By Keith Ward
Academic and rigorous in its strategy, and written with attribute verve, Morality, Autonomy, and God is an important contribution to the sector of ethical philosophy and the present debate concerning the hyperlink among faith and morality is today’s world.
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Extra resources for Morality, Autonomy, and God
I have tried to provide a context in which some of the implications of that way of seeing may be clearer, and some of the objections to such a morality may dissolve away. Part I FROM NATURALISM TO THEISM 1 BEING A MORAL AGENT SOME SENSES OF MORAL AUTONOMY In modern moral philosophy, there has come to exist a widespread view that ethics is autonomous. That is, as characterized in the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, views of ethics do not depend upon divine commands, the dictates of pure reason, or facts of nature.
Indeed, this is the default position of those who believe in predestination. They may accept that they do whatever they do necessarily, and carry on doing it. Believers in predestination, historically, have usually thought that some being – probably God – determines things for good, and so they are fairly content with how they are. In modern times, people are more likely to think that things are determined by accident or blind necessity, and that considerations of justice or goodness are not relevant to what happens to them.
They are ultimate constituents of reality. They in no way undermine the unity and intelligibility of the physical world, and indeed they underpin and guarantee that unity and intelligibility by grounding them in one ultimately intelligible reality from which they flow. If there is, as Wilson desires, a consilience between the natural sciences and the humane sciences, it is more likely to be found in a view which embraces both without annihilating either. Whereas reductive naturalism has difficulty in explaining how consciousness, rationality, freedom, and purpose can be given a reductive explanation, the thought that elegant and unified laws of nature are physical expressions of one beautiful, elegant, intelligible reality is not at all paradoxical – though to the determined naturalist it introduces a superfluous and unnecessary (naturalists tend to call it ‘spooky’, to make it seem odder than it is) dimension to reality.
Morality, Autonomy, and God by Keith Ward