Science, Ethics, and the Human Spirit

William B. Hurlbut

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780199543656
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Science, Ethics, and the Human Spirit

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The naturalistic methodologies of modern science have uncovered a vast wealth of understandings of the human condition that Blaise Pascal could not have imagined. These understandings have informed new naturalistic philosophical perspectives on the very nature of human nature, together with heretofore unimagined technological powers to manipulate it. Somehow the new conceptions of human nature fall short of cohering with the fullness of life as actually lived and experienced. However, people may discern in the evolutionary emergence of human personhood and its moral sociality intimations of a richer conception both of human nature and of the natural order in and to which it has adapted. When coupled with the perspective of Christian faith, such an expanded conception of the world culminates in an ethic that rises above mere moral duty and social utility to an alignment of life with the very source and power of self-giving love.

Keywords: Blaise Pascal; modern science; human nature; Christian faith; human personhood

Article.  7766 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religion and Science ; Religious Studies

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