VALUES AND VALUATION * with particular attention to Ethical Thought in Twentieth Century Britain BY The science of ethics, both in its philosophical and theological varieties, is caught up in the throes of transition. Under the impact of irrationalistic undenninings, there is a general willingness to break away from the shackling effect of time-Iess maxims. But the promised deliverance to freedom having boomeranged into a deliverance to fear, uncertainty and anxiety, there is a growing hesitation to accept the appalling consequences of an "every-mandoes-wliat-is-right-in-his-own-eyes-mora1ity". Ethical theories vacillate between casuistry (with its universally valid naturallaw) and an existentialistic ethics (with its "absolute" freedom). In contemporary ethical philosophy the main problems involved come to a head in the question of "value." The same may be said for theolo~cal ethics. In fact, for a succinct statement of the central issues in ethics, one can do no better than quote the words of Joseph Flechter, a leading American proponent of the fashionable contextualist approach to ethics: "The basic issue at stake between the situational ethic and natural law theory is the locus of value." 1 Do "values" exist, or don't they? Do value statements refer to "value realms" (historically, the general trend
Philosophia Reformata – Brill
Published: Feb 20, 1967
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