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  • 1.
    Andersson, Kerstin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    Människan, naturen och Gud: En studie av miljöetiken i nutida kristen teologi2007Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study has three aims. The first aim is to analyse and clarify three models of theological environmental ethics. A second aim is to critically examine and compare the environmental ethical models of the three theologians. The third aim is to present a reasonable model of a theological environmental ethic. The overall problem of the study is how an acceptable theological environmental ethic can be constructed.

    The method used in the study is a content analysis of ideas, allowing the author to reconstruct a model of theological environmental ethics and clarify some important problems which a reasonable theological ethics must relate to. It is argued that a view of life perspective in environmental ethics gives an important complement to philosophical environmental ethics when analysing and constructing environmental ethical models.

    The theologians analysed in this study represent three different models of theological environmental ethics. Larry Rasmussen provides a communitarian virtue ethical and biocentric model with community, love and justice as central values. Leonardo Boff provides an ecocentric model characterised by his liberation theological standpoint combined with ecology. Boff’s model holds justice as a central value and argues for a responsibility for creating fair relations between humans and between humans and nature. Rosemary Radford Ruether’s model is characterised by ecofeminist theory and feminist theology. Ruether’s model is ecocentric and based on the idea that distorted gender relations are primary causes of the ecological crisis. All theologians in the study use the Bible and the Christian tradition as well as resources from natural and social science when constructing their models.

    The author of the study proposes her own biocentric model of theological environmental ethics grounded in an awareness of the existential vulnerability of human beings, a principle of ecological justice, a critique of hierarchical relations and the Christian idea of loving your neighbour.

  • 2.
    Hugo, Karin
    Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    Genmodifierade livsmedel och kommunikativ etik: En analys av etisk oenighet i debatten om genmodifierade livsmedel2005Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the Swedish debate regarding genetically modified food products. What does the moral disagreements within this debate entail? In which way would it be possible to obtain and maintain a true dialogue? Is consensus a plausible or even a desirable goal? Can communicative ethics contribute? These questions are analysed in this research project.

    The project focuses on three themes of the debate on genetically modified food 1990-2000 in Sweden. The first theme is in relation to the concepts: natural and unnatural. Within the debate on genetically modified food, there have been various wide ranging arguments on whether or not genetic modification is natural or unnatural.

    The second theme concerns the concepts of risk and benefit. Safety questions and possible risks and benefits have been subjects of discussion and debate for a long time. This analysis highlights the way risks or benefits are valued. What does it mean if something is a risk?

    The third theme concerns the argumentations regarding democracy, mostlyin relation to labelling discussions. Democracy is used to describe freedom of choice, another argumentation focuses on the right to be a part of the decision making process.

    The last part of the thesis discusses the question whether communicative ethics can contribute to obtain dialogue between various parties, and whether consensus is possible or even a desirable as a goal. How would this function in a debate where there is an ethical disagreement based on divergent ethical standpoints?

  • 3.
    Karlsson, Fredrik
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    Weighing Animal Lives: A Critical Assessment of Justification and Prioritization in Animal-Rights Theories2009Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The project underlying this dissertation aims at analyzing three pro-animal-rights theories, evaluating the theories, and outlining an alternative theoretical account of animal rights. The analytical categories are justification and function of animal rights, the definition of the right holder, and the resolution approach to rights conflict. The categories are applied to a naturalist, a theocentric, and a contractarian approach to defend animal rights. The evaluation is substantiated by the assumption that rights are meant to protect less powerful beings against more powerful aggressors. The constructive segment is an investigation into what extent identified disadvantages of the theories can be avoided by outlining a new model for animal rights.

    The analyses and evaluation suggest that all three theories are at risk of contradicting the proper function of rights-based theories. Tom Regan’s naturalist account of animal rights includes a logical possibility to sacrifice less capable beings for the sake of more capable beings. Andrew Linzey’s theocentric case for animal rights may sometimes mean that vulnerable human persons should be sacrificed for more powerful non-human beings. Mark Rowlands’ outlined contractarian model, further reconstructed in this work, fails to provide a way to resolve rights conflicts, making the function of rights inapplicable to conflicts.

