Ritual as a Cardinal Category of Moral Reality: An Introduction

  • David Solomon
  • Ping-Cheung Lo
  • Ruiping Fan
  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJrEmail author
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 21)


Ritual cements human life. It is not necessarily fully discursively apprehensible, as is traditional natural law or natural theology. Ritual engages prior to any conceptual thematization of its object and usually also transcends discursive statement. Ritual involves the synthesis of habit, image, symbol, movement, and emotion. It is therefore heuristic for a range of moral and religious insights. To be sure, as a central category of human existence, ritual is secondarily available for discursive appropriation. Yet, ritual is largely ignored in Western philosophical reflection. Hence, the importance of this volume: this book offers a philosophical assessment of the significance of ritual. First, this volume recognizes ritual’s pre- or non-discursive character, which nests virtue and directs moral action, so that ritual can be powerfully formative of both moral and immoral action. Second, this volume seeks to assess the roles ritual can play in the pursuit of virtue by those who recognize that the collective insight and wisdom of moral traditions can serve as a positive moral resource.


Chinese Culture Filial Piety Religious Ritual Ritual Practice Natural Theology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Solomon
    • 1
  • Ping-Cheung Lo
    • 2
  • Ruiping Fan
    • 3
  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNotre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  2. 2.Department of Religion and Philosophy, Faculty of ArtsCenter for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongHong Kong SAR
  3. 3.Department of Public and Social AdministrationCity University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong SAR
  4. 4.Department of PhilosophyRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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