Goodness and Truth: An Essay on Ralph Hancock's The Responsibility of Reason
Joseph Spencer explains the shift in thinking that occurred about five hundred years ago: very generally speaking, premoderns took the ideal to be metaphysically fundamental, and moderns take the physical to be metaphysically fundamental. Latter-day Saint thinkers may fall into one camp or the other. Ralph Hancock's The Responsibility of Reason is a defense of a premodern conception of the world, mobilized by an attempt to reveal real problems in certain modern conceptions of the world. But Hancock's view that the moral order is total and consistent proves to be limiting. The Restoration not only took its rise in the modern world, but it also unmistakably positions itself as a proponent of materialism in some form. Spencer then draws on the recent philosophy of Alain Badiou as one example of the sort of account that might be provided to break the deadlock between the modern and the premodern, and in a way that looks startlingly like it would serve Mormonism well.