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Ethics and activism : the theory and practice of political morality

Author: Michael L Gross
Publisher: Cambridge, U.K. ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In Ethics and Activism, Professor Michael Gross challenges a central tenet of liberal political theory - that the integrity of the modern democratic state rests on a carefully crafted moral foundation of autonomy, ethical first principles, and political action. In a work firmly grounded in philosophical enquiry and empirical investigation, Professor Gross integrates insights from normative political philosophy,
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Michael L Gross
ISBN: 0521580978 9780521580977
OCLC Number: 36705739
Description: xiv, 305 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Weak political morality --
Strong political morality --
Ethics and moral judgment: the psychology of cognitive development --
Activism and initiative: the psychology of collective action --
The politics of rescue: ethics and activism during wartime --
The politics of abortion: ethics and activism in the United States --
The politics of peace: ethics and activism in Israel --
Resculpting democratic theory: the challenge of weak political morality.
Responsibility: Michael L. Gross.
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Abstract:

In Ethics and Activism, Professor Michael Gross challenges a central tenet of liberal political theory - that the integrity of the modern democratic state rests on a carefully crafted moral foundation of autonomy, ethical first principles, and political action. In a work firmly grounded in philosophical enquiry and empirical investigation, Professor Gross integrates insights from normative political philosophy, rational choice theory, and cognitive developmental psychology to explore three exemplary cases of morally inspired political activism - Jewish rescue in wartime Europe, abortion politics in the United States, and peace and settler activism in Israel. From all three analyses, a surprisingly paradoxical finding emerges: The most politically competent individuals are, most often, the least morally competent.

Contrary to the prevailing view, this finding casts doubt on strong models of political morality characterized by enlightened moral reasoning, cosmopolitan concerns, and concerted political action. Instead, it affirms the concept of alternative weak models that fuse political activism with immature moral development, parochial moral communities, and narrow sectarian interests. In this pioneering study, Professor Gross provides empirical support for a view that further erodes the liberal vision of democratic character, education, and society.

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