Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction introduces the issues and controversies of contemporary moral philosophy. It gets students to struggle with the big questions of morality while it also relates these questions to practical issues, especially racism, global warming, moral education, and abortion. Providing a practical method for thinking about moral issues—a method based largely on the golden rule—it is written simply and clearly throughout. College students who are new to philosophy or who have already taken an introductory-level course will benefit from its use. 

Key Features:

  • Serves as either the sole textbook for a lower-level introduction to ethics/moral philosophy course or a supplementary text for a more advanced undergraduate ethics course.
  • Provides clear, direct writing throughout, making each chapter easily accessible for an engaged undergraduate student.
  • Offers a philosophically rigorous presentation of the golden rule.
  • Includes helpful study aids, including: bolded technical terms; boxes for key ideas; summaries, study questions, and suggested readings for each chapter; and a comprehensive glossary/index at the back of the book.

Key Additions to the Third Edition:

  • Each chapter now offers additional, optional sections on more advanced topics for students wishing to dig deeper into the material (advanced topics include: Kohlberg’s moral psychology, whether morality is gendered, types of relativism, early Greek ethics, Hume, and the prisoner’s dilemma).
  • Other improvements include: better chapter organization, clearer explanations, improved examples, new names for key arguments, and a better Kindle version.
  • An updated and improved EthiCola instructional program (with a score-processing program, teacher’s manual, and class slides), which can be downloaded from the web for free (from www.harrycola.com/ec or www.harryhiker.com/ec).

chapter |6 pages


part One|46 pages

Popular Metaethics

chapter 1|15 pages

Cultural Relativism

chapter 2|16 pages


chapter 3|14 pages


part Two|44 pages

Philosophical Metaethics

chapter 4|15 pages


chapter 5|15 pages


chapter 6|13 pages


part Three|76 pages

Golden Rule Consistency

chapter 7|26 pages

GR Logic

chapter 8|26 pages

GR Applications

chapter 9|23 pages

GR Frameworks

part Four|55 pages

Normative Ethics

chapter 10|19 pages


chapter 11|18 pages


chapter 12|17 pages

Synthesis Chapter