Ethics, Revised Edition
Ethics, Revised Edition is the first revision of Salem Press's well-received Ethics, which was published in 1994. This new edition adds more than 200 completely new articles to the set, raising the total to 1,007 essays and 6 appendices. This edition also updates and expands many of the original essays and adds other new features. The main thrust of this edition is on applied ethics, with particular emphasis on current issues.
Ethics, in one form or another, has been a central issue in history since the earliest human beings began living together in communities. Throughout human history, people have always wondered whether they were being held accountable for their actions by a higher power or powers. Those believing that such higher powers exist have needed to know what their relationships with those powers are and what they are required to do or not to do. Those lacking such beliefs have needed to believe that their lives have meaning; they, in turn, have wondered how they should act and what they should do. In addition, all people need to know what other people expect of them and what the limits of their freedom of action are. All these questions are essentially ethical matters.
Issues in Ethics
Many of the basic ethical issues with which early human societies wrestled still confront modern societies. However, early societies did not confront the vast variety of complex ethical issues that modern societies face. As societies have grown larger and more complex, and as human knowledge and technological ability have increased, the numbers and varieties of ethical issues that human beings face have also increased. For example, the twentieth century development of computer technology introduced knotty problems regarding privacy rights, the replacement of human workers by robots, and the possibility of artificially created intelligent beings. Along with the modern medical technologies that have extended human life spans have come complex bioethical questions such as balancing the needs of the productive young and the nonproductive old. Recent advances in biotechnology have raised a host of new ethical questions about genetic engineering and other matters that members of earlier societies could never have imagined.
Recent decades have seen unprecedented concerns about gross inequities in the worldwide distribution of food, resources, and power. These questions become more glaring as the world becomes more crowded and more interdependent, and as the gaps between the rich and the poor and the powerful and the weak grow larger. These changes are raising questions about how much responsibility those who have the means to prosper should take for promoting the welfare of those who lack the resources to survive.
Religion is another field in which new ethical questions are being posed. Throughout much of the world, traditional attitudes toward religion have changed, and many societies have seen growing numbers of their members reject the old ethical and moral codes of the religions into which they were born, while not finding other codes to replace them. At the same, many religious leaders, politicians, and other public figures have demonstrated that their own personal codes of ethics will not bear scrutiny. These developments and others have led many people to focus more attention on secular ethics. As a consequence, governments, professional organizations, industries, and individual businesses have adopted codes of ethics in attempts to improve their images, and many educational institutions have added ethics classes and programs to their curricula.
Expanded Coverage in This Edition
As the world enters the twenty-first century, new questions are being asked about political, economic, social, and scientific ethics. Examples of topics new to this edition range from the etiquette of cell-phone use and the pirating of digital media to the permissible limits of stem-cell research and the role of religion in world terrorism. As Dr. John K. Roth points out in his Introduction to this revised edition, the past decade alone has raised ethics questions that were not imagined when the first edition of Ethics was published.
Before the appearance of the first edition of Ethics in 1994, students interested in learning more about ethics had to consult many separate, specialized studies to gain a general knowledge of applied ethics. Salem Press created Ethics in its Ready Reference series to provide the first comprehensive reference work examining all aspects of applied ethics as well as the more traditional ethical areas of religion and philosophy. Ethics, Revised Edition expands the earlier work's coverage by addressing many ethics issues that have come to prominence over the past decade. These include such religious topics as church-state separation, faith healers, Islamic ethics, the jihad concept, religion and violence, the Roman Catholic priests sexual abuse scandal, Scientology, and televangelists.
Ethics, Revised Edition also gives particular attention to business and labor ethics, with new articles on such topics as advertising, several aspects of computer misuse, corporate compensation, professional athlete incomes, downsizing and outsourcing, and the tobacco industry. New topics relating to political and economic issues include Congress, distributive justice, famine as an instrument of oppression, care of the homeless, lobbying, lotteries, minimum wage laws, and the fairness of taxes. Personal and social ethics issues are the subject of a similar number of new essays, which include topics ranging from cell-phone etiquette and workplace dress codes to premarital sex and professional resumes.
The revised edition's increased emphasis on applied ethics can also be seen in the new essays on contemporary newsmakers whose ethical behavior--whether positive or negative--has been in the news. These people include William Bennett, Bill Clinton, Louis Farrakhan, Saddam Hussein, Jesse Jackson, Martha Stewart, and Desmond Tutu.
Some of the most important topics of the new essays concern the burgeoning field of bioethics. New topics in this field include biometrics, assisted suicide, cloning, genetic engineering, and stem-cell research. International relations is another field that is constantly raising new ethics questions. Among the topics covered in new essays in this field are the Bosnia conflict; globalization; Iraq; and terrorism. New topics dealing with ethics questions relating to more purely military issues include biological warfare and bioterrorism, child soldiers, the just war theory, mercenary soldiers, peacekeeping missions, and war crimes trials.
Formatting of Articles
Every article is written to emphasize the relevance of ethics to its subject. To that end, each essay begins with ready-reference top matter providing such information as dates and places of birth and death for important personages; dates of important events; a line identifying the most relevant type of ethics to which the topic relates; and a summary statement of the subject's significance in the field of ethics. In addition, at the end of every entry, a list of cross-references to other articles is provided to help guide readers to related subjects covered in the set. Within the main body of each article, clear subheads are provided to help guide readers.
More than half the articles in the set--all those 500 or more words in length--include bibliographies. The bibliographies of all the original articles in the set have been updated through mid-2004. Additional bibliographical information is provided in an appendix in volume 3.
The essays in Ethics, Revised Edition are illustrated by 180 photographs and more than 200 maps, graphs, charts, and textual sidebars. The set's attention to current ethical concerns can be seen in the selection of photographs--more than one third of which were created after the publication of the first edition of Ethics.
The 6 appendices in volume 3 include an annotated list of Organizations and Web Sites devoted to ethics issues, with addresses and Web site information; a comprehensive and categorized Bibliography; a Glossary of basic ethics terminology; a Biographical Directory of people mentioned in the essays; a list of Nobel Peace Prize winners through 2004; and a Time Line of Primary Works in Moral and Ethical Philosophy.
The set's three indexes include a categorized list of essay topics arranged by types of ethics, an index of personages, and a detailed subject index.
Reference works of this kind would not be possible without the generous support of many scholars. Salem Press would like to thank the 366 writers who contributed essays to the original and revised editions. We are especially grateful to contributors who responded to our call for updates of original articles. We are also grateful to Professor John K. Roth, of Southern California's Claremont-McKenna College, who has served as consultant for both editions of Ethics.
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