Real American Ethics: Taking Responsibility for Our Country and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
  • List Price: $25.00
  • Save: $4.89 (20%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Trade in your item
Get a $2.00
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Real American Ethics: Taking Responsibility for Our Country Hardcover – January 8, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0226066349 ISBN-10: 0226066347

Buy New
Price: $20.11
26 New from $10.03 24 Used from $9.50
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$10.03 $9.50

Frequently Bought Together

Real American Ethics: Taking Responsibility for Our Country + Nicomachean Ethics + Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals: With on a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns
Price for all three: $43.28

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (January 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226066347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226066349
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Real American Ethics is original and truly impressive. In many ways it is a summation of Albert Borgmann’s lifetime project, with the emphasis on a philosophy and ethics that is neither liberal nor conservative but instead invested in a concrete reality and human satisfaction. His understanding that consumerism is the great enemy of reality in our time is profound, nonideological, and deeply helpful to any readers concerned not only about their country, but about their own lives.”--Bill McKibben
(Bill McKibben 2006-07-06)

“The key word in the title of Albert Borgmann’s new book is ‘real.’ He shows us how an increasing tendency for Americans to live in a virtual world undermines our very understanding of ethical responsibility. In a dangerous world and an often unhappy society we need to face reality (or ‘get real’ as current jargon would put it) if we are to do the right thing. Reading this book can be a major step in the right direction.”

(Robert Bellah 2006-07-06)

"This delightful reflection on American ethics has a double appeal. On the one hand is Borgmann's clear articulation of the predominant Kantian theoretical base and the desire for a workable practical ethics. On the other is his incisive criticism of the way ethical theory and practical ethics misses the heart of the American enterprise. . . . Highly recommened."
(Choice 2007-07-01)

"Solid and insightful. . . . Real American Ethics supports, enriches, and deepens important directions being taken in contemporary American ethics."
(Leonard J. Weber Technology and Culture)

From the Inside Flap

America is a magnificent country that affords its citizens the broadest freedoms and the greatest prosperity in the world. But it also has its share of warts. It is embroiled in a war that many of its citizens consider unjust and even illegal. It continues to ravage the natural environment and ignore poverty both at home and abroad, and its culture is increasingly driven by materialism and consumerism. But America, for better or for worse, is still a nation that we have built. So why then, asks Albert Borgmann in this most timely and urgent work, are we failing to take responsibility for it?

            In Real American Ethics, Borgmann asks us to reevaluate our role in the making of American values. Taking his cue from Winston Churchill—who once observed that we shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us—Borgmann considers the power of our most enduring institutions and the condition of our present moral makeup to propose inspired new ways in which we, as ordinary citizens, can act to improve our country. This, he shows, includes everything from where we choose to live and what we spend our money on to daunting tasks like the reshaping of our cities—habits and actions that can guide us to more accomplished and virtuous lives. Using prose that is easy and direct throughout, Borgmann’s position is grounded in neither conservative nor liberal ideology, but in his understanding that he is a devoted citizen among many.

            In an age in which the blame game is the only game in town, this patriotic book is an eloquent reminder of the political strength we all wield when we work together.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Moss on November 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a different kind of a book by Albert Borgmann. Although he has previously written about contemporary issues (see esp., Crossing the Postmodern Divide or Holding Onto Reality), this book is a very direct and personal statement about the direction he believes American politics and personal ethics should go.

Borgmann's book takes its guidance from a 1943 quote from Winston Churchill: "We shape our buildings, and afterward our buildings shape us." Borgmann believes that, in contemporary American culture, we haven't taken Churchill's point sufficiently to heart. American ideology is nothing if not individualistic, but morality, in Borgmann's interpretation of Churchill's point, is inescapably public. The environment we build for ourselves together -- our physical environment, our environment of cultural and political institutions, our economic structures, the structures of our communities -- shape the kinds of persons we can become. Our individualistic ideology tends to discard that environment as a kind of neutral basis for our ethical and political choices, failing to deliberate about how to design and build an environment that will best afford our living good lives, lives of virtue.

Paying proper attention to how we together shape the lives that we can live places a much brighter light on the public -- not only public politics, but also community practices, family structures and practices, and many other environmental variables that are more informal than formal. Borgmann's critiques of technology in his other works, strongly influenced by Heidegger, have always carried this emphasis on the life of the community.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C Prong on July 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Liberal propaganda
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?