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Ethics In Action: A Case-Based Approach

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7098-7
544 pages
January 2009, ©2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Ethics In Action: A Case-Based Approach (1405170980) cover image


Through the analysis of forty ethical dilemmas drawn from real-life situations, Ethics in Action guides the reader through a process of moral deliberation that leads to the resolution of a variety of moral dilemmas.
  • Fosters critical thinking by evaluating the reasons people give to support their choices and actions
  • Challenges the paradigm of moral relativism that often impedes efforts to resolve moral dilemmas
  • Incorporates international perspectives often lacking in texts published for a U.S. audience
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Table of Contents

About the Authors.

Foreword by Robert F. Ladenson.



Introduction: Peggy Connolly.

Part I: Ethical Reasoning:.

1. A Brief Overview of Basic Ethical Theory: David R. Keller (Utah Valley University).

2. A Framework for Moral Reasoning: Eric H. Gampel.

Part II: Cases and Commentaries:.

3. The Eye of the Beholder: Ethical Issues in the Arts.

Case One: Monumental Controversies – The FDR Memorial.

Case Two: Fire Sale – Destroying Privately Owned Works of Art.

Case Three: What Price Immortality? – The Body Worlds Exhibition.

Case Four: Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers? – Returning Antiquities to Their Countries of Origin.

Case Five: Faux Paws – The Genetically Engineered Bunny.

4. Green Achers: Ethical Issues and the Environment.

Case Six: All Used Up and Nowhere to Glow – Goshute Nuclear Waste Siting and Native American Sovereignty.

Case Seven: Not in My Back Yard – Environmental Injustice and “Cancer Alley”.

Case Eight: The Boiled Frog – Global Warming, U.S. Interests, and Vulnerable Nations.

Case Nine: A Gorilla on the Grill is Worth Two in the Bush – Wild Meat, Malnutrition, and Biological Conservation.

Case Ten: Future Farmers – The Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of Genetically Modified Rice.

Case Eleven: Till Rivers Run Dry – Mexican-American Water Politics.

5. Plays Well With Others? Ethical Issues in Intra-social Conflicts.

Case Twelve: Am I My Brother’s Keeper? – What Are Friends For?.

Case Thirteen: Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Healthcare Professionals – Recruiting Nurses from Developing Nations.

Case Fourteen: Deadly Secrets – Releasing Confidential Medical Records to Law Enforcement Officers.

Case Fifteen: Perish the Thought! – Academic Affairs and “Community Values”.

Case Sixteen: The Sound and the Fury – Noises and Neighbors.

Case Seventeen: Shoot to Thrill – Gun Schools in the United States.

6. Healthy, Wealthy and Whys: Ethical Issues in Health Care.

Case Eighteen: Whose Life Is It Anyway? – Collisions Between Personal Conscience and Professional Obligations.

Case Nineteen: Congratulations! Did You Have a Boy or a Girl? – Surgical Interventions on Infants with Disorders of Sex Development.

Case Twenty: The Heart of the Matter – Who Decides When the Patient is Dead?.

Case Twenty-one: Lip Service – Cosmetic Use of Cadaver Tissue.

Case Twenty-two: Drug of Choice – Patients’ Access to Experimental Drugs.

Case Twenty-three: A Fevered Hand on a Cooling Brow – The Nurse’s Role in Aid-in-dying.

7. Business as Usual: Ethical Issues in the Marketplace.

Case Twenty-four: Sale of a Lifetime – Ovum “Donation”.

Case Twenty-five: Only God Can Make a Tree – Patenting Indigenous Plants.

Case Twenty-six: Body Shop – International Trafficking in Human Organs.

Case Twenty-seven: Straits of Strife – Japanese Whaling, Cultural Relativism, and International Politics.

Case Twenty-eight: Big Pharma Wants You – Direct-to-consumer Advertising.

Case Twenty-nine: This Gun’s For Hire – ExxonMobil and the Indonesian Military.

8. Freedom From or Freedom To? Ethical Issues in Government.

Case Thirty: Battle Scars – Suing the Government for Medical Malpractice.

Case Thirty-one: Does the Past Mean Never Having to Say We’re Sorry? – Reparations and Apologies.

Case Thirty-two: Words Fail – Institutional Responses to Creative Violence.

Case Thirty-three: The Idealism of Youth – Civil Disobedience and the BYU Honor Code.

Case Thirty-four: Britannia Waives the Rules – Collecting DNA on Arrestees.

Case Thirty-five: Land of the Free – The Gun Ban at the University of Utah.

9. School Days, School Daze: Ethical Issues in Education.

Case Thirty-six: Sheepskin or Fleece? – Plagiarism in University Classrooms.

Case Thirty-seven: Fire Up the Coffee Pot! Break Out the Ritalin! – Performance-enhancing Drugs in Academia.

Case Thirty-eight: When an A is Not an A – Grade Inflation in Universities.

Case Thirty-nine: Readin’, Writin’, and Rx-in’ – School Kids with Medical Needs.

Case Forty: Promises, Promises – Selling Genetic Material for Institutional Gain.

Part III: The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl:.

10. History of the Ethics Bowl.

11. National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition.


12. Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) Rules.

Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Rules.

National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Championship Rules (2008)

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Author Information

Peggy Connolly, EdD, chair, Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl national case-writing committee

David R. Keller, PhD, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics, Utah Valley University

Martin G. Leever, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI

Becky Cox-White, PhD, Professor, Department of Philosophy, and Fellow, Center for Applied and Professional Ethics, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Demonstrates a process that leads to ethically defensible resolutions of moral dilemmas
  • Fosters critical thinking by evaluating the reasons people give to support their choices and actions 
  • Challenges the paradigm of moral relativism that often impedes efforts to resolve moral dilemmas 
  • Incorporates international perspectives often lacking in texts published for a U.S. audience
See More


"This book's analysis of 40 ethical dilemmas drawn from real-life situations provides a guide to readers through the process of moral decision-making." (Ethical Corporation Magazine, April 2009)

"For those tired of the usual text in moral or social problems, Ethics in Action offers a welcome vacation. While most of the topics are familiar (the environment, social relations, biomedical ethics, and so on), most of the cases in those sections are not. All the cases are interesting in themselves. No trolley problems here!"
–Michael Davis, Illinois Institute of Technology

"This well-written book admirably shows how case-driven moral reasoning is a complex, sophisticated process, one grounded in a rational framework. Readers will learn much from the authors' approach and be deeply challenged by the cases."
Christopher Meyers, Kegley Institute of Ethics

"This book provides an invaluable resource for classroom discussion. It is rich with examples that will draw students into a deeper exploration of theory. A must-have for anyone serious about teaching ethics."
Aine Donovan, Dartmouth College

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