Paperback / softback
October 12, 2001
9780878408764
English
376
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.35 Pounds (US)
$26.95 USD, £20.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Democracy on Purpose

Justice and the Reality of God

Western moral and political theory in the last two centuries has widely held that morality and politics are independent of a divine reality. Claiming that this consensus is flawed, prominent theologian Franklin I. Gamwell argues that there is a necessary relation between moral worth and belief in God. Without appealing to the beliefs of any specific religion, Gamwell defends a return to the view that moral and political principles depend on a divine purpose.

To separate politics from the divine misrepresents the distinctive character of human freedom, Gamwell maintains, and thus prevents a full understanding of the nature of justice. Principles of justice define "democracy on purpose" as the political form in which we pursue the divine good.

Engaging in a dialogue with such major representatives of the dominant consensus as Kant, Habermas, and Rawls, and informed by the philosophical writings of Alfred North Whitehead, this book makes the case for a neoclassical metaphysics that restores a religious sensibility to our political life.

About the Author

Franklin I. Gamwell is professor of religious ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His books include The Meaning of Religious Freedom: Modern Politics and the Democratic Resolution (SUNY Press, 1995) and The Divine Good: Modern Moral Theory and the Necessity of God (HarperCollins, 1990, and Southern Methodist University Press, 1996).

Reviews

"A most worthwhile addition to any college or university library."—Religious Studies Review

"Democracy on Purpose succeeds in redeeming the claim that metaphysical theism is a necessary basis for political theory, and in showing that 'democracy depends on a divine purpose' favoring justice. This is a uniquely important contribution to political theory and an appropriate follow-up to his redemption of claims for the necessity of metaphysical theism in moral theology."—Journal of Religion

Endorsements

"Franklin Gamwell wrestles with giants. In weaving his powerful argument that democracy and justice must rest on a comprehensive theistic teleology, he engages critically but respectfully with Aquinas, Kant, Reinhold Niebuhr, Habermas, Apel and Rawls. Gamwell's resulting position is both intellectually and historically engaged."—Ronald M. Green, Dartmouth College

Georgetown University Press
Moral Traditions

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