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Understanding Ethics

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The book is an interesting introductory anthology designed to inform students about the meaning and scope of the field of "cthics”.
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Item Code: NBZ831
Author: Vibha Chaturvedi and Pragati Sahni
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9788194454793
Pages: 372
Other Details 9.25 X 6.25 inches
Weight 520 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

The book is an interesting introductory anthology designed to inform students about the meaning and scope of the field of "cthics”.

What is also distinctive about the present book is its inclusion of a section on specific problems relating to ethics in Indian thought..... Overall the volume is a useful and timely introduction to “understanding cthics”.

Prof. GERALD JAMES LARSON in his Foreword

A wide range of issues on ethics ranging from classical to contemporary and theoretical to applied in both Indian and Western traditions have been covered in this book. I find the segment on Indian Philosophy especially interesting. Many of the articles cxhibit a freshness of approach and raise some original and interesting questions. I am sure the book will be of interest to a wide cross-section of readers.

Prof. (Ret.) H. S. PRASAD Former Hcad, Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi

Understanding Ethics on the whole is a very good introduction to issues in normative ethics... The language is deliberately kept simple but the complexity of concepts and their interrelations is well brought out.

Prof. RAKESH CHANDRA JICPR, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2016


Our book Understanding Ethics was first published in 2013. On the basis of the feedback we have received over the years, we felt it was important for the book to be available easily to students and teachers of ethics. The decision to publish a revised edition of the book has been largely and enthusiastically supported by our contributors. This edition includes some necessary changes and modifications. However, for the most part it remains the same in reflecting the goals that were envisioned originally.

We are grateful to all those who have provided us technical input and other help in preparation of the revised edition. We would like to sincerely thank Sri Rajeev Jain and Sri R.P. Jain of MLBD and their team for their support and encouragement in bringing out this new edition. We are also indebted to Professor Gerald James Larson for his advice and kind words.


It is a pleasure for me to offer some brief comments by way of introducing the present book, namely, Understanding Ethics, edited by Vibha Chaturvedi and Pragati Sahni. The book is an interesting introductory anthology designed to inform students about the meaning and scope of the field of “ethics.” The term, of course, is derived from the Greek, ethos, which means something like “habit” or “custom,” and if one were to search for an equivalent term in classical Sanskrit, the term chosen would probably be “dharma,” a general term which can mean “habit,” “rule,” “correct behavior,” and even “law.”

What is distinctive about the present book is that instead of a textbooklike introduction to the field written by one or possibly two authors, in this instance the volume is an anthology of some twenty-six “chapters” or "articles” written by a diverse group of young scholars, each addressing an important issue in ethics but at the same time presenting their own particular perspective or angle regarding many of the important issues in the field of ethics. The book overall has six distinct sections, including (1) some general discussion of the nature of ethics in terms of normative ethics, meta-ethics and applied ethics, (2) theories of ethics in western thought, (3) theories of ethics in Indian thought, (4) social ethics, (5) certain pressing contemporary ethical problems in such areas as medical ethics, the media, terrorism, feminism, and so forth, and, finally (6) a concluding section that addresses various moral dilemmas and moral pluralism.


This book is a collection of readings that address some fundamental ideas that exist in ethics as a philosophical discipline. It is targeted at university students studying philosophy. Students studying ethics in disciplines other than philosophy will find it useful as well. Most of the included readings form part of the syllabi of ethics courses in India and elsewhere. Other readings have been incorporated for the more discerning student who wishes to know about ethical analysis and argumentation. In addition to students, this book will also be valuable to anyone who wants to learn about ethics in general. Furthermore, the book covers a range of topics and represents both Indian and Western ethical ideas. Generally it is found that anthologies in ethics are either devoted exclusively to Western theories or Indian ones; this anthology, in presenting both, is somewhat uniquely placed.

Ethical viewpoints have had significance since time immemorial in our day-to-day life as they are connected with commerce, medicine, engineering, public administration and many more areas. Ethical discussions in some form or other can be found in philosophical writings dating back to ancient Greece and ancient India. However the need to study ethics has acquired urgency in today's world, particularly in response to never hitherto seen dilemmas such as those arising through climate change, chemical warfare and genetic modification. The ethicist with her tools of ethical understanding and problem solving is central to analysing these and many other dilemmas. For this purpose it is important that students develop a deep understanding of ethical theories. The readings in this collection aim to acquaint readers with some important ethical theories as well as other ideas that underlie ethical thinking. With this theoretical background students should become well equipped to begin to identify and critique the arguments followed by philosophers and to build their own arguments, based on the former or otherwise, in any area that requires ethical reasoning. Philosophy students will profit a great deal from the analysis of theories and other discussions this book contains. Students attending professional courses that teach a component of ethics stand to benefit similarly from this book.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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