The Elements of Moral Philosophy by James Rachels

6th edition (2010) by Stuart Rachels



Table of Contents


Preface ix
About the Sixth Edition xi


1.	WHAT IS MORALITY? 


1.1.  The Problem of Definition 1
1.2. First Example: Baby Theresa 1
1.3. Second Example: Jodie and Mary 5
1.4. Third Example: Tracy Latimer 7
1.5. Reason and Impartiality 10
1.6. The Minimum Conception of Morality 13


2.	THE CHALLENGE OF CULTURAL RELATIVISM 


2.1.  Different Cultures Have Different Moral Codes 14
2.2. Cultural Relativism 16
2.3. The Cultural Differences Argument 17
2.4. What Follows from Cultural Relativism Seriously 19
2.5. Why There Is Less Disagreement Than It Seems 21
2.6. Some Values Are Shared by All Cultures 23
2.7. Judging a Cultural Practice to Be Undesirable 24
2.8. Back to the Five Claims 27
2.9. What We Can Learn from Cultural Relativism 29


3.	SUBJECTIVISM IN ETHICS 


3.1.  The Basic Idea of Ethical Subjectivism 32
3.2. The Evolution of the Theory 33
3.3. The First Stage: Simple Subjectivism 34
3.4. The Second Stage: Emotivism 36
3.5. The Role of Reason in Ethics 39
3.6. Are There Proofs in Ethics? 41
3.7. The Question of Homosexuality 44


4.	DOES MORALITY DEPEND ON RELIGION? 


4.1.  The Presumed Connection Between Morality and Religion 48
4.2. The Divine Command Theory 50
4.3. The Theory of Natural Law 53
4.4. Religion and Particular Moral Issues 57


5.	ETHICAL EGOISM 


5.1.  Is There a Duty to Help Starving People? 62
5.2. Psychological Egoism 63
5.3. Three Arguments for Ethical Egoism 69
5.4. Three Arguments against Ethical Egoism 74


6.	THE IDEA OF A SOCIAL CONTRACT 


6.1.  Hobbes's Argument 80
6.2. The Prisoner's Dilemma 83
6.3. Some Advantages of the Social Contract Theory 87
6.4. The Problem of Civil Disobedience 90
6.5. Difficulties for the Theory 93


7.	THE UTILITARIAN APPROACH 


7.1.  The Revolution in Ethics 97
7.2. First Example: Euthanasia 98
7.3. Second Example: Marijuana 101
7.4. Third Example: Nonhuman Animals 104


8.	THE DEBATE OVER UTILITARIANISM 


8.1.  The Classical Version of the Theory 109
8.2. Is Pleasure the Only Thing That Matters? 109
8.3. Are Consequences All That Matter? 111
8.4. Should We Be Equally Concerned for Everyone? 115
8.5. The Defense of Utilitarianism 116
8.6. Concluding Thoughts 122


9.	ARE THERE ABSOLUTE MORAL RULES? 


9.1.  Harry Truman and Elizabeth Anscombe 124
9.2. The Categorical Imperative 127
9.3. Kant's Arguments on Lying 129
9.4. Conflicts between Rules 132
9.5. Kant's Insight 133


10.	KANT AND RESPECT FOR PERSONS 


10.1.  Kant's Core Ideas 136
10.2. Retribution and Utility in the Theory of Punishment 139
10.3. Kant's Retributivism 141


11.	FEMINISM AND THE ETHICS OF CARE 


11.1.  Do Women and Men Think Differently about Ethics? 146
11.2. Implications for Moral Judgment 152
11.3. Implications for Ethical Theory 156


12.	THE ETHICS OF VIRTUE 


12.1.  The Ethics of Virtue and the Ethics of Right Action 158
12.2. The Virtues 160
12.3. Two Advantages of Virtue Theory 168
12.4. Virtue and Conduct 169
12.5. The Problem of Incompleteness 186
12.6. Conclusion 172


13.	WHAT WOULD A SATISFACTORY MORAL THEORY BE LIKE? 


13.1.  Morality without Hubris 173
13.2. Treating People as They Deserve 175
13.3. A Variety of Motives 176
13.4. Multiple-Strategies Utilitarianism 177
13.5. The Moral Community 180
13.6. Justice and Fairness 181
13.7. Conclusion 183


Notes on Sources 184
Index 195