Arne Rasmusson
University of Gothenburg

Theological Ethics and Moral Psychology

Project Description:

I propose a series of studies developing a constructive position that includes critical analysis of moral and political uses of moral psychology, a theologically informed, broadened view of human rationality and consciousness, and an attempt to use moral psychology within the framework of christological and ecclesial ethics. I will especially focus on the social intuitionism developed by Jonathan Haidt. Having first critically analyzed the way this theory is used as a basis for a sort of public philosophy, I will attempt to show how such a theory requires an understanding of rationality and consciousness that can do justice to the bodily and social nature of thinking. Then, I will bring this social intuitionism into conversation with ecclesial virtue ethics. Finally, I will show that such a cross-disciplinary perspective can be fruitfully employed within christologically based ethics.

Arne Rasmusson is a Professor in Systematic Theology, University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and Extraordinary professor at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Before coming to Gothenburg in 2011, Professor Rasmusson taught for many years at Umeå University in North Sweden, where he still is a visiting professor. His studies have fallen in border areas between theology, ethics, sociology, and political theory, and more recently between theological ethics and neuroscience/moral psychology. His many publications include works on political theology, ecclesiology, the nature of theological ethics, virtue ethics, and critical studies of how neuroscience, cognitive science, moral psychology, and evolutionary psychology function as forms of secular political theologies.  Among these writings are The Church as Polis: From Political Theology to Theological Politics as Exemplified by Jürgen Moltmann and Stanley Hauerwas (University of Notre Dame Press), “Neuroethics as a brain-based philosophy of life: The Case of Michael S. Gazzaniga” (Neuroethics 2:1, 2009), “Science as salvation: George Lakoff and Steven Pinker as secular political theologians” (Modern Theology 28:2, 2012), “’the curious fact that ... the Lord always puts us on the just side’: Reinhold Niebuhr, America, and Christian Realism” (Studia Theologica: Nordic Journal of Theology 66:1, 2012), “The Church as a ‘Creative Minority’: On being church in today’s Europe”, in Religions and Churches in a Common Europe (ed. János Wildmann, Europaeischer Hochschulverlag).