The Evil of Politics and the Ethics of Evil

10349 Words Oct 3rd, 2010 42 Pages
The Evil of Politics and the Ethics of Evil Author(s): Hans J. Morgenthau Source: Ethics, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Oct., 1945), pp. 1-18 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2988705 Accessed: 21/09/2010 06:43
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Yet either this allegiancehas becomea ritualistictribute to empty symbolswhich are no longerexpected to guidehumanaction or the practical results of utilitarian ethics and the postulates of traditional ethics are supposed to be identical, so that, by practicing the one and preachingthe other, the identity of the two ethical systems will actually be reaffirmedand the harmony betweenethical standardsand humanaction the more firmly established. The modern mind can, however, not be unaware of the existence of ethical conflicts which are solved in defiance of utilitarian standards. Great literature is a monumentto such solutions,and under extreme conditions even modern man with traditionalethics acts in accordance and against his own "better"knowledge. Yet when he becomes aware of this discrepancy between the acknowledged standards of utilitarian ethics and his own ethical experience,he will resort to one of two extremes. He will either dismiss his ethical experienceas a psychological oddity, a queer deviation from the utilitarian norm, or he will forswear the utilitarian…

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