted to more recent thinkers seems inevitable, given the availability of printed works.
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This has a bit of everything. And it is wonderful that there are opposing views. I got this for a textbook in my Ethics class in college, but it will be going in my bookcase for future reading.
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Plenty of articles and fact and styles to use when dealing with ethics. So many viewpoints to cover when dealing with ethics. A great choice of textbook for any philosophy class.
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Actually rented this book from Amazon for my Ethics class. Some of the reading can be challenging but still provides great information.
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