" Mr. Garlikov,  I want to thank you.  I have just finished reading your "Introduction to Ethics", and I loved  it!  You are a very good teacher and really know how to get your point across.  Normally I have to read through material at least twice before I can begin to grasp what the author is trying to say.  I just wanted to thank you because you have a wonderful way with words and it really helped me out." -- Vanessa V. [unsolicited e-mail about "An Introduction to Ethics,"] 

Online Complete Text to
An Introduction to Ethics

(approximately 55-60 8.5x11 pages in normal font sizes)

This work consists of two chapters from the book The Meaning of Love, by Richard Garlikov, which serve as a self-contained introduction to the subject of ethics. This introduction should be helpful to anyone who is taking an introductory level college course in ethics or anyone who would like to learn about moral philosophy on his or her own. The introduction is logical and analytic but should be interesting, readable, and clear to any reasonably serious reader, especially one who likes to think about a subject while reading. Interesting, easily recognized examples from daily life illustrate and explain the points that are made.

    Topics in the booklet "An Introduction to Ethics":
    1. "Who's to say" what is right or wrong? (And "Does morality depend on religion or what God says?")
    2. The meaning of terms such as 'good', 'bad', 'right', 'wrong', 'duty', 'ought', 'obligation', 'motive', 'consequences', 'intentions', etc.
    3. Reasons why the distinctions between motive, intention, and act are important.
    4. Evidence for the objectivity of ethics, and invalidity of the evidence that ethics is just subjective
    5. The nature of moral responsibility
    6. Normative ethics: seeking the highest ethical principles and values:
      1. Theories holding that right actions are those which have the best overall consequences (and ideas about what the "best" or "good" consequences are)
        1. egoism -- best consequences for the person doing the act
        2. altruism -- best consequences for others
        3. utilitarianism -- best consequences for the greatest number
      2. Theories holding that something other than the value of consequences is what makes acts right or wrong:
        1. Kant's principles
        2. the Golden Rule
        3. various lists of specific rules, laws, or regulations
        4. duties, such as promise keeping, paying debts, obligations to family, etc.
        5. principles of reasonable or fair distribution
    7. Problems with all the above theories
    8. A theory of obligation and of right which takes into account the above theories and their problems.
    9. Whether, and why, one should be ethical (particularly when it goes against one's own self-interest)

More Information About The Meaning of Love

Online philosophical papers, on ethics and
on philosophy of education, by Richard Garlikov