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The Moral of the Story: An Introduction to Ethics

© 2013
by Nina Rosenstand

7th Edition 816 Pages Paperback / softback
9780078038426 0078038421
  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • Features
  • Review Access
Now in its seventh edition, The Moral of the Story continues to bring understanding to difficult concepts in moral philosophy through storytelling and story analysis. Students will study ethical relativism by examining the film Avatar, explore utilitarianism through The Invention of Lying, and discuss Kant’s deontology by examining Woody Allen’s Match Point. They will consider virtue ethics by juxtaposing Plato’s “Myth of the Cave” with the themes in The Truman Show. Rosenstand’s work is lively and relatable, and students will enjoy discussing examples from contemporary film, fiction narratives, and even popular comic strips.

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PART 1: The Story as a Tool of Ethics

Chapter 1: Thinking About Values Do We Need a Code of Ethics? Values, Morals, and Ethics Good and Evil Debating Moral Issues from Religion to Neurobiology and Storytelling Martha Nussbaum: Stories, Ethics, and Emotions A Philosophical Example, a Real-Life Event, and Two Fictional Stories about Lying Primary Reading: Martha Nussbaum, Love's Knowledge Primary Reading: Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect Narrative: Smoke Signals Narrative: Big Fish Narrative: East of Eden

Chapter 2: Learning Moral Lessons from Stories Didactic Stories The New Interest in Stories Across the Professions The Value of Stories Across Time and Space Primary Reading: Plato, Republic, Book X Primary Reading: Aristotle, Poetics Primary Reading: Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose Primary Reading: Raymond Chandler, "The Simple Art of Murder" Narrative: Medea Narrative: The Sorrows of Young Werther Narrative: The Education of Mingo Narrative: Pulp Fiction

PART 2: What Should I Do? Ethics of Conduct

Chapter 3: Ethical Relativism How to Deal with Moral Differences The Lessons of Anthropology Problems with Ethical Relativism Refuting Ethical Relativism James Rachels and Soft Universalism Ethical Relativism and Multiculturalism Primary Reading: Ruth Benedict, "Anthropology and the Abnormal" Primary Reading: James Rachels, "Problems from Philosophy" Primary Reading: John Steinbeck, "Paradox and Dream" Narrative: The Poisonwood Bible Narrative: Possessing the Secret of Joy Narrative: Avatar

Chapter 4: Myself or Others? Psychological Egoism: What About the Heroes? Psychological Egoism: From Glaucon to Hobbes Three Major Problems With Psychological Egoism Ethical Egoism, Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, and Its Critics Being Selfless: Levinas's Ideal Altruism Versus Singer's Reciprocal Altruism A Natural Fellow-Feeling? Hume and de Waal Primary Reading: Plato, The Republic Primary Reading: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan Primary Reading: Ayn Rand, "The Ethics of Emergencies" Primary Reading: Frans de Waal, Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved Narrative: Friends episode: "The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS" Narrative: Return to Paradise Narrative: Atlas Shrugged

Chapter 5: Using Your Reason, Part 1: Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham and the Hedonistic Calculus Advantages and Problems of Sheer Numbers: From Animal Welfare to the Question of Torture John Stuart Mill: Higher and Lower Pleasures Mill's Harm Principle Act and Rule Utilitarianism Primary Reading: Jeremy Bentham, "Of the Principle of Utility" Primary Reading: John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism Primary Reading: Peter Singer, "A Convenient Truth" Narrative: "The Blacksmith and the Baker" Narrative: The Brothers Karamazov Narrative: "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" Narrative: Extreme Measures Narrative: The Invention of Lying

Chapter 6: Using Your Reason, Part 2: Kant's Deontology Consequences Don't Count—Having a Good Will Does The Categorical Imperative Rational Beings Are Ends in Themselves Beings Who Are Things The Kingdom of Ends Primary Reading: Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals Primary Reading: Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals Narrative: High Noon Narrative: 3:10 to Yuma Narrative: Match Point

Chapter 7: Personhood, Rights, and Justice What Is a Human Being? The Expansion of the Concept "Human" Personhood: The Key to Rights Science and Moral Responsibility: Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Research, and Cloning Questions of Rights and Equality Distributive Justice: From Rawls to Affirmative Action Forward- and Backward-Looking Justice and Affirmative Action Criminal Justice: Restorative Versus Retributive Justice Primary Reading: Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Primary Reading: Jürgen Habermas, The Future of Human Nature Primary Reading: John Rawls, "Justice as Fairness" Primary Reading: Martin Luther King, Jr., "A Letter from a Birmingham Jail" Primary Reading: Two Texts on Discrimination: John Bertreaux, “Defining Racism in the 21st Century” and “Unseen, Unheard, Unchosen” Narrative: The Island Narrative: Gattaca Narrative: Mississippi Burning Narrative: Hotel Rwanda

PART 3: How Should I Be? Virtue Ethics

Chapter 8: Virtue Ethics from Tribal Philosophy to Socrates and Plato What Is Virtue? What Is Character? Non-Western Virtue Ethics: Africa and Indigenous America Virtue Ethics in the West The Good Teacher: Socrates' Legacy, Plato's Works The Good Life The Virtuous Person: The Tripartite Soul Plato's Theory of Forms Plato's Influence on Christianity Primary Reading: Plato, The Republic Primary Reading: Plato, Apology Primary Reading: Ronald Dworkin, What Is a Good Life? Narrative: A Man for All Seasons Narrative: "The Myth of the Cave" Narrative: The Truman Show Narrative: The Store of the Worlds

