A dogma accepted in many ethical, religious, and legal frameworks is that the reasons behind conscientious objection (CO) in healthcare cannot be evaluated or judged by any institution because conscience is individual and autonomous. This paper shows that the background view is mistaken: the requirement to reveal and explain the reasons for conscientious objection in healthcare is ethically justified and legally desirable. Referring to real healthcare cases and legal regulations, the paper argues that these reasons should be evaluated either ex (...) ante or ex post, and defends novel conceptual claims that have not been analyzed in the debates on CO. First, a moral threshold requirement: CO is only justified if the reasons behind a refusal are of a moral nature and meet a certain threshold of moral importance. Second, the rarely discussed conceptual similarities between CO in healthcare and the legal regulations concerning military refusals that place the burden of proof on conscientious objectors. The paper concludes that conscientious objection in healthcare can only be accommodated in some cases of destroying or killing human organisms. (shrink)
En esta entrevista, Rocío Hernández Arias explica la conceptualización de utopía y las subclasificaciones que se derivan de ella. Para ello, fue esencial precisar la orientación que ha tenido para poder discernir en cuanto al significado de estos postulados. En un primer instante, distingue sus respectivos campos semánticos y los arguye desde un recuento histórico. Por ejemplo, hace referencia a la utopía literaria, la utopía empírica y la utopía hispánica. Luego de diferenciarlos, comenta acerca de uno de sus hallazgos relevantes, (...) que es el poder haber auscultado el vínculo de la utopía con la libertad. Dicho de otro modo, para ella, es imprescindible detectar también la trabazón de literatura utópica con el movimiento libertario. Asimismo, aparte de la fundamentación que realiza sobre el término de utopía, será necesaria la alegación que le brinda a la noción de anarquía y cómo se desarrolla en la historia de Hispanoamérica. Es así como Hernández Arias logra dominar estas teorías y taxonomías para extrapolar sus conocimientos en otro tipo de discursos. A su vez, esto revela la constante confrontación que existirá entre múltiples disciplinas: la filosofía, la política, la historia, la literatura y la sociología. Por lo tanto, el aporte de esta entrevista se encuentra en la trascendencia que tienen las categorías multidisciplinarias en el decurso del tiempo y cómo estas se han incorporado en la ideología perenne de los ciudadanos. (shrink)
In this monograph, authors J. Caleb Clanton and Kraig Martin argue that two classical approaches to moral grounding (natural law theory and divine command theory), while commonly opposed, can nevertheless be combined into a "third way" through precepts derived from the Stone-Campbell tradition. As such, this work represents an attempt to show the rich potential the Stone-Campbell tradition has in contributing to important, long-standing metaethical and philosophical questions.
A number of Christian theologians and philosophers have been critical of overly moralizing approaches to the doctrine of sin, but nearly all Christian thinkers maintain that moral fault is necessary or sufficient for sin to obtain. Call this the “Moral Consensus.” I begin by clarifying the relevance of impurities to the biblical cataloguing of sins. I then present four extensional problems for the Moral Consensus on sin, based on the biblical catalogue of sins: (1) moral over-demandingness, (2) agential unfairness, (3) (...) moral repugnance, and (4) moral atrocity. Next, I survey several partial solutions to these problems, suggested by the recent philosophical literature. Then I evaluate two largely unexplored solutions: (a) genuine sin dilemmas and (b) defeasible sinfulness. I argue that (a) creates more problems than it solves and that, while (b) is well-motivated and solves or eases each of the above problems, (b) leaves many biblical ordinances about sin morally misleading, creating (5) a pedagogical problem of evil. I conclude by arguing that (5) places hefty explanatory burdens on those who would appeal to (b) to resolve the four extensional problems discussed in this paper. So Christian thinkers may need to consider a more radical separation of sin and moral fault. (shrink)
Robert Adams defends a platonic account of goodness, understood as excellence, claiming that there exists a platonic good that all other good things must resemble, identifying the Good with God. Mark Murphy agrees, but argues that this platonic account is in need of Aristotelian supplementation, as resemblance must take into account a thing’s kind-membership. While this article will accept something like Murphy’s account of goodness, it will further develop its details and support. Without relying on theistic premises, I show that (...) the metaphysical status of an individual’s goodness consists in resemblance with the platonic good. As for the distinct question of what that goodness holds in virtue of, I conclude it holds in virtue of exactly: the thing’s own properties, those properties being such as to satisfy its kind-based standards, and those K-standards resembling the platonic good. I then develop an account of how K-standards resemble the platonic good: The K-standards resemble it firstly with respect to requiring activities, as the platonic good will be posited to be active, and must resemble it secondly also at the level of what teleology those activities are directed towards. I also motivate the need for a third respect of resemblance, to be developed in future work. The article ends with a discussion of the nature of the platonic good. (shrink)
