Designed to address practical questions, applied ethics is one of the most exciting areas in contemporary philosophy. Yet the relevance of ethical theories to social policy has been under-explored. Until now.
In "Applied ethics and social problems" Tony Fitzpatrick presents introductions to the three most influential moral philosophies: Consequentialism, Kantianism and Virtue Ethics. He then relates these to some of the most urgent questions in contemporary public debates about the future of welfare services. These include taxing unhealthy habits, drug legalisation, parental choice in education, abortion, euthanasia and migration & cultural diversity.
In each case he asks a perennial question: what are the legitimate boundaries of state action and individual liberty?
Never before has there been such a rigorous overview of the topic offered to social policy students, academics and professionals, as well as those interested in public policy, politics and social science. A user-friendly intervention into these key debates "Applied ethics and social problems" will set the agenda for years to come.
Tony Fitzpatrick is a reader at the University of Nottingham. His recent publications include "After the new social democracy" (2003), "New theories of welfare" (2005) and he was the principal editor of the three-volume "International encyclopaedia of social policy" (2006).