It is very unfortunate that the philosopher who, as would be generally agreed, has had the greatest influence on modern thought is a writer whose style presents a particularly formidable barrier to the layman, or indeed to any reader tackling him for the first time; and this makes it all the more necessary that an effort should be made by those who have read and studied his works to communicate what they take to be the essential parts of his message. (...) The present article is an attempt to fulfil a part of this function, i.e. to convey a few of the leading ideas of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, while leaving aside altogether his other writings. I hope Kantian scholars will forgive me if in the attempt to make some of Kant's ideas clear in a very small space to readers who have not specialized in the subject but are interested in philosophy I seem not to do justice to the complexity of his finer distinctions. Also I had better add that this article is simply an attempt to state Kant's doctrine; it is not intended as an expression of my own views, and refrains from criticism. (shrink)
I do not think that the existence of God can be proved or even that the main justification for the belief can be found in argument in the ordinary sense of that term, but I think two of the three which have, since Kant at least, been classified as the traditional arguments of natural theology have some force and are worthy of serious consideration. This consideration I shall now proceed to give. I cannot say this of the remaining one of (...) the arguments, the ‘ontological proof’, which I shall therefore not discuss here. (shrink)
A little while ago I thought the ontological argument dead and buried beyond any possible hope of resurrection and no philosophical event has caused me much greater surprise than its revival by a member of the very linguistic school to whose line of thinking it seemed most alien and who were held to have given it its quietus once for all. I am tempted to welcome any relapse into metaphysics by a member of this school as being some sign of (...) grace, but on this issue I must for once take sides with the prevailing tradition against at least this kind of metaphysics. Let me make clear, however, what it is I am combating. The term ‘ontological argument’ has been used for arguments which its original supporters would certainly not have recognised as theirs. It has been used for instance to stand for the claim that it is an essential presupposition of thought that what we must think is true of the real, a claim which could not be used to prove the existence of God unless we had available another proof that we really must think that God exists. It has been used for kinds of ‘idealist’ arguments which I do not want to discuss here. It has been used for the argument that the idea of a perfect being cannot be explained as derived from any other idea and must therefore be explained as produced in us by a being who really is perfect, an argument which appears in Descartes side by side with the ontological argument but which he carefully distinguishes from it. (shrink)
This article is a discussion of the relationships of objectivity of value with subjectivist and naturalist ethics. the author considers and clarifies both the subjectivist and the naturalist views of ethics and how they assert judgments in relation to the objectivity of ethical values, and the role of intuition in terms of achievement of agreement that affirms the objectivity of ethical values. (staff).