Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life: Introductory Readings in Ethics

ISBN: 0495130060
ISBN 13: 9780495130062
By: Christina Sommers Fred Sommers

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About this book

SummaryVICE AND VIRTUE IN EVERYDAY LIFE provides students with a lively selection of classical and contemporary readings on pressing matters of personal and social morality. The text includes an overview of seminal ethical theories, as well as a unique set of stimulating articles on matters of social responsibility, personal integrity and individual virtue. While the readings consistently represent different points of view, the book maintains a strong sense of the importance of avoiding cruelty and practicing kindness in a well-lived life.Preface vAcknowledgments viTable of Contents viiIntroduction 1Good and Evil 5 Philip Hallie / From Cruelty to Goodness 9 Jonathan Bennett / The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn 25 Philip Hallie / The Evil That Men Think---And Do 40 Martin Gansberg / Thirty-eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call Police 51 Jostah Royce / The Moral Insight 55 Herman Melville / Billy Budd 59 Friedrich Nietzsche / Beyond Good and Evil 71 Suggested Readings 77Moral Doctrines and Moral Theories 79 The Judeo-Christian Tradition 84 Jeremy Bentham / The Principle of unity 91 J.J.C. Smart / Utilitarianism 99 Bernard Williams / A Critique of Utilitarianism 113 Immanuel Kant / Good Will, Duty, and the Categorical Imperative 123 James Rachels / Kant and the Categorical Imperative 134 Ruth Benedict / A Defense of Cultural Relativism 148 John Hospers / The Problem with Relaticvism 157 Mary Midgley / Trying Out One's New Sword 162 The United Nations Charter: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 167 Suggested Readings 176Virtue 193 Aristotle / The Moral Virtues 181 Saint Augustine / Of the Morals of the Catholic Church 192 Bernard Mayo / Virtue or Duty? 197 Alasdair MacIntyre / Tradition and the Virtues 203 Philippa Foot / Virtues and Vices 216 Robert C. Roberts / Will Power and the Virtues 232 James D. Wallace / Generosity 254 Stanley Godlovitch / On Wisdom 262 Richard Taylor / The Virtue of Pride 284 Thomas E. Hill, Jr. / Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments 293 Suggested Readings 311Vice 313 Plutarch / Vice 317 Saint Augustine / The Depths of Vice 320 Peter Abelard / Desire and Sin 325 Dante Alighieri / The Hypocrites 334 Samuel Johnson / Self-Deception 339 Bishop Butler / Upon Self-Deceit 343 Immanuel Kant / Jealousy, Envy, and Spite 350 Alexander Theroux / Revenge 359 Charles Fried / The Evil of Lying 370 Suggested Readings 311Why Be Moral? 382 Plato / The Ring of Gyges 385 Harry Browne / The Unselfishness Trap 391 James Rachels / Egoism and Moral Skepticism 398 Fyodor Dostoyevski / Why Not Murder? 411 Peter Singer / Why Act Morally? 436 Susan Wolf / Moral Saints 444 Robert M. Adams / Saints 463 George Orwell / Reflections on Ghandi 475 Suggested Readings 485Moral Education 486 Aristotle / Habit and Virtue 489 Lawrence Kohlberg / The Child as a Moral Philosopher 497 George Sher and William J. Bennett / Moral Education and Indoctrination 522 Carol Gilligan / In a Different Voice 538 Ronald Duska / Literature and Moral Education 553 Allan Bloom / The Closing of the American Mind 566 Christina Sommers / Where Have All the Good Deeds Gone? 577 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, USN / The World of Epictetus 582 Suggested Readings 597Character, Dignity, and Self-Respect 599 Immanuel Kant / Dignity and Self-respect 602 Anthony Quinton / Character and Culture 612 Robert Coles / On the Nature of Character: Field Notes 623 Christopher Lasch / The New Narcissism 643 Joan Didion / On Self-respect 653 Thomas E. Hill, Jr. / Servility and Self-respect 658 Suggested Readings 671Morality and the Family 673 Lin Yutang / On Growing Old Gracefully 675 Jane English / What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents? 682 Norman Lamm / Traditional Jewish Family Values 690 Rebecca West / Divorce 701 Richard Wasserstrom / Sex Roles and the Ideal Society 707 Joyce Trebilcot / Two Forms of Androgynism 718 Christina Sommers / Philosophers Against the Family 728 Suggested Readings 753Morality and Society 755 Peter Singer / Famine, Affluence, and Morality 758 John Arthur / World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case Against Singer 769 Garrett Hardin / Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor 777 William Murdoch and Allan Oaten / Population and Food: Metaphors and the Reality 790 Douglas MacLean / Moral Constraints on Foreign Policy 801 Jeane Kirkpatrick / Dictatorships and Double Standards 814 Jean-Francois Revel / Why Democracies Fail 832 Michael Walzer / Totalitarianism vs. Authoritarianism 842 Suggested Readings 849

Reader's Thoughts

Talbot Hook

Philosophy should be mandatory in college, as an orientation to higher thinking. This book is a lovely guide to the field of ethics.


This was the textbook for my ethics class as an undergraduate. Dr. White taught the course. This was the only course I had with him in my career. As I recall, this was the only class I had on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so as soon as the class was over on Thursday (~10 a.m.), I took off for the weekend.Anyhow, we delved into many of the controversial issues of the day. I recall the class being much better than I expected.


Used/read as a textbook, this is one of the best, most thoughtful and thought-provoking published works I've ever encountered on the practicalities of moral choices and a moral life.


Textbook, No Comment.


I had to read this for my last class, and it was actually really good. It's just a collection of essays.


So learning about ethical theory isn't my thing. That's what I learned from this book.

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