Single Idea 8013

[catalogued under 1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 4. Early European Thought]

Full Idea

Three concepts about morality emerge from the Reformation period: that moral rules are unconditional demands that lack rational justification; that moral agents are sovereign in choices; and that secular powers have their own norms and justifications.

Gist of Idea

In the Reformation, morality became unconditional but irrational, individually autonomous, and secular


Alasdair MacIntyre (A Short History of Ethics [1967], Ch.10)

Book Reference

MacIntyre,Alasdair: 'A Short History of Ethics' [Routledge 1967], p.126

A Reaction

I get the impression that a rather frank admission of the role of self-interest emerged at that time as well. It is only in the late seventeenth century that the possibility of a secular altruism begins to be investigated. But there's Shakespeare...