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Title: Some contemporary atheist and Christian responses to moral nihilism and amoralism
Author: Collins, Peter
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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If the universe and our lives within it exist for no purpose and are destined to be annihilated for ever in death, perhaps nothing much matters including how we live and treat others. In particular, we may never have good reason to make substantial, enduring and uncompensated sacrifices of our own interests here and now in order to secure the interests of others. This is especially so in seeking realise our ambitions through pursiuing fame and fortune in competitive careers. Part One sets out three challenges to any morality which requires some unselfishness: from the perennial facts about the human condition; from the extreme pluralism of contemporary secular society; and from an updated Machiavellianism in relation to ambition. Part Two explores the answers to these challenges offered by three versions of contemporary atheist ethics: Isaiah Berlin's, Daniel Dennett's and Derek Parfit's. Part three builds on the work of the Christian ethicists Keith Ward and Charles Taylor to show how a Christian ethics grounded in the theological virtues, in the virtiue of humility, and the concept of vocations offers more attractive and inspiring answers to the challenges of moral nihilism and amoralism than is available to atheists, who also need forms of faith if they are to rebut these challenges.
Supervisor: Biggar, Nigel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available