Forum Philosophicum

Volume 28, Issue 1, Spring 2023

Christian Philosophy and Its Challenges

Jaeha WooOrcid-ID
Pages 149-179

On the Need for Distinctive Christian Moral Psychologies
How Kant Can Figure into Christian Ethics Today

I show how those with Kantian habits of mind—those committed to maintaining certain kinds of universality in ethics—can still get involved in the project of securing the distinctiveness of Christian ethics by highlighting parts of his moral philosophy that are amenable to this project. I first describe the interaction among James Gustafson, Stanley Hauerwas, and Samuel Wells surrounding the issue of the distinctiveness of Christian ethics, to explain why Kant is generally understood as the opponent of this project in this discourse. Then I lay out his discussions of how his moral argument for postulating divine existence can have beneficial moral-psychological results, and of how we can find moral satisfaction, the sense of pleasure in our moral strivings, as two elements in his moral philosophy that can be turned into a distinctively Christian ethics with revisions that should be allowed within the broad confines of Kantian moral philosophy. I also point out that his own answer to the question of moral satisfaction is already distinctively Christian, in that it is inspired by the Christian tenets of the imputation of righteousness and the assurance of salvation.