The Practice of Ethics

Blackwell 2007


“This is an extremely impressive book. Not only does LaFollette explore a wide array of important topics with the insight and clarity for which he is famous, he shows that the best analysis of ethical theory and the most helpful reflection on practical moral problems must go hand in hand. LaFollette is not alone in claiming that theory and practice must inform each other, of course, but no one that I know of has done a better job of illustrating how intimately these two inquiries are intertwined.”


Christopher Heath Wellman
Washington University in St Louis


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments iii
Introduction v
Part One: Learning to Theorize 5
1.     The Ethical Impulse 8
2.     A Tale of Two Theories 22
3.     Using and Sharpening the Theoretical Tools 38
4.     Relativism 57
Part Two: The Moral Status of Groups 69
5.     Racism 71
6.     Affirmative Action 85
Part Three: Life and Death 101
7.     Religion and Morality 103
8.     Death, Dying, and Assisted Suicide 116
9.     Slippery Slope Arguments 130
Part Four: Autonomy, Responsibility, and Risk 147
10.   Autonomy, Children, and Paternalism 149
11.   Punishment 162
12.   Gun Control 179
Part Five: Living Morally 197
13.   Everyday Morality 199
14.   Character, Virtue Ethics, and Pragmatism 210
15.   Animals                       224
Part Six: The Demands of Morality 235
16.   World Hunger 237
17.   Is Morality Demanding? 253
18.   Egoism: Psychological and Moral 272
Part Seven: Thinking Ahead 285
19.   Moral Speculations 287
Index 297