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The Ethics Toolkit: A Compendium of Ethical Concepts and Methods (Wiley Desktop Editions) Paperback – 6 Aug 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (6 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405132310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405132312
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.4 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 187,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"...Baggini and Fosl have provided an admirably no–nonsense tour through the crowded landscape of contemporary philosophical ethics." Metapsychology Online Reviews

"The Ethics Toolkit is a truly innovative introduction to ethics. Students will have the opportunity to gain familiarity with the tools of ethics (concepts, principles, critiques, and definitions) before they are asked to build their own grand theory of ethics. Far better than a dictionary or encyclopedia of ethics, The Ethics Toolkit provides readers with an appreciation of the crucial role ethics plays in our lives." Rosemarie Tong, UNC Charlotte

"This Toolkit is very appropriate for various pedagogical uses in university philosophy courses in ethics. Used thoughtfully in conjunction with other possible course readings, it will provide accessible, reliable content helpful for clarifying assignments by faculty and for furthering student learning." Ed Sankowski, University of Oklahoma

"Very good sense, so clearly and neatly expressed, about ideas in and around ethics worth disagreeing about." Prof. Ted Honderich, University College London

"The Ethics Toolkit is a great resource for teachers, students, and general readers, and makes an extremely valuable accompaniment to primary texts in introductory ethics courses. It is much more engaging than standard philosophical handbooks, which means that one can read it cover–to–cover in addition to using it as a reference for a wide and eclectic range of concepts that are crucial to clear thinking about ethics." Avery Kolers, University of Louisville

From the Back Cover

The Ethics Toolkit provides an accessible and engaging compendium of concepts, theories, and strategies relevant to the philosophical practice of ethical reflection and criticism. Following the format of The Philosopher s Toolkit, this volume focuses on ethics, emphasizing philosophical methods and applications as well as various theories and controversies in the area. Written in an accessible and engaging style appropriate for use both inside and beyond the classroom, the entries are enlivened through the use of relevant examples, applied explanations, test cases, critical reviews, cross–references, and a helpful appendix. This indispensable resource will encourage students and general readers to think critically about ethics and teach them how to engage intelligently in ethical study, thought, and debate.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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This is an immensely useful guide to ethical theories, concepts and methods. Unlike many philosophy titles, it isn't presented as an academic contribution to wider debate: it simply sets out a range of approaches to ethics and invites the audience to think critically. It's like Bluff Your Way to Ethics/Ethics for Dummies, only with an assumption that the reader has a good general education.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Fantastic, Easy, and Well-Structured Introduction to the Field of Ethics 24 Aug. 2011
By B. Tweed DeLions - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Please ignore the review given by A. James. His two-star review couldn't have been more off the mark.

I not only read this book, I read it twice! And I'm still going back through it and reading sections again. And I've covered the pages with underlines and comments. That is testament to the book's ability to make a person think and to fire up their creative imaginations.

I'll get right to the point that I think most potential readers will be curious about: readability!

I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to the general reader who is interested in Ethics. In fact it's the only book that I would recommend (with one exception). I have a limited college background in philosophy (about 12 credit hours) but have continued to read and learn ever since. And even philosophy professors will tell you that books on philosophy are often unnecessarily difficult, even for college professors!

Hegel, for example, is extremely difficult to read, even for philosophy majors. And even then you almost have to make a career out of Hegel to properly understand him. I finally gave up trying. You are far better off reading *about* Hegel's ideas (by authors who are qualified to explain them) than trying to decipher them for yourself if you are not a philosophy major. Even scholars find him a chore. The same can be said about Nietzsche and Marx.

The point is that many if not most philosophical concepts can be grasped by people of average intelligence, when they are explained properly. But philosophy books are generally not written that way. There are several reasons for this. One is that philosophy is a very rigorous pursuit. Philosophers must anticipate the possible objections of other philosophers; and in that pursuit they often leave no stone unturned. Another reason is that the field is unavoidably jargon heavy. And since philosophy is built on the ideas of past philosophers, there is no easy way out of this dilemma. Therefore, many if not most books on philosophy can be a bit daunting to the general reader, to put it mildly!

The Ethics Toolkit is a rare and welcome exception! So I can wholeheartedly recommend it to the general reader.

I found most sections easy to grasp. It's impossible to entirely eliminate the jargon, but the authors have struck just the right balance between jargon and informal language. Basically, each heading is about about a single concept or group of related concepts, but the text *describing* those concepts are purposely written as jargon-free as possible. Some topics are more difficult to decipher than others. Every now and then I would have to reread a section a few times to make sure I fully understood it. But I would say 95% of the text is readily graspable for the sophisticated general reader.

