Order Ethics or Moral Surplus

Order Ethics or Moral Surplus : What Holds a Society Together?

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Christoph Luetge takes on a fundamental problem of contemporary political philosophy and ethics. He questions the often implicit assumption of many contemporary political philosophers according to which a society needs its citizens to adopt some shared basic qualities, views or capabilities (here termed a moral surplus). Luetge examines the respective theories of, among others, Habermas, Rawls, Gauthier, Buchanan, and Binmore with a focus on their respective moral surpluses. He finds that each moral surplus is either not necessary for the stability of societies or cannot remain stable when faced with opposing incentives. Binmore's idea of empathy is the only one that is, at least partly, not confronted with this dilemma. Luetge provides an alternative view termed order ethics, which weakens the necessary assumptions for modern societies and basically only relies on mutual advantages as the fundamental basis of society.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 262 pages
  • 160.78 x 233.43 x 24.38mm | 526.16g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 12 Tables, unspecified
  • 073919867X
  • 9780739198674

Review quote

Luetge's book aims to develop a system of ethics that replaces the language of sacrifice with that of investment. The problem he sets out to solve is how, given conditions of modern globalization and the basic fact that human beings will act in their own self-interest; can there be a system of ethics at all? Much of the book is devoted to a discussion of contemporary ethical theories that rely on 'surplus moral value' that demands some degree of sacrifice. These theories cannot provide a stable foundation for society under conditions of modern globalization. Because it does not rely on individuals acting against their own interests, order ethics is a better candidate for providing social order. Luetge sees his theory in the same vein as Adam Smith, and he argues that his approach can address problems posed by game theory. The idea of understanding ethical actions as investments that leave everyone better off rather than a sacrifice that leaves one vulnerable to exploitation is interesting. He concedes that people will need education to understand their adherence to ethics this way ... Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate and research collections. CHOICE Order Ethics or Moral Surplus: What Holds a Society Together? is a well-written, refreshing, and well-argued proposal of order ethics as a comprehensive ethical theory that represents an alternative to moral surplus theories. The critical edge of the book is full of provocative ideas that make the moral idealist think twice about his or her foundational beliefs and presuppositions. Indeed, the book is a much needed, lucid and wonderful presentation of the philosophy of order ethics to international readers. -- Jacob Dahl Rendtorff, Roskilde University This book takes up an extremely important challenge: to find a common ethical ground that holds society together in a globalizing and pluralistic world. With its approach of "order ethics," it offers a vigorous, consistent and thought provoking solution based on the enlightened self-interested attitudes and behaviors of the social actors. It critically discusses the proposals of world-famous Anglo-Saxon and German philosophers (leaving aside Asian and other voices). There is no doubt that the author, renowned for his edited masterwork Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics, will stir up debates that will help to clarify and move forward the important challenge of finding a common ethical ground. This book is a must-read for all scholars and citizens concerned about the disintegration of societies in our time. -- Georges Enderle, University of Notre Dame As a thoughtful observer of events on the world stage, Christoph Lutge poses a provocative question: "What holds a society together?" In a meticulously reasoned response exploring the essence of social cohesion amid the centripetal force of globalization, Lutge asserts that mere compliance with social rules and norms is insufficient for a sustainable global social order. Rather, he argues that qualities and competencies of character often regarded as supererogatory create the "moral surplus" required for a coherent society. Lutge's tautly structured, accessible prose draws from Hoffe, Rawls, Hosle, Foot, Habermas, Gauthier, Locke, Nozick, Rorty, Buchanan, and Binmore to construct an original argument for moral surplus. Order Ethics or Moral Surplus: What Holds a Society Together? is an illumining hermeneutical lens for viewing the complex dynamics of globalization. -- Lindsay J. Thompson, Johns Hopkins Universityshow more

About Dr Christoph Luetge

Christoph Luetge is Peter Loscher Professor of Business Ethics at Technische Universitat Munchen.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: The Challenge of Globalization to Philosophy Chapter 2: Normativity Under Conditions of Globalization: The Conception of Order Ethics Chapter 3: Society Requires Capacities of the Individual Chapter 4: Society Requires a Sense of Justice (John Rawls) Chapter 5: Society Requires Incentives and Rules Chapter 6: Conclusion: Normativity ex nihilo?show more