The Princess Bride is filled with people trying to persuade each other of various things, and invites us to examine the best methods of persuasion. It’s filled with promises, some kept and some broken, and cries out for philosophical analysis of what makes a promise and why promises should be kept. It’s filled with beliefs which go beyond the evidence, and philosophy can help us to decide when such beliefs can be justified. It’s filled with political violence, both by and against the recognized government, and therefore raises all the issues of political philosophy.
Westley, Buttercup, Prince Humperdinck, Inigo Montoya, the giant Fezzik, and the Sicilian Vizzini keep on re-appearing in these pages, as examples of philosophical ideas. Is it right for Montoya to kill the six-fingered man, even though there is no money in the revenge business? What’s the best way to deceive someone who knows you’re trying to deceive him? Are good manners a kind of moral virtue? Could the actions of the masked man in black truly be inconceivable even though real? What does ethics have to say about Miracle Max’s pricing policy? How many shades of meaning can be conveyed by “As You Wish”?
How do the show’s shower scenes shed light on the classical mind-body problem? How can we make our lives meaningful when our options are curtailed by authority? What does it mean to manipulate someone, and why is it bad? What can we learn about the peculiarity of human beliefs from Pennsatucky’s notion of the gay agenda? Is Litchfield Prison a preparation for life outside—or just a scale model of life outside? What could the governors of Litchfield learn from Jeremy Bentham and his panopticon? How is it that even in prison we find ourselves condemned to be free? Why is one of the worst things about prison being forced to see who and what we really are?
It so happens that life in prison is absolutely full and overfull of philosophical implications. Orange Is the New Black and Philosophy stays close to the characters and scenes of the TV show, applying insights from ethics, existentialism, metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy. The book is aimed at thoughtful fans of this amazingly fine TV show, who want to learn more about its disturbing issues.
The chapters in The Rolling Stones and Philosophy celebrate the Stones’ place in our lives by digging into the controversies, the symbols, and meanings the band and its songs have for so many. What might you mean (and what did Mick mean) by “sympathy for the Devil”? Did the Stones share any of the blame for the deaths at Altamont, as critic Lester Bangs charged they did in Rolling Stone magazine? What theories of ethics and personality lay behind the good-boy image of the Beatles and the bad-boy reputation the Stones acquired? If Keith Richards really had his blood replaced four separate times, does that make him a zombie? How do the Glimmer Twins help us refine our understanding of friendship? Written by a dozen philosophers and scholars who adore the Rolling Stones not only for their music, this book will become required reading for anyone seeking maximum satisfaction from "the world's greatest rock and roll band."
In Orphan Black, several apparently unconnected women discover that they are exact physical doubles, that there are more of them out there, that they are all illegally produced clones, and that someone is having them killed. They find themselves in the midst of a secret and violent struggle between a fundamentalist religious group, a fanatical cult of superhuman biological enhancement, a clandestine department of the military, and a giant biotech corporation. Law enforcement is powerless and easily manipulated by these sinister forces. The clones are forced to form their own Clone Club, led by the resourceful Sarah Manning, to defend themselves against their numerous enemies and to find out exactly where they came from and why.
Orphan Black continually raises philosophical issues, as well as ethical and policy questions deserving philosophical analysis. What makes a person a unique individual? Why is it so important for us to know where we came from? Should we have a say in whether a clone is made of us? Is it immoral to generate clones with built-in health problems or personality defects — and if so, does that mean that producers of clones must practice eugenic selection? What light does the behavior of members of the Clone Club shed on the nature-nurture debate? Is it relevant that most are heterosexual, one is a lesbian, and one is a transgendered male?
This TV show shows us problems of biotechnology which will soon be vital everyday issues. But what kind of a future faces us when human clones are commonplace? Will groups of human clones have a tight bond of solidarity making them a threat to democracy? If the world is going to be taken over by an evil conspiracy, would it better be a scientific cult like Neolution or a religious cult like the Prolethians? Should biotech corporations be able to own the copyright on human DNA sequences? What rules of morality apply when you can’t trust the police and powerful groups are ready to murder you?
In Girls and Philosophy, a team of diverse yet always sensitive, empathic, and ept philosophers approach the world of Girls from a variety of angles and philosophical points of view. Underlying this New York world is the new reality of ambitious yet unfocused young people from comparatively advantaged backgrounds having their expectations chilled by the severe and prolonged economic recession.
The writers attack many fascinating issues arising from Girls, including the meaning of authenticity in the twenty-first century, coming of age in a society with no clear guidelines for most of what matters in life,Girls as the only TV show the pop-culture-hating professor Theodor Adorno might have admired, feminist appraisals of these not-very-feminist characters and their frustrations, what the wardrobes of the four mean philosophically, how each of the four deals with the anxiety that comes from inescapable freedom, whether we need to amend the traditional list of seven deadly sins in the context of present-day New York, how the speech of the Millennials illustrates Austin’s theory of speech acts, how the learning of Hannah, Shoshanna, Jessa, and Marnie compares with the ancient Greek theory of the education of the young, and of course, why we once again find it natural to think of women in their early- to mid-twenties as ‘girls’.
