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Ethical Empowerment: Virtue Beyond the Paradigms Paperback – November 20, 2014
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Ethical Empowerment by Arthur D. Schwartz is an interesting book on the philosophy and sociology of ethics which explores a range of themes...Schwartz is robust in his exploration of philosophical ideas and terms. There is a natural momentum to the narrative and I admire his probing and candid approach to dealing with the ideas of famous philosophers. (Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite)
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Arthur D. Schartz's "Ethical Empowerment: Virtue Beyond the Paradigms" is exceptionally well written, reasoned, organized and presented, making it an impressive and highly recommended addition to academic library Philosophical Studies reference collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Ethical Empowerment: Virtue Beyond the Paradigms" is also available in a Kindle edition. (James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, The Philosophy Shelf)
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As you continue reading you will be taken down many roads concerning ethics. The Author gives you examples of situations concerning ethics, and draws upon you to face exactly what you would do, or what has been done in certain situations, challenging you to take a side pushing you further into being comfortable with your decision, or facing that perhaps your decision was wrong, and why it may be. He doesn't tell you if a decision was wrong or right, he just presents the action and that stirs your mind to think and decide.
This book is a challenge to your mind, and your very Spirit. It will open you up to truly taking the time to think of where you stand in so many areas and why you sway a certain way concerning ethics in different areas of life. Would this read make you uncomfortable by the challenge before you? Or - Will his words open your mind to more questions, or settle you as never before. Only you can answer that question. Interesting read, that truly did make me think.
For those less acquainted with philosophy, the third section is an easier read as Schwartz applies a more relaxed style of writing in discussing the erroneous nature of today’s social, political, fiscal, scientific and economic structures. In true philosophy style he encourages the reader to think outside the square by offering alternative models. Living in an egalitarian country (New Zealand) I concur with the ideals of free health and education, an adequate safety net to cover the needs of those at the bottom of the heap and a fairer distribution of wealth. A health system where one has to pay is oxymoronic, especially if one arrives in a hospital’s accident and emergency room only to be turned away because one hasn’t got their wallet on them. Utilitarianism has limitations. There needs to be discrimination and inequity to serve as an incentive for and reflection of ones contribution to society. Partly for this reason I would side with the libertarian approach to individual ownership of land, but for greater equality favour a progressive tax system. I strongly differ with Schwartz here because he proposes a radical overall of the tax system—a rejection of all taxes—that is replaced with public ownership of land and real estate.
The fourth section ‘Power and Humility, expands on the author’s model for a better world and religious harmony. It takes us back to biblical times and Abraham and Isaac. Schwartz is puzzled by the concept that a loving God could order the sacrifice of Isaac, and he later states that we should not have faith in theology. In my view, in order to understand God requires faith in theology—a discipline that over the centuries has involved in-depth research and analysis. The Abraham-Isaac situation is just one of those parallels found to run between the old and new testaments and from a Christian perspective this conundrum is answered in John 3:16, but the author's conception of ethical empowerment takes him in a different direction.
In summing up, this is an excellently written and interesting book on philosophy. Schwartz accurately identifies many of today’s problems and offers plausible solutions. The book sets out to question existing systems and dogma and is a book I can well recommend. In a world that includes psychopaths, narcissists and self-centred individuals who care little about ensuring that food and other basic needs are met for everyone, Utopian visions need to be balanced with practical and realistic solutions. The practicality of some of Schwartz's proposals remain an open question, but the fact that he raises difficult questions and explores unorthodox solutions makes this book well worth reading.