What is morality? How do we define what is right and wrong? How does moral theory help us deal with ethical issues in the world around us?

This second edition provides an engaging and stimulating introduction to philosophical thinking about morality. Christopher Bennett provides the reader with accessible examples of contemporary and relevant ethical problems, before looking at the main theoretical approaches and key philosophers associated with them. Topics covered include:

  • life and death issues such as abortion and global poverty;
  • the meaning of life; whether life is sacred and which lives matter;
  • major moral theories such as utilitarianism, Kantian ethics and virtue ethics;
  • critiques of morality from Marx and Nietzsche.

What is this Thing Called Ethics? has been thoroughly revised and updated throughout, with a new final chapter on meta-ethics.

With boxed case studies, discussion questions and further reading included within each chapter this textbook is the ideal introduction to ethics for philosophy students coming to the subject for the first time.

part I|52 pages

Life and Death

part II|59 pages

Three starting points in moral theory

chapter 4|20 pages


chapter 5|18 pages

Kantian ethics

chapter 6|19 pages

Aristotelian virtue ethics

part III|73 pages

Further directions for moral thinking