An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Third Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Science, Technology & Religious Ideas, April 2–4, 1992, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Kentucky.
BEYOND RELATIVISM AND FOUNDATIONALISM: A PROLEGOMENON TO FUTURE RESEARCH IN ETHICS
Article first published online: 15 DEC 2005
Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 153–172, June 1994
How to Cite
Traphagan, J. W. (1994), BEYOND RELATIVISM AND FOUNDATIONALISM: A PROLEGOMENON TO FUTURE RESEARCH IN ETHICS. Zygon, 29: 153–172. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00658.x
- Issue published online: 15 DEC 2005
- Article first published online: 15 DEC 2005
- Christian mysticism;
- foundationalism and relativism;
- modern physics
Abstract. This article examines the similarities between notions about the nature of reality held by some Christian mystics (Thomas Merton and the author of The Cloud of Unknowing) and those proposed by physicists David Bohm and Henry Margenau. My aim is to consider how the implications of certain metaphysical interpretations of modern physics may: (1) hold similarities with Christian mystical notions about reality, and (2) be important for guiding future research in ethics. I further look into the traditional approaches to ethical theory that come out of the foundationalist, relativist, and skeptical realist camps and argue that while skeptical realists such as Timothy Jackson are moving in the right direction, further consideration of what is meant by reality is necessary if we are to traverse the gap between foundationalists and relativists. It is here that Christian ethicists in particular have the opportunity to pick up the metaphysical batons carried by physicists like Margenau and Bohm and mystics like Merton and the author of The Cloud and begin investigating the possibility that ethical theory can be approached from a nondualistic perspective.