Based on intensive, long-term study, this comparative book traces the role of ethics in the formation of modernity in four Western nations (the US, Britain, France, and Germany). Munch's analysis spans several centuries of historical and political development. While ethics has played a clear role in the West's transition to modernity, he shows that its role has varied substantially and that it has influenced the development of each nation's political and social institutions.The book begins with an assessment of the ethics of the West in contrast with the East. Munch then looks at the formation of the ethics of modernity from ancient Judaism to ascetic Protestantism and modern secularized culture. The Ethics of Modernity builds a systematic reconstruction of the ethical formation of modernity in its different stages and variations, concluding with current globalization trends.