The Puritan Smile: A Look toward Moral Reflection

By Robert Cummings Neville; Naomi Neville | Go to book overview

7
Moral Science in a
Normative Cosmos

The first several chapters of this study focused on issues having to do with the models and context for moral reflection. To be sure, many "content" issues of morality were discussed along the way, and a beginning was made to the development of philosophical categories for understanding the world as subject to moral reflection. The purpose of this chapter is to continue developing those categories with reference to the ways in which other disciplines, particularly the scientific, articulate their subject matter so as to make it amenable to moral reflection. This continues the theme of normative description.

At least the following three projects suggest themselves as requisite for an adequate understanding of the moral aspects of the cosmos.

A conception of understanding, including natural and social science, needs to be developed that facilitates showing the carry-over of value from one thing to another. Ecology is especially interesting for moral reflection to the extent that changes carry value over from one thing to another within and among systems, modifying it in various ways. The ethical question for ecology is how value is altered by systematic changes.

An axiological conception of value needs to be developed that shows both value is an achievement in actual things and that it is con

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