The Elements of Moral Philosophy

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Firmly established as the standard text for undergraduate courses in ethics, this concise, lively book combines clear explanations of the main theories of ethics with discussions of interesting examples. Topics covered include famine relief, euthanasia, homosexuality, and the treatment of animals. The text's versatility allows it to be widely used not only in ethical theory courses, but also in applied ethics courses of all kinds. .

Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 5th edition (April 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0073125474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0073125473
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

Customer Reviews

A great text for intro level ethics courses

68 people found this helpful.
 on March 17, 2000
By Robert Lane
I use this book (in conjunction with _The Right Thing to Do_, edited by Rachels) as a text for an intro-level ethics course that I teach. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Rachels is a sharp philosopher, as well as an interesting and lucid writer. In this book he covers all the basics (Divine Command Theory, Cultural Relativism, Subjectivism, Utilitarianism, Kant…), and does a fine job of drawing examples from applied ethics (gay rights, euthanasia, animal rights…) to illustrate the theories he discusses. This is not to suggest that you will find no fault with any of Rachels’ arguments. I myself am less than satisfied with his criticisms of emotivism and Kantianism — but all things considered, this a minor complaint. The book still deserves five stars. If you are teaching ethics at the college level and are looking for an introductory level text, suitable for students with no previous exposure to philosophy, this is the one — I know of none better.

Understandable but got to be invested in the subject to enjoy

 on June 26, 2017
By MVP (pj) 23
He does a great job at using examples to explain his concepts for readers to understand basic principles of morality/ethics. I think it’s a decent read but kind of dry to a certain extent. It would be beneficial for those who need some sort of “dummies guide to ethics” or if you’re just curious about different morality issues/standpoints and don’t want to read a philosopher’s whole work.

Great book. Needed it for my Ethics class

 on October 11, 2016
By Zachary
Great book. Needed it for my Ethics class. I’m using it to study for my midterm and it has been a huge help. It’s a little out of date, but the material hasn’t changed in years. So you can save yourself some money and get and interesting read, as well as a source of good information.

I Don’t See the Difference Between the 6th and 7th Edition

6 people found this helpful.
 on February 3, 2013
By LyssaToldMe
Honestly the changes between the 6th and 7th edition must be extremely minor. So far there have been no differences between the books in class. It gets the job done and is still up-to-date and accurate.

Continues to be fulfilling

One person found this helpful.
 on March 19, 2014
By Ellyn Ritterskamp
I have used this textbook in my classes for about eight years. It is easy to read and provides multiple sides to each topic. My only complaint is how much a new edition costs and how little was changed in the most recent edition for the cost. I encourage my students to find used copies, which is common in college today, because the updates to the 7th edition were minimal.

One of the better required readings

 on August 9, 2014
By Avery O'Brien
Bought this for my Intro to Ethics coarse and found somewhat interesting. I like how the author isn’t biased for the most part (minus one section that kind of bugged me) and presents his arguments in very intellectual ways. I got the book rather quickly so I have almost no complaints especially considering I was required to buy it anyway.

The book was in great condition.

 on May 29, 2015
By Grandma
A must take class, found it interesting. The book was in great condition.

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