In this critical examination of recent accounts of the nature of science and of its justification given by Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos, Laudan, and Newton-Smith, Banner contends that models of scientific rationality which are used in criticism of religious beliefs are in fact often inadequate as accounts of the nature of science. He argues that a realist philosophy of science both reflects the character of science and scientific justifications, and suggests that religious belief could be given a justification of the same (...) sort. (shrink)
First, in the section ‘Telling Lies’, this article attempts to illustrate recent everyday racism. Racism has a history and takes many different forms. I describe a particular practice of racism, which relied, for its doctrine, on supposedly scientific assumptions about biology and breeding—and received a confirming fillip through the celebration of monarchy, empire and rose-tinted history. Second, in ‘Telling Tales’, the story of Zacchaeus is taken as exemplifying a form of moral repair in which telling and doing the truth are (...) intimately related. Third, in ‘Telling and Doing the Truth’, I contend that telling and doing the truth in relation to racism requires not only a clear naming of racism’s lies but also the making of reparations, for the reason that the lies of racism subtended manifold injustices, of which Atlantic slavery and the exploitation of colonies are notable instances. I take the history of the West Indies as providing a clear case where moral repair is due, and I consider the form that reparations might take. (shrink)
This book addresses such key ethical issues as euthanasia, the environment, biotechnology, abortion, the family, sexual ethics, and the distribution of health care resources. Michael Banner argues that the task of Christian ethics is to understand the world and humankind in the light of the credal affirmations of the Christian faith, and to explicate this understanding in its significance for human action through a critical engagement with the concerns, claims and problems of other ethics. He illustrates both the distinctiveness of (...) Christian convictions in relation to the above issues and also the critical dialogue with practices based on other convictions which this sense of distinctiveness motivates but does not prevent. The book's importance lies in its attempt to show the crucial difference which Christian belief makes to an understanding of these issues, whilst at the same time demonstrating some of the weaknesses and confusions of certain popular approaches to them. (shrink)
The book provides an exploration of how Christianity has thought about what it is to live a human life and asks how Christianity's understanding of being relates to and challenges alternative contemporary accounts as they are mapped and explored in social anthropology.
Believers and non-believers often take it for granted that traditional religious faith is, in principle, incapable of the sort of justification which might be given to a scientific theory. Yet how are scientific theories justified and is it the case that religious belief cannot satisfy the same standards of rationality? Based on a critical examination of recent accounts of the nature of science and of its justification given by Kuhn, Popper, Lakatos, Laudan, and Newton-Smith, this book contends that models of (...) scientific rationality which are used in criticism of religious belief are in fact often inadequate as accounts of the nature of science. It is argued that a realist philosophy of science both reflects the character of science and scientific justification, and also suggests that religious belief could be given a justification of the same sort. (shrink)
Modern scripts for dying in hospice or by euthanasia are inapplicable to the dwindling of long old age, often experienced as social ‘death before death’. The article critiques the rhetoric of ‘death before death’ used of Alzheimer’s patients, and draws attention to an alternative valuation of death of self in the Christian tradition.
This paper has been prepared from the perspective of the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum, which has the particular mandate of linking social science research on genomics with ongoing public and policy debates. It is intended as a contribution to discussions about the future agenda for social scientific analyses of genomics. Given its scope, this paper is necessarily painted with a broad brush. It is presented in the hope that it can serve both as a useful reference for those (...) less familiar with the themes and foci of UK-based social science research about genomics and, for those more engaged in the field, as a foundation for discussions about the future social sciences agenda in this area. This paper has four parts. The first identifies the boundaries of the topic. It is suggested that the boundaries of genomics are properly regarded by social scientists as soft rather than hard, and as encompassing far more than genomics as narrowly understood. In the second part, the UK context for social science research is briefly described before proceeding to part three, which offers a survey of the major areas and patterns of research. This is organised by reference to the themes of globalisation, governance and regulation, and refers to 129 current or recently completed projects (surveyed during the winter of 2005) that address these themes. Part four proposes some appropriate areas for future research, drawing on and advancing what has been achieved thus far. Social scientific analyses of the nature and consequences of genomic science, it is claimed, have been crucially framed by the institutionalising of non-scientific considerations under the heading of ELSA/elsi (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects/implications). It is suggested that an understanding of the limitations and consequences of this framing provides a vital starting point in considering future research agendas. (shrink)