How can the thoughts of children, who have yet to become grown-up, help us to become more grown up ourselves? Do we get good results from believing in something like the Great Pumpkin, even though we’re disappointed every time? What can Linus’s reactions to the leukemia of his friend Janice tell us about the stages of grief? Why don’t we settle what’s right and what’s wrong by the simple method of asking Lucy? Is true happiness attainable without a warm puppy? Do some people’s kites have a natural affinity for trees? Is Sally an anarchist, a nihilist, or just a contrarian? Does Linus’s reliance on his blanket help him or hurt him? Is Charlie Brown’s philosophy of life pathetic or inspirational?
Other topics include: how the way children think carries general lessons about transcending our limitations; the Utopian quest as illustrated by Charlie’s devotion to the Little Red-Haired Girl; Snoopy’s Red Baron and history as selective memory; the Head Beagle as Big Brother. And, as we would expect, Lucy’s repeated cruel removal of Charlie's football has several philosophical applications.
This masterly biography, meticulously researched and drawing on many previously unseen letters, firmly places Edith Sitwell in the literary tradition to which she belongs.
In Gregory Hays’s new translation—the first in thirty-five years—Marcus’s thoughts speak with a new immediacy. In fresh and unencumbered English, Hays vividly conveys the spareness and compression of the original Greek text. Never before have Marcus’s insights been so directly and powerfully presented.
With an Introduction that outlines Marcus’s life and career, the essentials of Stoic doctrine, the style and construction of the Meditations, and the work’s ongoing influence, this edition makes it possible to fully rediscover the thoughts of one of the most enlightened and intelligent leaders of any era.
Michael J. Sandel's "Justice" course is one of the most popular and influential at Harvard. Up to a thousand students pack the campus theater to hear Sandel relate the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day, and this fall, public television will air a series based on the course. Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one that invites readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways. Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, patriotism and dissent, the moral limits of markets—Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these con?icts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.
As America descends deeper into polarization and paralysis, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has done the seemingly impossible—challenged conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to everyone on the political spectrum. Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, he shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.
Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious faith. It is also the primary reason why so many secularists and religious moderates feel obligated to "respect" the hardened superstitions of their more devout neighbors.
In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape." Because there are definite facts to be known about where we fall on this landscape, Harris foresees a time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of "morality"; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible.
Bringing a fresh perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong and good and evil, Harris demonstrates that we already know enough about the human brain and its relationship to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality.
Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our "culture wars," Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.
With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our “résumé virtues”—achieving wealth, fame, and status—and our “eulogy virtues,” those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed.
Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade.
Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.
“Joy,” David Brooks writes, “is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.”
Praise for The Road to Character
“A hyper-readable, lucid, often richly detailed human story.”—The New York Times Book Review
“David Brooks—the New York Times columnist and PBS commentator whose measured calm gives punditry a good name—offers the building blocks of a meaningful life.”—Washingtonian
“This profound and eloquent book is written with moral urgency and philosophical elegance.”—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon
“The voice of the book is calm, fair and humane. The highlight of the material is the quality of the author’s moral and spiritual judgments.”—The Washington Post
“A powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
“This learned and engaging book brims with pleasures.”—Newsday
“Original and eye-opening . . . At his best, Brooks is a normative version of Malcolm Gladwell, culling from a wide array of scientists and thinkers to weave an idea bigger than the sum of its parts.”—USA Today
“There is something affecting in the diligence with which Brooks seeks a cure for his self-diagnosed shallowness by plumbing the depths of others.”—Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker
From the Hardcover edition.
In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling's words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?
Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life's most important questions with acuity and emotional force.
In What Money Can't Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don't belong? What are the moral limits of markets?
In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life—medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be?In his New York Times bestseller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can't Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society—and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don't honor and that money can't buy?
Divided into twelve books, these meditations chronicle Aurelius’s personal quest for self-improvement. This enduring text from one of history’s greatest warriors and leaders has been compared to St. Augustine’s Confessions for its timelessness, clarity, and candor. These writings, composed between 161 and 180 CE, set forth Aurelius’s Stoic philosophy and stress the importance of acting in a way that is moral and just rather than self-indulgent.
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
In Lying, best-selling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie. He focuses on "white" lies—those lies we tell for the purpose of sparing people discomfort—for these are the lies that most often tempt us. And they tend to be the only lies that good people tell while imagining that they are being good in the process.
Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading.
