I argue that Judith Jarvis Thomson's attack on consequentialism, premised on the semantic claim that all goodness is goodness-in-a-way, is less powerful and less precisely targeted than she supposes. For we can develop an argument against pure obligation or categorical imperatives that is largely parallel to Thomson's argument against pure goodness. The right response to both arguments is that the existence of pure goodness or pure obligation is neither semantically rule out nor semantically guaranteed.
Leading philosopher of religion D. Z. Phillips argues that intellectuals need not see their task as being for or against religion, but as one of understanding it. What stands in the way of this task are certain methodological assumptions about what enquiry into religion must be. Beginning with Bernard Williams on Greek gods, Phillips goes on to examine these assumptions in the work of Hume, Feuerbach, Marx, Frazer, Tylor, Marett, Freud, Durkheim, Le;vy-Bruhl, Berger and Winch. The result exposes confusion, but (...) also gives logical space to religious belief without advocating personal acceptance of that belief, and shows how the academic study of religion may return to the contemplative task of doing conceptual justice to the world. Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation extends in important ways D. Z. Phillips' seminal 1976 book Religion Without Explanation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, anthropology, sociology and theology. (shrink)
This article contains a survey of recent debates in the philosophy of photography, focusing on aesthetic and epistemic issues in particular. Starting from widespread notions about automatism, causality and realism in the theory of photography, the authors ask whether the prima facie tension between the epistemic and aesthetic embodied in oppositions such as automaticism and agency, causality and intentionality, realism and fictional competence is more than apparent. In this context, the article discusses recent work by Roger Scruton, Dominic Lopes, Kendall (...) Walton, Gregory Currie, Jonathan Cohen and Aaron Meskin, Noël Carroll, and Patrick Maynard in some detail. Specific topics addressed include: aesthetic scepticism, transparency, imagination, perception, information, representation and depiction. (shrink)
I argue that Mackie's approach to practical reasons is attractive and unjustly neglected. In particular I argue that it is much more plausible than the kind of instrumentalist approach famously articulated by Bernard Williams. This matters for Mackie's arguments for moral skepticism. Contra Richard Joyce, I argue that it is a serious mistake to invoke instrumentalism in arguing for moral skepticism.
The concern of this book is the nature of religious belief and the ways in which philosophical enquiry is related to it. Six chapters present the positive arguments the author wishes to put forward to discusses religion and rationality, scepticism about religion, language-games, belief and the loss of belief. The remaining chapters include criticisms of some contemporary philosophers of religion in the light of the earlier discussions, and the implications for more specific topics, such as religious education, are investigated. The (...) book ends with a general attempt to say something about the character of philosophical enquiry, and to show how important it is to realise this character in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This paper takes issue with remarks by Brian Clack on the manner in which Wittgensteinian philosophers have interpreted religion. Clack attributes an expressivist interpretation of religion to Wittgensteinians. By reference to my own writings, and to those of Rush Rhees, I show how wide of the mark is this gloss on the Wittgensteinian tradition's approach to religion. In particular, the view that magico-religious rituals are cathartic is demonstrated to be one that Wittgensteinians have been keen to attack, rather than defend. (...) The conclusion of the paper emphasizes the point that Wittgenstein and Wittgensteinians have been concerned with denying the appropriateness of producing a general theory of religion or magic. Hence, they have no need of an expressive theory. (shrink)
This collection of essays argues that we need to recover concepts from the distortions of philosophy. The author shows the disastrous consequences for an understanding of religion of the epistemic divide which can be found in contemporary philosophy of religion: divides between belief and practice, the world and God, religious experience and religious contexts. By closing these divides, religious significance is given its proper place.
Many contemporary philosophers assume that, before one can discuss prayer, the question of whether there is a God or not must be settled. In this title, first published in 1965, D. Z. Phillips argues that to understand prayer is to understand what is meant by the reality of God. Beginning by placing the problem of prayer within a philosophical context, Phillips goes on to discuss such topics as prayer and the concept of talking, prayer and dependence, superstition and the concept (...) of community. This is a fascinating reissue that will be of particular value to students with an interest in the philosophy of religion, prayer and religious studies more generally. (shrink)
This book contains essays, written between 1965 and 1990, which focus on the need to explore such issues as the nature of moral endeavor, the request for a justification of moral endeavor; the appeal to human flourishing; the nature of the ...
Reflection on religion inevitably involves consideration of its relation to morality. When great evil is done to human beings, we may feel that something absolute has been violated. Can that sense, which is related to gratitude for existence, be expressed without religious concepts? Can we express central religious concerns, such as losing the self, while abandoning any religious metaphysic? Is moral obligation itself dependent on divine commands if it is to be objective, or is morality not only independent of religion, (...) but its accuser if God is said to allow horrendous evils? In any case, what happens to the absolute claims of religion in what is, undeniably, a morally pluralistic world? These are the central questions discussed by philosophers of religion and moral philosophers in this collection. They do so in ways which bring new aspects to bear on these traditional issues. (shrink)
According to Roger Scruton, it is not possible for photographs to be representational art. Most responses to Scruton’s scepticism are versions of the claim that Scruton disregards the extent to which intentionality features in photography; but these cannot force him to give up his notion of the ideal photograph. My approach is to argue that Scruton has misconstrued the role of causation in his discussion of photography. I claim that although Scruton insists that the ideal photograph is defined by its (...) ‘merely causal’ provenance, in fact he fails to take the causal provenance of photographs seriously enough. To replace Scruton’s notion of the ideal photograph, I offer a substantive account of the causal provenance of photographs, centred on the distinctive role of ‘the photographic event’. I conclude that, with a proper understanding of the photographic process, we have good reason to re-open the question of photography as a representational art. (shrink)
Our Book Review Editor, James Keller, invited William Hasker to write a review of the Book by D.Z. Phillips, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God and then in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief invited Phillips to respond. Aware of both their respect for each other and their philosophical differences we planned that Hasker’s review and Phillips’ response would appear in the same issue of the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Unfortunately that was not to be. Dewi, as (...) he was known to his many friends throughout the world, collapsed at his desk on 25 July, 2006 in the library of his beloved University of Wales, Swansea. Although we were not able to have the review and response appear in the same issue as we had all planned, we are now printing his response to Hasker’s review, “D.Z. Phillips’s Problems with Evil and with God,” which appeared in IJPR, Vol. 61,3. Dewi had completed the review and thanks to the efforts of Helen Baldwin who prepared the manuscript and Dewi’s wife, Monica, and family we are able to print it here. Since Dewi was responding to an earlier version of Hasker’s review, a few minor editorial changes have been made. Dewi’s death is a great loss to the philosophical community and a deep personal loss to his family and friends, but I am confident that he would be pleased to have this response appear. He might even have a story to tell, a comment that those who knew him well will fully understand. Eugene Thomas Long. (shrink)
This paper suggests explanations for the enduring nature of the tripartite system of secondary education in Germany and the failure to develop the comprehensive school (Gesamtschule) over a long period.
Sidgwick believes that his own proto-utilitarian axioms satisfy criteria for self-evidence, while the principles of common sense morality, including the principle requiring fidelity to promises, do not. I articulate Sidgwick's argument for this claim, in Book III of the Methods, but suggest that it fails: its official version is vulnerable to a charge of unfairness, and its unofficial version cannot establish Sidgwick's view against Ross's.