Probably all authors of introductory books hope that a few readers will be encouraged to study more profoundly the issues touched upon in the text. It is for these readers that a bibliographical essay is included. Here, I touch on technical problems of translation and on some of the major debates swirling around questions of interpretation.
Readers not familiar with the controversies within moral philosophy during the past few centuries will find the relevant chapters in Robert Cavalier, James Gouinlock, and James Sterba, eds., Ethics in the History of Western Philosophy (New York, 1989) and Lawrence Becker and Charlotte Becker, eds., A History of Western Ethics (New York, 1992) helpful starting points. The shift from moralities of obedience based on either divine law or natural law to moralities of autonomy advocating self-governance is ably traced by J. B. Schneewind in The Invention of Autonomy (Cambridge, 1998). John Rawls also traces the transition from moralities resting on divine law and natural law to moralities resting on human reasoning and human feeling in his Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy (Cambridge, MA, 2000).
Recent moral philosophy has been dominated by two families of normative theories, one focusing on actions people perform and the other on the expected outcome of actions. Those focusing on actions are called deontological theories and those focusing on