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Our Changing Morality: A Symposium by Freda Kirchwey

Our changing

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Our Changing Morality: A Symposium by Freda Kirchwey

Our Changing Morality: A Symposium is a collection of essays edited by Freda Kirchwey, and published in 1932.

The book features contributions from a variety of thinkers and writers, including Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Walter Lippmann, and Virginia Woolf, among others. The essays explore the shifting nature of morality in the modern world, and the challenges and opportunities that this presents.

The collection is divided into two parts, the first of which focuses on the historical development of morality and the second on contemporary issues. The first part includes essays by philosophers and historians, who explore the origins of morality and its evolution over time. They examine the role of religion, law, and custom in shaping moral codes, and the ways in which these codes have changed in response to social, economic, and political developments.

The second part of the collection addresses a range of contemporary moral issues, including sexuality, race, nationalism, and war. The authors offer a variety of perspectives on these issues, reflecting the diversity of opinions and values in the modern world. Some argue for a more traditional approach to morality, grounded in religious or cultural traditions, while others advocate for a more progressive and egalitarian approach, based on individual rights and freedoms.

One of the most influential essays in the collection is Bertrand Russell’s “The Ethics of War.” In this essay, Russell challenges the traditional view that war is sometimes necessary and justifiable, arguing instead that it is always morally wrong. He argues that war is fundamentally destructive, both in terms of human life and social progress, and that it is therefore incompatible with any true ethical system.

Another notable essay is John Dewey’s “Creative Democracy: The Task Before Us.” In this essay, Dewey argues that democracy is not just a political system, but a way of life that requires ongoing experimentation and adaptation. He advocates for a more participatory and inclusive democracy, in which citizens are actively engaged in shaping their communities and their own lives.

Walter Lippmann’s “The Indispensable Opposition” is also noteworthy, as it challenges the idea that consensus and unity are always desirable. Lippmann argues that a healthy democracy requires the presence of an opposition, as it forces individuals and groups to justify their positions and beliefs. He argues that without opposition, democracy becomes stagnant and authoritarian.

Overall, Our Changing Morality: A Symposium offers a thought-provoking exploration of the nature of morality and its role in modern society. The collection reflects the diversity of views and values in the modern world, and offers a range of perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of our changing moral landscape. It remains a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history and philosophy of ethics, as well as the contemporary moral debates that continue to shape our world today.

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