A moral cosmology was the ordinary background knowledge of prescientific peoples, who took the divinity and the moral rules of the heavenly bodies for granted. That unified world view was disrupted by the European Enlightenment, which divided moral cosmology into physics and ethics: physics tells us what is, ethics tells us what we ought to do. While knowledge of physics has become hard, and understanding ethics has become shifting and uncertain, nostalgia for a unified cosmic understanding continues. Moral Cosmology: On Being in the World Fully and Well demands that we search for one world and learn to be truly at home in that world once again. Albert Borgmann argues that a basic understanding of quantum physics and relative theory offers the widest possible background for the renewal of a moral cosmology, inviting us into a deeper understanding that can inform the focal occasions and practices that we implicitly know to be valuable. We may not always be able to completely understand or explain the depth of the world gathered and disclosed in these focal occasions, but to greet it with celebration deepening into wonder orients us and makes it possible for us to be at home in the universe.
Albert Borgmann was professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Montana.
Chapter One: The Rise and Fall of Moral Cosmology
Chapter Two: Ethics Within Physics
Chapter Three: Background Conditions
Chapter Four: Ordinary Cosmology and Mathematics
Chapter Five: Ordinary Cosmology and Physics
Appendix: A Normative Cosmology