Secular versus Religious Visions of Worth

Samuel Fleischacker

in Divine Teaching and the Way of the World

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199217366
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728495 | DOI:
Secular versus Religious Visions of Worth

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This chapter draws connections between reflective love and what religious people call “faith,” suggesting that the visions of a highest good presented by religious texts are better suited to reflective love than secular accounts of that good. The very weakness of the accounts surveyed in Part III is a reason to suppose that a proper account of the good may need to depend on faith, rather than reason alone: the fact that religious revelation demands faith is therefore a point in its favor. Stronger points in its favor are found by connecting faith to the exercise of what Kant calls the imagination: revelation, by taking poetic form, speaks to our imaginations as philosophical theories can never do. Still, a commitment to a revelation needs some sort of rational check—reflective love, not just any love, marks an appropriate religious faith—and the chapter therefore sketches how an imaginative commitment to a religion may be integrated with a “best account” of the features any highest good for humanity must have. The investigation of Part III thus yields some formal criteria for how a would-be believer should approach the visions of life’s worth proffered by revelation. It thereby sets the stage for Part IV.

Keywords: reflective love; faith; imagination; hope; best account

Chapter.  10619 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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