Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forthcoming from OUP: From Morality to Metaphysics: The Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments

This looks like it might well be a moral argument for theism worth reading, as it includes a serious attempt to address the most plausible contemporary secular accounts of ethics. At least in this regard, it looks to follow in the footsteps of Adams in his Finite and Infinite Goods.

Here's the blurb:
  • Original work at the intersection of philosophy of religion and ethical theory
  • A distinctive argument for theism
  • Engages with a wide range of leading secular philosophers
From Morality to Metaphysics offers an argument for the existence of God, based on our most fundamental moral beliefs. Angus Ritchie engages with a range of the most significant religious moral philosophers of our time, and argues that they all face a common difficulty which only theism can overcome.

The book begins with a defence of the 'deliberative indispensability' of moral realism, arguing that the practical deliberation human beings engage in on a daily basis only makes sense if they take themselves to be aiming at an objective truth. Furthermore, when humans engage in practical deliberation, they necessarily take their processes of reasoning to have some ability to track the truth. Ritchie's central argument builds on this claim, to assert that only theism can adequately explain our capacity for knowledge of objective moral truths. He demonstrates that we need an explanation as well as a justification of these cognitive capacities. Evolutionary biology is not able to generate the kind of explanation which is required--and, in consequence, all secular philosophical accounts are forced either to abandon moral objectivism or to render the human capacity for moral knowledge inexplicable. This case is illustrated with discussions of a wide range of moral philosophers including Simon Blackburn, Thomas Scanlon, Philippa Foot, and John McDowell.

Ritchie concludes by arguing that only purposive accounts of the universe (such as theism and Platonism) can account for human moral knowledge. Among such purposive accounts, From Morality to Metaphysics makes the case for theism as the most satisfying, intelligible explanation of our cognitive capacities.

And here's the table of contents:

Part I: The 'Explanatory Gap'
1: Why Take Morality to be Objective?
2: The Gap Opens: Evolution and our Capacity for Moral Knowledge
Part II: Secular Responses
3: Moral Quasi-Realism: Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard
4: Procedures and Reasons: Tim Scanlon and Christine Korsgaard
5: Natural Goodness: Philippa Foot
6: Natural Goodness and 'Second Nature': John McDowell and David Wiggins
Part III: Theism
7: From Goodness to God: Closing the Explanatory Gap
8: Purpose without Theism? Axiarchism and Neoplatonism

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