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Ethics and Activism

Ethics and Activism
The Theory and Practice of Political Morality


  • Date Published: November 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521580977

£ 54.99

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About the Authors
  • Responsible citizens are expected to combine ethical judgement with judiciously exercised social activism to preserve the moral foundation of democratic society and prevent political injustice. But do they? Utilizing a research model integrating insights from rational choice theory and cognitive developmental psychology this book, first published in 1997, carefully explores three exemplary cases of morally inspired activism: Jewish rescue in wartime Europe, abortion politics in the United States, and peace and settler activism in Israel. From all three analyses a single conclusion emerges: the most politically competent individuals are, most often, the least morally competent. This is the central paradox of political morality. These findings cast doubt on strong models of political morality characterized by enlightened moral reasoning and concerted political action while affirming alternative weak models that fuse activism with sectarian moral interests. They provide empirical support to further upend the liberal vision of democratic character, education, and society.

    • Interdisciplinary study of activism combining moral philosophy and political sociology
    • Cross-national nature of case exploration: Jewish rescue in wartime Europe, abortion politics in US, and peace and settler activism in Israel
    • Presents important empirical data with profound ramifications for debate between communitarians and liberals
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1997
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521580977
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 23 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Philosophy of Political Morality:
    1. Weak political morality
    2. Strong political morality
    Part II. The Psychology of Political Morality:
    3. Ethics and moral judgement: the dynamics of cognitive development
    4. Efficacy and political action: the logic of collective behavior
    Part III. The Practice of Political Morality:
    5. The politics of rescue: ethics and activism during wartime
    6. The politics of abortion: ethics and activism in the United States
    7. The politics of peace: ethics and activism in Israel
    Part IV. The Future of Political Morality:
    8. The future of political morality

  • Author

    Michael L. Gross, University of Haifa, Israel

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