Understanding Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory
By: Torbjorn Tannsjo
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The theories covered are: utilitarianism (the idea that we ought always to act so as to maximize the sum total of welfare in the universe); egoism (the idea that we ought always to act so as to maximize the sum total of our own welfare); deontological ethics (according to which there are absolute duties or prohibitions, binding upon the agent irrespective of the consequences of following them); the ethics of rights (according to which each moral subject has certain rights that no one is entitled to violate, no matter how urgent this may seem); virtue ethics (according to which the most basic question in ethics is, not what we ought to do, but what kind of persons we ought to be); feminist ethics (according to which women and men tend to think differently about moral and practical problems and according to which the typically female way of thinking deserves particular attention); and environmental or ecological ethics (according to which not only human beings and other sentient beings have moral status, but also nature itself; we have duties to preserve nature, irrespective of the consequences for sentient beings of doing so).
The book is intended for undergraduate students of philosophy but it should also appeal to any general reader who is prepared to ask probing and challenging questions in the search for a consistent moral outlook.
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