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Science and Christian Ethics
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  • Paul Scherz, Catholic University of America, Washington DC
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Book description

There is a growing crisis in scientific research characterized by failures to reproduce experimental results, fraud, lack of innovation, and burn-out. In Science and Christian Ethics, Paul Scherz traces these problems to the drive by governments and business to make scientists into competitive entrepreneurs who use their research results to stimulate economic growth. The result is a competitive environment aimed at commodifying the world. In order to confront this problem of character, Scherz examines the alternative Aristotelian and Stoic models of reforming character, found in the works of Alasdair MacIntyre and Michel Foucault. Against many prominent virtue ethicists, he argues that what individual scientists need is a regime of spiritual exercises, such as those found in Stoicism as it was adopted by Christianity, in order to refocus on the good of truth in the face of institutional pressure. His book illuminates pressing issues in research ethics, moral education, and anthropology.


‘An incisive critique of the contemporary practice of science, a brilliant reconstruction of a Stoic-Christian ethic of moral and spiritual practices, and a compelling argument for reorienting virtue ethics around the question of how to cultivate virtue in the midst of corrupt institutions and practices. This lucid, thoughtful, and engaging book is a landmark contribution to the ethics of science and to Christian virtue ethics.'

Gerald McKenny - University of Notre Dame, Indiana

‘Paul Scherz’s fascinating and important book … offers a Christian ethical analysis of the practice of science … I have already begun recommending it to colleagues, doctoral students and scientists with an interest in ethics. It is a valuable contribution to a neglected aspect of the literature on science, theology and ethics. For anyone concerned about the malaise of contemporary science diagnosed by Scherz, it will be troubling and challenging, but essential, reading.’

Neil Messer Source: Studies in Christian Ethics

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