the importance of this story in relation to the evidence for the ostensibly supernormal physical phenomena of Spiritualism. From 1869 onwards Sidgwick began to be associated with Myers in a common interest in psychical research. In the very ...
I will begin this paper by stating in rough outline what I consider to be the relevance of psychical research to philosophy, and I shall devote the rest of it to developing this preliminary statement in detail.
Now it is plain that such consequences as these conflict sharply with common-sense notions of morality. If we had been obliged to accept Psychological Egoism, in any of its narrower forms, on its merits, we should have had to say: 'So much the worse for the common-sense notions of morality!' But, if I am right, the morality of common sense, with all its difficulties and incoherences, is immune at least to attacks from the basis of Psychological Egoism.
Sense-perception is a hackneyed topic, and I must therefore begin by craving your indulgence. I was moved to make it the subject of this evening's lecture by the fact that I have lately been reading the book in which the most important of the late Professor Prichard's scattered writings on Sense-perception have been collected by Sir W. D. Ross. Like everything that Prichard wrote, these essays are extremely acute, transparently honest, and admirably thorough. I shall not attempt here either to (...) expound or to criticize Prichard, but he may be taken to be hovering, perhaps somewhat disapprovingly, in the background during the lecture. (shrink)
At the present time Tribunals, appointed under an Act of Parliament, are engaged all over England in dealing with claims to exemption from military service based on the ground of “conscientious objection” to taking part directly or indirectly in warlike activities. Now it is no part of the professional business of moral philosophers to tell people what they ought or ought not to do or to exhort them to do their duty. Moral philosophers, as such, have no special information, not (...) available to the general public, about what is right and what is wrong; nor have they any call to undertake those hortatory functions which are so adequately performed by clergymen, politicians, leader-writers, and wireless loudspeakers. But it is the function of a moral philosopher to reflect on the moral concepts and beliefs which he or others have; to try to analyse them and draw distinctions and clear up confusions in connection with them; and to see how they are inter-related and whether they can be arranged in a coherent system. Now there can be no doubt that the popular notions of “conscience” and “conscientious action” are extremely vague and confused. So I think that, by devoting this paper to an attempt to elucidate them, I may succeed in being topical without being impertinent. (shrink)
Ethics, in the sense in which that word is used by philosophers, may be described as the theoretical treatment of moral phenomena. I use the phrase “moral phenomena” to cover all those facts and only those in describing which we have to use such words as “ought,” “right and wrong,” “good and evil,” or any others which are merely verbal translations of these.
Originally published in 1934, this book presents the content of an inaugural lecture delivered by the British philosopher Charles Dunbar Broad, upon taking up the position of Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University. The text presents a discussion of the relationship between determinism, indeterminism and libertarianism. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in the writings of Broad and the history of philosophy.