Biology and Christian Ethics

Biology and Christian Ethics

Biology and Christian Ethics

Biology and Christian Ethics

Synopsis

This stimulating and wide-ranging book mounts a profound enquiry into some of the most pressing questions of our age, by examining the relationship between biological science and Christianity. The history of biological discovery is explored from the point of view of a leading philosopher and ethicist. What effect should modern biological theory and practice have on Christian understanding of ethics? How much of that theory and practice should Christians endorse? To what extent can "nature" set our standards? Professor Clark takes a reasoned look at biological theory since Darwin and argues that an orthodox Christian philosophy is better able to accommodate the truth of such theory than is the sort of progressive, meliorist interpretation of Christian doctrine that is usually offered as the properly "modern" option.

Excerpt

My first extended work of philosophy was a study of Aristotle's ethics in the light of his biology (Aristotle's Man). My second was an impassioned work on the moral status of non-human animals (The Moral Status of Animals), and my third, a more decorous study of non-human experience and motivation, in the light of current biological theory and ethological reports (The Nature of the Beast). Later books were directed rather at cosmological and epistemological aspects of the philosophy of religion, though almost all of them also made some glancing reference to our biological nature, and to the treatment of nonhuman animals and our 'environment' (see especially How to Think about the Earth). Various essays on non-human animals have been collected in Animals and their Moral Standing, and on the political life of the human animal in The Political Animal. Other papers on matters relevant to this present volume include 'The Lack of a Gap between Fact and Value' in Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 54.1980, pp. 245ff.; 'Sexual Ontology and the Group Marriage' in Philosophy 58.1983, pp. 215–27; 'Richard Dawkins's Blind Watchmaker ' in Times Literary Supplement, 26 September 1986, pp. 1047–9; 'Orwell and the Anti-Realists' in Philosophy 67.1992, pp. 141–54; 'Does the Burgess Shale have Moral Implications?' in Inquiry 36.1993, pp. 357–80; 'Natural Goods and Moral Beauty' in D. Knowles and J. Skorupski, eds., Virtue and Taste: essays on politics, ethics and aesthetics in memory of Flint Schier (Blackwell: Oxford 1993), pp. 83–97; 'Tools, Machines and Marvels' in Roger Fellows, ed., Philosophy and Technology (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge 1995), pp. 159–57; 'Environmental Ethics' in . . .

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