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|Title:||The Non-Totalizing Gaze of Faith: Towards a Religious Ethic of Attention|
|Authors:||Chau, Anne Sze-Ming Carolyn|
|Abstract:||<p>This thesis is an attempt to show that religion is neither irrelevant nor antithetical to ethics; it aims, ultimately, to recover the significance of religion for ethics. The germ of this project is threefold. First, it is grounded in the conviction that religion holds significance for moral discourse and that this relevance is not sufficiently acknowledged in philosophical ethics. Furthermore, philosophical ethics is considered unsatisfying insofar as it seems that being moral is not simply a matter of good, rational decision-making (though moral existence entails this). Finally and most importantly, the focus on the moral "agent" and the language of "praise and blame" seems to indicate an implicit egoism, which jars with moral virtue. This last conviction and the turn to otherness in postmodern thought allow me to build a bridge from secular philosophical ethics to a religious ethic of attention. My argument is that religion enables us to become more other-centered, an ethos that is putatively central to postmodern thought, insofar as religion or, more precisely, religious faith is the practice of attentive looking (to GOd). I have thus suggested that the tum to "the other" in contemporary ethics can be realized by the looking of prayer and worship. I have engaged with two thinkers in the attempt to think this idea through: feminist philosopher of religion Grace Jantzen and French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil. Weil provides a discussion of attention as the activity of grace, and will, which she understands as the dominating activity of the self; this distinction allows me to explore the possibility that religion or religious faith leads to a transformed, less egoistic, ethic. Moreover, it is Weil's understanding of faith as "waiting for God" which enables me, ultimately, to establish the connection between attending to God (religious faith) and responding appropriately to the other (ethics).</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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