Secular, theistic and religious ethical rationales for relief of extreme poverty

David Ardagh

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Most extremely poor recipients of aid in the countries of what was called the third world are members of some religious body. The discussion of prominent theorists such as Singer and Unger and in relevant academic journals in the West, such as Global Ethics, of why they should receive aid from affluent nations, has tended to avoid appeals to theistic and religious considerations. The paper discusses how, why, and where secular, theistic, and religious rationales converge and divide. Neo-Aristotelian Virtue Ethics, (NAVE) and associated meta-Ethics, allow for feeding in of theistic and religious considerations without prejudice to the adequacy of secular rationales as far as they can go. But the argument questions the completeness of strong ethical secularism and belief in the radical autonomy of ethics, arguing that it presupposes too 'thin' a philosophical anthropology ; too 'thick' and over-restrictive a theory of reason; and an over-extended scope for justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-54
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics
Issue number1 and 2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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