Basic Ethics, 3rd edition

Basic Ethics presents for a wide range of students and other interested readers the questions raised in thinking about ethical problems, the answers offered by moral philosophy, and the means to better integrate into both the reader’s world and personal life. It takes up what the author calls a “worldview theory,” which shows readers how to begin with the values and understanding of the world that they already possess in order to transition from there to new levels of increasing ethical awareness. Updates to the third edition include the more thorough integration of feminist ethics into the principal theoretical traditions, a new chapter on the ethical responsibility to be well informed of current events, expanded coverage of human rights, and additional opportunities on how to use ethical reasoning in thinking about one’s own life and about public policy.

Key Features:

  • Links personal values to a philosophical treatment of the major ethical theories
  • Presents ethics in the context of social/political issues that face our nation and the world
  • Challenges the student to react to the presented material through critical exercises that may be used as weekly assignments and can form the basis of class discussion and evaluation.
  • Engages the student to think about underlying issues first (in the basic questions) before presenting the most popular solutions (in the basic answers)
  • Invites the reader to make up her own mind on how to formulate an ethical theory that will help her in her own life
  • Offers a 16-chapter format to fit into most college-semester calendars
  • Presents an overall structure that establishes foundational problems in ethical theory in the first section of the book that are variously addressed by the different ethical theories in the second section of the book
  • Highlights key terms to help the reader grapple with issues raised (which are reviewed and defined in a final Glossary)
  • Includes a final chapter designed to help students comprehend the book in its entirety.


Updates to the Third Edition:

  • Highlights new research on human rights and their relevance to ethical thinking and contemporary moral issues
  • Integrates feminist ethics into the principal theoretical traditions: virtue ethics, ethical intuitionism, and some versions of deontology
  • Provides new coverage of “fake news” and the moral responsibility to be well and accurately informed of current events
  • Expands opportunities to use ethical reasoning in thinking about one’s own life and about public policy.

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