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Ethics and the Autonomy of Philosophy

In Ethics and the Autonomy of Philosophy, Bernard Walker sets out with two objectives. First, Walker argues that ethics is autonomous as a discipline. Oftentimes ethics books, from a Christian perspective, lean toward grounding ethics in theology or in biblical proof texting. Walker departs from this tradition. Ethics grounded in theology entails a limited scope for those doing ethics in that the Christian God must be assumed for both Christian and non-Christian when at the table of ethical dialogue. For the non-Christian, this loads the dice and shuts down ethical consensus and dialogue, if not ethical truth. With that said, this book does not depart from Christian ethical views on such issues as the sanctity of life, antiracism, the death penalty, the objectivity of ethics, and the importance of integrating faith into ethics; however, Walker does so from a common denominator of philosophy rather than theology. Second, Walker ventures into the streets and engages the man/woman on the streets approach to ethics and ethical decision-making. He points out the shortcomings of the ubiquitous views of the man/woman on the streets, viz., cultural relativism, skepticism, and the attitude that ethics is merely a matter of personal choice. ""There is today a resurgence of interest in philosophical and theological issues concerning God and morality, and in this important work Bernard Walker examines a cluster of complex and controversial questions at the heart of the debate. Written by a philosopher who is also a committed Christian, this book will stimulate you to consider some familiar issues in fresh ways and to explore more deeply the relation between God, Scripture, and moral principles."" --Harold Netland, Director of Religion and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL ""This is a bold and ambitious volume on ethics that is comprehensive in scope, unique in content, and full of significant insights. Even those who disagree with Walker's approach will benefit greatly from his discussion of such topics as pop ethics, epistemic myopia, and the role of philosophy and Scripture in the relationship between religion and ethics. Intended as a companion to an introduction to ethics text, it deserves a most wide readership."" --David Nah, Associate Professor of Theology, Bethel Seminary St. Paul, St. Paul, MN ""Walker offers an introductory ethics textbook from a broadly Christian perspective, without reducing philosophy to theology. He touches on a wide range of controversial ethical issues and takes exception to the published views of various Christian philosophers on ethics. Readers will find an abundance of examples that prompt lively discussion of ethical topics and the relevance of a Christian perspective on morality."" --Paul K. Moser, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Philosophy, Loyola, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL Bernard James Walker is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Ethics in the College of Adult and Professional Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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