Moral Theory: An Introduction explores some of the historically most important and currently debated moral theories about the nature of the right and the good, including divine command theory, relativism, natural law theory, consequentialism, egoism, Kant’s ethics, ethics of prima facie duties, contractualism, virtue ethics and care ethics. Providing an introduction to moral theory that explains and critically examines the theories of such classical philosophers as Aristotle, Aquinas, Bentham, Kant, Mill, and Ross, this book acquaints students with the work of contemporary moral philosophers. Each chapter has been revised and updated. The third edition includes a new chapter on moral contractualism and an extensively revised chapter on virtue ethics and care ethics. Additionally, the book discusses recent work by moral psychologists making an impact on moral theory.
Mark Timmons is professor of philosophy at the University of Arizona. He has published extensively on topics in moral theory, metaethics, and Kant’s ethics. He is author of Morality without Foundations (1999), Kant’s Doctrine of Virtue: A Guide (2021) and editor of the annual Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics.
1. What is Moral Theory?
2. Divine Command Theory
3. Moral Relativism
4. Natural Law Theory
5. Consequentialism 1: Classical Utilitarianism
6. Consequentialism 2: Contemporary Developments
7. Ethical Egoism
8. Kant’s Moral Theory
9. Ethics of Prima Facie Duty
10. Moral Contractualism
11. Virtue Ethics and Care Ethics
12. Moral Particularism
Appendix: Standards for Evaluating Moral Theories
Guide to Terminology
The organization in Moral Theory: An Introduction is simply excellent. The framework for the book connects the whole together and the scope is better than other comparable texts I’ve seen.
The best thing about Moral Theory might be that it clearly sets forth major aims of moral theory, derives some standards by which to assess moral theories from those aims, and then explicitly applies those standards to the moral theories explained.”
Coverage of all major topic areas within moral philosophy
Appendix featuring standards for evaluating moral theories
New chapter on contractualism
Revised chapter on virtue and care ethics
Updated guide to terminology
All chapters edited to prioritize student comprehension