- Paperback: 356 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 3 edition (February 21, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780521707688
- ISBN-13: 978-0521707688
- ASIN: 0521707684
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Practical Ethics 3rd Edition
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"....It is a widely read and widely taught introduction to the philosophical dimensions of practical moral problems.... All of the chapters have been revised and updated, and a chapter has been added on climate change. Singer's lucid style of exposition and argument are perfect for this sort of introductory text. Every library should have a copy of this book.... Highly recommended...."
--J. H. Spence, Adrian College, CHOICE
"...This third edition keeps the lucid style and provocative arguments of its predecessors, but with a more up to date perspective into current ethical challenges. This makes Practical Ethics not only an ideal text for university courses, but also for anyone who wants to dedicate some serious thinking into how she or he ought to live.... remains a relevant and welcome contribution to ethics."
--Laura Cabrera, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, Basel University, Metapsychology Online Review
For thirty years, Peter Singer's Practical Ethics has been the classic introduction to applied ethics. For this third edition, the author has revised and updated all the chapters, and added a new chapter addressing climate change, one of the most important ethical challenges of our generation.
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One striking thing about Professor Singer’s comments is how often he refers to science and real-world situations in making his moral judgments. He is not just making abstract comments based on his own reasoning, but instead uses science and the real world. At the same time his thinking is both controversial (he has been physically attacked and denied the right to give talks) and not always, in my view, correct. For example, on page 139 on the topic of abortion he raises the question of whether or not a woman can terminate a pregnancy as a matter of personal convenience. In the example a woman who is two months pregnant decides to terminate the pregnancy because she wants to go mountain climbing. But she still plans to have children in the future. To quote Professor Singer at this point: “Yet if abortion is wrong only because it deprives the world of a future person, this abortion is not wrong. It does not prevent the entry of a person into the world, it merely delays it.” What Professor Singer is missing, of course, is the fact that it DOES prevent the entry of a particular person, namely the aborted fetus. A later pregnancy (not assured since the woman has already changed her mind once) would result in the birth of an entirely different person. People are not like machines that can be discarded and replaced by a duplicate at a later date.
At the same time, many of Professor Singer’s insights provide a new and deeper way of thinking about issues. One example he gives comes from Jonathan Glover. Imagine, Glover says, that in a poor village 100 people are about to eat lunch and each has a bowl with 100 beans. A band of bandits comes in and each bandit grabs one bowl, eats it and gallops off. The villagers are left hungry. But then the bandits have second thoughts and decide to return the following week with a different plan. Each bandit will take only one bean from each bowl. The results, of course, are the same, the villagers starve, but each bandit can say he did only a little harm to each person. This same way of thinking can be applied to such problems as global warming. My actions may only cause a very small part of the problem, but they are still wrong.
This book will change the way you think about the world and your actions in it. I recommend it for anyone who wants to live a decent and moral life.
I thought the arguments were presented in a logical way although I confess I had to re-read parts to fully understand Mr Singer's arguments.
Highly recommended for any thoughtful person interested in living an ethical life.