Since their initial publication, Rand's fictional works—Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged—have had a major impact on the intellectual scene. The underlying theme of her famous novels is her philosophy, a new morality—the ethics of rational self-interest—that offers a robust challenge to altruist-collectivist thought.
Known as Objectivism, her divisive philosophy holds human life—the life proper to a rational being—as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with man's nature. In this series of essays, Rand asks why man needs morality in the first place, and arrives at an answer that redefines a new code of ethics based on the virtue of selfishness.
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While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Simon Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to--and obtain absolution from--a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Wiesenthal said nothing. But even years after the way had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing? What would you have done in his place?
In this important book, fifty-three distinguished men and women respond to Wiesenthal's questions. They are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Their responses, as varied as their experiences of the world, remind us that Wiesenthal's questions are not limited to events of the past.
Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage serves as a clarion call to every American.
In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.
Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Profiles in Courage is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword: “not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."
Along with vintage photographs and an extensive author biography, this book features Kennedy's correspondence about the writing project, contemporary reviews, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two rousing speeches from recipients of the Profile in Courage Award. Introduction by John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, forward by John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert F. Kennedy.
features a revised translation (with little editorial intervention),
expanded notes (including a summary of the argument of each chapter), an
expanded Introduction, and a revised glossary.
Gordon Marino is professor of philosophy and director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. A recipient of the Richard J. Davis Ethics Award for excellence in writing on ethics and the law, he is the author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age, co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard, and editor of the Modern Library’s Basic Writings of Existentialism. His essays have appeared in The New York Times.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Jesse Ventura reviews Major General Butler’s original writings and brings them up to date, relating them to our current political climate. Butler was a visionary in his day, and Ventura works to show how right he was and how wrong our current democracy is. Read for the first time Butler’s words with Ventura’s witty, yet insightful spin on this relevant work that will appeal not only to military historians, but also to those interested in the state of our country and the entire world.
First published in 1975, Animal Liberation created a sensation upon its release, shaking the world’s philosophical and animal-protection circles to their cores. Now, forty years later, Peter Singer’s landmark work still looms large as a foundational and canonical text of animal advocacy. Arguing that all beings capable of suffering deserve equal consideration, Singer contends that the only justifiable treatment of animals is that which maximizes good and minimizes suffering. In examining the cruelty of factory farming and the exploitation, both commercial and scientific, of laboratory animals, he identifies a kind of “ethical blindness” and calls for political action.
A moral wake-up call from one of the most influential and controversial ethicists of our time, Animal Liberation tackles an emotionally charged social issue with a compelling rational argument in a rousing and riveting read.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Peter Singer, including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.
Using history, philosophy, books, movies, Lacanian psychiatry, and jokes, Slavoj Žižek examines the ways we perceive and misperceive violence. Drawing from his unique cultural vision, Žižek brings new light to the Paris riots of 2005; he questions the permissiveness of violence in philanthropy; in daring terms, he reflects on the powerful image and determination of contemporary terrorists.
Violence, Žižek states, takes three forms--subjective (crime, terror), objective (racism, hate-speech, discrimination), and systemic (the catastrophic effects of economic and political systems)--and often one form of violence blunts our ability to see the others, raising complicated questions.
Does the advent of capitalism and, indeed, civilization cause more violence than it prevents? Is there violence in the simple idea of "the neighbour"? And could the appropriate form of action against violence today simply be to contemplate, to think?
Beginning with these and other equally contemplative questions, Žižek discusses the inherent violence of globalization, capitalism, fundamentalism, and language, in a work that will confirm his standing as one of our most erudite and incendiary modern thinkers.
Boundaries begins with a lucid overview of the field, highlighting the key developments and theories in the environmental movement. Specific cases offer a rich and diverse range of situations from around the globe, from saving the forests of Java and the use of pesticides in developing countries to restoring degraded ecosystems in Nebraska. With an emphasis on the concrete circumstances of particular localities, the studies continue to focus on the dilemmas and struggles of individuals and communities who face daunting decisions with serious consequences. This second edition features extensive updates and revisions, along with four new cases: one on water privatization, one on governmental efforts to mitigate global climate change, and two on the obstacles that teachers of environmental ethics encounter in the classroom. Boundaries also includes an appendix for teachers that describes how to use the cases in the classroom.
From the Hardcover edition.
“Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. . . . We may ignore him at our own risk.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
With a new Preface drawn from the writings of Eknath Easwaran
In the annals of spirituality certain books stand out both for their historical importance and for their continued relevance. The Vintage Spiritual Classics series offers the greatest of these works in authoritative new editions, with specially commissioned essays by noted contemporary commentators. Filled with eloquence and fresh insight, encouragement and solace, Vintage Spiritual Classics are incomparable resources for all readers who seek a more substantive understanding of mankind's relation to the divine.
