Introduction. The image of a moral compass: drawing attention to the transcendent character of the good in times of pluralism and polarization

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This chapter explains the urgency of the central topic of this volume: the transcendent nature of the good. The current western, moral situation is ambiguous. Pluralism and aggressiveness lead to avoidance of moral debate. At the same time, morality is ubiquitous as evidenced in the interest in sexual (mis)behavior, racism, or climate shame. Polarization exists alongside indifference. In this climate, attention to the transcendent nature of the good can generate positive impulses for new moral conversations. This chapter first explores transcendence through the metaphor of a compass, in a double sense: affirmatively as a stimulus to find a shared intuition of the good, critically as an indication that achieving the absolute good is impossible. Subsequently, the following chapters are analyzed as to their contribution to exploring the metaphysical and epistemological issues related to the transcendent understanding of the good. Relevant key concepts from the history of Christian theology and philosophy such as conscience, natural and divine law, moral order, virtue, and grace are examined for their potential to express the relationship and critical tension between the transcendent and concrete goods. Finally, the value of attention to the transcendent good is probed in two current moral issues, euthanasia and family.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe transcendent character of the good
Subtitle of host publicationphilosophical and theological perspectives
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781003305323
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge studies in ethics and moral theory

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