This study offers students of religion and philosophy introductory chapters concerning the concept of natural religion. It holds that we can’t engage in useful discussion about the present concept of religion without a knowledge of the philosophical history that has shaped that concept. This is discussed with reference to the notion of natural religion to illustrate certain aspects of deism and its legacy. Originally published in 1989.
This paper explores the main contours of recent work in English-speaking philosophy of religion on the justification of religious belief. It sets out the main characteristics of the religious epistemologies of such writers as Alston, Plantinga, and Swinburne. It poses and seeks to answer the question of how far any or all of these epistemologies are indebted or similar to the epistemology of the Scottish Enlightenment thinker Thomas Reid. It concludes that while there are some links to Reid in recent (...) writing, contemporary approaches depart from Reid’s views on the specific topic of the justification of religious belief. (shrink)
The paper comments on Scott Dunbar's "An obstructed death and medical ethics," arguing contra Dunbar that we should not view truth-telling to the terminally ill as primarily governed by principles of veracity and respect for autonomy. All such rules are of limited value in medical ethics. We should instead turn to an ethics deriving from the centrality of moral relationships and virtues. A brief analysis of the connections between moral relationships and moral rules is offered. Such an ethics would lower (...) the value that philosophical fashion places on truth-telling and autonomy and leave decisions about truth-telling and the terminally ill more dependent on the circumstances of particular cases. (shrink)
This article explores and defends some of f r leavis's ideas about the nature of reasoning in literary criticism. In particular, It examines leavis's contention that the validity of literary criticism does not wait upon a theoretical defence of its canons of judgments of standards. It aims to show that this eschewal of theoretical thought is rationally justifiable and that the form of reasoning leavis advocates for literary criticism has respectable parallels elsewhere, Not least in philosophy itself. Throughout, Reference is (...) made to the work of wittgenstein and john wisdom for elucidation and justification of leavis's point of view. (shrink)
It may take many decades for mathematical progress to be matched by philosophical understanding. Hugh Everett proposed that we not search for remedies for the implausible "collapse of the wave function" by changing the mathematics of the Schrödinger equation , but instead just look hard at what would be predicted if we let the equations show us how they think Nature behaves. Now, over 50 years later, there is a strong effort to do just that, but the broad picture is (...) not yet clear. (shrink)
This paper surveys the argument that a secular world-view that is committed to a neo-Darwinian account of human origins generates a vicious form of moral skepticism. The argument turns around the claim that Darwinism entails the unreliability of moral sense or conscience. This argument is analyzed and found wanting. It rests on a major error about the scope of evolutionary biology in explaining human thought.
The theme of this paper can be introduced in this way: does a pluralist approach to religion entail a pluralist approach to religion? My theme is not that odd, because I have two notions of pluralism in mind. There is what I will call ‘tolerant pluralism’ and what I will call ‘religious pluralism’. And thus my question is ‘Does tolerant pluralism re religion entail religious pluralism?’.
The paper aims to move the debate between Alston and critics of Perceiving God forward by asking if Alston’s book establishes a case for a realist interpretation of Christian mystical perception. It is argued that critical comments on Alston’s paper in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research by Richard Gale point, when reinterpreted, to a crucial disparity between mystical perception and sense perception. A realist interpretation of the former is not prima facie warranted but a realist interpretation of the latter is. Alston (...) confuses the question of whether mystical perception yields true outputs with the question of its realist status. (shrink)
THIS ARTICLE ATTEMPTS TO SHOW THAT A BELIEF IN MIRACLES AS VIOLATIONS OF THE LAWS OF NATURE IS COMPATIBLE WITH A DUE RESPECT FOR SCIENTIFIC METHOD. SOME MODERN THEOLOGIANS HAVE THOUGHT THAT SCIENTIFIC DETERMINISM INVOLVES A RIGID INSISTENCE THAT EVERY EVENT HAS A CAUSE AND THUS THAT RESPECT FOR SCIENCE CALLS FOR REINTERPRETATION OF THE CONCEPT OF MIRACLE. THE AUTHOR CONTENDS THAT A WEAKER COMMITMENT TO DETERMINISM IS RATIONALLY MORE ACCEPTABLE AND THAT THIS COMMITMENT LEAVES THE TRADITIONAL CONCEPT OF MIRACLE (...) UNSCATHED. SCIENCE COULD SURVIVE THE RECOGNITION THAT THERE WERE UNREPEATABLE EXCEPTIONS TO SOME LAWS OF NATURE. (shrink)