    In conclusion, it is suggested that defining the right holder as a self-preservative being can be supported by, at least, the contractarian rationale. That would also conform to the proper function of rights-based theories. It is also suggested that this means that rights conflicts should be resolved by a voluntary sacrifice of the most powerful being. Practical circumstances should be created where such voluntarity is both genuine and rationally possible.

  • 4.
    Lidskog, Rolf
    Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    Staden, våldet och tryggheten: Om social ordning i ett mångkulturellt samhälle2006Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The question of social order often arises during periods of social change. In the late-modern, multicultural, and urbanized societies of today, the question is often posed of how to create order in a society attempting to combine cultural diversity and social cohesion.

    Drawing on theories within political philosophy, social theory, and urban sociology this thesis elaborates a viewpoint on what should characterize a sound social order. Such a social order is characterized by its meeting people’s needs for cultural belonging, personal identity, and social integration. Liberal, communitarian, and discourse-ethical perspectives are discussed, and of the three, discourse-ethics is found to be the one most suited for handling the problems of social order in today’s late-modern, multicultural, and urbanized society.

    The view of social order found in the Swedish National Programme for Crime Prevention is then analysed. Of special interest is the view of human beings, society, and the importance of values for social cohesion that is found in the crime-prevention programme. Apart from this descriptive-analytic goal, the study also has a normative-constructive one: to evaluate the sustainability of this viewpoint and discuss how the work of crime prevention can be designed to better fit with a sustainable view of society, the human being, and the importance of values.

    From the perspective that a sound social order is characterized by its meeting people’s needs for cultural belonging, personal identity, and social integration, and that there are competing conceptions of what characterizes a good society, this study argues that the crime-prevention programme ought to have a deliberative approach, with a strong emphasis on the importance of transboundary interaction, intercultural communication, and social friction. Hence the work of crime prevention should be as much about learning to handle one’s insecurity, as about creating security.

  • 5.
    Löfquist, Lars
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    Ethics Beyond Finitude: Responsibility towards Future Generations and Nuclear Waste Management2008Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation has three aims: 1. To evaluate several ethical theories about responsibility towards future generations. 2. To construct a theory about responsibility towards future generations. 3. To carry out an ethical evaluation of different nuclear waste management methods.

    Five theories are evaluated with the help of evaluative criteria, primarily: A theory must provide future generations with some independent moral status. A theory should acknowledge moral pluralism. A theory should provide some normative claims about real-world problems.

    Derek Parfit’s theory provides future generations with full moral status. But it is incompatible with moral pluralism, and does not provide reasonable normative claims about real-world problems. Brian Barry’s theory provides such claims and a useful idea about risk management, but it does not provide an argument why future generations ought to exist. Avner de-Shalit’s theory explains why they ought to exist; however, his theory can not easily explain why we ought to care for other people than those in our own community. Emmanuel Agius’ theory gives an ontological explanation for mankind’s unity, but reduces conflicts of interests to a common good. Finally, Hans Jonas’ theory shifts the focus from the situation of future generations to the preconditions of human life generally. However, his theory presupposes a specific ontology, which might be unable to motivate people to act.

    The concluding chapters describe a narrative theory of responsibility. It claims that we should comprehend ourselves as parts of the common story of mankind and that we ought to provide future generations with equal opportunities. This implies that we should avoid transferring risks and focus on reducing the long-term risks associated with the nuclear waste.

  • 6.
    Löfstedt, Malin
    Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    Katarinaskolan: en humanistisk skola på kristen grund2007In: Religiösa friskolor i Sverige: historiska och nutida perspektiv, Lund: Studentlitteratur , 2007, p. 325-Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    I artikeln beskrivs och analyseras grundtankarna i en svensk grundskola på humanistisk och kristen grund, via intervjuer med skolans grundare och rektorer. I boken förs också ett kritiskt resonemang kring Skolverkets klassificering av religiösa friskolor, och författare visar på behovet av en förnyelse och ett förtydligande av dessa.

  • 7.
    Pfändtner, Willy
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    Understanding Religious Diversity: A Contribution to Interreligious Dialogue from the Viewpoint of Existential Philosophy2005Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation addresses the question of the role of religion in a world to come. It presupposes that for religion to play a positive and constructive role in future society interreligious dialogue is of utmost importance. How religious diversity is conceived and how problems of religious diversity are discerned have in this context bearings on attitudes towards the interreligious situation.

