Tragic Dilemmas in Christian Ethics
Georgetown University Press, 2022
Paper: 978-1-64712-267-6 | Cloth: 978-1-64712-266-9
Library of Congress Classification BJ1251
Dewey Decimal Classification 241


The first book to argue for the concept of tragic dilemmas in Christian ethics

Moral dilemmas arise when individuals are unable to fulfill all of their ethical obligations. Tragic dilemmas are moral dilemmas that involve great tragedy. The existence of moral and tragic dilemmas is debated in philosophy and often dismissed in theology based on the notion that there are effective strategies that completely solve hard ethical situations. Yet cases from real-life events in war and bioethics offer compelling evidence for the existence of tragic dilemmas.

In Tragic Dilemmas in Christian Ethics, Jackson-Meyer expertly explores the thought of Augustine and Aquinas to show the limits of their treatment of hard cases, as well as where their thought can be built on and expanded in relation to tragic dilemmas. She recognizes and develops a new theological understanding of tragic dilemmas rooted in moral philosophy, contemporary case studies, and psychological literature on moral injury. Jackson-Meyer argues that in tragic dilemmas moral agents choose between conflicting nonnegotiable moral obligations rooted in Christian commitments to protect human life and the vulnerable. Personal culpability is mitigated due to constrained situations and society is also culpable when tragic dilemmas are a result of structural sin. In response, Jackson-Meyer implores Christian communities to offer individual and communal healing after tragic dilemmas and to acknowledge their own participation in injustice.

Tragic Dilemmas in Christian Ethics offers practical strategies that Christian communities can use to provide healing to those who have acted in tragic dilemmas and to transform the unjust structures that often cause these tragedies.

Nearby on shelf for Ethics / Religious ethics: