Journal article

Moralism and anti-moralism: Aspects of Bonhoeffer's Christian ethic

CAJ Coady

Sophia | Published : 2012


Dietrich Bonhoeffer's thinking about ethics and Christianity is a fascinating attempt to combine different, and often conflicting, strands in the Christian intellectual tradition. In this article, I outline his thinking, analyse the advantages and disadvantages in his approach, and relate it to developments in contemporary philosophy. His critique of an excessive stress upon principles and abstraction in opposition to a concern for concrete circumstances is, I argue, best seen as a necessary critique of what I call moralism rather than morality. It is also related to recent philosophical theories of particularism and the debates about 'emergency ethics' in current philosophy. On the negative..

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