Journal of Religious Ethics 17 (1):81 - 102 (1989)

This essay argues that the status of nature in H. Richard Niebuhr's ethics is ambiguous. In his theory of value, as described in "The Center of Value," nature is part of the extended community of being that assures the objective disclosure of value rather than its subjective (homocentric) projection. Yet in the epistemological reflections of "The Responsible Self" and "The Meaning of Revelation", Niebuhr considers nature an object to which we, as subjects, are not fundamentally related. I attempt to eliminate the ambiguity and preserve the "objective relativism" of Niebuhr's value theory by appealing to the insights of both feminists and one of Niebuhr's mentors, Martin Buber.
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