The Elements of Moral Philosophy

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Firmly established as the standard text for undergraduate courses in ethics, James Rachels and Stuart Rachels' The Elements of Moral Philosophy introduces readers to major moral concepts and theories through eloquent explanations and compelling, thought-provoking discussions.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 7 edition (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0078038243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0078038242
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces

Customer Reviews

No one liked Kant’s ideas after reading Rachel’s take on him

3 people found this helpful.
 on August 21, 2016
By christina
He can be a little biased against certain opinions. I felt his treatment of Kant was a bit negative. Yes, Kant was strange but he still had some decent ideas. It was interesting to see the reaction of the class I took which used this book: No one liked Kant’s ideas after reading Rachel’s take on him. When I took an ethics class prior to this with a book that treated him more “neutrally,” about half the room seemed like they were partial to his ideas (if you can’t tell, I was one of those).

Highly Recommended

4 people found this helpful.
 on March 13, 2015
By autolycus555
This is the main book we use in my Introduction to Ethics class at the University of Kansas and it does a very good job at disproving the 4 common “failed” ethical theories that most people know about and provides an understandable explanation of the viable ethical theories today such as Utilitarianism and Social Contract Theory. It does not read like a textbook, it is very captivating and I would recommend it to anyone that is interested in a general understanding of ethical theory.

Loved this book! I learned a lot from reading it.

One person found this helpful.
 on June 23, 2016
By Anna-Lyssia
I rented this book for my Intro to Ethics class. I thought te class and this book were going to be boring, but I was wrong. I really enjoyed the class and this book. Every chapter was really interesting and I learned a lot from reading this book. Because of this book I now understand morality and ethics a little better and some of my views and beliefs even changed thanks to this book. I might just buy this book just so I have it in case I want a refresher on what I learned or if I just want to read it for fun.

Great introductory textbook for beginners

One person found this helpful.
 on July 8, 2015
By Bradley T. Andresen
I still have not finished the book – I will be using it for a class in the Spring and am pre-reading the book to help design the course and choose what chapters to read. The book is very easy to read, and the easily accessible logical structure is going to be very helpful for the students. I have only one minor critique, and that is there could be an introduction or glossary so that students that have no philosophy/ethical training can understand the terms that are used and have examples given of each term. If using this text in an introductory course I would recommend making a terms list and explaining the terms. Overall, the book is excellent as an introduction to moral philosophy as well as logical argument.

DEEP and dry and VALUABLE Reference

 on February 3, 2017
By Just a guy
In today’s world, we can all benefit from understanding this topic.

Good Book for Beginners

14 people found this helpful.
 on April 12, 2012
By Hanagin
I am not widely read in ethics or philosophy in general. I took an introductory philosophy course as an undergrad and did not return to studying ethics until graduate school, which is where I came into contact with this book. For me, as a novice in ethics, I found Rachels’ text enlightening. He neither dwells on theory too long nor dabbles too much in case studies. He provides enough to give you a foundational understanding of the big theories in ethics. Sure, there are probably holes in the material and you probably won’t be able to dazzle others with your sudden powers of ethical thought, but it does get you to think about ethics in ways that are almost exciting. Compared to the other textbooks I had in my ethics class, this was a joy to read. The price, as others have said, is too high. But if you have to study it in class, you can’t really get around that anyway.

This is an amazing read! I rented it for a Philosophy class …

 on February 26, 2016
By Amazon Customer
This is an amazing read! I rented it for a Philosophy class and am tempted to buy it for myself. I am not a huge fan of the dense dry papers that are typical. Rachels&Rachels do a GREAT job at breaking down different ethical stances with contrasting views and real life examples. This book is a super easy and enjoyable read that will leave you thinking, you won’t want to but the book down. Highly recommend to beginners and those who don’t like the dense philosophy papers.

A Great Beginning text for the study of Ethics

 on January 29, 2013
By Brendan
This book gives a great overview of various ethical theories.

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