ALTHOUGH THE IDEA OF A VIOLATION OF NATURAL LAW IS NOT NECESSARILY INVOLVED IN THE IDEA OF THE MIRACULOUS, THERE IS "ONE KIND" OF MIRACLE WHICH SEEMS TO INVOLVE IT. HUME’S DISCUSSION OF THE EVIDENCE FOR MIRACLES RELATES TO THIS KIND AND IS INTERPRETABLE AS AN ARGUMENT AGAINST ITS POSSIBILITY. ALSO THERE IS AN ARGUMENT THAT THE EXPRESSION "VIOLATION OF NATURAL LAW" SIGNIFIES A CONFUSION IN WHICH THE IDEAS OF NATURAL LAW AND LEGAL LAW COLLAPSE INTO EACH OTHER. NEITHER OF (...) THESE ARGUMENTS IS EFFICACIOUS. FURTHERMORE, THE CONTENTION THAT THERE CAN BE NO SUCH THING AS ESTABLISHING THE "ABSENCE" OF A NATURAL CAUSE IS OPEN TO OBJECTION. HOWEVER, TO BE CONCEIVED AS A VIOLATION OF NATURAL LAW, A MIRACLE MUST BE THOUGHT OF AS AN OCCURRENCE WHICH IS BOTH EMPIRICALLY CERTAIN AND CONCEPTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE--WHICH OUGHT TO MAKE THE NOTION RIDICULOUS. AND YET IT NEED NOT. (shrink)
I am concerned with the subject as an ethico-religious problem. Is suicide all right or isn't it; and if it isn't, why not?The question should not be assumed to be susceptible of an answer in the way the question whether arsenic is poisonous is susceptible of an answer. Moreover in the case of arsenic the question what it is, and the question whether it is poisonous, are separable questions: you can know that arsenic is poisonous without having analysed its nature. (...) But to know or believe that suicide is objectionable is to have analysed its nature or construed its significance in one way rather than another. (shrink)
I am concerned with the subject as an ethico-religious problem. Is suicide all right or isn't it; and if it isn't, why not? The question should not be assumed to be susceptible of an answer in the way the question whether arsenic is poisonous is susceptible of an answer. Moreover in the case of arsenic the question what it is, and the question whether it is poisonous, are separable questions: you can know that arsenic is poisonous without having analysed its (...) nature. But to know or believe that suicide is objectionable is to have analysed its nature or construed its significance in one way rather than another.'. (shrink)
The idea of absolute goodness and the idea of an absolute requitement tend nowadays to be viewed with suspicion in the world of English-speaking philosophy. The tendency is well rooted and has not just arisen by osmosis from the temper of the times. There are various lines of thought, all of them attractive, by which a recent or contemporary academic practitioner of the subject could have been induced into scepticism about an ethics of absolute conceptions.
It has come to be expected that collections issued by the Royal Institute of Philosophy will contain work that has quality or is otherwise interesting. This volume runs true to form and presents plenty of both. It gives the proceedings of the conference arranged by the Institute at Exeter in 1973, consisting of five symposia together with Chairman's remarks of about eight pages or so for each symposium, and in three cases postscripts by the first speaker. The contributors and topics (...) are: R. F. Dearden and Elizabeth Telfer on ‘Autonomy as an Educational Ideal’ with R. M. Hare as Chairman; R. K. Elliott and Glenn Langford on ‘Education and the Development of the Understanding’ with Paul Hirst as Chairman; David Cooper and Timothy O'Hagan on ‘Quality and Equality in Education’ with R. F. Atkinson as Chairman; Mary Warnock and Richard Norman on ‘The Neutral Teacher’ with Alan Montefiore as Chairman; Stuart Brown and A. Phillips Griffiths on ‘Academic Freedom’ with R. S. Peters as Chairman. (shrink)
Fanciful fates is a discussion of ideas put forward by D.Z. Phillips in his book Wittgenstein and Religion, Ch. 13 –‘Authorship and Authenticity: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein’. I begin by opposing the contention that Kierkegaard attacked Socrates (and that Josiah Thompson, one of Kierkegaard’s biographers, attacked Kierkegaard) because of a worry connected with the ‘the demise of foundationalism’. I then deal with Phillips's claim that a similarly motivated attack on Wittgenstein has been undertaken by me. I show that Phillips’s account of (...) my treatment of two problematic remarks by Wittgenstein is radically misconceived and I argue that his own approach to the problem is unsatisfactory. (shrink)
A Fragment of ancient philosophy is like a code message which it is the task of the scholar to decipher. The cryptogram has come down to us, but not the key. In case this beginning should be thought obvious by anyone, let me say at once that I do not believe a word of it, though I believe that the attitude it epitomizes is by no means uncommon and is part of the explanation of a tendency to mishandle philosophical fragments. (...) The attitude is to be found, for example, in some things M. Untersteiner has said in his recently translated book on the Sophists1 about the meaning of the well-known statement of Protagoras. (shrink)