I don't think there could possibly be a simpler and more thorough introduction to Ethics out there. I bought two other lengthy books on ethics and this one was far superior than the other two, in both ease of reading and scholarly authority. There was no comparison between them.

I can think of only one other book that would be an easier and less jargon-heavy introduction to Ethics, called "Ethical Reasoning", published by the Foundation for Critical Thinking. It's more like a thick pamphlet (60 pages or so). It's not as jargon heavy and is even better suited to the general reader. If you're interested in Ethics I would recommend both books. The main difference is that the Ethics Toolkit uses more of the language used by ethicists. In other words, it introduces you to the terms and concepts used by contemporary practitioners in the field to a degree than "Ethical Reasoning" does not, and is more thorough as well. Ethical Reasoning also uses plainer language, with the intent of getting the *ideas* across more so than the jargon. In other words, they convert some the technical terms to plain language before discussing them. I think there's a need for both formats. I have high praise for both books. Neither replaces the other.

That brings me to another asset of The Ethics Toolkit. The way it's laid out it can be read cover to cover (as I read it, twice), or it can be used as a reference book. It's actually laid out as a reference book, but it is ordered so that it can also be read cover to cover. That's one of the things I liked about it. If I hadn't wanted to read it cover to cover, I could have easily found exactly what I was looking for and nothing more. I wish more books were written that way.

This means that if you prefer, you could read Ethical Reasoning (by the Foundation for Critical Thinking) first and have The Ethics Toolkit handy if you needed it for a reference source. Or, having read Ethical Reasoning (an easy read), reading The Ethics Toolkit might then be less daunting. But I still would recommend the Ethics Toolkit, even for the general reader, as a starting point.

In fact, with ethics being so seldom discussed in public forums---except in short and uninformed sound-bytes---I can say that I think the Ethics Toolkit is not only an informative book but an *important* book. Scholars routinely underestimate the importance of informing and educating the general public---one of my pet peeves. Well, that oversight has now been corrected for the field of Ethics. For anyone who wants to discuss ethics in any reasonable way (but who lacks a philosophy degree) it is *must* reading, in fact. I would even go so far as to say that after having read this book, you would be ready to tackle almost any book on ethics. It will give you the broad understanding you need to proceed to more in-depth discussions.

I wish everyone would read it.

Oh, and I thought of another great asset of the book. It provides a reading list of the most pertinent thinkers in the field of ethics. This book broke the mold as an introduction to the field. It can never be excelled. The authors keep updating it, though. So the only competition they have is from themselves.


And as to the reviewer who said that it was biased. He doesn't know what he's talking about. The authors went to great pains to *avoid* bias and to point out where certain terms and concepts might inadvertently *lead* to bias. To claim otherwise is asinine.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Truly is a Toolkit 23 May 2013
By knittymama - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for my brother, who is a high school freshman. He had no idea about basic ethical concepts and it made it hard to have discussions with him. This is alphabetically arranged and simply lays out the concept. We are Christian and there were a few areas where he found the book too relativistic but I felt it was handled very appropriately in the book. The authors were not really pushing a particular world view, just describing it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant little encyclopedia of ethics 17 Dec. 2014
By Buzz Advert - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A brilliant little encyclopedia of ethics. Why would any student of ethics not have it? And why aren't there more competing versions out there? (A geeky question, I know.) I love Baggini's books. "The Duck That Won the Lottery" and "The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten" are also more than worth getting, if one is interested in thought experiments and logical fallacies. Who has done more to make philosophy accessible than this guy? My only complaint of this book is that it's not longer, having more entries. Maybe that can be Baggini's Diderot-like quest.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Required university text. 23 Mar. 2014
By Renee Gavin - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Required university text. Arrived promptly in perfect condition, great saving compared to uni prices. Intense reading, recommended for sociology students.
7 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Too Biased! 16 Nov. 2010
By A. James - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great in terms of its layout and topics, however, the authors incorporate their subtle personal views into it too much. If you would like to read what the particular author's positions are on various issues, then this would be a good book. If you want more of a balanced book which presents pros and cons on both sides of an ethical issue, this is not the book for you. It is very much one-sided on many of the topics presented and the author's use persuasion/coersion to argue their cases. The title is misleading as it seems to indicate a more balanced encyclopedic or reference approach. This is not the case.
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