    It has become customary to classify possible attitudes towards alien religions according to the typology exclusivism, inclusivism, pluralism. In Part One of the study, this very typology is called into question. This is done by focusing on a number of thinkers who in the current debate are making use of this typology. It is investigated how problems of religious diversity are discerned by these thinkers and how they propose to deal with such problems. The investigation claims to show that none of these accounts leads to constructive attitudes towards the interreligious situation and to interreligious dialogue.

    In Part Two the concept of religion is put into question. It is suggested that this very concept leads to a not very constructive way of conceiving of religious diversity and religious difference. Another perspective is suggested where focus is laid on religiousness rather than religion. Aspects of Heidegger’s existential philosophy are used to illustrate the advantage of using the concept of religious moods as an interpretive framework and tool for understanding religious diversity.

  • 8.
    Runehov, Anne L. C.
    Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    SACRED or NEURAL?: Neuroscientific Explanations of Religious Experience: A Philosophical Evaluation2004Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Neuroscientists place different explanations at our disposal of what religious experiences are. Some neuroscientists explain religious experiences in terms of consequences of a damaged, malfunctioning or mentally deranged brain. Others explain them in terms of existential crises. Again other neuroscientists maintain that religious experiences are correlated with the brain similar to all human experiences. Can neuroscientists contribute in answering the question whether religious experiences are sacred or neural? Can they provide the answer to the questions whether God exists and somehow, by way of our brain, communicates with us or whether human beings are, to describe it with Lewis Caroll’s famous words “nothing but a pack of neurons” and God is merely a product of neural activity? This thesis is a critical philosophical investigation of a selection of neuroscientific research on religious experience performed by Michael Persinger and Andrew Newberg and Eugene d’Aquili. The purpose of the research project is to clarify which religious experiences neuroscientists are able to measure by way of today’s neuroscientific methods, to analyze and to critically evaluate Persinger’s and Newberg and d’Aquili’s research performed on religious experiences and to find a possible way to develop tenable explanatory models for religious experience. The problem and the core question of this research project is: In what way and to what extent can neuroscientists explain religious experience? It was shown that neuroscientists can explain religious experiences in a methodologically restricted way and to a methodologically limited extent. However, neuroscientists may or may not agree. Newberg and d’Aquili do. Persinger, however, does not. Rather, he believes that he explained religious experience to an exhaustive extent. In the authors view, Newberg and d’Aquili could extend their exploratory model by adding to it the expertise of, for example, sociologists, theologians, philosophers of religion, ethicist and psychologists. The author argues that such model could be fruitful to broaden the understanding of religious experiences, even if the religious experiences that can currently be studied by neuroscience are limited. Even if only selections of the studies performed on religious experiences by two neuroscientific research teams is considered, the result of the study may be regarded as a basis for analyzing and evaluating the statements claimed in similar research.

  • 9.
    Strandberg, Hugo
    Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion.
    The Possibility of Discussion: Relativism, Truth, and Criticism of Religious Beliefs2005Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The dissertation seeks to address the issue of how fruitful discussion of religious beliefs is possible, i.e. how it is criticism of religious beliefs is possible. In the philosophy of religion, discussions of religious beliefs are often understood as starting from putative universal norms and rules for argumentation.

    A general problem with this understanding of discussion is the belief that the distinction between true and false is made in the same way in all areas of human life. This belief overlooks how distinctions between true and false are rooted in the diverse ways we deal with the world. This observation seems to have relativist consequences, however: Does this not mean that there are many ‘truths’? Does this not mean that fruitful discussion is excluded?

    These supposed consequences are critically discussed in the central part of the dissertation. To begin with it is shown that relativism, in one understanding of it, is not self-contradictory. On the other hand, it is possible to come to see that the relativist thesis is not necessary, by noticing why we are inclined to believe that it is. This is done by firstly showing that being situated in history and society is not an obstacle to, but on the contrary a condition for, knowledge and true beliefs in the role they play in our lives. Secondly, it is shown that it is possible to give an account of the concept of truth, and especially of the objectivity of truth, without invoking the demand for universality.

    The question of how fruitful discussion of religious beliefs is possible can now be answered in a new way. This answer opens up for a new understanding of the critical task of philosophy of religion, by stressing the possibility of different forms of criticism, among others moral, political and existential criticism.

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