Ethical Issues + Questions
John Dickson (Zondervan: May 2011), 208 pages.
Dickson defines humility as "the noble choice to forgo your status, deploy your resources or use your influence for the good of others before yourself," such that a "humble person is marked by a willingness to hold power in service of others." (p. 24). By this definition you can see that humility starts from a position of dignity, strength, and a healthy sense of my own worth and abilities. Unlike humiliation, which can be thrust upon me by others, humility is a choice I make willingly. And humility is social, more about how I treat others than about how I think of myself. Bob Sutton has written that the best test of a person's character is how he or she treats those with less power. Dickson argues that humility is important for leadership because humility is persuasive. Humility unlocks the door to referent power. "We are more attracted to the great who are humble than to the great who know it and want everyone else to know it as well." (p. 69). He quotes Aristotle's belief that character is the controlling factor in persuasion: "We believe good-hearted people to a greater extent and more quickly than we do others on all subjects in general and completely so in cases where there is not exact knowledge but room for doubt." (p. 139). We trust the humble more than the proud to act in our best interest. Dickson also argues that humility is generative, a powerful key to learning and growth. Pride is the engine of mediocrity because the proud think they have "arrived" and have nothing left to learn, certainly not from you and me. ~ Bret L. Simmons at Amazon.com
David Boonin and Graham Oddie (Oxford University Press: February 2, 2009), 640 pages.
Is abortion morally permissible? Is it wrong to hunt animals for sport or to slaughter them for food? Should human cloning be permitted? Is torture ever justified? Now in a second edition, What's Wrong? Applied Ethicists and Their Critics presents a thorough and engaging exploration of these complex questions and twenty-four other contemporary ethical issues. Employing a unique approach to teaching argumentation, editors David Boonin and Graham Oddie open each chapter with an influential article that takes a strong stand on a particular issue; the essays that immediately follow offer objections and critical responses to the arguments put forth in the featured selection. This format helps students learn how to better engage in debates because it illustrates how philosophers argue with each other. Featuring a new section on applied ethics and ethical theory, the general introduction to this second edition also describes strategies for understanding and evaluating the different types of arguments contained in the readings. Detailed part and chapter introductions — streamlined in this edition — enable students to see precisely how the arguments presented in the various writings are related to one another. Questions for Consideration and updated and expanded Further Reading Lists are included at the end of each chapter. Featuring more than eighty readings organized into five parts — killing, sex, the family, race relations, and the state — What's Wrong? includes seminal essays by prominent philosophers alongside work by newer voices in the field. Addressing five new cutting-edge issues — overpopulation, campus hate speech codes, hate crime laws, torture, and global warming — the second edition includes fifteen new readings. Ideal for courses in applied ethics/contemporary moral problems and introduction to ethics, What's Wrong?, Second Edition, can also be used in critical thinking courses that emphasize philosophical argumentation. ~ Product Description
Barbara Herman (Harvard University Press: September 2008), 352 pages.
A distinguished moral philosopher and a leading interpreter of Kant's ethics, Barbara Herman draws on Kant to address timeless issues in ethical theory as well as ones arising from current moral problems, such as obligations to distant need, the history of slavery as it bears on affirmative action, and the moral costs of reparative justice. Challenging various Kantian orthodoxies, Herman offers a view of moral competency as a complex achievement, governed by rational norms and dependent on supportive social conditions. She argues that the objectivity of duties and obligations does not rule out the possibility of or need for moral invention. Her goal is not to revise Kant but to explore the issues and ask the questions that he did not consider. Some of the essays involve explicit interpretation of Kant, and others are prompted by ground-level questions. For example, how should we think about moral character given what we know about the fault lines in normal development? If ordinary moral life is saturated by the content of local institutions, how should our accounts of moral obligation and judgment accommodate this? ~ Product Description
J. Daryl Charles (William B. Eerdmans: April 2008), 344 pages.
Restating what all people intuit and what this means in moral, specifically bioethical, discourse is the raison d’être for this volume. J. Daryl Charles argues that a traditional metaphysics of natural law lies at the heart of the present reconstructive project, and that a revival in natural-law thinking is of the highest priority for the Christian community as we contend in, rather than abdicate, the public square. Nowhere is this more on display than in the realm of bioethics, where the most basic moral questions — human personhood, human rights versus responsibilities, the reality of moral evil, the basis of civil society — are being debated. With his timely application of natural-law thinking to the field of bioethics, Charles seeks to breathe new life back into this key debate. ~ Product Description
Charles L. Griswold (Cambridge University Press: September 2007), 268 pages.
