Steffen (Lehigh Univ.) seeks to develop a general moral theory whose application to particular issues will do full justice to people's lived moral experience, as he claims utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue theory, each in its own way, do not. Rather than begin by directly discussing his own "common agreement" theory, a variant of natural law theory, he has it emerge from one of its particular applications, just war theory, and then applies it to other issues....Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates.
)Steffen helpfully explains how ordinary people use the natural law in their everyday deliberations.
)Lloyd Steffen's reinterpretation and creative application of the just war theory is provocative and insightful. Steffen provides a comprehensive account of the moral ideas behind the just war tradition, especially the idea that force ordinarily ought to be avoided. He applies these ideas in surprising ways to a variety of issues: from nonviolent activism, adultery, and lying to suicide, the death penalty, and abortion. This book should be read by everyone who is interested in finding ways to resolve the dilemmas of applied ethics.
(Andrew Fiala, professor of philosophy, California State University, Fresno, California State University, Fresno)This book is a lively attempt to reconcile ethical theory with longstanding moral practice. With considerable skill, Steffen extends just war theory and develops a deeper ethic than those that focus narrowly on duty, virtue or consequences.
(John Lachs, Vanderbilt University)Lloyd Steffen's book presents a weighty and nuanced re-examination of persistent moral questions. Theoretical ethical frameworks are woven into practical considerations of how we experience moral dilemmas to create an engaging, readable volume. Steffen's book, like his frequent newspaper columns represent a clarion call to think through issues with the care required to become bold enough to act on your conclusions.
(Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State)Rarely has so much good sense been put between the covers of a book on how we can love life wisely in a complex world. Lloyd Steffen sets out to seek a holistic method for doing ethics in any context.
(Daniel C. Maguire, Marquette University; author of A Moral Creed for All Christians)
About the Author
Lloyd Steffen is professor of religious studies and university chaplain at Lehigh University, where he also is the director of the Center for Dialogue, Ethics, and Spirituality and director of the Lehigh Prison Project.