Issues of Life and Death such as abortion, assisted suicide, capital punishment and others are among the most contentious in many societies. Whose rights are protected? How do these rights and protections change over time and who makes those decisions? Based on the author’s award-winning and hugely popular undergraduate course at the University of Texas, this book explores these questions and the fundamentally sociological processes which underlie the quest for morality and justice in human societies. The Author’s goal is not to advocate any particular moral "high ground" but to shed light on the social movements and social processes which are at the root of these seemingly personal moral questions.

This book is also broken down into four smaller How Ethical Systems Change volumes:

Abortion and neonatal care: www.routledge.com/9780415504492/

Lynching and capital punishment: www.routledge.com/9780415505192/

Eugenics, the Final Solution, and Bioethics www.routledge.com/9780415501620/

Tolerable Suffering and Assisted Dying: www.routledge.com/9780415505161/


chapter 1|11 pages

A Single Question

part |1 pages

Part I: A Moral System Evolves

chapter 2|18 pages

An Exclusionary Movement is Born

chapter 3|30 pages

Legal Reform to Eliminate Defectives

chapter 4|31 pages

Redrawing the Boundaries of Protected Life

part |1 pages

Part II: The Early Moments and Months of Life

chapter 7|30 pages

Man’s Law or God’s Will

chapter 8|21 pages

Inches from Life

chapter 9|19 pages

Should the Baby Live?

part |1 pages

PART III The Boundaries of Tolerable Suffering

chapter 10|22 pages

Limits to Tolerable Suffering

chapter 11|26 pages

Alleviating Suffering and Protecting Life

chapter 12|17 pages

God, Duty, and Life Worth Living

chapter 13|30 pages

Assisted Dying

part |1 pages

PART IV Taking Life and Inflicting Suffering

chapter 14|24 pages

Removing the Protective Boundaries of Life

chapter 15|27 pages

A Campaign to Stop the Executions

chapter 16|17 pages

The Pendulum Swings, the Debate Continues

chapter 17|6 pages

Lessons Learned