The Science of Modern Virtue

The Science of Modern Virtue

by Peter Augustine Lawler
     
 

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The Science of Modern Virtue examines the influence that the philosopher Rene Descartes, the political theorist John Locke, and the biologist Charles Darwin have had on our modern understanding of human beings and human virtue. Written by leading thinkers from a variety of fields, the volume is a study of the complex relation between modern science and

Overview

The Science of Modern Virtue examines the influence that the philosopher Rene Descartes, the political theorist John Locke, and the biologist Charles Darwin have had on our modern understanding of human beings and human virtue. Written by leading thinkers from a variety of fields, the volume is a study of the complex relation between modern science and modern virtue, between a kind of modern thought and a kind of modern action. Offering more than a series of substantive introductions to Descartes’, Locke’s, and Darwin’s accounts of who we are and the kind of virtue to which we can aspire, the book invites readers to think about the ways in which the writings of these seminal thinkers shaped the democratic and technological world in which modern human beings live.Thirteen scholars in this volume learnedly explore questions drawn from the diverse disciplines of political science, philosophy, theology, biology, and metaphysics. Let the reader be warned: The authors of these essays are anything but consensual in their analysis. Considered together, the chapters in this volume carry on a lively internal debate that mirrors theoretical modernity’s ongoing discussion about the true nature of human beings and the science of virtue. Some authors powerfully argue that Locke’s and Darwin’s thought is amenable to the claims made about human beings and human virtue by classical philosophers such as Aristotle and classical Christian theologians such as Thomas Aquinas. Others make the opposite case, drawing attention to the ways in which Descartes, Locke, and Darwin knowingly and dialectically depart from central teachings of both classical philosophy and classical Christian theology.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The reader is treated to a series of reflections not only on one of the great questions of philosophy, but also on one of the great themes giving shape to and driving modern culture.”
—James W. Ceaser, University of Virginia

“This is an excellent volume that is at once eclectic and unifying, comforting and troubling. In good Socratic tradition, it is a deeply subversive work.”
—Susan J. McWilliams, Pomona College

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875804750
Publisher:
Northern Illinois University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2013
Pages:
340
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the journal, Perspectives on Political Science and the author of numerous books, most recently Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons, and What That Means for Our Future and Homeless and at Home in America: Evidence for the Dignity of the Human Soul in Our Time and Place. He is the author of the blog Rightly Understood on BigThink.com, and he contributes to the blog Postmodern Conservative on FirstThings.com.

 Marc D. Guerra, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Theology Department at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is the author, most recently, of Christians as Political Animals: Taking the Measure of Modernity and Modern Democracy, and Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity.

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