Ethics Basics: A Jargon-Free Guide For Beginners

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In “Ethics Basics: A Jargon-Free Guide for Beginners,” Dr. Doug Erlandson presents an easy-to-understand introduction to philosophical ethics. Drawing on his nearly three decades of teaching introductory college-level courses in philosophy, Erlandson takes the reader step by step through the various approaches to ethics, describing the strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches.

After an introductory chapter in which he sets out the basic issues in ethics, Erlandson devotes the next two chapters to a discussion of the two major challenges to the possibility of morality––hard determinism (which argues that because all our actions are causally determined we do not possess free will and therefore cannot be held responsible for our actions) and moral relativism. Having shown that neither of these challenges are successful, Erlandson then discusses the major ethical theories philosophers have presented over the centuries.

Included in the discussion are chapters on egoism, act and rule utilitarianism, deontological ethics (including the intuition of G.E. Moore and W.D. Ross as well as Kantianism), natural law and natural rights theory, virtue ethics, the ethics of care, and religious ethics. Each of these chapters contains a significant number of practical examples designed to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the theory under consideration.

Of particular note is an ongoing discussion of the question, “Why should I be moral?” That is, “What motivation do I have to act morally when I know I can get away with acting immorally and doing so is to my advantage?” While many ethics text ignore the issue of motivation entirely, “Ethics Basics” discusses how each of the approaches to moral decision making would answer this question.

“Ethics Basics” is an excellent introduction to philosophical ethics, one suitable for use in freshman-level ethics and introduction to philosophy courses as well as for anyone who is looking for an overview of philosophical ethics.

Product Details

  • File Size: 529 KB
  • Print Length: 149 pages
  • Publication Date: August 12, 2013
  • Sold by:  Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

Ethics Basics: A Jargon Free Guide for Beginners

2 people found this helpful.
 on June 30, 2015
By Beth Randleman
good but somewhat a hard read….eye opener to what sometimes be agreeable, but also somethings to disagree on. argumentative points through out..but as they say, everyone has an opinion, chioce, comment and etc….


3 people found this helpful.
 on November 3, 2013
By stowle
I enjoyed reading this book as I have serious doubts about our current ethics. It was easy to read and understand and also helped me look closer at my own ethics. I would reccd to all

Four Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on April 13, 2015
By Dr M H Ali
It is easy to read and very illuminating

Excellent introduction

One person found this helpful.
 on November 7, 2016
By John A yori
Well written, easy to understand, and interesting examples. I didn’t have the brain power to make it through philosophy courses in college 30 years ago. This was a great book to give me enough meat on the subject without putting me to sleep or confusing me needlessly. Thank you, professor!

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