By John Rawls

ISBN-10: 0674047532

ISBN-13: 9780674047532

John Rawls by no means released something approximately his personal spiritual ideals, yet after his loss of life texts have been chanced on which shed striking mild at the topic. a quick Inquiry into the that means of Sin and religion is Rawls’s undergraduate senior thesis, submitted in December 1942, prior to he entered the military. at the moment Rawls used to be deeply non secular; the thesis is an important paintings of theological ethics, of curiosity either in itself and thanks to its relation to his mature writings. “On My Religion,” a brief assertion drafted in 1997, describes the background of his spiritual ideals and attitudes towards faith, together with his abandonment of orthodoxy in the course of global struggle II.

The current quantity contains those texts, an advent via Joshua Cohen and Thomas Nagel which discusses their relation to Rawls’s released paintings, and an essay by means of Robert Merrihew Adams which areas the thesis in its theological context.

The texts demonstrate the profound engagement with faith that kinds the heritage of Rawls’s later perspectives at the significance of keeping apart faith and politics. in addition, the ethical and social convictions that the thesis expresses in non secular shape are similar in illuminating how one can the relevant principles of Rawls’s later writings. His notions of sin, religion, and group are at the same time ethical and theological, and prefigure the ethical outlook present in A thought of Justice.

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Additional info for A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith: With "On My Religion"

Example text

However, the clearest argument he offers, from the phenomenon of prostitution, seems not to show that no single motive can be both sexual and personal, but only that a person can want sex without wanting a personal relationship that is more than sexual (187–188). In any event, the senior thesis contains no systematic effort to explain where appetition is legitimate in human relations and where it is illegitimate. Rawls’s systematic argument against illegitimate extension of natural relations deals only with relations with God.

It states flatly that “there can be no separation between religion and ethics” (114). A form of Prot­es­tant Christianity is af­firmed in the thesis, without serious discussion of other religious alternatives. Section 8 of my essay is focused on what the thesis says about God. I begin, in section 1, with some observations about the historical setting in which Rawls wrote his undergraduate thesis. 1. 1942 and Neo-Orthodoxy The cultural and intellectual background of the thesis Rawls wrote in 1942 was quite different from that of the moral and political philosophy he published in later years.

Rawls believes there are rational appetitions, but grants that a “pragmatist” might deny it. ” Professing ignorance of aesthetics, Rawls is somewhat agnostic about the ac­tual existence of aesthetic appetition. Finally, (d) the “religious” appetition “is the appetition which seeks God as its object, or the Form of the Good, the Alone and so forth. ” Doubts may well be raised as to whether this partition really covers all types of appetition. In particular, many desires for mental pro­cesses ­don’t uncontroversially or obviously fall under any of Rawls’s four categories.

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A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith: With "On My Religion" by John Rawls


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