“Clarence H. Miller’s fine translation tracks the supple variations of More’s Latin with unmatched precision, and his Introduction and notes are masterly. Jerry Harp’s new Afterword adroitly places More’s wonderful little book into its broader contexts in intellectual history.”—George M. Logan, author of The Meaning of More’s “Utopia”
“Sir Thomas More's Utopia is not merely one of the foundational texts of western culture, but also a book whose most fundamental concerns are as urgent now as they were in 1516 when it was written. Clarence H. Miller's wonderful translation of More's classic is now happily once again available to readers. This is the English edition that best captures the tone and texture of More's original Latin, and its notes and introduction, along with the lively afterward by Jerry Harp, graciously supply exactly the kinds of help a modern reader might desire.”—David Scott Kastan, Yale University
In Happiness, Matthieu Ricard demonstrated that true happiness is not tied to fleeting moments or sensations, but is an enduring state of soul rooted in mindfulness and compassion for others. Now he turns his lens from the personal to the global, with a rousing argument that altruism--genuine concern for the well-being of others--could be the saving grace of the 21st century. It is, he believes, the vital thread that can answer the main challenges of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. Ricard's message has been taken up by major economists and thinkers, including Dennis Snower, Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Soros.
Matthieu Ricard makes a robust and passionate case for cultivating altruistic love and compassion as the best means for simultaneously benefitting ourselves and our society. It's a fresh outlook on an ardent struggle--and one that just might make the world a better place.
offers a brilliant introduction by Edwin Curley, modernized spelling
and punctuation of the text, and the inclusion, along with historical
and interpretive notes, of the most significant variants between the
English version of 1651 and the Latin version of 1668. A glossary of
seventeenth-century English terms, and indexes of persons, subjects, and
scriptural passages help make this the most thoughtfully conceived
edition of Leviathan available.
Now, Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers, and each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-drive design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped the world.
The Stoic writings of the philosopher Seneca, who lived from c. 5 BC to AD 65, offer powerful insights into the art of living, the importance of reason and morality, and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and timeless wisdom. This selection of Seneca's orks was taken from the Penguin Classics edition of Dialogues and Letters, translated by C.D.N. Costa, and includes the essays On the Shortness of Life, Consolation to Helvia, and On Tranquility of Mind.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
At the origin of Western philosophy stands Plato, who got about as much wrong as one would expect from a thinker who lived 2,400 years ago. But Plato’s role in shaping philosophy was pivotal. On her way to considering the place of philosophy in our ongoing intellectual life, Goldstein tells a new story of its origin, re-envisioning the extraordinary culture that produced the man who produced philosophy.
But it is primarily the fate of philosophy that concerns her. Is the discipline no more than a way of biding our time until the scientists arrive on the scene? Have they already arrived? Does philosophy itself ever make progress? And if it does, why is so ancient a figure as Plato of any continuing relevance? Plato at the Googleplex is Goldstein’s startling investigation of these conundra. She interweaves her narrative with Plato’s own choice for bringing ideas to life—the dialogue.
Imagine that Plato came to life in the twenty-first century and embarked on a multicity speaking tour. How would he handle the host of a cable news program who denies there can be morality without religion? How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a tiger mom on how to raise the perfect child? How would he answer a neuroscientist who, about to scan Plato’s brain, argues that science has definitively answered the questions of free will and moral agency? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowd-sourced rather than reasoned out by experts? With a philosopher’s depth and a novelist’s imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world.
(With black-and-white photographs throughout.)
As these questions suggest, the topic of moral courage is front and center in today's culture. Enron, Arthur Andersen, the U.S. Olympic Committee, abusive priests, cheating students, domestic violence -- all these remind us that taking ethical stands should be a higher priority in our culture. Why, when people discern wrongdoing, are they sometimes unready, unable, or unwilling to act?
In a book rich with examples, Rushworth Kidder reveals that moral courage is the bridge between talking ethics and doing ethics. Defining it as a readiness to endure danger for the sake of principle, he explains that the courage to act is found at the intersection of three elements: action based on core values, awareness of the risks, and a willingness to endure necessary hardship. By exploring how moral courage spurs us to strive for core values, he demonstrates the benefits of ethical action to the individual and to society -- and the severe consequences that can result from remaining morally dormant.
Moral Courage puts indispensable concepts and tools into our hands, equipping us to respond to the increasingly complicated moral challenges we face at work, at home, and in our communities. It enables us to make clear, confident decisions by exploring some litmus-test questions:Is the benefit worth the risk?Am I motivated by my desire to uphold my beliefs or just to impose them on others?Will my actions create collateral damage among those with no stake in the outcome?
While physical courage may no longer be a necessary survival skill or an essential rite of passage out of childhood, few would dispute the growing need for moral courage as the true gauge of maturity. Treating this subject not as an esoteric branch of philosophy but as a practical necessity for modern life, Kidder deftly leads us to a clear understanding of what moral courage is, what it does, and how to get it.