Ethics in Theory and Application

Ethics in Theory and Application

Ethics in Theory and Application

Ethics in Theory and Application

Excerpt

The purpose of this volume is to consider the great issues of moral life and theory anew in the light of recent tendencies, that ethics may be brought into closer accord with practical life and the other social sciences. Moral issues, always subject to change and calling for fresh estimates, have passed through an unusual upheaval since the outbreak of the World War, and the moral situation has enlarged in scope. Psychology has been adding to our knowledge of human nature, disclosing new possibilities of human development, and supplying new topics for ethical criticism. Under the head of psychology, study of the sources of war, analysis of motives which actuate the crowd, and renewed interest in the solidarity of the race, people have been fostering ethical inquiry without calling it so. Controversies over religious creeds have also increased our interest in questions which are strictly ethical. The movement toward the abolition of war involves questions of moral principle not to be settled save through reconsideration of our loyalties.

The objections raised against philosophy in general, namely, that philosophers deal in abstractions and seldom agree, do not apply to ethics. There is indeed remarkable agreement among the few schools of thought to which ethical types may be reduced. This agreement noted, there is increasing opportunity for alliance between ethics and other fields of interest, such as international law, not usually brought into close relation with ethics. With the breaking down of the old theoretical barriers, all the social sciences have come into more intimate relation with issues for which people are contending day by day. There is no longer any reason why the student of sociology, economics, or history should stand aloof as if ethics were merely a study of justice in the abstract, an analysis of . . .

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