Leslie Lipson

Ethical Systems Exist Without Religions, But Amero- European Societies Mistakenly and Unfortunately Confuse the Two
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Leslie M. Lipson; Writer, Political Science Professor

August 17, 2000|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Leslie M. Lipson, scholarly author, commentator and UC Berkeley professor of political science for 34 years who liked to pen nonsense poetry just for fun, has died. He was 87.

Lipson, whose half a dozen books examined democracy and the ethical choices of individuals and societies through the ages, died Friday in Berkeley of prostate cancer.

"I am a humanist," Lipson once said, in explaining his interests for the biographical reference work Contemporary Authors, "who specializes in the study of the political aspect of society. Hence, I ask of every system and every theory, 'Are the results, in practice, good or bad?' I . . . inquire . . . into the progress, or lack of it, which civilization has recorded thus far in its ethical standards."

Probably his best-known book was "The Great Issues of Politics," a popular collegiate political science textbook first published in 1954, which went through 10 editions and was translated into several foreign languages.

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