From 'Is' to 'Ought' - 10.1628/ptsc-2017-0006 - Mohr Siebeck

Jason P. Roberts

From 'Is' to 'Ought'

Contemporary Anthropological Approaches to Theological Ethics

Volume 4 () / Issue 2, pp. 203-227 (25)

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A scientifically-informed anthropology is a potentially vital source and resource for theological ethics. Because they can disclose the biological, neurological, psychological, and social conditions that make human morality both possible and necessary, scientific portraits of our evolving and diverse human 'is' have tremendous explanatory power to inform the human 'ought.' Three sets of interdisciplinary thinkers view the anthropologically ubiquitous »negative contrast experience« of suffering and seeking wellbeing, the »foundational moral experience« of wonder, and the »mimetic desire« to emulate exemplars as fundamental to being human and constructing theological ethics. These three meta-ethical 'camps' can be shown to interrelate in four ways that culminate in illuminating the human affinity for religious and eschatological visions of wellbeing. In turn, these trans-historical visions of what can and ought to be are able to expand the moral horizons of communities and individuals in history.

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