Document Type

Article

Publication Date

July 1997

Journal or Book Title

Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior

Volume

27

Issue

2&3

Abstract

Most of the sciences of social behavior arose initially out of social ethics. The question asked is whether social ethics can revive itself as a central occupation of social thought. Such a revival faces the challenge of rethinking the normative foundations of late modern, global conditions which themselves are seen as inhospitable to the classic terms of philosophical and social ethic reflection. Though the privileged doubt it, the world is in fact inclining towards stark conditions of economic and natural instability, to say nothing of social discord—towards a triage, or latter-day Malthusian, state. These conditions require a social ethics able to sustain itself, in the absence of global cultural accords, against a world in which social ideals of the good are uncertain, if not impossible.

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