God's Call: Moral Realism, God's Commands, and Human Autonomy
Stock No: WW849977
God's Call: Moral Realism, God's Commands, and Human Autonomy  -     By: John E. Hare

God's Call: Moral Realism, God's Commands, and Human Autonomy

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2001 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW849977

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Title: God's Call: Moral Realism, God's Commands, and Human Autonomy
By: John E. Hare
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 132
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2001
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 X 0.32 (inches)
Weight: 7 ounces
ISBN: 0802849970
ISBN-13: 9780802849977
Stock No: WW849977

Publisher's Description

There has been a debate between modern ethicists who see moral judgments as objectively corresponding to a moral reality independent of human opinion and those who insist that moral judgments are essentially expressions of our will. In this excellent philosophical work John Hare outlines a theory that combines the merits of both views, arguing that what makes something right is that God calls us to it. In the first chapter Hare gives a selective history of the sustained debate within Anglo-American philosophy over the last century between moral realists and moral expressivists. Best understood as a disagreement about how objectivity and subjectivity are related in value judgment, this debate is of particular interest to Christians, who necessarily feel pulled in both directions. Christians want to say that value is created by God and exists whether we recognize it or not, but they also want to say that when we value something, our hearts' fundamental commitments are also involved. Hare suggests "prescriptive realism" as a way to bring both perspectives together. The second chapter examines the divine command theory of John Duns Scotus, looking particularly at the relationship that Scotus established between God's commands, human nature, and human will. Hare shows that a Calvinist version of the divine command theory of obligation can be defended via Scotus against natural law theory as well as against contemporary challenges. A significant theme treated here is the view that the Fall disordered our natural inclinations, rendering them useless as an authoritative source of guidance for right living. In the last chapter Hare moves to the key philosophical juncture between the medievalperiod and our own time -- the moral theory of Immanuel Kant in the late eighteenth century. Modern moral philosophy has largely taken Kant's work as a refutation of divine command theory and a refocusing of the discussion on human autonomy. Hare shows that Kant was in fact not arguing against the kind of divine command theory that Hare supports. He discusses what Kant meant by saying that we should recognize our duties as God's commands, and he defends a notion of human autonomy as appropriation. Featuring original moral theory and fresh interpretations of the thought of Duns Scotus and Kant, God's Call is valuable both for its overview of the history of moral debate and for its construction of a sound Christian ethic for today.

Editorial Reviews

First Things
"This book by John E. Hare . . . is full of stimulating ideas that call for elaboration. Hare takes on important arguments of our day while doing historical philosophy. . . Those with some training in theological ethics will find Hare's reflections on enduring moral questions to be a welcome stimulus to deeper thinking."

Theological Studies
"Lucidly written and crisply illustrated, Hare's philosophy of prescriptive realism provides an attractive version of divine-command ethics, shorn of its traditional heteronomy, even if it will not completely satisfy Christians beholden to a more genteel account of human concupiscence."

Robert C. Roberts
"John Hare uses the history of philosophy in three separate centuries to construct a compelling account of moral authority that preserves the objectivity of moral norms, clarifies the autonomy of moral agents, and places God at the center. Hare offers an original interpretation of metaethics in the twentieth century, restores Immanuel Kant as a Christian moral philosopher, and introduces us to the searching divine command ethics of John Duns Scotus. This short book brims with provocative insights for contemporary ethics."

Gene Outka
"This volume offers a wide range of important arguments. Its three chapters show striking precision and concision. John Hare first considers debates within Anglo-American philosophy over the last century between moral realists and moral expressivists. He seeks to hold together the objective and subjective sides of evaluation and to defend prescriptive realism. Next he goes back to John Duns Scotus in the later Middle Ages in order to retrieve parts of Scotus's divine command theory. Thus he resists making natural law the only theist alternative to secular ethical theories. Finally he critically examines relevant claims in Immanuel Kant, who stands influentially between the medieval and contemporary standpoints. He contends that Kant does not attack divine command theory without further ado, as most contemporary interpreters suppose. These are engaging arguments indeed. Hare displays wide reading in the primary and secondary literature. His style is lean and accessible. This book merits and rewards serious scrutiny, and I commend it with enthusiasm."

Robert Audi
"This book is both historically well informed and full of insights. It contains a valuable presentation of Duns Scotus's divine command theory, an informative treatment of Kant's position on autonomy in relation to divine authority, and much else of major interest."

Booklist
"Hare's brief book provides an informative history of one major controversy in twentieth century ethics, that between moral realists and moral expressivists. . . The controversy at its heart is a live one in ethics and of particular concern to theological descendants of Calvin and to those concerned with natural law in Catholic moral theology."

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