Ethics 125 (1):208-210, (2014)

Piers Norris Turner
Ohio State University
From its inception in 1890, the journal Ethics declared that it was “Devoted to the Advancement of Ethical Knowledge and Practice.” Although the latter concern may seem anachronistic, the extensive practical work of the Journal’s founders was inspired by an aim shared by many of today’s liberals: establishing a public morality that respects well-intentioned individuals holding a diversity of philosophical and religious commitments. Felix Adler, the guiding force behind the journal and the founder of the Society for Ethical Culture, argued that shared ethical values can be explored, and can have social authority, independent of the truth of any controversial philosophical foundations. In doing so, Adler anticipated Rawls in applying “the principle of toleration to philosophy itself” at the same time that he pursued this idea in practice.
Keywords Society for Ethical Culture  Felix Adler  Rawls  Public Reason
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DOI 10.1086/677019
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