Get Altruism and Christian Ethics (New studies in Christian PDF

By Colin Grant

ISBN-10: 0511012926

ISBN-13: 9780511012921

ISBN-10: 0521791448

ISBN-13: 9780521791441

Separated from its anchorage in faith, ethics has the social sciences in seeing humans as essentially characterised via self-interest, in order that altruism is both naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin supply contends that, as a contemporary secular idea, altruism is a parody at the self-giving love of Christianity, in order that its dismissal represents a social leveling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and faith makes attainable. He argues that to dispense with altruism is to dispense with God and with the divine transformation of human chances.

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48 On this reading, Darwin's biological vision was applied to human society through ``social Darwinism'' and then, in turn, this free enterprise social vision was read back into nature with the result that, as Sahlins suggests, the wolf comes to be seen in light of the acquisitive behavior associated with the aggressive human entrepreneur. It may be, however, that in spite of the sharpness of Sahlins' attack on the genetic capitalism developed by sociobiology, his historical reading of Darwinism itself is really too conservative.

P. 215. , ``Preface,'' p. x. Explanations for altruism 27 In spite of the apparently total about-face represented by this assurance that ``we are built as gene machines and nurtured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators,''63 this does not necessarily mean a complete repudiation of the detailed delineation of genetic strategies. It can rather entail drawing on the knowledge of these strategies as the means for the rebellion against them. ''64 Then rather than a direct repudiation of the sel®sh gene reading of life, the promotion of an unprecedented altruism requires precisely this knowledge of the endemic selfishness at the heart of nature as a measure of the odds against which any prospect for genuine altruism must contend.

Apart from the particular examples considered, this is also evident in the insistence on the individual, as opposed to the group, version of natural selection. Granted that genetic variations occur at the individual level, it is the species, and not the individual, that is ultimately modi®ed. Why then should the focus fall so exclusively on the individual? The obvious answer is that the assumption of the pivotal signi®cance of sel®shness that is taken to characterize the gene level continues to be af®rmed on up the scale.

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Altruism and Christian Ethics (New studies in Christian Ethics) by Colin Grant


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