Dietrich von Hildebrand offers here the most nuanced version we have of a value-based ethics, building on the ethics of Max Scheler, but going far beyond it. On this basis he develops his signature concept of value-response, wherein a person gives value its due, along with his signature concept of the transcendence of the person in value-response. He re-thinks virtue theory on the basis of his value philosophy, and in doing so he places virtue at the center of his ethics long before the revival of virtue theory in Anglo-American thought.
The task of ethics is to attain to a full philosophical prise de conscience of moral data (that is, a philosophical awareness implying an explicit and fully conscious grasping of these data) and to arrive thereby at a precise notion of their specific nature, of their full significance, and of the presuppositions of man’s conduct required for the possession of moral goodness. Ethics is further bound to inquire into the difference between the moral sphere and all other spheres and to discover especially the relations existing between the moral sphere and God, and between moral goodness and man’s destiny. The indispensable prerequisite for this, however, is faithfulness to moral experience, to the moral data that are given to us in our daily life, through great literature, in the lives of the saints, in the liturgy of Holy Church, and, above all, in the Gospel.Dietrich von Hildebrand | From the Foreword
Reviews & Commentary
From scholars, students, and readers
Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Ethics is a rigorously argued treatment of many important problems in the philosophy of morals. He puts forth a coherent and insightful realist perspective which strives to be founded in lived moral experience.
Steven Nemesin Phenomenological Reviews
In Ethics, we find Hildebrand to be a great philosopher of the heart who helps us connect our emotional life with the ethical task of right action.
C.S. Morrisseyin B.C. Catholic
One of the great works by a great man. This new edition contains an excellent introduction by John Crosby, and is quite well produced. If you’ve read some of the shorter works by Hildebrand and want to dive into a more systematic treatment of values and value response, this is the book for you.
Dan Shefflerin Amazon Review
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