What are values? How do we come to know them? How are values related to morality? How is it possible to act against ones better knowledge? How can one become blind to values? How important is requited love for human happiness? These are just some of the questions to which Dietrich von Hildebrand offers profound and original responses. He arrives at these answers not primarily by a critical discussion of other thinkers (classical or modern) but by turning to the "things themselves", that is, to the reality of moral life. Von Hildebrand's keen sense for categorization, crucial distinctions, and systematic philosophizing does not reduce the rich and complex sphere of moral phenomena to a few abstract principles or rules. On the contrary, it allows the reader of his works to see the moral data with new clarity and explicitness.
Although von Hildebrands importance as an early phenomenologist and a moral philosopher has been generally recognized for decades, his thought has never been the study of much scholarly work. The Moral Philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand
is the first full-fledged monograph on von Hildebrand's moral philosophy available to date. Despite this pioneering effort, its aim is not to treat all the themes belonging to this area with equal depth and breadth. Rather, it focuses on the themes indicated by the aforementioned questions and relates them according to their inner systematic links rather than according to how and when they appear in von Hildebrand's works. It also engages von Hildebrand in a critical dialogue, particularly with the ethics of Plato and Aristotle. This book will serve as a very good introduction not just to von Hildebrands moral philosophy but to his thought in general.