Contemporary Moral Dilemmas: For Further Reading


Here are some interesting and fun-to-read books related to a few of the topics discussed in class. None of these is required or expected for the course, but if you are curious about a topic and would like to explore it some more, these are some fun places to start.

Applied ethics:

The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer, (Random House, 2010) - about global poverty

Living High and Letting Die by Peter Unger, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996) - about our economic obligations to others

Morality and the Law ed. by Richard Wasserstrom, (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1971) - classic debate over the relationship of morality to the law

Making Mortal Choices by Hugo Adam Bedau, (Oxford University Press, 1997) - applies a variety of moral principles to three cases of life and death

The Fetal Position by Chris Meyers, (Prometheus, 2010) - Great discussion of issues regarding abortion, including many not discussed in our class

Some good anthologies covering both sides of particular issues:

Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics ed. by Andrew Cohen and Christopher Wellman, (Blackwell, 2005).

The Abortion Controversy: A Reader, ed. by Louis Pojman and Francis Beckwith (Jones & Bartlett, 1998)

Tom Beauchamp, ed., Intending Death: The Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia (Prentice Hall, 1995)

Robert Baird and Stuart Rosenbaum, Same-Sex Marriage: The Moral and Legal Debate (Prometheus, 2004)

Baird and Rosenbaum have edited a series of accessible anthologies on issues in applied ethics for Prometheus Books.

Theoretical Ethics:

Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? by Michael J. Sandel, (New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009) - with excellent examples, includes discussion of utilitarianism, Kant's theory, etc., in the context of economic systems.

The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, Second Ed., ed. by Hugh LaFollette, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2013) - a useful survey of different ethical theories.

"If God Is Dead, Is Everything Permitted?" by Elizabeth Anderson, in The Portable Atheist, ed. by Christopher Hitchens, (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2007)

Consequentialism by Julia Driver, (New York, NY: Routledge, 2012) - surveys issues arising for contemporary utilitarian ethical theories.


Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? by Russ Shafer Landau, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003) - discusses moral skepticism and the objectivity of morality.