The Task of Ethics for Black Ethicists, by Dr. Peter Paris (video)

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Lecture: Method, Structure and Content for Contemporary Black Ethicist. Dr. Peter Paris. Response by William DeVeaux, audience response

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Society for the Study of Black Religion Collection

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Dr. Peter Paris lectures about the task of ethics for Black ethicists. In the lecture he gives five presuppositions of ethics. He further details the phases in the task of ethics. In the first phase Dr. Paris challenges Black ethicist for descriptive and interpretive analysis of moral conflicts in the experience of Black Americans in relations between White and Black Americans and among Blacks themselves. William DeVeaux gives a response to Dr. Paris’s lecture. Questions are raised from the audience which includes Henry Mitchell and Cornell West.

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00:00:06 Dr. Peter Paris talks about how he has been pleased by the results of the SSBR meetings and outlines presentation.

00:02:40 Talks about five presuppositions, 1) Ethics is the study of good human action conflicting moral judgments of what is good or bad right or wrong useful or useless appropriate or inappropriate. 2) Good action may be set in motion by individuals or by associations. 3) Ethics is a practical inquiry and subject matter is human action and good human action that can be done by human beings. 4) Ethics is an empirical discipline since human action is particular and observable 5) No radical cleavage between fact and value description and prescription in ethical inquiry.

00:07:12 Talks about the first phase in the task of ethics for Black ethicists is that of rendering constructive descriptive and interpretive analysis of actual moral conflicts in the experience of Black America.

00:07:43 Talks about the second phase being comparative analysis of the moral experience of Black Americans with those of other oppressed peoples in order to gain critical perspective on the complexities, similarities and dis-similarities of the issues and problems involved.

00:19:26 Talks about the view of social conditions being fixed by eternal laws of nature and economics being lifted out of moral realm.

00:20:15 Talks about perspectives on the relations between religion and ethics and how the Black church has been the locus for value formation and value legitimation among Blacks.

00:40:17 Talks about how Black church represents in there thought and disposition the universality of Christianity manifested in the mist of racial particularity.

00:42:08 William DeVeaux talks about points in Peter’s lecture presentation.00:50:16 Questions from audience.

01:55:47 Video ends.


The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Project Grant in supporting the processing and digitization of a number of its major archival collections as part of the project: Spreading the Word: Expanding Access to African American Religious Archival Collections at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.


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