Translated by Steven Rendall
“Hösle lays out on a massive scale what it means to be human. In deeply insightful chapters the breadth and interconnectedness of the multiple (and mutually implicating) dimensions of human life are unfolded. The author blends together considerations of economics, religion, culture, philosophy, the law, the arts, domestic and foreign policy, but always doing justice to their different origins, purposes, nature, methods and scope. This is an intriguing and learned work, on a huge scale. . . . In places this weighty tome reminded the reviewer of the intellectual challenge posed by reading Lonergan’s Insight or Blondel’s L’Action. . . . The author defends cogently his conviction that political philosophy must be based on ethics, while being aware that ethical arguments themselves have a political function.” — Heythrop Journal
When Moral und Politik was first published in Germany it provoked heated debate both in and out of the classroom. It even prompted Vittorio Hösle’s critics to publish a collection of essays that responded to his provocative arguments. Available for the first time in an English translation, Morals and Politics, a tour-de-force, is certain to once again cause considerable discussion.
In this ambitious work, Hösle attempts no less than an outline of a political ethics for the twenty-first century. He raises the question of the relationship between morals and politics and proposes a relatively complex answer to it. This answer involves a search for a synthesis between the classical European conviction that political philosophy must be based on ethics and the more modern notion that ethical arguments themselves have a political function. Hösle’s goal is to create a concrete political ethics for the situation in which humanity finds itself today.
This book is divided into three parts. In the first, Hösle defines the problem through a comprehensive survey of political thought. In the second, he addresses the character of human nature, of power, and of the state and its history. Finally, he deals with the philosophy of law as well as with questions concerning the right of resistance and just war theory.
Sweeping in its scope and forceful in its conclusions, Morals and Politics will reshape the way many think about politics and political philosophy.
“This book is impressive for its detail and sweep. Various sections of the book will be useful for scholars in political science, political philosophy, and analytic sociology. Recommended.” — Choice
Reviews of the German edition:
“With this monumental work the philosopher Vittorio Hösle has offered a foundational text that is of great interest to scholars, politicians, and the general public. It will also be of significance for lawyers since Hosle shows not only how many political fields run deficits when it comes to morality and justice, but also discusses possible remedies. . . . a remarkable achievement.” –Juristenzeitung
“This book wants to treat the whole of morality and politics, and that is precisely what it does. I scarcely know of a topic which Hösle has not addressed: from our behavior in the bedroom to our behavior on the road, from the just war to unjustified taxation, from the first to the notorious ‘last questions’—and everything situated between ancient antiquity and recent postmodernity, between Hannibal and Habermas.” — Süddeutsche Zeitung
“Hösle works on a very broad foundation in order to clearly indicate that morality and politics are precisely not independent spheres, as is today so often maintained. Reaching back into antiquity, he indicates the philosophical ‘buoys’ which indeed mark, or at least ought to mark, the channels of politics. . . . This work opens up the possibility for more thoughtful scholarship and politics.” –Politische Okologie
“This young author has the audacity to raise the question of public morality without irony and with complete seriousness; he discusses, with perfect candor, what a just political system looks like. . . . Hösle energetically tackles his project.” –Zeitschrift für Rechtspolitik