In the most suspenseful thriller yet from the author of Along Came a Spide and Jack and Jill, Detective Alex Cross is on the trail of 2 murderers who may be working together. Casanova preys on talented college women from the Carolinas to Florida. The Gentleman Caller is terrorizing Los Angeles. The case takes Cross coast to coast and to the Deep South, where his niece, a law student, has been abducted. Will she be the next victim of one, or both, of the killers?
Only a few hundred years ago there emerged the ideal of inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, free speech, freedom of conscience and religion. Yet rights now are routinely claimed to include health care, employment, housing, and education; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights even lists paid vacations. Are rights bestowed by government, or do we possess them simply because we are human?
Some think that humans are naturally aggressive and that wars are unavoidable; others believe that morality demands a pacifist condemnation of all forms of violence. A large middle ground involves the attempt to define "just wars", and rules have been written to govern how war should be conducted among civilized peoples. Is war ever justified? Is aggression, or is the threat of force, an appropriate diplomatic tool? If nuclear war would be a catastrophe, are we morally obligated to avoid it at all costs?
Property fundamentally marks how we as individuals are related both to other individuals and to society at large. In its strongest form, property absolutely excludes others from possessing, using, or in any way controlling what we own. However, others have insisted that basic human necessity (e.g. hunger) may overrule the power of individual property.
"Not encyclopedic, but thought-provoking"
Love and sex provide two of the primary motives of human life; the need for intimate human contact and to propagate our species. Sex is a powerful, sometimes irrational urge or instinct, but as rational creatures our human understandings and expectations of love transcend mere sexuality.
We all know that murder, lying, and stealing are wrong. Many of us have also made up our minds on controversial topics like abortion or capital punishment. Yet we continue to have disagreements about such topics as we struggle to find what is the "right" answer to moral problems. Religious beliefs may provide answers for some, but not everyone is religious.
The beginning and ending of life are deeply controversial moral topics with enormous stakes. Most people agree that it is wrong to kill humans, but are fetuses, or people in a deep coma, fully human? Does a person have a moral discretion or "right" to take his or her own life, or to aid another person who does so? And who should bear the cost for those who cannot afford to extend their lives, or to pay for ending an unwanted pregnancy?
For much of history, philosophers and religious thinkers have believed there are absolute differences between humans and all other living things. Usually, only humans have been thought capable and deserving of moral standing (either as moral agents, who are capable of acting morally, or as moral patients, who are owed moral duties).
"Very well done"
In any social arrangement, especially in a nation as large and diverse as the United States, the many differences among people are all too obvious. We have different capacities and resources, and we live with vastly different circumstances and outcomes. Within such splendid diversity, where shall we find a basis for unity? And what can equality possibly mean? Racism has a long and well-known history in the United States, and there have been many struggles to overcome its legacy.
Civility, which comes to us from the Latin word for citizen, includes not only the notions of courtesy and politeness, but also such matters as social relationships and proper conduct in human relationships. For some, civility is the essential glue that holds society together, and it involves such important issues as friendship, altruism, responsibility, dignity, and justice.
Punishment is a harm or deprivation, imposed by a legitimate authority, based on a legitimate conviction of wrongdoing. In assessing guilt, considerations of intention, action, and results are all relevant.
Drugs and alcohol involve personal habits that have significant social consequences. Some have said that we are a society of drinkers and pill takers; much of this consumption is legal. Should the use of intoxicants, stimulants, and drug medications be governed by personal choice or regulation? Which drugs should be legal, and which should be illegal? Is law or persuasion a better method of reform?