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The Moral Gap : Kantian Ethics, Human Limits, and God's Assistance - John E. Hare

The Moral Gap

Kantian Ethics, Human Limits, and God's Assistance

Paperback

Published: 1st April 1997
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This book is about the gap between the moral demand on us and our natural capacities to meet it. John Hare starts with Kants statement of the moral demand and his acknowledgement of this gap. Hare then analyses Kants use of the resources of the Christian tradition to make sense of this gap, especially the notions of revelation, providence, and Gods grace. Kant reflects the traditional way of making sense of this gap, which is to invoke Gods assistance in bridging it. Hare goes on to examine various contemporary philosophers who do not use these resources. He considers three main strategies: exaggerating our natural capacities, diminishing the moral demand, and finding some naturalistic substitute for Gods assistance. He argues that these strategies do not work, and that we are therefore left with the gap and with the problem that it is unreasonable to demand of ourselves a standard which we cannot reach. In the final section of the book, Hare looks in more detail at the Christian doctrines of atonement, justification, and sanctification. He discusses Kierkegaards account of the relation between the ethical life and the Christian life, and ends by considering human forgiveness, and the ways in which Gods forgiveness is both like and unlike our forgiveness of each other. The book is intended for those interested in both ethical theory and Christian theology.

`an impressive book' The Expository Times `This book is a very careful piece of moral philosophy. Anyone interested in the intersection of religion and moral values should find food for thought.' Mark R Talbot, Wheaton College, Journal of Beliefs and Values `this careful, rigorous contribution to the series of Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics looks prudently round the corners, investigates the blind alleys, turns over the stones, and leaves the reader intellectually stretched and well instructed, if not greatly inspired. Hare's is a worthy undertaking to remind us of the Christian dimensions to our philosophical traditions, to demonstrate "the credibility of a God who loves us enough both to demand a high standard from us and to help us to meet it". It is heavy, steady, rigorous, demanding reading.' The Ven. David Atkinson, Archdeacon of Lewisham, Church Times `With the book under review written by the son of a famous father, it is fascinaitng to observe their very different approaches ... the most impressive section of the book lies in his treatment of the impact of Christ on ethics, where a strong defence of the notion of incorporation is offered, and he gives a good critique of Richard Swinburne on forgiveness.' David Brown, University of Durham, Theology `This is a worthwhile book which interestingly ventilates the problem of the gap between what we ought to do and what we can do. It would be useful as a teaching book ... John Hare is clear-minded and fair-minded, and he writes plainly and lucidly. He aims at being accessible ... and succeeds remarkably well, not only in presenting his own arguments, but in expounding the thought of other people ... The book is practical in giving plenty of applications and examples.' Helen Oppenheimer, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 48, No. 1 Apr '97 `This book is a very careful piece of moral philosophy ... Anyone interested in the intersection of religion and moral values should find food for thought.' Journal of Beliefs and Values `This is a singular contribution to the reintroduction of Kant's ethics into the contemporary debates in philosophical and theological ethics.' Choice `A fine argument-packed book ... an informed, skillful and persuasive interpreter of Kant's ethics ... This unusual, resourceful, well-argued and wide-ranging book on a topic of manifest importance should be bought or ordered for the library, and read.' Theology in Scotland `All told, this book can give anyone who works through it a better grasp of what it means to be moral and of how Christianity addresses the gap that even most secular philosophers find to yawn between what we are and what we ought to be.' First Things

Introduction Part I: Kantian Ethics 1: Kant and the Moral Demand 2: God's Suppplement 3: Moral Faith Part II: Human Limits 4: Puffing up the Capacity 5 Centrality: 6: Reducing the Demand 7: Substitutes for God's Assistance Part III: God's Assistance 8: Repentance 9: Forgiveness 10: God's Assistance Bibliography Index of Biblical Passages General Index

ISBN: 9780198269571
ISBN-10: 0198269579
Series: Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st April 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.17 x 14.63  x 1.93
Weight (kg): 0.38