Thesis ID: CBB001562701

Holmes Rolston, Bernard Lonergan, and the Foundations of Environmental Ethics (1999)


Nuñez, Theodore W. (Author)

Catholic University of America
Crysdale, Cynthia S. W.

Publication Date: 1999
Edition Details: Advisor: Crysdale, Cynthia S. W.
Physical Details: 655 pp.
Language: English

This study brings the ecophilosophy of Holmes Rolston into dialogue with the methodological thought of Bernard Lonergan in an attempt to clarify and strengthen the foundations of a contemporary environmental ethic. Part I is an interpretive analysis of Rolston's work. After situating Rolston's position within the field, I examine his meta-ethical stance in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics, axiology, philosophical anthropology, and theology of nature. Rolston takes a science-based, ecocentric approach in defending a nonanthropocentric ethic. Through worldview formation and moral oversight, humans recognize and appreciate a range of values in nonhuman nature. Aspects of Lonergan's thought relevant to environmental ethics are studied in Part II. First, I treat Lonergan's cognitional theory and transcendental method; his central claim is that cognitive/moral objectivity is the fruit of authentic subjectivity. Secondly, I present Lonergan's theory of emergent probability and the related notions of development and finality. Thirdly, I examine further aspects of Lonergan's position on human development as well as his phenomenology of consciousness. Fourthly, I discuss his theological account of human history and redemption. After presenting Lonergan's basic positions, I clarify and develop his view of the humanity-nature relationship by drawing on the work of Robert Doran. I argue that Doran's related notions of an ecological differentiation of consciousness, an integral dialectic of culture, and psychic conversion make an important contribution both to our understanding of Lonergan's thought and to ongoing debates in environmental philosophy and ecotheology. Part III pursues a mutually critical dialogue between Rolston and Lonergan on foundational issues in environmental ethics. I show that each thinker corrects and complements the other in several ways. I argue that (1) critical realism offers the most adequate epistemological grounding for environmental ethics; (2) addressing the eco-social crisis requires a new, nonanthropocentric ethic that is scientifically informed and religiously based; (3) a new ethic must integrate a nonathropocentric theory of values in nature with a humanistic value theory; and (4) it must include a character ethic informed by an evolutionary epic and a normative vision of sensitive earth residence.


Description Cited in Diss. Abstr. Int. A 61 (2000): 232. UMI order no. 9956976.

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Authors & Contributors
Shea, William R.
Weijers, Ido
Tonkens, E.
Ziller Camenietzki, Carlos
Kollerstrom, Nick
Scott, J. B.
Culture and Cosmos
Social History of Medicine
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Journal of Cambridge Studies
Intellectual History Review
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Greenwood Press
Maison des sciences de l'homme
University of Chicago Press
Oxford University Press
University Press of America
Science and religion
Religious beliefs
Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
Occult sciences
Galilei, Galileo
Roberti, Johannes
Goclenius, Rudolph
Bacon, Roger
Faber, Johann
United States
17th century
19th century
16th century
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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