Chapter 9: Aristotle's Virtue Theory: Everything in Moderation Empirical Knowledge and the Realm of the Senses Aristotle the Scientist Aristotle's Virtue Theory: Teleology and the Golden Mean Aristotle's Influence on Aquinas Some Objections to Greek Virtue Theory Primary Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book II Primary Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book III Narrative: "The Flight of Icarus" Narrative: Njal's Saga Narrative: Lord Jim Narrative: "A Piece of Advice"

Chapter 10: Contemporary Perspectives Ethics and the Morality of Virtue as Political Concepts Have Virtue, and Then Go Ahead: Mayo, Foot, and Sommers The Quest for Authenticity: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and Levinas Primary Reading: Søren Kierkegaard, Johannes Climacus Primary Reading: Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or Primary Reading: Jean-Paul Sartre, "Existentialism Is a Humanism" Primary Reading: "The Paradox of Morality: An Interview with Emmanuel Levinas" Primary Reading: Dwight Furrow, A Culture of Care Narrative: Groundhog Day Narrative: No Exit Narrative: Good Will Hunting Narrative: The Searchers

Chapter 11: Case Studies in Virtue Courage of the Physical and Moral Kind Compassion: From Hume to Huck Finn Gratitude: Asian Tradition and Western Modernity Virtue and Conduct: The Option of Soft Universalism Diversity, Politics, and Common Ground? Primary Reading: John McCain, Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life Primary Reading: Philip Hallie, Tales of Good and Evil, Help and Harm Primary Reading: Jesse Prinz, Is Empathy Necessary for Morality? Primary Reading: Lin Yutang, "On Growing Old Gracefully" Narrative: Courage: Band of Brothers, Third Episode, "Carentan" Narrative: Courage: True Grit Narrative: Compassion: "The Parable of the Good Samaritan" Narrative: Compassion: Schindler's List Narrative: Gratitude: Eat Drink Man Woman Narrative: Gratitude: Pay It Forward

Chapter 12: Different Gender, Different Ethics? Feminism and Virtue Theory What Is Gender Equality? Women's Historical Role in the Public Sphere The Rise of Modern Feminism Classical, Difference, and Radical Feminism Primary Reading: Harriet Taylor Mill, "Enfranchisement of Women" Primary Reading: Simone De Beauvoir, The Second Sex Primary Reading: Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice Narrative: A Doll's House Narrative: Maids of Misfortune Narrative: "The Woman Destroyed" Narrative: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Chapter 13: Applied Ethics: A Sampler The Question of Abortion and Personhood Euthanasia as a Right to Choose? Media Ethics and Media Bias Business Ethics: The Rules of the Game Just War Theory Animal Welfare and Animal Rights Ethics of the Environment: Think Globally, Act Locally The Death Penalty The Ethics of Self-Improvement: Narrative Identity A Final Word Primary Reading: Andrew Belsey and Ruth Chadwick, "Ethics as a Vehicle for Media Quality" Primary Reading: Amber Levanon Seligson and Laurie Choi, "Critical Elements of an Organizational Ethical Culture" Primary Reading: Scott Gottlieb, "How Safe Is Our Food? FDA Could Do Better" Primary Reading: John Rawls, The Law of Peoples Primary Reading: Great Ape Project, "The Declaration on Great Apes" Primary Reading: Lee Hall and Anthony Jon Waters, "From Property to Person: The Case of Evelyn Hart" Primary Reading: "Ethics and the Environment" Primary Reading: Severin Carrell, “Al Gore: Clear Proof That Climate Change Causes Extreme Weather” Primary Reading: Myles Allen, “Al Gore is Doing a Disservice to Science by Overplaying the Link Between Climate Change and Weather” Primary Reading: Tom Sorell, "Two Ideals and the Death Penalty" Primary Reading: Mark Fuhrman, Death and Justice: An Exposé of Oklahoma's Death Row Machine Narrative: Media Ethics/Business Ethics: State of Play Narrative: Business Ethics: The Insider Narrative: Business Ethics/Environmental Ethics: Cold Wind Narrative: "The Jigsaw Man" Narrative: The Life of David Gale





New to this Edition

Builds upon the theory that morality can be “hard-wired,” and discusses the momentum naturalism is gaining in today’s moral philosophy.

Takes a deeper look at Martha Nussbaum’s impact on contemporary moral philosophy, especially her conviction that well-written fictional stories can provide as strong a context for examining moral issues as actual events.

Encourages discussion of fundamental cultural differences and filters it through ethical relativism, hard universalism, soft universalism, and moral nihilism by examining the film Avatar.

Expands upon the convention of “heroes” to explore the actions of the Ft. Hood army civilian police officers who reacted in the 2010 on-base shooting and the workers who elected to stay and cool the Fukushima reactors.

Contains a new reading “Is Empathy Necessary for Morality?” by Jesse Prinz which investigates whether we require empathy in order to make sound ethical decisions.

Examines how the absence of eye contact in the world of Internet social networks and other communication may have hampered our ability to feel compassion for others.

Correlation Guide:

This convenient guide matches the issues in Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Moral Issues, 13/e, Expanded with the corresponding chapters in three of our best-selling McGraw-Hill Environmental Philosophy textbooks by Bonevac, Rosenstand, and Rachels/Rachels.

Correlation Guide:

This convenient guide matches the issues in Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Moral Issues, 14/e with the corresponding chapters in two of our best-selling McGraw-Hill Philosophy textbooks by Rachels/Rachels, and Rosenstand.

Retained Features

Complete and standard coverage of all major ethical theories, and the text places ethics and storytelling in the context of cross-cultural moral education and discussion.

Narrative features throughout use the plots of dozens of relevant films, stories, novels, and popular television shows to illustrate moral theories, issues, and dilemmas.

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