At first sight it seems strange to compare Whitehead and Bradley. They were Englishmen and metaphysicians, and they were born within 15 years of one another. But they seem to belong to different eras, for though Whitehead’s fame as a logician belongs to the early years of this century it was only gradually — long after Bradley’s death — that he came to be regarded as a major metaphysician. And in almost every respect they seem to clash.
I shall argue that Bradley needs a way of expressing logical tensions between apparently conflicting judgements, a way which will render them intelligible and non-contradictory. I shall also argue that the method he demands must, to meet his own standards, remain faithful to his belief that all philosophy — even logic — has to be anchored in experience. But it must also preserve certain basic logical notions about contradiction. The method cannot be either what is usually called the Hegelian dialectic (...) or the dialectic of relations of which Ralf Church speaks. It is, however, in important respects remarkably close to the procedure that Duns Scotus develops in his account of the disjunctive transcendentals. (shrink)
For Nancy there is no all-encompassing Hegelian Idea which explains history, no "Hegelian Monarch" who could speak for all. The "end of history" is the end of metanarrative History, the universal rationalizer. The twilight of History's Reason is the dawn of history for "us". That should make sense of "our" time without stopping time.
The humanities create communities of meaning and the means to unify knowledge. Poets and novelists offer new insights into our shared mind. History provides our continuity. Philosophy struggles to unite our scientific knowledge with our understanding of values. Each discipline creates its own perspective and they often turn inward, creating new divisions. Yet a global view of the humanities is our hope of finding the means to live together in peace. But the argument in this article suggests that a philosophical (...) understanding of the basic concepts with which we order our claims about the world can provide a successful response. (shrink)
There are several forms of the Ontological Argument, but it is more or less fair to say that all hang on the contention that the notion of a perfect being entails the existence of that being, since existence is involved in perfection. My first interest is in the word "perfect." The word, I think, is usually vague but it seems to me that, in the context of the proof, it has a meaning which turns out to be much more pedestrian (...) than we would suspect. The argument, if it is valid, must assert that any perfect being would have to have every possible characteristic. It alleges that existence is a characteristic and it is, of course, over this that most debate has centered. It seems clear, however, that "perfect," as employed in the argument, merely means what we would call "complete" in less august transactions. In some forms of the proof, indeed, this is made somewhat clearer since the expression "greatest possible" being is substituted for "perfect." Ordinarily, no one would be tempted to pass lightly from the notion of "that which is complete" to the notion of "the deity." Both "perfect" and "greatest possible" appear to have moral connotations and "complete" usually does not. The slide, however, is made easier by the recurrent notion that evil is not a positive quality but merely the absence of another positive quality, usually goodness. If this view is held, it certainly does follow that whatever is "complete" must be "perfect" in the moral sense as well as in the other usual senses. It is not, here, my concern to pass judgment on this notion. I am, at the moment, merely trying to trace possible sources of confusion in the argument. (shrink)
In this very readable and challenging work, Armour's approach is three-sided: to examine Hegel's objections to elements of Spinoza's accounts of knowledge and reality, to analyze the problems in Hegel's own system, and to propose a system that resolves some of these questions. Throughout, Armour is clear and thorough in his analysis, and his proposed system should engender valuable discussion among scholars. It is a treat to see metaphysics still being practiced, in spite of recent claims by many analytic philosophers (...) that this particular area of philosophical thought is dead. (shrink)
It has often been suggested – recently again by Michael Goulder in a debate with John Hick – that what traditionally was called the problem of ‘particular providence’, the problem of God's selective interference in the ongoing affairs of the world, is so acute as to render any form of rational theism impossible. In the same debate Hick argues for a ‘minimalist’ position which allows divine intervention only in the form of a general, radiated, goodness and benevolence on which human (...) beings may draw. In this paper I want to show that reason permits and some evidence suggests another possibility – the possibility that God intervenes through the inner life and perhaps by establishing the cast of characters. I shall construct this alternative usingideas developed from Cardinal Newman and Matthew Arnold. (shrink)
Religious discourse is in some way about the world, but its relation to other kinds of discourse – scientific historical, and moral – is a matter of dispute. Suggestions to avoid conflict with other kinds of discourse – the suggestion that religion invokes a distinct ‘language game’ and the suggestion that it should be taken as ‘basic’ for instance – have not, I argue, been successful. Essentially religion is involved in orienting us to the world and our goals, and orientation (...) has its own concerns. I ask what would be needed for successful orientation and suggest that talk about God my include elements which are essential for orientation. The argument suggests that the object of our orientation transcends the usual distinctions between the subjective and the objective. Perhaps this is the idea of the beatific vision. (shrink)
Green believed that, underlying the structure of human experience, there is an immanent God, gradually realised in the world through the processes of history. He believed in progress, and he sometimes spoke of it as “moral progress.” Talk of the history of moral progress came easily to him. No less than Rané Rapin, the seventeenth century Jesuit who told us that we should read history in a way which showed us its capacity for moral enlightenment, Green believed in hope.
Of the half dozen crucial arguments around which McTaggart’s The Nature of Existence centers, one is borrowed from Russell. It seeks to show that we are directly acquainted with a spiritual particular which is the referent of the pronoun “I,” or, as McTaggart put it, “the self is known to itself by direct perception.”.
Bernard Bosanquet insisted that the truth of “moral socialism” — the doctrine that we all form part of a mutually dependent community and that we all have an obligation to put the common good ahead of our personal self-interest — follows necessarily from what we know about the nature of reality and from the logic of ethics. “Economic socialism”, the doctrine, in his view, that there ought to be a central bureaucracy on which all should depend for our continued well-being, (...) indeed, perhaps, for our very existence, is, he urged, the antithesis of moral socialism and is, in fact, a peculiar form of individualism. (shrink)
Bernard Bosanquet was an idealist with a taste for the rich complexities of ordinary human life, an appreciation for logic and science, and a dedication to experience. He was also fond of Plato, but I think he was a Platonist of a special kind, close to the Cambridge Platonism which Locke mixed with his own empiricism and which figures in the thinking of Isaac Newton. Of the partisans of the Absolute, Bosanquet is certainly the easiest to defend against the anti-metaphysical (...) philosophers of the twentieth century. Among moderate sympathisers with metaphysics one may still find philosophers whose thought resembles his in important respects. Though she was probably not aware of it, elements of his philosophy are very close to certain doctrines recently expounded by Iris Murdoch. And the idealism of Nicholas Rescher is not so distant. (shrink)