Moral Methods

Thanks to the budget cuts in education, I won’t be teaching this summer. On the plus side, this has encouraged me to write yet another short philosophy book, Moral Methods. As per tradition, I am making it available as a free PDF on this site. It is also available in the Kindle format in the US and the UK for the usual 99 cents (or the UK equivalent in fish and chips).

This concise reference work is intended to provide the reader with the basics of moral argumentation and specific tools that should prove useful in this process. There is no assumption that any specific moral view is correct (or incorrect) and no specific moral agenda is pushed in this work.  Rather, the intention behind this work is to assist people in making better moral arguments.  If a reader disagrees with a specific example, then an interesting exercise would be to consider a counter-argument against the conclusion presented in the example.

The book divides into three parts. The first provides a basic discussion of arguing about ethics in the context of moral issues. The second, which is the majority of the book, presents a variety of methods that should prove useful in moral argumentation.  The third part consists of short moral essays that provide additional examples of moral reasoning.

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  1. swallerstein (amos)

    Thank you, Mike.

    The budget cuts show a sad loss of the sense of what matters.

  2. Mike

    Many thanks. It’s very kind of you to be providing this for free and is very much appreciated.

    Critical thinking and moral reasoning seems the last thing that should be getting cut back on in ‘the Academy’.

    Is there any scope for you to use your skills and gain some remuneration for your efforts outside the University? It seems to me that you ably provide a service that would be of great benefit to a wider group than traditional college students.

  3. One interesting mystery is the fact that when I teach a summer class, I bring in way more in tuition than I am paid-yet a budget cut means that I don’t teach in the summer. Since the buildings and administrators (they get 12 month contracts) are still there over the summer, I am not sure why it is more financial prudent to leave classrooms empty over the summer rather than to have faculty teach classes and have revenue coming in. Someone once told me that each student is a financial loss for the school, which seems a bit odd. But perhaps not impossible.

  4. Jim,

    Because of the ongoing cuts, that is a matter I am actively looking into. I do write on the side-the Kindle books on Amazon as well as material for games. Interestingly, there does not seem to be a big market for philosophers in the states. But, if I switched to being a sophist, 2012 could be a goldmine for me. 🙂

    I hope you find the book useful.

  5. Dennis Sceviour

    You are gifted writer and the articles are usually interesting and controversial. If you ever tire of teaching philosophy, I am sure you could easliy make a living as a journalist. I think you mentioned somewhere of a secret desire to be a TV show host.

  6. Market yourself, not as a philosopher, but as instructor in ‘critical thinking’ perhaps?

  7. Dennis,

    How about a reality TV show involving philosophers? Each philosopher could present his/her view of the real, either before or after heavy drinking and while in a hot tub along the Jersey shore. 🙂

  8. Jim,

    An excellent idea. I have seen people who claim to be ontological engineers, which struck me as good marketing.

  9. swallerstein (amos)


    I cannot open your pdf link.

    Generally, I have no problems with pdf, but once when I had one with a link Jim sent, he remarked that my internet connection is probably slow and he sent me another link to the same text, which opened without problems.

    Thank you very much.

    I agree with Dennis that you would make a good journalist, the kind who interviews political figures and asks them difficult questions.

  10. Thank you. As others have said, your pieces are always interesting, even if I don’t necessarily agree with your conclusions.

  11. swallerstein,

    I tried the link in Chrome and Firefox and had no problems. I did consider that it might have been because I was logged into the site,so I tried it without being logged in and it still worked. Here is an alternative link: Let me know if that does not work.

    I would rather enjoy asking politicians questions. I’ve often thought it would be interesting to have a show in which interviews were conducted and then analyzed afterwards by a panel.

  12. Keith,

    If everyone agreed with me, I’d be really worried. 🙂

  13. swallerstein (amos)

    Hello Mike:

    Thanks, but it didn’t work.

    In my particular case, Jim was generous and thoughtful enough to send the text to me into four sections, so I already have it and plan to read it this afternoon.

    However, there may be other readers with the same problem.

  14. Is it that nothing happens when you click on it? Can you open other PDF files? What browser are you using? What PDF viewer are you using?

  15. swallerstein (amos)

    Hello Mike,

    I have Adobe Reader 9.

    Yes, I generally can open PDF files, but at times it seems like it’s an effort for the computer.

    The browser is Explorer. I don’t know what number of Explorer, but I have Windows 7.

    When I click on your link, the computer makes an effort and below it says “627.21kb of 627.80kb, but that’s it.

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