The Moral Imagination: Confronting the Ethical Issues of Our Day

Edward Tivnan, Author Simon & Schuster $23.5 (334p) ISBN 978-0-671-74708-4
Tivnan (The Lobby) here examines the hot issues of our time with a beguiling cool. He traces the history of attitudes toward such problematic issues as abortion, euthanasia, suicide, racial justice and capital punishment, discussing the merits of various arguments in a manner that dissipates the heat from them even when there is no meeting ground. He points out, for example, that in earlier eras, the church has supported abortion and various societies have encouraged it. Similarly, suicide was considered noble by ancient Greeks and, until recently, by the Japanese. Although evenhanded in all his treatment, he lists the moral issues that need to be confronted. On capital punishment, for instance, he questions whether ``a society that presumes itself to be decent [can] kill even its most vicious criminals.'' He suggests that to cool the arguments in all these matters, a ``moral imagination'' is needed that includes historical perspective and tolerance. A thoughtful guide through the minefield of opposing convictions. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-684-82476-5
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4391-4349-0
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