Contemporary Moral Issues is an anthology that provides a selection of readings on contemporary social issues revolving around three general themes: Matters of Life and Death, Matters of Equality and Diversity, and Expanding the Circle, which includes duties beyond borders, living together with animals, and environmental ethics. The text contains a number of distinctive, high-profile readings and powerful narratives, including Jonathan Foer's "Eating Animals," Eva Feder Kittay's "On the Ethics of Selective Abortion for Disability," and Susan M. Wolf's "Confronting Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: My Father's Death." Each set of readings is accompanied by an extensive introduction, a bibliographical essay, pre-reading questions, and discussion questions.
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This book is intended to help students develop their own well-informed and well-reasoned views on key contemporary moral issues such as abortion and capital punishment and also to help students to understand and appreciate the views of those on other sides of the issues. In order to do this, the book provides and analyzes key ethical arguments on each issue, provides important empirical background on each issue, and offers compelling personal narratives from individuals confronting these issues in real life. This book grew out of teaching a course at the University of San Diego on contemporary moral issues, and I am grateful to my students over the years for their insights and participation. If you use this book and have suggestions about how to make it better, please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.From the Inside Flap:
Contemporary Moral Issues combines arguments and personal narratives to introduce students to the key issues and develop their interest and understanding of the ways in which these issues are encountered in everyday life. In addition to readings, it contains extensive critical introductions by the editor that provide both the empirical and philosophical background to understand the issues and develop a critical position in regard to them. It also includes bibliographical essays on each topic and extensive WWW support.
The text retains its original structure, and includes some standard pieces (such as Rachels on active and passive euthanasia and Jane English's piece on abortion) and some excellent new pieces by philosophers, but it also includes important narrative pieces that help situate these issues within the context of everyday life. These include:
· An exchange of letters between Eva Feder Kittay and her son Leo on the meaning of selective abortion for disabilities both for families and society as a whole;
· Katy Duke's story in The Lancet about a "savior baby" conceived by Swiss parents in Belgium;
· Michael Sandel on the case against enhancement;
· Ruth Padawer's NYT Magazine article (2011) on the "reduction" of pregnancy from twins to a single child;
· Atul Gawande's New Yorker article about end-of-life decisions, "Letting Go;"
· Susan M. Wolf's Hastings Center piece on "My Father's Death"
· Sr. Helen Prejean's account of ministering to the families of murder victims;
· David Gelernter, the Yale computer scientist who was almost killed by the Unabomber, on what murders deserve;
· Nancy Sherman's recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on the moral wounds that soldiers suffer in combat;
· Stephen Carter (Yale Law) on the wrongness of torture, even when it works
· Alan Dershowicz in defense of warrants for torture;
· Michael Walzer on humanitarian intervention;
· Greg Velasco y Trianoski's "Beyond Mestizaje," on the future of race in America
· Kathy Miriam on "Stopping the Traffic in Women"
· Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2011 address on LGBT rights in an international context;
· Martha Nussbaum on gay marriage and constitutional law;
· Tom Pögge on the moral demands of global justice;
· Jonathan Safran Foer on eating animals;
· Sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson's letter to a southern pastor on the environment
· Luciano Floridi's reflections on Julian Assange and the ethics of WikiLeaks.
· Jim Moor on whether we should let computers get under our skins. Helpful aids to students: · An Ethical Self-Assessment, keyed to the topics in the chapters, to help students track the changes in their moral beliefs.
· Pre-reading questions to focus students' attention in reading.
· Follow-up/discussion questions after readings.
· Bibliographical essays to provide guides to current and classic literature on specific topics, including web resources.
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