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Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe

Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe

$72.00 (P)

  • Date Published: February 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521845656

$ 72.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Suppose there is no God. This supposition implies that human life is meaningless, that there are no moral obligations and hence people can do whatever they want, and that the notions of virtue and vice, right and wrong, and good and evil have no place in the universe. Erik J. Wielenberg believes this view to be utterly erroneous and, in this thought-provoking book, he explains the reasons why. He argues that, even if God does not exist, human life can still have meaning, humans do have moral obligations, and human virtue is still possible. Wielenberg offers readers a cognent explanation of the ethical implications of naturalism--a view that denies the existence of the supernatural in human life. In his view virtue exists in a godless universe but it is significantly different from virtue in a Christian universe, and he develops naturalistic accounts of humility, charity, and hope. The overarching theme of Virtue and Value in a Godless Universe is what ethics might look like without God. Erik Wielenberg takes readers on an extraordinary tour of some of the central landmarks of this under-explored territory.

    • An examination of the ethical implications of the non-existence of God
    • Defends and explores ethical realism in the context of naturalism
    • Suitable for undergraduates and non-specialists as well as more advanced scholars
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Wielenberg presents an analytical pholosopher's argument, beautifully restrained and precise." Bookforum

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2005
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521845656
    • length: 204 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 16 x 152 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. God and the Meaning of Life:
    1. The meanings of life
    2. Four arguments that life lacks internal meaning without God
    3. Richard Taylor's way out: creating your own meaning
    4. Peter Singer's way out: meaning through eliminating pain
    5. Aristotle's way out: intrinsically good activity
    Part II. God and Morality:
    6. God as the omnipotent creator of ethics
    7. Criticism of the strong position
    8. Criticism of the weak position
    9. An alternative account
    10. God as divine commander
    Part III. The Divine Guarantee of Perfect Justice:
    11. Why be moral?
    12. First answer: because morality and self-interest coincide
    13. Second answer: because you ought to
    14. The divine guarantee of perfect justice and Kant's moral argument
    15. Divine justice, self-sacrifice, and moral absurdity
    16. Absolute evil and moral faith
    17. Where we are now
    Part IV. Ethical Character in a Godless Universe:
    18. A new assumption
    19. The fall of man: pride and disobedience
    20. Humility, Christian and naturalistic
    21. From humility to charity
    22. Hope and heroism
    23. Moral education and science
    Part V. Creeds to Live By:
    24. To believe or not to believe?
    25. A creed we can live by?

  • Author

    Erik J. Wielenberg, DePauw University, Indiana
    Erik J. Wielenberg is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at DePauw University, Indiana. He has written articles in such journals as Religious Studies, Faith and Philosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Synthese, and Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. He has given lectures at a variety of professional conferences, including meetings of the American Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers.

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