Universalism Vs. Relativism: Making Moral Judgments in a Changing, Pluralistic, and Threatening World

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Don S. Browning
Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 - Philosophy - 189 pages
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In formulating this collection, Don Browning asked his contributors to respond to a simple question: Has moral relativism run its course? The threats of terrorism, reproductive technology, and globalization have forced us to ask anew whether there are universal moral truths upon which to base political and ethical judgments. In this timely edited collection, distinguished scholars present and test the best answers to this question. This dialogue includes contributions from widely-recognized scholars Richard Bernstein, Amitai Etzioni, Jean Bethke Elshtain, William Galston, Franklin Gamwell, Timothy Jackson, James Turner Johnson, John Kelsay, and Jean Porter. Although the conflict between universalism and relativism is a complex issue with many parts, the contributors to this volume tackle the question at hand in an engaging, thought-provoking manner. These insightful responses temper the strong antithesis between universalism and relativism and retain sensitivity to how language and history shape the context of our moral decisions. This important and relevant work of contemporary political and social thought is ideal for use in the classroom across many disciplines including political science, philosophy, ethics, theology, and law.
 

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Contents

Can We Justify Universal Moral Norms?
3
SelfEvident Truth Beyond Relativism
19
The Origin of Moral Norms
33
Approaches from Human Nature
57
Moral Ideals and Human Nature
59
Can We Justify Universal Moral Norms? Yes with Qualifications
79
Common Ground through Historical Understanding
91
Searching for Common Ground Ethical Traditions at the Interface with International Law
93
Multidimensional Approaches
135
Universalism and Relativism Some Lessons from Gandhi
137
Concrete Levels of Being and Their Political Implications
149
Response
163
Response
165
Response
173
Index
181
About the Editor and Contributors
187

Christians Muslims and the Conduct of War
119

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About the author (2006)

Don Browning is Alexander Campbell Professor Emeritus of Religious Ethics and the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

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