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).
In this paper I shall use terms such as “intrinsically good” which may be deemed old fashioned by many readers and which certainly to my own mind presuppose an objective non-naturalistic theory of ethics. I still hold such a theory and I have not mastered the new jargon by which a sort of higher synthesis between that and other theories is supposed to have been effected, but I do not think that such a view as mine of ethics in general (...) is necessarily presupposed if one is to understand or even agree with the contentions of my article. These relate to a specific problem as to certain ethical actions, which will arise on any view that admits the possibility of giving any sort of legitimate reasons for ethical judgments, as we all do in practice. After all a naturalist can easily translate “intrinsically good” into his own terms, say, valued for its own sake by most people who experience it, and there will still be a question as to what is intrinsically and what is merely instrumentally good and other questions as to what is the logical nature of certain arguments in ethics. (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)
This is a major work by one of the best-known philosophical writers, representing the culmination of some twenty-five years’ work on the possibility of giving a rational defence of the claims of the religious man, and specifically the theist, in the face of modern criticisms. Dr Ewing’s object has been to fulfil what seem to him the two most important tasks for the philosopher in at least the present age, namely, to see if it is still possible to give a (...) rational defence of a genuinely religious point of view, and to do the same thing for an objective ethics, a task he has attempted in other works, and continues here. The conclusions are that while there can be no question of strict, logical proof, an ethical theism can be defended rationally as an explanatory, metaphysical hypothesis and there are no grounds to reject as illusory the most fundamental intuitive convictions of religion. The book, originally published in 1973, included a new theory of the ultimate criterion of truth for hypotheses, a restatement of the case for a substantial self and for indeterminism, a fresh treatment of the moral and certain other arguments for God, some points in the discussion of the problem of evil and some speculations on time. (shrink)
Nobody interested in philosophy need be deterred by Kant's reputation for difficulty from familiarizing himself with his ethics. While the Critique of Pure Reason and his other non-ethical works are very hard to follow, the first two chapters of the Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals at least are clear and straightforward and presuppose little previous acquaintance with philosophy. The third chapter is not about ethics as such but about the metaphysical problem of freedom and should be omitted by (...) anyone who is not familiar with Kant's general philosophy, but the first two. (shrink)
This article must open with a Warning. In face of the positive information which the sciences supply, the philosophical contribution to this problem will seem disappointingly negative, or at least mine will do so. For I shall insist, and I think we can only rightly insist, that the philosopher is not yet in a position to produce a satisfactory positive theory of the relation between mind and body. And I shall annoy many of you further by insisting that the old-fashioned (...) “dualism” has not really been disproved. However, even if you do not agree with me, it is at any rate a good general piece of advice that, when we are confronted with a philosophical view which has maintained its ground for a very long time but seems to ourselves or to our generation very unreasonable, we should look specially carefully to find the positive grounds which have made so apparently unplausible a doctrine seem true to so many competent thinkers. (shrink)
The more elementary student used to be left with four main impressions of Locke. Firstly, he was an “empiricist”; secondly, he occupied an inconsistent intermediate position on the road to Berkeley and Hume; thirdly, he was pre-eminently the philosopher of common sense; fourthly, he committed the epistemological error of teaching that our only objects of knowledge were ideas in our mind which copied reality. All these dicta contain an important element of truth, but are misleading by reason of the excessive (...) emphasis which has been placed upon them. (shrink)
‘PROOFS of God’ are under a cloud today, and whether the cloud can be dissipated or not, I am not going to try to dissipate it in this article. Modern thinkers have created a mental climate very unfavourable to metaphysics, but they have certainly not succeeded in disproving on principle the possibility of valid and fruitful metaphysical arguments even in the old transcendent sense of ‘metaphysics’. However, I must admit that in my opinion the best that can be said of (...) arguments for the existence of God is that they give some intellectual support to the belief, not that they are really decisive. If this is so, it becomes of very special importance to consider whether those may be right who maintain that we can come to knowledge of or at least justified belief in God otherwise than by inference. I am not considering the views of those who base the belief solely on authority: argument would be required to decide whether we ought to accept an authority, and if so which. What I am referring to is the claim that there are certain 'mystical' and other religious experiences which can without argument adequately and rationally assure one of God's existence. Obviously from the nature of the case a man who makes this claim for himself cannot prove to others that he is right, but can any good reason be given to support the view that he is wrong? If not, the possibility remains that those who dispute with him are in a similar position to that of a tonedeaf man disagreeing with Beethoven about the value of music. (shrink)