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Ethics in Context: The Art of Dealing with Serious Questions

Ethics in Context: The Art of Dealing with Serious Questions

Gernot Böhme, Edmund Jephcott (Translated by)

ISBN: 978-0-745-62639-0

Nov 2001, Polity

200 pages

In Stock



In this clear and accessible book, Gernot Böhme places philosophical ethics in the context of our individual and social lives. Arguing against the conception of ethics as a body of knowledge, Böhme defines morality as a matter of ‘serious questions'. In the case of an individual, a serious question is one that determines that person's mode of living. In the case of society, a serious question is one that shapes our social norms.

In Ethics in Context, Böhme explores the key areas of moral living and moral discourse. He examines some of the urgent issues affecting society today, such as the moral implications of reproductive technology, man's mastery over nature and the right of citizenship.

This book is a lucid and engaging guide to ethics, which will be of great interest to students of philosophy and, indeed, to all those interested in the subject.


Chapter 1 Introduction.

From a Critique to a New Approach: Serious Questions.

Themes of ethics.

Chapter 2 The Context of Moral Living and Argumentation.

The State of Civilization.

Our Historical Background.

Basic Moral Ideas.

Human Rights, Fundamental Rights.

Chapter 3 The Moral Life.

Skills for Moral Living.


Play and Seriousness.

Chapter 4 Moral Argumentation.

Moral Questions Concerning External Nature.

Moral Questions Concerning the Nature We Ourselves Are.

Moral Problems in Dealing with Foreigners.

Chapter 5 Summary.



1. A clear and accessible introduction to the subject of philosophical ethics.

2. Brings ethics to bear on the urgent questions of today.

3. Analyses the moral questions surrounding abortion, euthanasia and the right to asylum.