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Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues invites readers to apply ethical principles to issues that exemplity the kinds of moral challenges encountered in everyday life. If provides an overview of the need for ethics and then focuses on strategies for effective decision making. Ruggiero emphasizes doing ethical analysis rather than comparing ethical theories. The history of ethics is covered in the concluding chapter. Book jacket.
Table of Contents
The Need for Ethics
Why do we need ethics? We have laws to protect people's rights. If the laws are enforced, what need have we of further rules?
The Role of the Majority View
Is the basis for deciding moral values the majority view? In other words, if the majority of the citizens of our country should decide that a particular action is right, would that very decision make the action right?
The Role of Feelings
If the majority view does not determine the rightness of an action, should each person decide on the basis of her or his own feelings, desires, preferences?
The Role of Conscience
If feelings are no better a guide than the majority view, is the basis of morality each person's own conscience? How trustworthy is conscience?
If an action that is praised in one culture may be condemned in another, would it be correct to say that all moral values are relative to the culture they are found in? Isn't it a mark of ignorance to pass judgment on other cultures or to claim that one culture is better than another?
A Foundation for Judgment
If both individuals and cultures can be mistaken in their moral reasoning, we need a basis for evaluating their judgment. If the majority view, feelings, and conscience do not provide that basis, what does?
The Basic Criteria
What is really good for us? What criteria and approaches are most effective in examining moral issues? What pitfalls other than relativism and absolutism should we be aware of and strive to avoid?
What do we do in situations where there is more than a single obligation How can we reconcile conflicting obligations?
Considering Moral Ideals
How can we reconcile conflicts between moral ideals or between a moral ideal and an obligation?
How do we deal with cases in which the consequences are not neatly separable into good and bad, but are mixed?
Determing Moral Responsibility
How do we determine whether a person is responsible for her or his immoral actions? Are there degrees of responsibility?
A Perspective on History
When did the study of ethics begin? Who were the great thinkers in the history of ethics? What contributions did they make?
Contemporary Ethical Controversies
Media and the Arts
Afterword: A Suggestion for Further Study
Appendix: Writing About Moral Issues
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