The Elements of Moral Philosophy by James Rachels and Stuart Rachels is a best-selling text for undergraduate courses in ethics. Thirteen thought-provoking chapters introduce readers to major moral concepts and theories in philosophy through clear, understandable explanations and compelling discussions.
Instructors and students can now access their course content through the Connect digital learning platform by purchasing either standalone Connect access or a bundle of print and Connect access. McGraw-Hill Connect® is a subscription-based learning service accessible online through your personal computer or tablet. Choose this option if your instructor will require Connect to be used in the course. Your subscription to Connect includes the following:
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About the Author
STUART RACHELS is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. He has revised several of James Rachels’ books, including Problems from Philosophy (second edition, 2009) and The Right Thing to Do (fifth edition, 2010), which is the companion anthology to this book. Stuart won the United States Chess Championship in 1989, at the age of 20, and he is a Bronze Life Master at bridge. His website is www.jamesrachels.org/stuart.
James Rachels, the distinguished American moral philosopher, was born in Columbus, Georgia, graduating from Mercer University in Macon in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He taught at the University of Richmond, New York University, the University of Miami, Duke University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he spent the last twenty-six years of his career. 1971 saw the publication of Rachels’ groundbreaking textbook Moral Problems, which ignited the movement in America away from teaching ethical theory towards teaching concrete practical issues. Moral Problems sold 100,000 copies over three editions. In 1975, Rachels wrote “Active and Passive Euthanasia,” arguing that the distinction so important in the law between killing and letting die has no rational basis. Originally appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, this essay has been reprinted roughly 300 times and is a staple of undergraduate education. The End of Life (1986) was about the morality of killing and the value of life. Created from Animals (1990) argued that a Darwinian world-view has widespread philosophical implications, including drastic implications for our treatment of nonhuman animals. Can Ethics Provide Answers? (1997) was Rachels’ first collection of papers (others are expected posthumously). Rachels’ McGraw-Hill textbook, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, is now in its fourth edition and is easily the best-selling book of its kind. Over his career, Rachels wrote 5 books and 85 essays, edited 7 books and gave about 275 professional lectures. His work has been translated into Dutch, Italian, Japanese, and Serbo-Croatian. James Rachels is widely admired as a stylist, as his prose is remarkably free of jargon and clutter. A major theme in his work is that reason can resolve difficult moral issues. He has given reasons for moral vegetarianism and animal rights, for affirmative action (including quotas), for the humanitarian use of euthanasia, and for the idea that parents owe as much moral consideration to other people’s children as they do to their own. James Rachels died of cancer on September 5th, 2003, in Birmingham, Alabama.
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
No one liked Kant's ideas after reading Rachel's take on him
He can be a little biased against certain opinions. I felt his treatment of Kant was a bit negative. Yes, Kant was strange but he still had some decent ideas. It was interesting to see the reaction of the class I took which used this book: No one liked Kant's ideas after reading Rachel's take on him. When I took an ethics class prior to this with a book that treated him more "neutrally," about half the room seemed like they were partial to his ideas (if you can't tell, I was one of those).
There were some other spots where I was wondering: are you educating us about the perspectives, or trying to subtlety convince me of yours? But overall it is good.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Thin and pricey.
By Lab Geek
I know a lot of educational programs are using this "textbook", but the real winner is the author. It is expensive for simply reading somebody's opinion on different philosophical concepts without many footnotes to even refer to.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
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This is the main book we use in my Introduction to Ethics class at the University of Kansas and it does a very good job at disproving the 4 common "failed" ethical theories that most people know about and provides an understandable explanation of the viable ethical theories today such as Utilitarianism and Social Contract Theory. It does not read like a textbook, it is very captivating and I would recommend it to anyone that is interested in a general understanding of ethical theory.