The editors of the JRE solicited short essays on the COVID‐19 pandemic from a group of scholars of religious ethics that reflected on how the field might help them make sense of the complex religious, cultural, ethical, and political implications of the pandemic, and on how the pandemic might shape the future of religious ethics.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Knud Ejler Løgstrup were WWII contemporaries: Lutheran theologians and religious figures in their respective German and Danish communities; both active in the anti-Nazi resistance. Being involved in the resistance, Bonhoeffer and Løgstrup were required to rethink what it meant to be ethical, in particular in relation to disclosure and the telling of truth, in a situation of war. In this paper, we consider the grounds on which both Løgstrup and Bonhoeffer acted, their belief in a duty or (...) requirement to resist, in light of the more general problem presented by resistance as action undertaken in a state of exception. We investigate the distinction between the normativity of ordinary or stable time, and action required in a state of exception, using the specific example of truth-telling as a normative demand and its conflict with the exceptional imperative to lie. The example of truth-telling raises important questions about the role of agency and phronetic judgment in a state of exception. In order to determine a foundation for such judgment, we turn to the framework adapted by both Bonhoeffer and Løgstrup to ground their requirement to lie: Luther’s concept of three estates. We consider how their respective concepts of mandates and laws of life/sovereign expressions of life both illuminate and highlight the more general problem of the relation between norm and exceptional action. (shrink)
Hick’s soul-making theodicy defends the omnipotence, omniscience, and all-goodness of God in the face of evil. It holds that the end of the creation process is the development of human beings into children of God. In order to achieve the end, an evil-dependent soul-making process must be employed. It then concludes that, because the end is so valuable, the omnipotent and omniscient creator’s not having prevented the existence of evil is morally justified and thus not in conflict with her being (...) all-good. In particular, God’s having created a world with evils and evil-dependent values, which may be called “an Irenaean world,” is morally justified. In the Zhuangzi, Zhuangzi holds that the actual world is, in reality, a world without evils and evil-dependent values, but with evil-independent values, which may be called “a Zhuangzian world,” while ordinary people mistakenly take the actual world to be an Irenaean world. In an insightful story in the Chapter “The Great and Venerable Teacher” of the Zhuangzi, he amounts to claiming that a Zhuangzian world is better than an Irenaean world. Without endorsing Zhuangzi’s two positions, I argue against Hick’s soul-making theodicy in this way: It is Hick’s burden to prove either that a Zhuangzian world is metaphysically impossible, or that the actual world, as an Irenaean world, is better than any Zhuangzian world. However, there are not any resources in his soul-making theodicy that can provide any such proofs. Therefore, Hick has not justified, nor rationally established, his soul-making theodicy. (shrink)
Realistic theologies are keyed to what is said to be actual, reading knowledge of God and the aims of ethical action from the given. Idealistic theologies are keyed to claims about truths transcending actuality. I am opposed to lifting realistic actuality above idealistic discontent, even as I acknowledge that idealism poses the greater danger. A wholly realistic theology would be a monstrosity, a sanctification of mediocrity, inertia, oppression, domination, exclusion, and moral indifference. Christianity is inherently idealistic in describing the being (...) or movement of spirit as the ultimate reality and in holding to transcendent moral truths. But an idealistic theology lacking a sense of tragedy, real-world... (shrink)
For most theologians, theology should ultimately be used by the laity and/or the public. However, the religion and science debate has not focused on the divide between theologians and the laity. In this case study I examine the debate among theologians about human enhancement. I focus on the extent to which the structure of the debate in a “mediating organization” between the theologians and the public coincides with the structure of the debate among the theologians. I conduct a survey of (...) participants in the organization, and find that the basic divides among the theologians are largely replicated. These results, when combined with studies of the theologians themselves and the laity, provide a more holistic understanding of the future debate about human enhancement. (shrink)
