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Without Nature?A New Condition for Theology$
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David Albertson and Cabell King

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230693

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823230693.001.0001

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The World in Order

The World in Order

(p.15) The World in Order
Without Nature?

Lorraine Daston

Fordham University Press

This chapter reopens the question of norms from nature, presenting an argument that is both historical and philosophical. Historically, it shows how various conceptions of natural order not only have sustained specific norms—both moral and aesthetic—but have moreover served as the model for what a norm, any norm, can be. Philosophically, it argues that the appeals to nature, though often and rightly criticized, nonetheless do capture something profound about values in general, regardless of their specific content. This argument hinges on the connection between normativity and order. The chapter concludes that we cannot do without nature, even if we divest nature of all divine authority whatsoever.

Keywords:   nature, natural order, norms, values, normativity, order

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