posted May 25, 2010

Philosophy Professors Edit Introductory Ethics Text

Dr. Andrew Dell'Olio and Dr. Caroline Simon of the Hope College philosophy faculty have included insights from around the world and across time in their new introductory ethics text.

Dell'Olio and Simon are co-editors of "Introduction to Ethics: A Reader," published recently by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc. of Lanham, Md.

Designed for undergraduate college courses, the book reviews the major theories in ethics.  It features 37 selections by contemporary and classic philosophers representing Western and non-Western ethical traditions, and includes readings in both theoretical and applied ethics.  The writers range from Plato and Confucius, to the Dalai Lama and some of the best-known women philosophers of the 20th century, including Philippa Foot and Judith Jarvis Thomson.  The book also includes a considerable number of selections by Christian philosophers, such as Richard Mouw, who is the president of Fuller Theological Seminary and opened the college's World Christian Lecture Series in 2008.

The book is organized into nine chapters. Following an introductory overview, the book explores eight areas and theories of ethics:  religion and morality, moral relativism, natural law theory, utilitarianism, ethics of duty, virtue ethics and challenges to traditional moral theory.  It closes with a series of essays focused on how to define and live the good life.  Each of the chapters includes an introduction that frames the essays within it and a series of study questions to help focus students' reading of the material.

"This is a quite wonderful collection of essays with splendid introductions," said Dr. Allen Verhey, a former member of the Hope faculty who is now a professor of Christian ethics at the Duke Divinity School.  "Andrew Dell'Olio and Caroline Simon have provided a book that begs to be taught and that invites reflection not just about moral theory but about our moral lives."

Dell'Olio is a professor of philosophy and chairperson of the department at Hope, where he has taught since 1993.  His specializations include ethics, the philosophy of religion and Asian philosophy.  He has published articles on religious pluralism, religious language, religion and morality, multiculturalism and postmodernism, as well as the book "Foundations of Moral Selfhood:  Aquinas on Divine Goodness and the Connection of the Virtues."

Simon is the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Philosophy and director of general education and interdisciplinary studies at Hope, where she has taught since 1988.  Her specialties within ethics include the use of literature in moral reflection, the nature of moral knowledge, virtue ethics, friendship and sexuality.  Another of her research areas is church-related higher education.  She is author of the book "The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny and Imagination" and co-author of "Can Hope Endure? A Historical Case Study in Christian Higher Education," and was lead author of "Mentoring for Mission:  Nurturing New Faculty at Church-Related Colleges."