The concept of service found in Christian theism and related religious perspectives offers robust support for a political defense of nonhuman animal rights, both in the eschaton and in the present state. By adapting the political theory defended by Donaldson and Kymlicka to contemporary theological models of the afterlife and of human agency, I defend a picture of heaven as a harmoniously structured society where humans are the functional leaders of a multifaceted, interspecies citizenry. Consequently, orthodox religious believers (concerned with (...) promoting God’s will “on Earth as it is in Heaven”) have a duty to promote and protect the interests of nonhuman creatures in the present, premortem state. (shrink)
Of the many questions Cécile Laborde addresses in her magisterial Liberalism’s Religion, several relate to what she describes as ‘the puzzle of exemptions’. I examine some of the issues raised by her efforts to solve that puzzle: whether her ideal of moral integrity squares with the nature of religious belief; whether we should find the case for collective religious exemptions in freedom of association and the ‘coherence interests’ of associations; how much significance we should give to the ‘competence interests’ of (...) organised religions; and by which criteria we should assess individual claims to religious exemption. (shrink)
Hyde claims that the trickster spirit is necessary for the renewal of culture, and that he lives only in the ‘complex terrain of polytheism’. Fortunately for those of us in monotheistic cultures, Weber gives reasons for thinking that polytheism is making a return, albeit in a new, disenchanted form. The plan of this paper is to elaborate some basic notions from Weber, to explore Hyde’s thesis in more detail and then to take up the question of the plurality of spirits (...) both around and within us and whether the trickster is one of them. Weber has three roles in this argument. First, he theorises rationalisation, disenchantment and bureaucracy; second, he offers an argument that in a certain sense polytheism is returning ; and third, he presents a way to translate the mytho-poetic register in which Hyde works into terms acceptable to social science of a more materialist bent. The claim of the paper is that polytheism as a practical attitude means recognising that there are diverse and contradictory ethical orders built into the world around us and active with our psyches. Weber explains why this is especially difficult for us, and Hyde offers us the hope that we may be tricky enough to cope. (shrink)
Modern orthodoxy often perceives itself and is perceived by others as a movement which grants more importance to moral considerations in its interpretation of halakha and in its general worldview than does the ultra-orthodox movement. Accordingly, modern orthodox rabbis are often referred to as more “moderate” than their ultra-orthodox counterparts, a term which seems to imply that they are more open to moral arguments and more likely to adopt, or to develop, moral interpretations of halakha. A study of some central (...) figures like Walter Wurzburger, Eliezer Berkovits and Joseph B. Soloveitchick, however, indicates that the modern orthodox approach to morality is much more ambivalent. The purpose of this paper is to discuss this ambivalence and to speculate on its source. (shrink)
This closely reasoned philosophical study develops two metaethical positions: a pragmatist view of truth in ethics and a pragmatist view of principles in moral inquiry. To reach these notions Heney gives a close reading of Peirce, James, Dewey, and C. I. Lewis. In the process she engages with current debates in ethical theory.Heney makes a strong case for the importance of metaethics, the inquiry into the meaning of and justification for ethical terms and propositions. She focuses on the primacy of (...) practice, which implies consideration of how groups and individuals deal with moral discourse, moral disagreement, and value-laden experience.I will first elucidate her constructive position in... (shrink)
Bahá’í law differentiates between a secular and a sacred legal sphere, intertwining both by positing a religious duty for its adherents to abide by secular (state) law. In Germany, it encounters a secular legal framework that aims at something similar – creating an equilibrium between state law and religious law by establishing the principle of the division of State and Religion, while at the same time facilitating religious freedom; it provides a secular justification for the recognition of religious law. With (...) this, both orders provide mechanisms ensuring that state law and religious law are able to enforce their own claim of validity, while at the same time avoiding conflicts between the respective legal orders. The article argues that this unique interaction between Bahá’í law and the German constitutional law framework impacted both legal orders. For German law, on the one hand, it proved to be crucial for the development and opening of this legal field – whose original purpose was the regulation of the relationship between the state and the (two) Christian churches – for other religious traditions. The interaction with state law has impacted the Bahá’í Community of Germany, on the other hand, by catalyzing a number of developments that in other comparative law contexts have been dubbed “constitutionalization” effects. (shrink)
