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Three Challenges to Ethics Environmentalism, Feminism, and Multiculturalism by James P. Sterba

Source: Purchased from a used book sale

Although published 11 years ago, this book touches on three issues that are very much relevant today.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in philosophy, or in any of the three topics presented in this book.  Our society is still struggling with environmentalism, feminism, and multiculturalism in the social and political, and even educational spheres.  This very fact is what makes the implications of these topics on ethics so vital.  In his book Three Challenges to Ethics, James P. Sterba outlines the challenges these topics present to traditional ethics, and his suggestions for addressing these challenges.

This is my first experience reading anything about ethics, and going into this adventure I was a little worried about the accessibility of the text to someone inexperienced with the topic.  There was little to worry about, however.  The introduction was a little difficult, since the author is setting up his reasoning for leaning toward a Kantian ethics.  I had to look up a few terms to see what they meant in the field of ethics (question-begging for example) but a few simple web searches answered any questions I had.  Once into the actual subject matter of the book, Sterba covers the topic in an easy to understand style and does an adequate job explaining his reasons for his stance.

From a personal standpoint, I agree with his stance on all three topics, but some of the ways he proposes to meet these challenges (especially in the feminism chapter) seem a little far-fetched to me.  I would be interested to see if his ideas have adapted over the past decade, or if they remain the same.  I especially liked the conclusion, where he talks about how the field of ethics as a whole meets challenges, and his idea that instead of a war-like confrontation and win/loose scenario, society and the professional/academic arena of ethics should adopt a more peaceful way of “doing philosophy.”  He outlines how the same, or possibly better results can be achieved with this new method, and how it would benefit the field (and in my opinion that benefit would probably filter down to society) as a whole.  Assuming that this is his personal way of approaching situations, I’m sure the past decade of politics and social unrest surrounding these three challenges to ethics would bring about some new ideas and possibly revisions to old ideas for this author.

The book covers the topics of environmentalism, feminism, and multiculturalism from a Kantian perspective and Sterba offers his own revisions to the traditional Kantian ethics on these challenges.  Even if you do not subscribe to Kantian ethics, it could still be worthwhile to read this book, even if only to see the ideas he proposes with these three challenges in order to begin to address them within the views of your own ethical standpoint.  After reading this book, I would most certainly be interested to read other works by philosophers who subscribe to a different ethics (besides Kantian) to see if and how they address these three challenges in comparison to Sterba’s work.

** I read and reviewed this novel by my own choice and was not asked to do so by the authors or publisher.


End The Fed by Ron Paul


General Subject Matter: Economic Policy

Theme: The effects of central banking on an economy

Thesis: Because central banking destroys the value of currency, and eventually leads to nationalization and loss of individual liberties, the federal reserve should be abolished.

Source: purchased from

End the Fed is written by eleven term congressman and 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul, whom many consider to be the leader of today’s Libertarian/Austrian Economic movement. Congressman Paul is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, and various economic, financial, and foreign affairs committees and sub-committees. Congressman Paul is also a physician who served as an Air Force flight surgeon and had his own practice before entering congress.

In this book, Congressman Paul tackles the daunting task of explaining why he feels the Federal Reserve should be abolished. Many who are not familiar with the Liberty and Austrian Economic movements would think this idea is preposterous. Without the Federal Reserve, how would our economy function? End the Fed is Ron Paul’s answer to this question.

The book starts out with an explanation of why the reader should be concerned about the federal reserve, and then moves into a more detailed description of this shadowy entity that holds so much power. Congressman Paul then goes on to introduce those people and experiences in his life that helped shape his economic ideas. This is really great for people who are interested in Liberty and Austrian Economics, and want to do more research. It really gives the reader an idea of where to begin looking. After this, the topic of central banking and the damage the federal reserve causes to the US economy are fleshed out through Congressman Paul’s accounts of recent history, personal interviews with fed chairmen, and congressional experiences. Finally, the book transitions to explaining the philosophical, constitutional, economic, and libertarian arguments for ending the fed, and explores what we as American citizens need to do in order to return our country to sound money and economic stability.

Congressman Paul uses a laid back and conversational tone in his writing that is inviting and relaxing. Those who don’t usually read non-fiction because it is “too dense” will find the informal tone of this book easy to read. It is more like listening to Ron Paul tell a story than reading an informational book, although the reader will gather a lot of information from this reading. I think this approach is also less intimidating for those who are new to the topic of economics.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the ideas behind Austrian Economics, or anyone who wants to learn more about Ron Paul’s political ideas.  It is a great starting point for readers who are new to the idea of economics and central banking because it presents the ideas in an easy to read, easy to understand format, and offers many ideas on where to gather more information either via the footnotes, or Dr. Paul’s “name dropping” within the chapters, or from the suggested reading section in the back of the book (broken down into beginner, intermediate, advanced, and bonus reading subsections). Furthermore, those who are already well versed in Austrian Economics and Libertarian ideas will still benefit from reading this book, because it will help them to develop a less academic, more down to earth way of discussing this topic with others.

If you are not interested in Austrian Economics or Ron Paul, I would only recommend this book if you are writing a persuasive piece and are looking for a source to help you understand the other side of the argument (in order to be more persuasive against it of course).  This would be a great starting point for you.

** I read and reviewed this book by my own choice and was not asked to do so by the author or publisher.


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