Life and Death Decisions
The Quest for Morality and Justice in Human Societies
Routledge – 2013 – 176 pages
Issues of Life and Death such as abortion, assisted suicide, capital punishment and others are among the most contentious in many societies. Whose rights are protected? How do these rights and protections change over time and who makes those decisions? Based on the author’s award-winning and hugely popular undergraduate course at the University of Texas, this book explores these questions and the fundamentally sociological processes which underlie the quest for morality and justice in human societies. The Author’s goal is not to advocate any particular moral "high ground" but to shed light on the social movements and social processes which are at the root of these seemingly personal moral questions. Under 200 printed pages, this slim paperback is priced and sized to be easily assigned in a variety of undergraduate courses that touch on the social bases underlying these contested and contentious issues.
Preface 1. A Moral System Evolves 2. The Earl Moments of Life--Should the Baby Life? 3. The Boundaries of Tolerable Suffering 4. Taking Life: Lynching and Capital Punishment Epilogue: Six Lessons Learned
Sheldon Ekland-Olson is the Audre and Bernard Centennial Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, where he served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Executive Vice President and Provost. He is the winner of numerous teaching awards, and one of his classes was once listed among the 10 Hottest Courses in the Nation. His previous publications include The Rope, The Chair and the Needle; Texas Prisons; Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides?; and Justice Under Pressure.