Ethics and responsibility in politics

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 7 (1-4):304 – 317 (1964)
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Abstract

After summarizing Weber's description of the 'ethic of ultimate ends' and the 'ethic of responsibility', the assumptions underlying his classification are examined, especially the relationship of violent and non-violent means to politics and to political responsibility. It is argued that the two assumptions underlying the classification have been demonstrated by events since his 1918 lecture to be invalid. Therefore the classification itself no longer has validity. Its rejection has political implications and requires fresh attention to the problems of political ethics. The outline of a possible alternative classification of political ethics, focused on their view of means and ends, is tentatively offered as a stimulus to further thought.

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