Ethical Reasoning: Theory and Application
  • Publication Date: October 7, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554814411 / 1554814413
  • 164 pages; 6" x 9"
 

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Ethical Reasoning: Theory and Application

  • Publication Date: October 7, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554814411 / 1554814413
  • 164 pages; 6" x 9"

The philosophical tradition has given rise to many competing moral theories. Virtue ethics encourages the flourishing of the person, theories of justice and rights tell us to act according to principles, and consequentialist theories advise that we seek to bring about good ends. These varied theories highlight the morally relevant features of the problems that we encounter both in everyday personal interactions and on a broader social scale. When used together, they allow us to address moral conflicts by balancing a plurality of reasons in order to reach nuanced ethical decisions. In Ethical Reasoning: Theory and Application, Andrew Kernohan guides the reader through the basics of these moral theories, showing their strengths and weaknesses and emphasizing the ways in which competing moral reasons can be collectively employed to guide decision-making. Throughout, the focus is on practical applications and on how each theory can play a role in solving problems and addressing issues. Numerous questions and exercises are provided to encourage active reflection and retention of information.

Comments

“This book offers a practical, pluralistic approach to ethical decision-making. Each chapter provides a very clear summary of a particular theory, including a discussion of its strengths and weaknesses. Exercises at the end of each section help readers test their understanding of the relevant concepts. Overall, Andrew Kernohan is successful in his goal: this book is an excellent primer for cultivating a competency in making difficult but necessary ethical decisions.” — Justin Kitchen, California State University, Northridge

“Kernohan’s Ethical Reasoning will appeal not only to university readers but also to anyone seeking a clear and concise guide that emphasizes a practical approach rooted in human community and social cooperation at the local and international levels. A particular strength is Kernohan’s choice to focus on central concepts and terminology by presenting the major ethical theories under three broad groupings before considering the thorny questions of moral responsibility and how to use conflicting theories to make decisions in everyday life. Kernohan’s book embraces the complexity demanded by mature ethical thinking, critical reflection, and difficult ethical choices.” — Kelly C. MacPhail, University of Minnesota Duluth

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1: THE ROLE OF MORAL THEORY

  • 1.1 Cooperation, Reason, and Emotion
  • 1.2 Universalizability, Reason-Giving, Ought-Implies-Can, and the Is-Ought Gap
  • 1.3 Ethical Relativism
  • 1.4 Ethical Decision-Making
  • 1.5 Identity, Principle, and Consequence

CHAPTER 2: BEING A GOOD PERSON

  • 2.1 Virtue Ethics
  • 2.2 Virtue, Cooperation, and Community Membership
  • 2.3 Wisdom and Virtue
  • 2.4 Care Ethics
  • 2.5 Justice and Virtue

CHAPTER 3: ACTING ON PRINCIPLE

  • 3.1 Duties
  • 3.2 Moral Rights
  • 3.3 Justifying Moral Rights
  • 3.4 Justice and Moral Equality
  • 3.5 Distributive Justice

CHAPTER 4: CREATING GOOD CONSEQUENCES

  • 4.1 Egoism and Contractarianism
  • 4.2 Experience-Based Utilitarianism
  • 4.3 Preference-Satisfaction Utilitarianism
  • 4.4 Economic Utilitarianism
  • 4.5 Indirect Utilitarianism
  • 4.6 Teleological and Holistic Ethics

CHAPTER 5: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? WHO COUNTS?

  • 5.1 Moral Agency
  • 5.2 Causal Responsibility
  • 5.3 Moral Accountability
  • 5.4 Autonomy
  • 5.5 Moral Standing

CHAPTER 6: RESOLVING CONFLICT BETWEEN MORAL REASONS

  • 6.1 Ethical Pluralism
  • 6.2 Combining Moral Reasons
  • 6.3 Balancing Moral Reasons
  • 6.4 Fallible Moral Reasoning

REFERENCES
INDEX

Andrew Kernohan is an Adjunct in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University and is author of several books, including Environmental Ethics: An Interactive Introduction and Business Ethics: An Interactive Introduction with Broadview Press, and Liberalism, Equality, and Cultural Oppression with Cambridge University Press.

  • • Gives a clear and concise introduction to standard moral theories, covering multiple forms of consequentialist, virtue-based, and deontological ethical reasoning.
  • • Illustrates, through its practical orientation, how moral reasoning applies to real-world issues.
  • • Encourages the reader toward a pluralist approach, whereby varied moral reasons can reveal different salient features of a problem and lead to nuanced ethical decisions.
  • • Provides figures, tables, and conceptual maps to illustrate difficult concepts.
  • • Includes a substantial number of exercises throughout the text, helping to reinforce understanding and promote retention; suggested answers are provided online.