On Religion was born out of a desire to provide commentary on religion that was nuanced, indepth and informed. The media in general tends towards sensationalism and simplicity, and this is even more pronounced when coverage is of religion and faith.
Anscombe thinks that our moral language was developed in a theistic context, and without a law-giver, the idea of a moral law or obligation doesn’t make sense. However, we can debate about what actions display “justice,” whether some action is “harmful,” whether some task was performed “well,” etc. There are lots of evaluative words that have established social contexts and can be used unproblematically, but they can’t be added up into some overall judgement that “This is good! You must do it!” …at least not without a lot of work into figuring out what constitutes human flourishing.
What she writes beyond that depends on her audience: In a Catholic journal, she has no problem doing ethics: Are we ever justified in killing innocents? Or in going to war? For her fellow analytic philosophers, she instead writes about how best to talk about our actions: Given that a particular action in a particular situation can be given innumerable descriptions, how do these all relate to each other? This, however is still relevant to ethics, in that we need to figure out how to talk about the intentions involved in an action in order to assess its morality.
By Simon Glendinning In 1994 Jacques Derrida participated in a seminar in Capri under the title “Religion”. Derrida himself thought “religion” might be a good word, perhaps the best word for thinking about our time, our “today”. It belongs, Derrida suggested, to the “absolute anachrony” of our time. Religion? Isn’t it that old thing that we moderns had thought had gone away, the thing that really does not belong in our time? And yet, so it seems, it is still alive and well.
Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.
Jan Motal's insight:
Applied ethics and Aristotle's practical wisdom today. Just try to think about rules and virtue. Should - or can - be virtue "ordered"?
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