An Intelligent Person's Guide to Christian Ethics

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A&C Black, Jan 9, 2006 - Religion - 176 pages
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In this concise and lucid book, Alban McCoy considers the fundamental principles of morality in a Christian context. Starting from the widespread phenomenon of seemingly insuperable disagreement in discussion of the most basic moral issues, he locates the root cause of such disagreement in confusion about the essential nature of morality as such. What distinguishes a moral judgement from an historical or scientific judgment? Which considerations are relevant to moral issues as opposed to questions of a pragmatic or practical importance? What resources are available to us when weighing moral matters? Various critiques of morality such as amoralism, determinism, subjectivism and cultural relativism, as well as different moral theories such as utilitarianism and absolutism are considered and found wanting.

At the heart of the book, McCoy offers a rational account of morality rooted in virtue and character and human flourishing. He then sets this in a Christian context in order to show what difference Christian revelation makes to our understanding of morality. Writing clearly and without jargon, McCoy provides the non-specialist reader with a stimulating discussion of the fundamental concepts we employ in everyday consideration of moral questions. He manages to render difficult matters intelligible without oversimplification and his book will appeal to anybody interested in finding a way through the moral maze and to students of philosophy embarking on a study of ethics.
 

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Contents

The Subject Matter of Morality
11
Amoralism
26
Morality Presupposes Freedom but Are We Free? Determinism Versus Indeterminism
34
Freedom
45
Ethical Subjectivism and the Claims of Conscience
54
Cultural Relativism
69
Kant
81
Bentham and Mill
96
Aristotle and the Life of Virtue
107
The Structure of Moral Judgements
113
Christian Morality
136
St Thomas Aquinas
146
Conclusion
155
Index
159
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About the author (2006)

Alban McCoy, O.F.M., Conv. is a Franciscan, the Catholic Chaplain at the University of Cambridge, Lecturer in Theology at Allen Hall, and Literary Editor for The Tablet.

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