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The Good Life

Options in Ethics, Fifth Edition

Burton F. Porter

Intended for use in the introduction to ethics course, The Good Life: Options in Ethics, Fifth Edition is designed to engage today's practical-minded student in more fundamental questions. The book ranges from ideals in living (the good) to contemporary moral problems (the right), exploring and analyzing both areas in order to stimulate deeper reflection.

The first section of the book clears away the obstacles to pursuing ethical understanding - relativism, determinism, and egoism. Then traditional definitions of the good life are discussed, theories such as hedonism, self-realization, duty, evolutionism, religious ethics, and virtue ethic. The final section addresses today's social problems including abortion, euthanasia, animal welfare, capital punishment, and sexual morality.

Provocative questions are raised throughout such as "Does mutual consent legitimize any behavior or are there actions we ought not to consent to?" "Are there better and worse ways for us to enjoy ourselves?" "If self-actualization is the ideal, then can we fault Atilla the Hun or Genghis Khan for realizing themselves?"
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 312Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-7255-2 • Paperback • January 2017 • $57.00 • (£39.95)
978-1-4422-7256-9 • eBook • January 2017 • $54.00 • (£37.95)
Burton Porter received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. from St. Andrews university, Scotland, with graduate study at Oxford University. He has taught at various institutions including Russell Sage College and Drexel University, and he has held positions as Department Chair and Dean of Arts and Sciences. At present he is Professor of Philosophy at Western New England University, having taught previously as Visiting Professor at Mount Holyoke College. He received the award of Outstanding Educator of America.

In addition to The Good Life, Burton Porter is the author of several other academic works, as well as novels, plays, and children's poetry. His books include The Great Perhaps, What the Tortoise Taught Us, Philosophy through Film, The Head and the Heart, The Voice of Reason, Philosophy through Fiction and Film, Religion and Reason, Personal Philosophy, Reasons for Living, Philosophy: A Literary and Conceptual Approach, and Deity and Morality.
“Much more than a standard text on normative theories, this book lends itself to a thorough introductory examination of the field of ethics. . . . In particular, the evaluation discussions are excellent, as they draw attention to problems in the theories and arguments in a way that aids in teaching students to craft arguments themselves. Too many students think it is sufficient to disagree. The evaluation sections help focus how to critically examine a theory.”
Stevens F. Wandmacher, University of Michigan-Flint

“The writing style of the text is, I think, appropriate for undergraduates as well as most graduate students. The style is clear, crisp, and avoids unnecessary and misleading verbiage. . . . [A] logically organized sequence of ‘obstructions’ to ethical theory by presenting the notions of egoism, determinism, and relativism early in the text.”
Joseph F. Marino, Hofstra University

What’s New in This Edition

NEW section on contemporary moral issues includes five new chapters:

  • Contraception and Abortion
  • Punishment and the Death Penalty
  • Sexual Ethics
  • The Natural Environment
  • Racism and Sexism

Section II on ideals in living has been shortened to reflect the content in the new section on contemporary moral issues

Contemporary references and examples have been added throughout the chapters

Exposes students to options in ways of living and in facing moral problems

Addresses contemporary social dilemmas, offering viable solutions

Engaging writing; stimulating issues; broad perspectives; critical analyses

Includes an extremely useful glossary for student reference

Offers coverage of the main ethical areas, breadth without sacrificing depth