Christian ethics has addressed moral agency and culture from the start, and Christian social ethics increasingly acknowledges the power of social structures. However, neither has made sufficient use of the discipline that specializes in understanding structures and culture: sociology. In Moral Agency within Social Structures and Culture, editor and contributor Daniel K. Finn proposes a field-changing critical realist sociology that puts Christian ethics into conversation with modern discourses on human agency and social transformation.
Catholic social teaching mischaracterizes social evil as being little more than the sum of individual choices, remedied through individual conversion. Liberation theology points to the power of social structures but without specifying how structures affect moral agency. Critical realist sociology provides a solution to both shortcomings. This collection shows how sociological insights can deepen and extend Catholic social thought by enabling ethicists to analyze more precisely how structures and culture impact human decisions. The book demonstrates how this sociological framework has applications for the study of the ecological crisis, economic life, and virtue ethics.
Moral Agency within Social Structures and Culture is a valuable tool for Christian ethicists who seek systemic change in accord with the Gospel.