In his paper `Truth, Invention, and the Meaning of Life' David Wiggins identifies a certain framework in terms of which to tackle the question of life's meaning. I argue that his criticisms of this framework are justified, and develop an alternative which trades upon some themes from Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Levinas. This alternative remains in the spirit of Wiggins' own preferred standpoint, although he would take issue with its theological implications. I argue that such misgivings are misplaced, and that a (...) move in the direction of God may be precisely what is needed if we are to provide an adequate alternative to the framework under attack. (shrink)
I consider whether there are philosophical developments which can deepen our understanding of God. I focus upon the relation between experience and physical things and the nature of value. I reject the narrow limits of experience presupposed by the verificationist, and the related monopoly of science on reality. I recommend a conception of reality which is rich enough to accommodate physical things and also the intertwining of value in the natural world. I detect structural similarities between these two problems and (...) the problem of God, and consider how they might be related at the level of content. (shrink)
I examine Roger Scruton's account of the religious and soteriological significance of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde . The relation between Scruton and Wagner remains unclear, and the position at issue is a curious amalgam of the two. I refer to its author as ‘Scruton's Wagner’. Scruton's Wagner argues that erotic love has religious and soteriological significance, and that the notions of religion and salvation are to be defined in terms which are shorn of any reference to God. I argue that (...) there may be good reasons for setting these limits short of God, but that Scruton's Wagner does not provide them. (shrink)
I reconsider the idea that there is an analogy between belief in other minds and belief in God, and examine two approaches to the relevant beliefs. The 'explanatory inductive' approach raises difficulties in both contexts, and involves questionable assumptions. The 'expressivist' approach is more promising, and presupposes a more satisfactory metaphysical framework in the first context. Its application to God is similarly insightful, and offers an intellectually respectable, albeit resistible, version of the doctrine that nature is a book of lessons.
Murdoch and Levinas both believe that our humanity requires us to suppress our natural egoism and to be morally responsive to others. Murdoch insists that while such a morality presupposes a ’transcendent background’, God should be kept out of the picture altogether. By contrast, Levinas argues that, in responding morally to others, we make contact with God (though not the God of traditional Christianity) and that in doing so we become more God-like. I attempt to clarify their agreements and differences, (...) and I offer some criticisms of their conception of humanity, God, and the relationship between them. (shrink)
This book traces a deep misunderstanding about the relation of concepts and reality in the history of philosophy. It exposes the influence of the mistake in the thought of Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Nietzche and Bradley and suggests that the solution can be found in Hegelian thought. Ellis argues that the treatment proposed exemplifies Hegel's dialectical method, an important contribution to this area of philosophy.
I am concerned to examine a mode of argumentation in recent analytic philosophy which, I claim, has its origin in Hegel's ‘dialectical’ method. I give examples of this mode of argumentation in McDowell and Wiggins, followed by a formal representation which distinguishes two possible models both of which have negative and positive aspects. I consider what the commitments of the negative aspect of this approach are, and argue that the desire to avoid naturalism constitutes a common goal. I turn then (...) to its positive aspect, making explicit and criticising some of the metaphilosophical implications contained therein. Finally, I make brief contact with Hegel. (shrink)