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Is There a Place for Traditional Values and Virtues in Society Today?

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This paper argues that rather than looking to the past for a previously developed set of traditional values and virtues we should instead look to the past for ways of thinking about morality and ethics which may be found in the “tradition” and which may also be relevant for the contemporary situation. It examines the causes of the disconnection between traditional ways of thinking and the contemporary situation at two levels: the marginalization of morality and the disarray in ethics. Both aspects are found to be rooted in the emergence of the empirical scientific differentiation of consciousness. The paper then goes on to ask what resources in the tradition may be found to overcome the gap between ancient and modern, or traditional and contemporary, ways of thinking about morality and ethics. The contemporary relevance of the thought of Bernard Lonergan to this issue is examined.


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