Lecture III

The Monist 63 (1):48-68 (1980)
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Today, as so often in the past, there is much ado about morality. Theologians, psychologists, social scientists, journalists, novelists, students, drop-outs, women's libbers, and people on the street are all asking pointed questions about it. Some are for de-moralizing society and the individual, asking either whether an individual should try to be moral or to assume a morality if he has it not, and if so why; or even whether our society should have a morality at all or has any right to have one - asking in short, whether we should not “kick” the moral habit we have cultivated for so long. For those who reply that we should, there is the further question what is to take the place of morality, and the answers range from love, through religion, sincerity, authenticity, and doing one's own thing, to selfishness, an enlarged system of law and order, or just nothing at all. Those who think we should keep morality, on the other hand, often argue for a “new morality,” looking for a new moral wine and even for new bottles to put it in. Non-moralism and new-moralism are in the air, along with more than the usual intimations of immorality, and it is with them, and only indirectly with the immorality, that I am now concerned.



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