‘Is’, ‘ought’ and theological ethics

Rufus Black

in Christian Moral Realism

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780198270201
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683947 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

‘Is’, ‘ought’ and theological ethics

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This chapter brings into focus the discussion about the renewal of Christian ethics participated in by three figures namely: Stanlely Hauerwas, one of the most influential Christian ethicists; Germain Grisez, an American lay Roman Catholic; and Oliver O'Donovan, a third party who asked penetrating questions of both natural law theory, including that produced by Grisez and his collaborators, and key features of Hauerwas's thought. It professes that the effect of the Grisez School's affirmation, of what is widely understood as Hume's contention that it is not logically possible to derive an ‘ought’ and from an ‘is’, is that the starting-point of moral reasoning must be practical reason (the sort of reason people use to plan action) and not theoretical reason (the type of reason that tests the truth of a proposition by seeking to establish its conformity to some prior reality, for example scientific reason).

Keywords: renewal of Christian ethics; Stanley Hauerwas; Germain Grisez; American lay Roman Catholic; Oliver O'Donovan; natural law theory; Hume's contention; ought; is; moral reasoning

Chapter.  16676 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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