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Moral Creativity

John Wall

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195182569
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835737 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195182561.001.0001

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series

Moral Creativity

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This book combines ancient, modern, and postmodern resources to argue that moral life and thought are inherently and radically creative. Human beings are called by their own primordially created depths to exceed historical evil and tragedy through the ongoing creative transformation together of their world. This creative capability can be understood in its fullest dimensions only as a religious or mythological affirmation of humanity as an image of its Creator. This thesis challenges Greek and biblical separations of ethics and poetic image-making, as well as contemporary conceptions of moral life as grounded in fixed principles or preconstituted traditions. It instead recasts a range of mythic, prophetic, and tragic resources to uncover moral life’s poetics, tension, dynamism, catharsis, disruptiveness, excess, and impossible possibility for renewal. The book takes as its starting point a critical reading of the hermeneutical poetics of the will of Paul Ricoeur, and from there enters into a range of conversations with Aristotle and contemporary Aristotelianism, Immanuel Kant and modernism, and current Continental, narrative, liberationist, and feminist ethics such as in Emmanuel Levinas, Richard Kearney, Martha Nussbaum, Jürgen Habermas, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Luce Irigaray, and Sallie McFague. In the process, it develops a meta-ethical phenomenology of moral creativity along the lines of four increasingly complex dimensions: ontology (creativity of the self), teleology (positive creativity of narrative goods), deontology (negative creativity in response to otherness), and social practice (mixed creativity between plural others in society). Moral creativity is in the end an original and necessary religious capability for responding anew to the tensions within and between selves in the world by forming over time, in love and hope, an ever more radically inclusive humanity.

Keywords: creativity; ethics; evil; hermeneutics; image; otherness; phenomenology; poetics; Paul Ricoeur; self

Book.  256 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Moral Creativity

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Conclusion in Moral Creativity

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