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A Handbook of Ethical Theory   By: (1859-1925)

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In "A Handbook of Ethical Theory," author George Stuart Fullerton provides a comprehensive and engaging overview of ethical frameworks and theories. His well-organized and systematic approach makes complex concepts accessible to both beginners and seasoned philosophers.

Fullerton's book begins with an introduction that establishes the importance of ethics in our daily lives, while also acknowledging the subjectivity and complexity of ethical dilemmas. He connects ethics to various philosophical and cultural traditions, demonstrating the universality of ethical questions across time and space.

One of the strengths of this handbook lies in its clear and concise explanations of different ethical theories. Fullerton successfully navigates through the major schools of thought, from traditional theories like consequentialism and deontology to contemporary ones such as virtue ethics and feminist ethics. He presents each theory in a balanced manner, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses.

What sets this book apart is Fullerton's ability to provide real-life examples and practical applications of these theories. By using relatable scenarios, he demonstrates how each ethical framework can be applied in our everyday moral decision-making. This approach enriches the learning experience and fosters critical thinking.

Moreover, the author addresses potential critiques and counterarguments against each theory, encouraging readers to engage in thoughtful reflection and debate. This comprehensive analysis not only helps readers understand the various ethical frameworks but also encourages them to form their own perspectives and contribute to the ongoing discussion.

Fullerton's writing style is clear, precise, and accessible. He presents complex concepts in a manner that is easy to grasp, making it an excellent resource for students, scholars, and anyone interested in exploring ethical theory. Additionally, the book features helpful summaries at the end of each chapter, consolidating the key points and facilitating quick revision.

Despite its strengths, "A Handbook of Ethical Theory" could benefit from discussing more interdisciplinary perspectives. While Fullerton thoroughly covers historical and contemporary philosophical theories, including insights from psychology, sociology, or anthropology could enhance the book's relevance to a broader range of readers.

In conclusion, George Stuart Fullerton's "A Handbook of Ethical Theory" is a comprehensive and accessible guide that equips readers with a solid understanding of the major ethical theories. By presenting diverse perspectives, practical examples, and critical analyses, Fullerton encourages readers to engage in ethical reasoning and make informed decisions. Whether you are a novice or an expert in ethics, this handbook is an indispensable resource.

First Page:






We are all amply provided, with moral maxims, which we hold with more or less confidence, but an insight into their significance is not attained without reflection and some serious effort. Yet, surely, in a field in which there are so many differences of opinion, clearness of insight and breadth of view are eminently desirable.

It is with a view to helping students of ethics in our universities and outside of them to a clearer comprehension of the significance of morals and the end of ethical endeavor, that this book has been written.

I have, in the Notes appended to it, taken the liberty of making a few suggestions to teachers, some of whom have fewer years of teaching behind them than I have. I make no apology for writing in a clear and untechnical style, nor for reducing to a minimum references to literatures in other tongues than our own. These things are in accord with the aim of the volume.

I take this opportunity of thanking Professor Margaret F. Washburn, of Vassar College, and Professor F. J. E. Woodbridge, of Columbia University, for kind assistance, which I have found helpful.

G. S. F. New York, 1921.




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