John M. Rist's On Inoculating Moral Philosophy Against God (Aquinas PDF

By John M. Rist

ISBN-10: 0874621674

ISBN-13: 9780874621679

This little a hundred web page e-book will, i think, turn into a "classic" that has to be learn not just by means of philosophers and theologians, yet be a person attracted to morality and ethics, whether they believe Professor Rist's thesis. (As an apart, it used to be rather transparent whilst Professor Rist awarded this Aquinas Lecture, that a number of the philosophers in his viewers certainly didn't accept as true with it.) yet agree or now not, in transparent and concise language, that's as simply understood by means of lay individuals as via lecturers, Rist makes the case that ethical philosophy can't be inoculated from God, as our glossy society constantly makes an attempt to do, simply because God is the mandatory and necessary origin for ethics and morality. yet probably extra unnerving nonetheless, Professor Rist lays the blame for the origination of "profane ethics" squarely upon the sholders of "a crew of theistic, certainly Christian, philosophers who act as if it makes no nice distinction in ethics no matter if God exists at all." This unapologetic "apologia" strikes quick via background, beginning with St. Augustine and at last honing in on some degree Kant made, that theoretical cause [is] basically impotent, and positively has not anything to give a contribution to ethics." but Rist strikes past Kant's functional reasoning, the "root" of our sleek theories, to claim that during the ethical debates of this global, we should have the braveness and willingness not to compromise with the reality approximately ethics. hence he concludes, "Stubbornness in itself isn't any advantage; realizing what can't be compromised in a adversarial setting definitely is."

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Extra resources for On Inoculating Moral Philosophy Against God (Aquinas Lecture)

Sample text

We seem to have established thus far that the existence of God makes a difference both to the nature of the virtues in general and individually, as understood in a Christian framework, and to the very existence of at least one primary virtue as a special instance. The natural inference from this is that debate about the first principles of morality between theists and non-theists (and specifically Christians) would be unable to reach common first principles in essential areas of moral life unless one side or the other makes or slips into fairly drastic compromises about the actual content of its proposed moral vision.

That weaker proposal is open to additional objections. The supreme good is still rationality as such, but it does not exist, so why should it be taken seriously? If rationality is only a hypothetical good, why should we take it for a real good? The best answer to that—and something like it seems to be current among a number of contemporary moral thinkers—is that it is convenient in vari- 40 John M. Rist ous ways to assume such a moral ideal, even if it is in fact unattainable. But this runs up against two difficulties: on the one hand it seems to imply that self-deception, and the deception of others, are necessary parts of the moral good,6 while on the other it suggests that there is something specially to be denoted “moral” merely in what is supposed to be convenient for some or all of us.

28 John M. Rist tial and transcendent agent). Obviously that latter doctrine was corrected, developed, enriched, and expanded by Christian writers, but its philosophical roots, we shall insist, should not be forgotten, lest, as it were, it wither on the postmodern vine. D. Sacred and Profane Ethics I do not intend to go down the historical route, investigating the historical development of Christian ethics, except for a few diversions along the way. Rather, I want to approach the question of the nature of useful debate between Christian and secular moral philosophers in a more systematic way, above all by raising three basic questions.

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On Inoculating Moral Philosophy Against God (Aquinas Lecture) by John M. Rist


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