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146 BOOK REVIEWS more fully the wide range of His dominion will he disclosed to us " (Ethics, 1955, 58). This observation suggests that one of the challenges of Bonhoeffer's legacy remains how to combine, in our own time and place, an " orthodox " Christology with a humanism as genuine and capacious as Bonhoeffer's. The plurality of themes and conclusions in this volume will require readers to engage in their own efforts to understand Bonhoeffer's legacy. But this will mean a return to the writings of the man whose spirit enlivens these pages. If A Bonhoeffer Legacy serves to encourage and inform such a return to Bonhoeffer himself, then it will indeed stand as an "appropriate tribute" (vii) to his life and work. JOHN S. MOGABGAB Stam{ord, Comiecticut The Diversity of Moral Thinking. By NEIL COOPER. New York: Oxford Press, 1981. Pp. x + 303, including bibliography and index. $45.00. The ambitious scope of Cooper's book, eombined with his careful but imaginative thinking, makes it an impressive and worthwhile contribution in spite of some troubling defects. Cooper tries to provide a rigorous and morally neutral definition of morality, an explanation of why it seems to be objective, an explanation of why it cannot be objective, and an extended argument to the effect that various logical, structural, and factual constraints substitute for objectivity in providing guidance for moral thinking. Indeed, he concludes with an argument that these constraints justify traditional altruistic morality, permitting him to end the book with that triumphant quotation from Berkeley's Philonous: "Just so, the same principles which at first view lead to scepticism, pursued to a certain point, bring men back to common sense" (291). The first of three sections tells us " what a morality is,'' and seeks to do so in a morally neutral way while exposing and explaining the biases of alternative accounts. Cooper argues that a rigorous logic of morals may restrict the form or the topic of moral judgments but not their message. The temptation to be a " restrictivist " of the latter type is endemic to ethics, he thinks, partly because people do not distinguish between a morality (be it an individual or a social morality) and what he calls an "anchored morality" (Morality). The former can be given a neutral definition (the " logic of morals") but not a content; the latter cannot be defined but can be given a content. Anchored moralities are what others call "moral traditions,'' an example being our Judea-Christian morality which emphasizes the amiable virtues such as altruism as opposed to the . BOOK REVIEWS 147 heroic virtues of Homer. Confusion results when philosophers focus on a particular feature of their own anchored morality and make it a defining characteristic of any morality. This parochialism is an occupational hazard best avoided by using the human sciences and fiction writers (which Cooper does frequently and well) rather than ad hoc examples invented by philosophers (which Cooper thinks fertilize too much of AngloAmerican moral theory) . What then is Cooper's neutral analysis of a morality? It is " a body of settled normative beliefs which a person or group considers to be most important for guiding their lives" (116). One might worry about the neutrality of this definition. What about those who seem to live as if art, or money, or etiquette, or religion, or the state is the most important thing in their lives? It turns out that they are subordinating Morality to their own morality; their art or greed or patriotism or manners is their morality , whether they call it that or not. One is reminded of Tillich's claim that all who have an overriding concern, especially atheists and moralists, are religious believers whether they know it or not. Could Cooper's " conceptual analysis " be itself anchored in a value-laden world view that cannot understand a teleological suspension of the ethical? One might agree with Cooper's definition, in spite of its reversing what some " fanatics " think is their morality, while noticing that it is no more rigorously neutral than some "message restrictions." Indeed, if Cooper is right in thinking that rational criteria can apply to moralities even though they have a normative...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 146-151
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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