Truthfulness and Tragedy: Further Investigations in Christian Ethics

University of Notre Dame Press (1977)
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In Truthfulness and Tragedy Stanley Hauerwas provides an account of moral existence and ethical rationality that shows how Christian convictions operate, or should operate, to form and direct lives. In attempting to conceptualize the basis of Christian ethics in a manner that will render Christian convictions morally intelligible, the author casts fresh light on traditional theoretical issues and articulates the distinctive Christian response to contemporary concerns such as suicide, medical ethics, and child care. The first section of the book deals with methodological issues: the meaning and nature of practical reason, obligation claims, natural law, and self deception, and the affinity of story and ethics. It focuses on the relation of truthfulness and tragedy and the need for a story--a set of religious convictions or "grammar of theology"--that does justice to the tragic character of human existence. The second section addresses substantive issues: suicide, euthanasia, and the value of survival; the moral limits of population growth; the definition of "person" for medical reasons; and social involvement and Christian ethics. The overall theme is the need for a community in which truthfulness is a way of life. In the final section, devoted to the problem of how to care for retarded children, the implications of the author's ethical position are given concrete expression. He discusses the assumptions underlying the willingness to have children, criteria for humanness, medical ethics, and how truthful communities deal with suffering. In Truthfulness and Tragedy Stanley Hauerwas extends and clarifies the ethical position set forth in his earlier books Character and the Christian Life and Vision and Virtue. He is associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. He was a senior fellow in Christian medical ethics at the Joseph and Rose Kennedy Institute for the Study of Reproduction and Bioethics, and taught medical ethics at the University of Texas medical branch in Galveston.



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The Moral Imagination and the Shaping Power of the Parables.Benedict M. Guevin - 1989 - Journal of Religious Ethics 17 (1):63 - 79.
Vision and Virtue: Essays in Christian Ethical Reflection.Stanley Hauerwas - 1974 - Notre Dame, Ind.,: University of Notre Dame Press.


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David Burrell
University of Notre Dame

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