Science and the good [electronic resource] : the tragic quest for the foundations of morality / James Davison Hunter, Paul Nedelisky
- Hunter, James Davison, 1955-
- New Haven : Yale University Press ; [West Conshohocken, PA] : Templeton Press, 
- Physical Description:
- xv, 289 pages ; 22 cm.
- Additional Creators:
- Nedelisky, Paul
- Restrictions on Access:
- License restrictions may limit access.
- Acknowledgments -- Preface: The argument, in brief -- Part I: Introduction. Our promethean longing -- Part II. The historical quest. Early formulations ; Three schools of enlightenment thinking -- and one lingering and disturbing worry ; The new synthesis -- Part III. The quest thus far. What has science found? ; The proclivity to overreach ; Intractable challenges -- Part IV. Enduring quandaries. The quest, redirected ; The promethean temptation -- and the problem of unintended consequences.
- In this illuminating book, James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky recount the centuries-long, passionate quest to discover a scientific foundation for morality. The "new moral science" led by such figures as E.O. Wilson, Patricia Churchland and Joshua Greene is only the newest manifestation of an effort that has failed repeatedly. Though claims for its accomplishments are often wildly exaggerated, this new iteration has been no more successful than its predecessors. Hunter and Nedelisky argue that in the end, science cannot tell us how we should live or why we should be good and not evil, and this is for both philosophical and scientific reasons. In the face of this failure, the new moral science has taken a surprising turn. Whereas earlier efforts sought to demonstrate what is right and wrong, the new moral scientists have concluded that right and wrong, because they are not amenable to scientific study, don actually exist. Their (perhaps unwitting) moral nihilism turns the science of morality into a social engineering project. If there is nothing moral for science to discover, the science of morality becomes, at best, a program to achieve arbitrary societal goals -- Provided by the publisher.
- 9780300196283 (hardcover)
- Bibliography Note:
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 217-274) and index.
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