Author(s): Alexander George (ed)
Is it ever OK to be dishonest? Is it wrong to enjoy violent video games, or to cheat on one's tax returns? Should we be vegetarians? When is war justified? Are there any moral facts, or is morality relative? Life throws ethical questions at us every day. Some are momentous and difficult, while others are relatively trivial and easily worked out; still others lodge themselves in our heads and bother us for years. We regularly encounter controversial issues (such as prostitution, abortion, or racial profiling), tricky conundrums (Would I be wrong to take advantage of my teacher's forgetfulness? When should I allow my teenage daughter to have a boyfriend? Are we responsible for our emotions?), and classic problems (What is the relation between religion and morality? Is suicide wrong? Why should we be moral?) Philosophers have engaged with these questions for as long as there have been philosophers, but most people have had no exposure to the wide variety of arguments and positions that they have offered. The website AskPhilosophers.org has sought to fill this void, bringing together a panel of distinguished philosophers who use their knowledge of the history of philosophy, as well as their own skills and ingenuity, to respond to questions sent in from all over the world. What Should I Do? is a collection of some of the most interesting questions about ethics to have appeared on the website during its first five years. It is a delightfully fresh book that will encourage readers to think a bit more deeply about the moral questions they frequently encounter, and will provide them with the tools to do so.
Alexander George teaches at Amherst College. Before arriving at Amherst, he was an undergraduate at Columbia, a graduate student at Harvard, and a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. He is the author (with Daniel J. Velleman) of Philosophies of Mathematics (Blackwell). He is also the author (with Lawrence Douglas) of a humor book, Sense and Nonsenibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature (Simon and Schuster). He founded AskPhilosophers.org in 2005.
Introduction; 1. The Personal; Children * Love and Sex * Abortion * Emotion * Sincerity * Death * Suicide; 2. The Public; Medicine * Business * Sports and Games * Interacting with Others * Environment * Animals * Religion; 3. The Political; Justice * Rights * Government * Law * Punishment * War; 4. The Nature of Morality; Moral Truth * Moral Knowledge * Moral Theories * Putting Morality into Practice; Biographical Information; Suggested Readings; Index