Religious influences on the depictions of science in mainstream movies
David A. Kirby and Amy C. Chambers
), the fearless vampire hunters must turn to
ancient religious rites to defeat a monster that has descended upon
an unsuspecting and technologically advanced London on the cusp
of a new century. A distrust of scientists, who have turned away from
morality and religion to dabble disastrously in questions of creation,
runs through classic science fiction stories of biological horror and
hybridity, like H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr Moreau (1996 )
and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr
Hyde (2000 ), respectively.
elsewhere, are false antitheses.1 Justice today
requires both redistribution and recognition; neither alone is sufficient. As
soon as one embraces this thesis, however, the question of how to combine
them becomes pressing. I maintain that the emancipatory aspects of the two
problematics need to be integrated in a single, comprehensive framework.
The task, in part, is to devise an expanded conception of justice that can
accommodate both defensible claims for social equality and defensible
claims for the recognition of difference.
Morality or ethics?
often underpinning the separation is
that human persons are morally fundamental. Human persons are regarded as
morally (not physically) distinct from their natural environment. 13 Kantian understanding
of human agency and autonomy provides a classical rendering of this point.
Kantian freedom, rationality and morality are wholly distinct from
‘natural causation’. The rational agent exists autonomously as
an end in herself and
has turned out to be much more confusing. To put it simply, interests of
power have contaminated what looked like an attempt to execute normative
Idealpolitik . In The Twenty Years’ Crisis , E.H.
Carr criticised the hypocrisy of the application of morality to the
anarchy of international relations, and argued that it led to disaster
by ignoring the real relations of power. 1 NATO’s operation in Kosovo
that restraint must be principled to count as toleration separates toleration from indifference.
4 See I. Berlin, ‘The pursuit of the ideal’, in The Crooked Timber of Humanity
(London: Fontana Press, 1990); ‘The decline of utopian ideas in the west’, ibid.;
‘Two concepts of liberty’, in Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969). See also J. Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1986) and ‘Incommensurability and agency’, in R. Chang (ed.), Incommensurability, Incomparability and Practical Reason (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
, oppressive, and obscurantist institutions. Of these, the Catholic
Church was the most prominent, and republican citizenship was an instrument of emancipation from religious dogmatism. Individuals were to be
encouraged to think of themselves as citizens first, through the inculcation
of what the Protestant educationalist Ferdinand Buisson ambiguously called
a foi laïque (laïque faith).19 Laïcité was like a religion in the etymological
sense: it provided a foundation for individual morality and a sense of collective belonging. But this was a non-transcendental, non
its consequences (LW2: 243). Building upon his prior engagement with
Darwin’s theory of evolution and the psychology of William James,
Dewey puts forward an argument for the social nature of both the self
and morality. The foundation of this argument is that like all objects
within nature, human beings exist in an environment where ‘conjoint,
combined, associated action is a universal trait of the behaviour of
things’ (LW2: 257). What we take to be human nature or what we
take to be the human ‘self ’ is said by Dewey not to be an immutable
property or instinct which
war thinking. Without restraint war cannot be justified and yet, it seems,
the more war is justified the less restrained it becomes. As realists have
frequently observed, the attempt to subject war to moral regulation leads,
all too easily, to its escalation rather than its limitation. Paradoxically,
the biggest threat to the moral containment of war may come from morality
itself. The more war is informed with moral purpose, the less limited it
A. Etzioni, The New Golden Rule: Community and
Morality in a Democratic Society (London, Profile Books, 1997), p.
Badhwar, ‘Moral Agency, Commitment and
Impartiality’, p. 4, n. 6.
J. Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford
justice. From this perspective, politics may be regarded as a branch of
ethics – the study of what is right.
Focusing on morality in politics has
been a feature of political ideologies, government decisions and party
campaigners to the present day. Discourse on ‘ends’ or values,
and the morality (not just practicality) of ‘means’ is a
fundamental dimension of politics and is inherent in its very meaning