Nearly everyone has wronged another. Who among us has not longed to be forgiven? Nearly everyone has suffered the bitter injustice of wrongdoing. Who has not struggled to forgive? Charles Griswold has written the first comprehensive philosophical book on forgiveness in both its interpersonal and political contexts, as well as its relation to reconciliation. Having examined the place of forgiveness in ancient philosophy and in modern thought, he discusses what forgiveness is, what conditions the parties to it must meet, its relation to revenge and hatred, when it is permissible and whether it is obligatory, and why it is a virtue. ~ Product Description • "Rarely has a philosopher offered his fervent students and readers such depth, knowledge and sensitivity as Charles Griswold has done in this volume that deals with one of the most urgent topics facing humankind today." ~ Elie Wiesel
Robert P. George (Oxford University Press: April 2001), 360 pages.
In Making Men Moral, his 1995 book, Robert George questioned the central doctrines of liberal jurisprudence and political theory. In his new work he extends his critique of liberalism and goes beyond it to show how contemporary natural law theory provides a superior way of thinking about basic problems of justice and poltical morality. It is written with the same combination of stylistic elegance and analytical rigor that distinguishes his critical work. Not content merely to defend natural law against its cultural critics, he deftly turns the tables and deploys the idea to mount a stunning attack on predominant liberal beliefs about such issues as abortion, sexuality, and the place of religion in public life. Readers interested in law, political science, and philosophy will find George's arguments both challenging and compelling. ~ Product Description
Louis P. Pojman and Francis Beckwith, eds. (Wadsworth:February 13, 1998), 468 pages.
The Abortion Controversy (second edition) is a superb anthology in which all the major viewpoints on abortion are well represented. Highlights include Michael Tooley's latest formulation of his argument against foetal personhood, Judith Jarvis Thomson's classic "A Defense of Abortion", David Boonin-Vail's brilliant 1997 defense of what he calls the "Responsibility Objection" to Thomson's argument, and Keith Pavlischek's interesting 1998 critique of Thomson and Boonin-Vail. Pavlischek essentially admits that Boonin-Vail's arguments succeed, but points out (correctly, I think) that those arguments entail that if a woman becomes pregnant to a man who wishes to play no part in the child's life, then that man, the father, is not morally obliged to pay child-support to the mother. Pavlischek thinks that many pro-choicers would find this implication unacceptable. I would add that on the other hand, many pro-choicers would regard this implication as perfectly just, so that Boonin-Vail's defense of Thomson is (for them at least) ultima facie sound. These are just some of the interesting issues covered in the book; there are many more. Since no other anthology is as wide-ranging, up-to-date and authoritative as this one, "The Abortion Controversy" is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the philosophical debate over abortion. ~ Dean Stretton at Amazon.com
J.P. Moreland and Norman Geisler (Praeger Paperbacks: Nov 9, 1990), 192 pages.
This work is an introductory treatment of issues and options in social and bioethics which center on the end of life. Moreland and Geisler have attempted to simplify and summarize various end-of-life topics without being simplistic or caricaturing different viewpoints, even though the authors' own viewpoints are made perfectly clear. A comprehensive bibliography, glossary, and subject and author index make this a valuable textbook as well as a resource for further study. The major purpose of this book is to make the reader think more clearly and deeply about the important issues discussed between its covers. Beginning the work is an essay that introduces the dilemma of ethical decisions. The following chapters separately discuss the situations of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, suicide, capital punishment, and war. The discussion concludes with a chapter of practical and theoretical guidance for making ethical decisions. A glossary, subject index, author index, and selected bibliography for each chapter make this a valuable text. This important work will not only appeal to experienced philosophers, but also to students of moral philosophy, theology, and ethics. ~ Synopsis
Norman L. Geisler (Baker Academic: Sep 1, 1989), 336 pages.
An introductory presentation of Christian ethics, where the Bible is taken as the authoritative text for discussing issues such as homosexuality, abortion, war/civil disobedience, and other similar ethical issues. "This book is the most current of Geisler's books on ethics and incorporates many of the points of previous works such as Ethics: Alternatives & Issues, Options in Contemporary Christian Ethics, and The Christian Ethic of Love. The book is, as the title suggests, a presentation of Christian ethics, so the Bible is taken as the standard text for discussing certain issues such as homosexuality, abortion, war/civil disobedience, and other similar ethical issues. But scientific and rational arguments are also used in addition to Biblical exposition to reach conclusions." ~ Cameron B. Clark @ Amazon.com