Morals and Politics
The Ethics of Revolution
First published in 1977. Ethics is the most practical branch of philosophy: its immediate concern is with people's actions. Yet most philosophers do little to relate ethics intelligibly to the human situation. In this inquiry into the nature of ethics, William Ash draws on the relevant works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin to present the theory and practice of Marxist ethics. He offers an explanation of the moral aspect of Marx's dictum: 'The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.‘ The book includes, perhaps for the first time in so considered a form, an assessment of Mao Tsetung's contribution to Marxist moral philosophy, together with the ethical implications of such developments in social practice as the Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
The author deals with the question of value by analysing the concept of 'good'; with the question of claims on people and things by analysing the concept of 'right'; with the question of the limits and scope of freedom of choice and action by analysing the concept of 'ought'.’ Clearly written in order to 'de-mystify' the subject, the book challenges readers to test the author's enlightened, Marxist approach in terms of the ethical ordering of their own society.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; 1. Values – The Meaning of Value Judgment 2. Rights – The Meaning of Normative Judgement 3. Obligations – The Meaning of Ought Sentences 4. Morals and Politics; Notes; Bibliography; Index
William Ash- re-worked version of an earlier book, 'Marxism and Moral Concepts', published by Monthly Review Press, New York, in 1964.