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DGrayson

Recommendation for Reading on Ethics

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Hey guys!

 I figured I'd post this here, even though it is not a grad school related topic, since the application cycle is probably over for most of you guys. I have some free time on my hands this summer before I start my grad program in a different discipline, so I started researching more into philosophy. I didn't have the opportunity to take more than one philosophy classes as an undergrad (and that was an intro class), but Ethics was always something I wanted to learn more about. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions as to some books where I could get a nice overview of concepts--or just a good place to start-- whether it be metaethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, etc. Thanks!!

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I only took a few philosophy classes during undergrad but I've always enjoyed it, especially the topic of ethics. I would recommend Ethics: The Essential Writings and The Ethics of Ambiguity. The former is an extensive overview of ethics by many big philosophers (Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, etc.), and the latter is an existentialist view of ethics by French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.

If you are at all interested in medical ethics, I think Doing Right: A Practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians is an interesting read as well!

Hope that helps!

Edited by Danger_Zone

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The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a great (online) resource, and it's free. Each entry is written by a professional philosopher who is an expert on the entry's topic. And the bibliographies are usually quite good, so you can use those for further reading references. I usually prefer the SEP to introductory textbooks, and most philosophers that I know use the SEP whenever they start to learn about a new area.

Looking now, there are entries on Consequentialism, Deontological Ethics, Contractualism, Feminist Ethics, and Virtue Ethics, which would collectively provide a nice introduction to normative ethics. They also have an entry on Metaethics. As for applied ethics, there are many entries that look interesting: Business Ethics, Theory and Bioethics, Ethics of Stem Cell Research, Feminist Bioethics, and many more.

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To get up to speed you'll want to look at Kant, Mill and Hume in terms of the classic canon, and maybe Nietzsche, Ayer, Mackie, Street, Singer for more contemporary treatments and the major critical movements. 

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On June 14, 2016 at 4:18 PM, aduh said:

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a great (online) resource, and it's free. Each entry is written by a professional philosopher who is an expert on the entry's topic. And the bibliographies are usually quite good, so you can use those for further reading references. I usually prefer the SEP to introductory textbooks, and most philosophers that I know use the SEP whenever they start to learn about a new area.

Looking now, there are entries on Consequentialism, Deontological Ethics, Contractualism, Feminist Ethics, and Virtue Ethics, which would collectively provide a nice introduction to normative ethics. They also have an entry on Metaethics. As for applied ethics, there are many entries that look interesting: Business Ethics, Theory and Bioethics, Ethics of Stem Cell Research, Feminist Bioethics, and many more.

I agree. The Stanford Encyclopedia is a very good place to start. In addition to what has been said about relevant topics to look at, the OP may also look at these entries: the history of utilitarianism, contractarianism, Kant's moral philosophy, Aristotle's ethics. Very good intro, highly readable. I am not a professional philosopher, but the Stanford Encyclopedia in my opinion is much better than a traditional intro textbook.

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On June 21, 2016 at 0:59 AM, philstudent1991 said:

To get up to speed you'll want to look at Kant, Mill and Hume in terms of the classic canon, and maybe Nietzsche, Ayer, Mackie, Street, Singer for more contemporary treatments and the major critical movements. 

Kant's writings are definitely very difficult to read (a lot of jargons) (at least this is the case for someone who just got into philosophy). Very tough readings, but worth reading. Usually, I read Kant's writings along with an online search engine, so that I can search the definition of the jargon when I need to!

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