Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Responsibility is a relatively new concept in ethics, which raises questions about its status in Christian ethics. Did modern moral philosophers and theologians discover in the concept of responsibility something heretofore concealed, a feature of moral life that had eluded the traditional conceptual apparatus of act, will, and conscience? Or did modern morality bring something genuinely new into being, something which these older concepts were inadequate to express? This article argues for the latter view. The entry of the concept of responsibility, and the primacy it assumes in some theories of ethics, signals an expansion or an intensification of the role of the human subject in ethics correlative to the modern withdrawal of God from the world. The very notion of responsibility draws attention to the sense in which a matter of morality or the whole thereof is ‘up to us’. The concept of responsibility embodies a struggle over the status of the human subject in modern moral theories. The article explores that struggle in Christian ethics by tracing it through two kinds of appeal to responsibility. One kind of appeal treats responsibility as a substantive principle, the other kind as a way of characterizing the moral self.

Keywords: Christian ethics, morality, morally theories, human subject, substantive principle, moral self

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.