Selections intended to introduce college students at all levels of sophistication to philosophical problems which grow naturally out of everyday concerns. Emphasis is on moral and social philosophy with which the student is presumed to be familiar: killing and rescuing, racial and sexual equality, liberty and its limitation, love and sexual behavior. No index. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
The attempt to utilize the methods of science to justify one ethical code as opposed to another has the advantage of avoiding the dogmatism and question-begging techniques characteristic of many traditional ethical theories. However, such attempts are invariably involved in value reductionism, leaving normative terms bereft of their normative import. Science is related to ethics in a number of important ways, but not in the sense that inductive evidence can justify one standard of right conduct as opposed to others.
The science of ecology has sensitized us to the intricate causal chains in nature and to the threat to the life system posed by environmental misuse. Responding to the data provided by environmental science, some philosophers have called for fundamentally new ethical principles—a recognition of nonhuman values and an extension of rights not only to animals but to inanimate parts of nature. These attempts to develop an ecological ethic call for radical conceptual revision of the way in which most persons (...) perceive man and the world. This paper explicates those revisions and points to some philosophical difficulties which confront them. (shrink)