Listen to the Battle of Ideas 2014 debate.
We know the difference between moralism and morality – or do we? The former implies an unattractive self-righteousness; the latter, ‘the real thing’. But without righteousness, is morality meaningful? Do changing moral norms reflect more enlightened attitudes or changing prejudices? Is the denigration of traditional ideas of morality really a new form of ‘moralising’? If religious moral values are considered too narrow, we seem less troubled by formalised norms dictated by ethics committees and other experts; even campaigns to change people’s lifestyle choices can look like moral crusades. Can we engage in serious moral debate without self-righteous groupthink and relativistic indifference?
Dr Hannah Dawson
historian of ideas, New College of the Humanities; author, Life Lessons from Hobbes
writer and broadcaster; author, From Fatwa to Jihad and The Quest for a Moral Compass
Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion, University of Oxford
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