Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2002 - Philosophy - 256 pages
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What is the difference between right and wrong? What does it mean to lead a good life? How binding is the marriage vow? What are your obligations to an employer? To your friends? To yourself? Is it always immoral to tell a lie? "[A]n alert and knowledgeable social critic," Alan Wolfe asked Americans around the country such questions in "his intriguing exploration of our collective character, testing prevailing notions of the culture war" (New York Times Book Review). Focusing on the traditional virtues of loyalty, honesty, self-restraint, and forgiveness, Wolfe "strips away ulterior agendas to give us a look at the raw material of the American conscience" (New York Observer) and discovers that "Americans...have not so much left traditional morality behind as they have redefined it in ways that suit their individual tastes, purposes, and situations" (Washington Post). "Wolfe is right that [the search for moral freedom] is a revolution...a very American revolution."--Newsweek

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MORAL FREEDOM: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice

User Review  - Kirkus

A wide-reaching survey regarding the moral ramifications of "the way we live now"—which, as always, seems fraught with compromise and lonely abnegations.Sociologist Wolfe (One Nation After All, 1998 ... Read full review

Moral freedom: the impossible idea that defines the way we live now

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Wolfe here discusses the results of a national public opinion poll he helped design on American beliefs about values, which he supplemented with detailed interviews of people from eight different U.S ... Read full review

Selected pages


Varieties of Moral Experience
Til Circumstances Do Us Part
Eat Dessert First
Honesty to a Point
The Unappreciated Virtue
The Moral Philosophy of the Americans
The Strange Idea of Moral Freedom

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About the author (2002)

Alan Wolfe is the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and the author of, most recently, the best-selling One Nation after All.

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