As we saw in Chapter 1, the historical development of ethical thought in western society can be seen in terms of successive eras that are characterised by different world-views. Contemporary approaches to ethics are grounded in the liberal individualism that has distinguished the ‘modernist’ period of industrial society that followed the European ‘Enlightenment’. Both deontology and utilitarianism embody this world-view, which privileges rationalism and positivist science against tradition, religion and other ways of seeing the world that increasingly were regarded as ‘irrational’. Principlism is derived from an interplay between the two. However, in the late twentieth century critiques of the dominant modernist position began to influence social and moral thought in a wide-ranging movement of thinking that has come to be known as ‘postmodernism’.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- Postmodernity and Ethics Beyond Liberalism
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number
- Chapter 7