Wonder, Value and God: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Wonder, Value and God

1st Edition

By Robin Attfield

Routledge

196 pages

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pub: 2018-09-18
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Description

This book relates the value present in the natural world and in human creativity to an underlying purpose which it traces in creation. It opens by invoking the wonder aroused by nature's value and celebrated by poets, and moves to a cosmic purpose as the best explanation of this value. Natural evils are considered and set in their evolutionary context. Human creativity is later related to inspiration, and to traditional theistic teaching about the purpose of human life. Criticisms of "the value approach" are considered, together with the quest for meaning, and fears that Darwinism undermines it, which are found to be illusory. New ground is broken through this response to the spectre of bleakness. The author's previous studies of meaningful work are applied to the question of the nature of a worthwhile life and life's meaning. While the world's value is argued to point to creation by a transcendent lover of value, human beings are shown to be capable of augmenting that value through their creativity (not least through activities such as craftsmanship and gardening). In integrating the themes of value, creativity and purpose, the book contributes a new synthesis to the literature of philosophy, environmental studies and theology.

Reviews

"An important sensitive, scholarly, and readable analysis of the notions of value and creativity in nature and human life, showing the consilience of ecological ethics with the idea of the value-creating purpose of God." - Keith Ward, Christ Church, Oxford and Heythrop College, London

"We marvel at natural and human history, then marvel that humans can so marvel. Earth in this universe is a staggering wonder. Humans (alone) can celebrate this momentous creating of value, and probe its meanings, even when bleak with disvalues, at length wondering about God—as Attfield so superbly does." - Holmes Rolston III, Professor of Philosophy and University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University

"Wonder and value are terms much bandied about, often with all too little precision. Robin Attfield approaches them with characteristic accuracy, facing honestly the issue of creaturely disvalue. This opens up the possibility of a really creative engagement with both the natural world and the arts. Warmly recommended!" - Professor Christopher Southgate, University of Exeter

"Wonder, Value and God offers an original and comprehensive philosophy and theology of wonder and value. As well as providing an accessible introduction to the relevant themes, it also incorporates Attfield's own ideas which will be of interest to those working at the intersection of philosophy and theology." - Fiona Ellis, Heythrop College, University of London

"I recommend this book to all religious or non-religious people who seek to study ecological theology, environmental ethics and philosophy for <a> sustainable and better life for all God’s creation." - Dr Louk Andrianos, WCC Ecumenical Review

Table of Contents

1 Wonder and value

2 The nature and location of value

3 Meaning, meaningful work and spectres of bleakness

4 Worthwhile life and meaning

5 The argument from value

6 Disvalue

7 Panentheism

8 Morality and value

9 Embodiments of value in nature and society

10 Creativity and inspiration in art, music, literature and science

11 Fulfilling our purpose

About the Author

Robin Attfield taught philosophy at Cardiff University full-time from 1968 to 2009 and was a doctoral supervisor from 2009 to 2012. He has been a Professor of Philosophy since 1991. In 2008 he was awarded a DLitt by Cardiff University for contributions to Environmental Philosophy. His nine monographs include Creation, Evolution and Meaning, published in 2006, as well as his best-selling textbook Environmental Ethics (2003 and 2014), hailed by Dieter Birnbacher as the best introduction to the subject so far.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
REL000000
RELIGION / General
REL051000
RELIGION / Philosophy
REL102000
RELIGION / Theology