Theological ethics in the intersection of moral psychology and sociology

There is a long-standing debate in theological ethics (as well as in moral philosophy) between, on the one hand, theories that thinks of ethics as a form of decision theory that can overcome the contingency and arbitrariness of the human body (emotions and intuitions) and the socio-historical context, and, on the other hand, understandings of ethics that sees ethics as an embodied practice embedded in traditions, narratives, social practices, institutions, and concerned with moral formation. In this project I will develop the second approach with the help of empirical studies in moral psychology and sociology, focusing on the Christian tradition. Moral psychology help us better understand the psychological and micro-social processes behind moral reasoning and formation. At the same time, sociology help us better describe the institutional and structural context of these processes. There is, moreover, a wealth of studies investigating the role of religion for, say, democracy, social trust, economic development, or attitudes towards immigrants. They tend to show that different moral practices in part depend on the specific nature of religious institutions and practices. Thus, the study aims to use empirical studies for developing a more realistic account of theological ethics.

Project leader(s):
  • Arne Rasmusson (Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, University of Gothenburg)

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