In this article, I will argue against the Orthodox Jewish view that the Torah should be treated as an absolute authority. I begin with an explanation of what it means to treat something as an absolute authority. I then review examples of norms in the Torah that seem clearly immoral. Next, I explore reasons that people may have for accepting a person, text, or tradition as an absolute authority in general. I argue that none of these reasons can justify absolute (...) authority if the authority prescribes norms that we strongly judge to be immoral. I then respond to three objections to my argument. I end with a note explaining why, contrary to a popular trend, the narrative of the binding of Isaac is not a good place to start this discussion. (shrink)
In the Hebrew Scriptures, there are familiar consequences for disobedience to God—destruction of holy sites, slavery, exile, and death. But there is one consequence that is less familiar and of special interest in this chapter. Disobedience to God sometimes results in stark reversals in God’s very relationship and experiential availability to God’s own people. Such people may even remove God’s very presence. This is a curious form of punishment that threatens the very spiritual identity of the victims of the reversal. (...) This chapter explores divine reversal in the Hebrew Scriptures (and its continuation in the New Testament). Insofar as the self-identified people of God commit positive injustices against others, and even insofar as they are culpable for failing to prevent such injustices from occurring, devotees of the Hebrew Scriptures—so, devout Jews and Christians alike—ought to take seriously the possibility that God will side with those who suffer the injustices and even, in a sense, sanctify their life, practices, and identity. Divine reversals pose problems for Jewish and Christian ethics, which must grapple with the possibility that God might seem to adopt inconsistent moral positions across time—or at least inconsistent moral postures. (shrink)
I argue that moral goodness is necessarily self-predicating. That is to say, the property of being morally good is morally good. I then argue that reductions of moral goodness to natural properties, particularly utilitarian specifications, are not necessarily self-predicating. Therefore, such reductions are not successful. Finally, I consider the possibility of defining the good as “fulfilling God’s design plan.” I show that, under an Aristotelian construal of property existence this property is provably self-predicating.
n order to disclose possible affinities between the oeuvres of Emmanuel Levinas and René Girard that run deeper than both the apparently opposite quarters in which they deploy their thought—difference and sameness—and their patently shared view—an ethical concern for victims— their analogue account of the mythical dynamics of undifferentiation should be explored. Due to their very similar endeavor—to pinpoint the circumstances in which mythical violence arises—Levinas’s notion of the il y a as a neutral and saturated field of forces and (...) Girard’s description of the final paroxysm of the mimetic crisis can be equated with very instructive results. Furthermore, because both instances are linked to the primeval situation in which the subject as such emerges, these authors’ descriptions reinforce each other and provide us with a critical account of a realm that should be transcended—the domain of the violent sacred in which force becomes the ultimate criteria—lest we run the risk of a total social involution. (shrink)
For liberalism, values such as respect, reciprocity, and tolerance should frame cultural encounters in multicultural societies. However, it is easy to disregard that power differences and political domination also influence the cultural sphere and the relations between cultural groups. In this essay, I focus on some challenges for cultural pluralism. In relation to Indian political theorist Rajeev Bhargava, I discuss the meaning of cultural domination and epistemic injustice and their historical and moral implications. Bhargava argued that as a consequence of (...) colonialism, “indigenous cultures” were inferiorized, marginalized, and anonymized. Although cultures are often changing due to external influences, I argue that epistemic injustice implies that a culture is forced to subjection, disrespected, and considered as inferior and that it threatens the dominated people’s epistemic framework, collective identity, and existential security. Finally, I refer to John Rawls’s theory of political liberalism as a constructive approach to avoid parochialism and Western cultural domination -/- . (shrink)
It might be objected to penal substitutionary theories that punishing Christ could not possibly meet the demands of divine retributive justice. For punishing another person for my crimes would not serve to remove my guilt. The Anglo-American system of justice, in fact, does countenance and even endorse cases in which a substitute satisfies the demands of retributive justice. Moreover, Christ’s being divinely and voluntarily appointed to act not merely as our substitute but as our representative enables him to serve as (...) our proxy before God, so that when he is punished, we are punished, to the satisfaction of divine justice. (shrink)