Utilitarianism’s Epistemic Space

Utilitarianism’s Epistemic Space

I read the previous two posts on this blog with great interest, and I welcome this opportunity to bring a theological perspective to bear on some of those discussions. In this piece, I want to discuss a passing comment from Trevor Stammers’ post, in which he acknowledges the necessity of employing utilitarian reasoning when faced with the ethics of triage. This acknowledges situations whereby an ethical philosophy considered woefully problematic in normal circumstances, might be permitted due to the extreme complexity at play.

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Integral human development - not just about the money

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

It seems slightly strange to be posting on this blog in the middle (or, perhaps, at the beginning) of a global pandemic and national emergency about a subject which is not coronavirus. All intellectual and political discussion seems to have converged on that subject. Nevertheless, for those interested in other news, views and topical discussion based in Catholic social thought, we shall continue this blog on a range of issues, though next week we shall look at some aspects of the corona virus crisis.

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Catholic Social Thought in Education – Building the Collegium

Three Students look and laugh at a laptop

The term “Catholic social thought” would normally bring about discussion of issues related to politics, social and welfare policy, overseas aid and climate change, to name just a few well-trodden contemporary topics. Schooling is often thought of as a topic separate from Catholic social teaching, perhaps because of the large volume of distinct work produced on this topic by dioceses and the Vatican. However, the same issues apply to schooling as apply to (for example) healthcare. There are questions of the policy framework we should have for its delivery (the Church teaches that Catholic schools should not be discriminated against, as compared with state schools, when it comes to funding); who has responsibility (the principle of subsidiarity applies); how we should ensure that all children have an adequate education; and so on. This short piece will sketch out two further ways in which Catholic social thought could profitably influence the global networks of Catholic schools.

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The environment and continuity in Catholic social teaching

Environment

We are all entitled to empathise with different ways of proclaiming Church teaching, and of course with different pontiffs. John Paul II had and Benedict XVI and Francis have particular charisms which different people find attractive. One of the purposes of the MA in Catholic Social Teaching at St. Mary’s, however, is to emphasise the continuity of Church teaching. When it comes to Catholic teaching on the environment, that continuity has been evident – it did not begin with Laudato Si.

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