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Summary

Whether or not we're aware of them, we make important ethical decisions all the time - as professionals, consumers, citizens, parents, sons and daughters, and friends. These 24 thought-provoking lectures offer you the chance to reflect on some of the most powerful moral issues we face in our daily lives: Is it ever OK to lie? What are our moral obligations to others? What is the key to living the good life?

From Plato to Kant to Bonhoeffer, you'll see how some of the world's greatest thinkers from across the ages have approached similar problems. Professor Martin provides a complete picture of various ethical schools and approaches and applies this rich philosophical overview to "case studies" relevant to our contemporary lives.

You'll explore all the ins and outs of issues such as business ethics, love and marriage, privacy and technology, genetic engineering, animal rights, and much more. Engaging stories and thought experiments bring these issues to life, showing what different philosophical theories have to say about real-world ethical dilemmas.

According to Professor Martin, the trick is to understand that the mind is like a parachute; it only works when it's open. Rather than take a side in any particular debate, this course provides a framework for thinking through a host of debates and dilemmas from all sides. Through it all, Professor Martin is a sympathetic guide, helping you think through some of our most complex decisions.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC

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  • Jacobus
  • 19-03-14

Easy-followed down-to-earth relevant ethics course

In 24 lectures prof. Clancy Martin makes his listeners realise that moral decision making is an important, yet often neglected part of life. He initially uses practical everyday scenario's to introduce those questions in life that seems to be the stuff that only Philosophers really ponder on. While highlighting various Western and Eastern Philosophical traditions as well as Christian and Buddhist religious traditions to show different ways in which you should approach a seemingly moral dilemma, he helps the listener to decide how he or she will deal with a certain issue in the future. Though he leads the listener in taking his view, especially towards the end of his lectures, he doesn't force it on you.

Maybe a little bit of criticism from my side would be his inability to think a bit more globally about certain issues, especially about things like the death penalty, recycling and caring for your elderly parents. I think that in these lectures he seems to be unable to escape his North American mindset. That said, it was still interesting, and even these lectures can be of help to someone from another continent.

The three lectures I found most valuable is "Aren't Whistle-blowers being disloyal?" and "What is wrong with Gossip?" and "Why can't I date a married person?" Some of the ways in which he navigates his reasoning through difficult issues without religious endorsement is ingenious. As a chaplain working within a multi-religious environment, this course is really beneficial.

I think the goal on any course in ethics would be to get people thinking about what they do and if it is right and wrong. By empowering people to evaluate their own actions, you can change people's behaviour radically and in a very short period of time. A successful course in ethics should just to what I've described above. Prof. Clancy Martin has surely succeeded through these Great Courses' lectures to do just that. It is recommended extremely high!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Carrie
  • 10-05-14

Taking as Many Perspectives as Possible

Would you listen to Moral Decision Making again? Why?

Yes, I actually plan to after reading something else. This course was very engrossing and thought-inspiring. The topics were relevant to most people facing the modern world of today and I feel that much could be gleaned from a second and third listen.

Which scene was your favorite?

I was really into the discussions on money and economics, as well as the Golden Rule and hedonism.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I certainly tried! It took me 2 days to get through.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Guilherme
  • 22-02-15

Thinking about issues people don't talk about

Would you listen to Moral Decision Making again? Why?

This is a book that there is just so much important information, that is simple not possible to get it all one single listen. I certainly will listen to it again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Moral Decision Making?

I can name a few likeChapter 9 was The golden rule - don't do unto others what you wouldn't want them do unto you and its implications are not as simple as they seem at first. Emanuel kant's review of the law - treat people a an end not as a means. Chapter 11 with the master and slaves ethics and where the judeo-chistian tradition have taken their ideals from are also very interesting.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

As for me, all I know is that I know nothing, for when I don't know what justice is, I'll hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not, or whether a person who has it is happy or unhappy.
Republic, 354b-c - On the last lecture

Any additional comments?

A book that all humans should listen to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • "unknown"
  • 09-07-14

This is college level material?

I am only a few chapters into this, but I'm sorry to say I don't think I can stand any more of it. The content of these lectures is at the level of self-help pep talks, or maybe non-denominational church sermons, but certainly not college courses. If I had signed up for this course in college I would have dropped it after the first lecture unless I needed an easy 'A'.

Add this professor is not lecturing, he is reading a script that was written to sound as if he's lecturing. But he reads it so badly that instead of sounding like a well-informed and interesting lecturer, he sounds like an amateur actor.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 04-03-15

Great

Thought provoking. Especially the last few lectures discussing animal rights. Though, the whole course is laced in utilitarianism. Still great

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Arthur
  • 20-09-17

A wonderful ethics primer

Having been through a few philosophy titles, I feel that this is a solid introduction to ethics and the way we think about morality. After listening to this course we may consider answering a twinge of conscience as a pragmatist, utilitarian, or Kantian. The courses take us through a very basic understanding of these and other ethical approaches. The course does a very good job of introducing, at a very basic level, these and other ethical systems. For example, I think out of the half dozen or so explanations I've heard of Kant's categorical imperative, this course offers the easiest to understand.

So why not five stars? Well, frankly, about halfway through it's a bit of beat down. It's like watching all of the documentaries about how horrible we are as a species all at once. I'm not sure I have an answer to how to fix this...I mean, we're talking ethics here, so we need to talk about our ethical problems. But I feel that we could have swapped out a couple of examples with less depressing scenarios.

That being said, I definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for new ways to solve ethical and moral problems. But spoiler alert...there are no easy answers!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cathy
  • 06-04-15

Could Listen Again and Again

Would you listen to Moral Decision Making again? Why?

Yes. The material in this study is presented in easy to digest, tasty chunks. At the end of every half-hour lesson, I was eager to think more about what I had just heard.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. This was a wonderful listen while I was commuting to and from work.

Any additional comments?

Professor Clancy Martin is a gifted speaker and the material he presented in this audible challenged my definitions and parameters of moral / ethical decisions, actions, and dilemmas. Stretched me to become more aware of what I think and how I choose to act.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary E Nicolai
  • 13-03-15

Insightful and well done

One of the best. Every public servant (especially political) should listen to this insightful lecture. The historical perspective mixed with today's issues was so well done. I am referring this lecture to several people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • brent
  • 04-01-18

Good... at first.

About half the audiobook was really good and thought provoking(5/5). Ties in multiple perspectives and world-views.
Then it started to feel like they were just grasping for content. A whole lecture on where I should shop? I was impressed how much they could talk about the topic of recycling

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  • Cassandra N. Tribe
  • 13-11-17

excellent

thought provoking without being preachy. very well delivered. now i have 7 words remaining. end