This book is an inquiry into the extent to which human relationships are foundational in morality. J. Kellenberger seeks to discover, first, how relationships between persons, and ultimately the relationship that each person has to each person by virtue of being a person, underlie the various traditional components of morality—obligation, virtue, justice, rights, and moral goods—and, second, how relationship morality is more fully consonant with our moral experience than other forms of human morality.
Kellenberger traces the implications of relationship morality for an understanding of religious duty to God and for the status of our obligations to animals. He also examines issues relating to a feminist "ethics of caring." While this book is a work in ethics, its approach is not limited to an examination of theories of obligation, such as utilitarianism, nor is it limited to the traditional areas covered by wider philosophical treatments of ethics. It embraces these but examines such moral categories as love, respect for persons, shame, and their place in morality.