Albert Schweitzer's social and ethical philosophy is best expressed in The Philosophy of Civilization. Not widely available in recent years, this edition will give contemporary readers the opportunity to discover his prophetic thought.
In Book I, The Decay and Restoration of Civilization, Schweitzer argues that the essential feature of every culture is its world view, and that a culture can be healthy and stable only as its world view is optimistic and ethical. Without this outlook, it is impossible to avoid the world's destruction.
In Book II, Civilization and Ethics, he reviews the world's major ethical systems in search of the essential principle of "the moral," after which the world and life-affirming ethic of "reverence for life" is set forth. Through Schweitzer's guidance, man will strive for spiritual and ethical self-fulfillment which in turn may be actualized in all the processes of the world, making us a truly civilized people. Schweitzer's ultimate goal is to help us recognize that the source of universal misery and catastrophe is the absence of a theory of the universe.
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