Gewirth begins by distinguishing two models of self- fulfillment--aspiration-fulfillment and capacity-fulfillment--and shows how each of these contributes to the intrinsic value of human life. He then distinguishes between three types of morality--universalist, particularist, and personalist--and shows how each contributes to the values embodied in self-fulfillment. Building on these ideas, he develops a Odialectical' conception of reason that shows how human rights are central to self-fulfillment. Gewirth also argues that self-fulfillment has a social as well as an individual dimension: that the nature of society and the obstacles that disadvantaged groups face affect strongly the character of the self-fulfillment that persons can achieve.
Bold in scope and rigorous in execution, Self-Fulfillment is a powerful new contribution to moral, social, and political philosophy.
In this strident and polarized atmosphere, philosopher Jacob Joshua Ross offers a long-overdue assessment of the family’s relation to morality, arguing that the family is not a rigid, static institution with inflexible codes of behavior, but rather a dynamic social structure from which human morality—and human nature—emerge. Ross first explores the foundations of ethical belief, maintaining that the traditional family is intimately linked to the evolution of human morality in societies throughout the world. While he accepts the relativity of moral codes, Ross defends “true” or rational morality as the minimal and universal code on which all families depend—a code which has evolved as a result of the needs and constraints of our shared humanity, and on which all societies may one day hope to agree. Ross applies this view to many of the sensitive issues confronting today’s families, such as divorce and single parenthood, adoption, surrogacy, and gay marriage.
Drawing on Max Weber, Bellamy advocates a return to a Machiavellian approach to politics to resolve the clashes resulting from competing values within complex situations. Unlike Weber however, he concentrates on the republican and democratic aspects of Machiavelli's thought. He proposes a republican strategy whereby the political dispersal of power constrains any ideal or interest from dominating another. Instead, everyone must seek mutually acceptable compromises.
The essays in Rethinking Liberalism map a passage from the liberal democratic norms and forms characteristic of 19th-century nation states, to an agnostic, democratic liberal politics suitable for the transnational and plural societies of the new millennium.