Albert Schweitzer's Ethical Vision A Sourcebook

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Predrag Cicovacki
Oxford University Press, Feb 2, 2009 - Religion - 264 pages
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The philosophy of Albert Schweitzer has proved widely influential in modern thinking, especially in the field of ethics. His leading ethical idea can be summarized in the phrase "reverence for life" - namely, that good consists in maintaining and perfecting life, and evil consists in destroying and obstructing life. For Schweitzer, all life is sacred. Ethics thus deals with human attitudes and behavior toward all living beings. Unlike many moral philosophers, Schweitzer argues that knowledge of human nature does not provide a sufficient foundation for any adequate moral theory. That is why he bases his ethics on much broader foundations, articulated in his philosophy of civilization and the philosophy of religion. Schweitzer argues that the material aspect of our civilization has become far more important than its spiritual counterpart. Even organized religion has put itself in the service of politics and economy, thereby losing its vitality and moral authority. Schweitzer's ethics of reverence for life, argues Predrag Cicovacki, offers a viable alternative at a time when traditional ethical theories are found inadequate. Schweitzer's robust and un-dogmatic idealism may offer the best antidote to the prevailing relativism and nihilism of the postmodern epoch. His ethical vision directs us toward a new way of building a more just and more peaceful world. Collecting sixteen of Schweitzer's most effective essays, this volume serves as a compelling introduction to this remarkable thinker and humanist.

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About the author (2009)

Predrag Cicovacki is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Peace Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. He is author of Dostoevsky and the Affirmation of Life and Between Truth and Illusion: Kant at the Crossroads of Modernity.

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