Marxist Ethical Theory in the Soviet Union [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 34 (1):137-138 (1980)
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Grier attempts a good deal here and succeeds admirably. He gives us, first, a concise but more than adequate history of Marxist ethical theory from the young Marx to the neo-Kantians. This is followed by an overview of philosophy in the Soviet Union, emphasizing the "ambiguous inheritance" of dialectical and historical materialism, and then by a thorough history of Soviet ethical theory in its formative period. From these well-chosen and substantial preliminaries, Grier turns to an elaboration of the basic features and problems of contemporary ethical theory that includes a considered evaluation from both the stance of the student of ethics and that of the intellectual historian. The foregoing is accomplished in four chapters entitled "Ethical Theory and its Object, Morality," "Discussions of Value Theory in Soviet Marxism," "Society and the Individual," and "Historical Progress and Intrinsic Values." All this is followed by a discussion of the impact of Western ethical thought that deals in turns with the contemporary influence of Kant, Hegel, neopositivism, and existentialism.



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