The Philosophy of Civilization

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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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (March 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879754036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879754037
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

What else can I saw that others haven’t…

8 people found this helpful.
 on April 4, 2014
By J. Hays
It’s hard to write more praise for this book that hasn’t been expressed by many others, so I won’t try. The older I get the more I’ve come to truly understand his reverence for life, a reverence that’s expressed in his overall philosophy.

Five stars

 on July 21, 2017
By Old Professor
Excellent product. Excellent service.


 on August 17, 2017
By Scott T. Schell
information re albert scheitzer and his philosophy

Five Stars

 on December 20, 2016
By Penny Mateer
Product shipped and received as promised.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on April 4, 2015
By Dr. Jackie Kegley
This is a classic worth reading.

Not always an easy read for non-specialists

 on October 13, 2014
By Fred Struckmeyer
Not always an easy read for non-specialists, but book shows Schweitzer’s formidable intellect and mastery of the ideas and intellectual history he discusses.

Five Stars

One person found this helpful.
 on December 26, 2014
By Stuart D. Robertson
A great gathering of thoughts of an epic human being.

I Agree With The Other Reviewer

21 people found this helpful.
 on June 20, 2007
By John Boland
This book should be more widely known. It should be taught about in schools from kindergarten on up—-well, at least the main idea of “reverence for life” should be taught. It’s a little “deep” in places but you’ll feel enriched in the end. Recommended.

The Modern Textbook on "Ethics" as a Way of Life

8 people found this helpful.
 on December 17, 2014
By Rossharmonics
I was talking with a friend about this book. He has been appointed to a curriculum committee at a school and the discussion was about a course on ethics. I started telling him about Schweitzer’s book. He was not even aware of it. It made me come here to write my review and encourage anyone who comes to this page on Amazon–buy this book.

Classical Work in Ethical Thought | Ethicists & students should read this work

2 people found this helpful.
 on February 28, 2017
By Timothy E. Kennelly
Greetings Amazonians,

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