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The Philosophical and Theological Foundations of Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory and its Relation to Religious Belief [Paperback]

By Peter Byrne (Author)
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Item description for The Philosophical and Theological Foundations of Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory and its Relation to Religious Belief by Peter Byrne...

This study is an introduction to the problems of moral philosophy designed particularly for those interested in theology and religious studies. It offers an account of the nature and subject matter of moral reasoning and of the major types of moral theory in contemporary moral philosophy. The account aims to bring out the major issues in moral theory, to present a clear, non-technical articulation of the structure of moral knowledge, and to explore the relation between religious belief and morality.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Palgrave Macmillan
Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.44"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 14, 1999
Publisher   Palgrave Macmillan
Edition  1999  
ISBN  0312220006  
ISBN13  9780312220006  

Availability  148 units.
Availability accurate as of May 27, 2017 03:54.
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More About Peter Byrne

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! PETER BYRNE is Professor of Philosophy of Religion at King's College, London. He co-edits the journal Religious Studies. He has edited a series of books in medical ethics and is co-editor (with Leslie Houlden) of A Companion Encyclopedia of Theology. He is the author of Natural Religion and the Nature of Religion, The Philosophical and Theological Foundations of Ethics and (with Peter B. Clarke) Religion Defined and Explained.

Peter Byrne was born in 1950.

Peter Byrne has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Reason and Religion

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics

Reviews - What do customers think about The Philosophical and Theological Foundations of Ethics: An Introduction to Moral Theory and its Relation to Religious Belief?

Excellent overview of relationship between religion & ethics  May 20, 2000
Peter Byrne is the editor of the prestigious journal RELIGIOUS STUDIES. His book, THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF ETHICS, is simply an outstanding introductory text on the relationship between religion and morality. I have learned much from this book, and I highly recommend it to others.

As an atheist, I was particularly interested in Byrne's chapter on "Morality without Religion." Byrne considers a number of issues related to this subject, including: (i) naturalistic ethics, motivation, and evil; and (ii) the metaphysics and epistemology of secular ethics. Concerning (i), Byrne considers "the objection to secular ethics ... that it can offer the individual who respects morality no guarantee of anything other than a life of disappointment and self-sacrifice." However, he notes that the secular moralist can offer three points to mitigate this objection. First, virtuous living remains a partial good even if it exists in isolation from the ideal whole. Second, the social dimension of morality shows that the best chance for attaining the complete good will be in a morally ordered community where moral rules are well-respected. Third, concern for moral considerations is not wholly derived from desire to attain an ultimate good. Byrne concludes, "We can see from this discussion of moral motivation that what is and is not a proper and sufficient motive for moral action is a complex matter--much more complex than neat proofs of the unsatisfactoriness of this or that moral outlook allow."

As for (ii), Byrne considers arguments which attempt to show that if we are doubtful of theism, we must be doubtful of the truth of moral principles. Here Byrne notes that if the secular moralist is allowed use of the notions of truth and reason in general, then objections about the source and nature of secular morality collapse. (Byrne lists personal choice, social custom, and evolution as examples of sources of secular moral standards.) He writes, "So long as the secular thinker can point to good reasons which back a judgement such as 'Do not steal', the question of whence this moral standard arises is of no more philosophical interest than the question 'Where do the principles of arithmetic come from?'"

The book is written at an intermediate level, so that it is useful to scholars and students alike. I highly recommend it.


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