Pagan Ethics

Paganism as a World Religion

  • Michael York

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Michael York
      Pages 3-21
    3. Michael York
      Pages 23-36
  3. The Western Ethical Tradition

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 37-37
    2. Michael York
      Pages 39-61
    3. Michael York
      Pages 63-94
    4. Michael York
      Pages 95-115
    5. Michael York
      Pages 117-139
    6. Michael York
      Pages 141-165
  4. The Quest for an Applied Pagan Ethics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 167-167
    2. Michael York
      Pages 169-179
    3. Michael York
      Pages 181-218
    4. Michael York
      Pages 219-253
  5. Moral Issues from a Pagan Perspective

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 255-255
    2. Michael York
      Pages 257-275
    3. Michael York
      Pages 277-309
    4. Michael York
      Pages 311-342
  6. The Ethical Conversation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 343-343
    2. Michael York
      Pages 367-402
    3. Michael York
      Pages 403-414
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 415-435

About this book


​This book is the first comprehensive examination of the ethical parameters of paganism when considered as a world religion alongside Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The issues of evil, value and idolatry from a pagan perspective are analyzed as part of the Western ethical tradition from the Sophists and Platonic schools through the philosophers Spinoza, Hume, Kant and Nietzsche to such contemporary thinkers as Grayling, Mackie, MacIntyre, Habermas, Levinas, Santayana, etc. From a more practical viewpoint, a delineation of applied pagan ethics is then presented in connection with current moral issues such as same-sex union, recreational drugs, environmental awareness, abortion and terrorism. Finally, overviews of sectarian pagan ethics (Shinto, Santeria, Heathenism, Druidry, Romuva, Slavic, Kemeticism, Classical and Wicca) provide both the general and pagan reader with an understanding of the provocative range and differentiation of pagan ethical thought. The book approaches the Western ethical tradition as an historical development and a continuing dialogue. The novelty of this approach lies in its consideration of paganism as a legitimate voice of religious spirituality rather than a satanic aberration or ridiculous childish behavior. The book is aimed at both the contemporary Western pagan and anyone with an interest in the moral dilemmas of our times and the desire to engage in the global ethical discussion.Among the more important features of the book are its presentation of a re-evaluation of idolatry, the notion of the virtue value, the richness of the pagan tradition, and the expansion of Western ethics beyond its Christian heritage.


Ethical Studies Pagan Ethics Pagan Religion Virtue Ethics Western Ethics Western philosophy of ethics

Authors and affiliations

  • Michael York
    • 1
  1. 1.AmsterdamThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-18922-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-18923-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site