Posted by: gcarkner | January 29, 2019

Dennis Danielson Grapples with Moral Discourse

Beyond Paralysis: Radical Hope for Morality in a Cynical Age

Dennis Danielson

Professor Emeritus English UBC

 

Wednesday, March 13 at 4 pm,  

Mathematics Building, Room 100

Abstract

Three quarters of a century after the publication of C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man, moral relativism remains the approach to ethics that dominates the public square. The reductionist (even nihilist) approach to morality and other things that give meaning to human life also continues to shape what our children are taught in school. In the face of this ongoing dominance, it is imperative that we reassert a case for moral realism and cultivate hope for an ethics transcending a mere exercise of power.

Biography

Dennis Danielson (PhD Stanford) is Professor Emeritus and former Head of English at the University of British Columbia. His interests have ranged across literature, religion, the history of science, and ethics. He is a past recipient of UBC’s Killam Prize for research in the humanities, and of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Konrad Adenauer Research Award. His articles have appeared in Mind, Milton Studies, Nature, American Journal of Physics, Journal for the History of Astronomy, and Scientific American. His books include Milton’s Good God: A Study in Literary Theodicy (1982), The Book of the Cosmos: Imagining the Universe from Heraclitus to Hawking (2000), The First Copernican: Georg Joachim Rheticus and the Rise of the Copernican Revolution (2006), Paradise Lost and the Cosmological Revolution (2014), and, most recently, The Tao of Right and Wrong: Rediscovering Humanity’s Moral Foundations (2018).

 

On The Tao of Right and Wrong:

“Dennis Danielson’s message in The Tao of Right and Wrong needs to be urgently heeded. … This book should be on every teacher’s reading list.”

—Margaret Somerville, Professor of Bioethics, University of Notre Dame Australia

 

The Tao of Right and Wrongis a remarkably compressed and equally lucid exposition of the truths that really count. … The debate in which this book engages is, in the full sense of the term, a fundamental one.”

—Rex Murphy, Commentator for The National Post and formerly for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

 

“Dennis Danielson marks the 75thanniversary of C.S. Lewis’s classic work The Abolition of Manby updating it for our present situation and applying it to current concerns in a skilful and thought-provoking way. Timely, deft, impressive.”

—Michael Ward, University of Oxford, co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis; author, Planet Narnia.

In The Tao of Right and Wrong, Dennis Danielson offers a vigorous primer on moral realism, asserting that humans can and should exercise ethical judgments—and that these judgments are not reducible to subjective opinion, animal instinct, or cultural “construction.” The book is a twenty-first century call for the virtuous cultivation of “humans with hearts,” for a rejection of moral nihilism, and for a life-affirming embrace of moral realism founded in the Tao—the transcultural fund of ultimate postulates that form the very ground of moral judgment, codes of ethics, and standards of right and wrong.

Taylor’s Moral Ontology.current Charles Taylor on the Recovery of the Moral Good–His Version of Moral Realism 

Moral Subjectivism by Gordon Carkner


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