- Series: Routledge Philosophy of Religion Series
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (April 30, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0754616320
- ISBN-13: 978-0754616320
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,809,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Religion and Morality (Routledge Philosophy of Religion Series) 1st Edition
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'This book is careful and lucid in its presentation and assessment of arguments on religion and morality. It is also well organized...Highly recommended.' Choice 'Insofar as the book critically presents the views of important thinkers within traditions familiar to the author, it is a rich source of insight... a scholarly appraisal... Philosophers of religion, ethicists, academics in this field and readers of general philosophy will all find this book to be valuable reading.' Science and Theology News 'Wainwright writes critically yet sympathetically about the relation between morality and religious belief and brings an admirable nuance and judiciousness to some hotly debated issues.' Conversations in Religion and Theology 'Bill Wainwright has written a penetrating and well-organized examination of the relation between religion and morality. It is a work that will be especially appreciated by analytic philosophers of religion because of the careful parsing of various positions, objections to those, and possible replies to objections. The writing is clear, and the arguments stack up higher and higher.' International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 'All-in-all, Wainwright is to be commended for producing such a lucid, comprehensive, and philosophically sohisticated book. It should be on the 'must-read' list of anyone with a serious interest in the philosophy of religion.' Philosophy in Review-Comptes rendus philosophiques 'In the entanglement of possible relationships obtaining between religion and morality, Wainwright's work remains both a tour d'history of positions on offer and a tour d' force of philosophical acumen with analytical methodology. As such, conceptually speaking, Wainwright's work is must-reading for philosophers trying to tackle crucial dimensions which have far too long been neglected or underdeveloped.' Philsophical Investigations 'Wainwright is to be commended for producing such a lucid, comprehensive and philosophically sophisticated book. It should be on the 'must-read' list of anyone with a serious interest in the philosophy of religion.' Philosophy in Review ' William J. Wainwright is a respected, erudite philosopher of religion from the analytic tradition, and so it is no surprise that his Religion and Morality is a thorough, thoughtful, and generally rigorous and fair-minded discussion, from a theistic perspective, of the relationship between religion and morality. ' The Secular Web
About the Author
William Wainwright, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA.
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The first section I found to be the most interesting. Wainwright is a top notch Kant scholar, and you can see he has a passion for the man's work when he discusses Kant's argument for the existence of God. The arguments are so clear, so simple, and he defends them so well, I'm almost tempted to write in the margins 'QED'. I really thought Wainwright shed new light on this subject, and pulled effectively from other scholars who have done work on it. The same is true of his analysis of the argument from the phenomenology of conscience. His presentation, his analysis of possible objections and his counter-arguments are like water, this way truth lies. When the conceptual connections are so clear, and the arguments simple and direct, you just 'see' it. The section on the objectivity of value is a little less clear, the writing doesn't flow AS naturally, but the concluding section even of that chapter is pretty good. He ties it all together with a simple and direct argument from the content of the moral life to the conclusion God exists. Heck, the price of the book was worth just the first section of the book.
I thought the work on Divine command was less impressive. Some of the argumentation got too convoluted, and while I followed it pretty easily some less experienced readers might not have been able to. I also would've liked to see more examination of alternative theistic ethics (alternatives to Divine Command theory, that is) and I thought he could've spent more time addressing contemporary ethical theorists like Korsgaard and Rawls and Talbott in more detail. In the end, I wasn't any more impressed by Divine Command theory than I was before I read his analysis. Even though the information on contemporary Divine Command theorists was good and the writing was engaging, it is imho the weakest section of the book.
The final section on possible conflicts between the ethical and religious life was nearly as good as the first. I thought his treatment of Reinhold Niebuhr was dinosupreme (I am a big Niebuhr fan), his criticisms cogent, and his treatment and analysis fair interesting. I'd actually like to see Wainwright go deeper into Niebuhrian theology in a later book.
His treatment of the Abraham and Isaac sacrifice story was also quite good, though I thought he left some important stuff out. He focused on Kierekgaard's concern about a possible teleological suspension of the ethical, and I would've liked to have seen a more broader look at the Abraham of the Bible, who I think differs from Kierkegaard's Abraham in important ways (I actually think the story is more about a teleological suspension of the teleological, but I digress). I also thought that he did a disservice by not placing the story in the proper context of when it was written in Kierkegaard's life. There's no treatment of the sense in Kierkegaard that once you sacrifice the ethical to God God gives you the ethical back, parallelling Kierk's realization that because he was willing to give up his lady love God was willing to give her back to him (too bad for Kierk, she was already engaged to someone else). So the entire concept of what it means to transcend the ethical seemed under-discussed. Still the review of contemporary work was good, and his overall take was well thought out.
His treatment on mysticism couldn't have been better. But it wasn't long enough, I was left wanting more.
Despite my few quibbles, I'm giving this one 5 stars. It's a must have for anyone interested in the underlying difficulties in practical reasoning in general and the relationship between ethics and theism. Wainwright is a genius on the level of a Putnam, or Alston, or Plantinga.