Saturday, 7 July 2012

Book Review: The Puzzle of Ethics

The Puzzle of Ethics is written by Peter Vardy and Paul Grosch. The book aims to a function as a complete introduction to the subject of Ethics and thus the book is divided into two sections. Heythrop College Philosophy of Religion lecturer Peter Vardy handles the first section of the book which deals with different ethical theories. While Paul Grosch handles the second section of the book which discusses various issues in the field of Applied Ethics. 

This division of the book works quite well as it is very useful to have an understanding of ethical theory before approaching many of the questions in the field of applied ethics.There is however a couple of problems with this division it is often quite difficult to talk about ethical theory without taking about some of the consequences of that theory which means the distinction between ethical theory and applied ethics becomes blurred somewhat. Secondly many people may be far more interested in the second half the book and I can imagine this may lead to them skipping over all the important ethical theory contained within the first half of the book.  While I wouldn't advise readers to do this it something I feel that many readers will inevitably end up doing.  

These minor concerns aside Vardy and Grosch should be commended for the good work the have done in putting together this book. The book provides one of the more comprehensive introduction to Ethics around attempting to get to grips with both ethical theory and its application. The book will be easily followed by those with no philosophical background and will provide readers with a good solid introduction to some of the key ethical questions and theories. However the educated layman may find the book somewhat lightweight as the Puzzle of Ethics is a book the should be firmly placed in the Introductions to Philosophy category.  

I would recommend this book to anyone whose interested in the field of ethics and want a text that can introduce them to the topic, as this will suffice as a sterling introduction to the subject. It would also make a good read for those about to start a philosophy degree or undertaking an A level in the subject. I feel those who have done University courses in ethics may find the book a bit lightweight, but I would still recommend it as a useful read. As it's chapters do make for good introductions to a number of various subjects within the field of ethics.  

All this being said I would have to say that Grosch and Vardy have succeeded in producing one of the best basic introductory texts in the field of ethics. The book has rightfully received praise for this accomplishment and I thoroughly concur with such sentiment. I would recommend this book for any one who wants an Introductory book to ethics and moral philosophy. For readers who are more versed in the field this may not be quite the book your looking for.  

The book is widely available and in still in print meaning the book can be picked up at all good book stores or alternatively at Amazon.

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