Shalom and the Ethics of Belief: Nicholas Wolterstorff's Theory of Situated Rationality
Shalom and the Ethics of Belief explores Nicholas Wolterstorff’s theory of “situated rationality” from a theological point of view and develops a doxastic, or belief-based, ethic based upon the theology of Wolterstorff’s neo-Calvinist, Kuyperian background, which emerges in terms of his biblical ethic and eschatology of shalom. Two epistemological aspects are discussed in Nathan D. Shannon’s account of Wolterstorff’s philosophical writings: the picture of the belief-forming self present in the work of Thomas Reid, and the connection between belief and obligation. Situated rationality, the sum of Wolterstorff’s decades-long work on epistemology and rationality, is argued to be a shalom doxastic ethic—a Christian, common grace ethic of belief pluralism. Wolterstorff incorporates the ethics of belief within the full scope of a person’s socio-moral accountability, an accountability that ultimately flows from the teleology of the world as intended by its creator and from the inherent value of humans as bearers of the divine image. Shannon’s treatment of belief as grounded in the eschatological, ethical vision of shalom provides a comprehensive and novel account of how Wolterstoroff’s Christianity informed and influenced his philosophical writings.
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