There is a growing recognition of the challenge that religions pose for pluralist, multicultural democracies. 'Fundamentalist' beliefs and practices test the limits of religious freedom, and seem to contradict the very basis on which liberal states protect religious liberty. Religions, moreover, are often associated with intolerance and persecution, yet insist upon religious liberty for themselves. This book inverts these stereotypes by presenting a sustained critique of how religious liberty ought to be understood in liberal legal systems and develops an alternative, (...) Christian response. -/- In Part One the prevailing liberal approach to religious freedom is compared with historic and contemporary understandings developed by Christian theorists, and an alternative principled basis for religious liberty, from a distinctively Christian position, is developed. Part Two analyses the variety of stances the liberal state may take towards organised religions, and explains the nature of the guarantees for religious freedom in domestic and international law. The difficult question of precisely when and how far religious liberty should be limited is carefully analysed. Part Three deals with concrete contemporary controversies involving the recognition and protection of religious beliefs and conduct, looking at issues such as family and parenting, medical treatment, education, employment, religious group autonomy, and freedom of expression and protest. -/- Extensive reference is made throughout the analysis to UK law and the European Convention on Human Rights, also the laws of other jurisdictions such as the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, making this a wide-ranging, timely, and thoughtful examination of a perplexing contemporary controversy. (shrink)
This article argues that secularism is not neutral. Secularization is a process, the secular state is a structure, whereas secularism is a political philosophy. Secularism takes two main forms: first, a “benevolent” secularism that endeavours to treat all religious and nonreligious belief systems even-handedly, and, second, a “hostile” kind that privileges unbelief and excludes religion from the public sphere. I analyze the European Court of Human Rights decision in Lautsi v Italy, which illustrates these types. The article concludes that secularism (...) as a political philosophy cannot be neutral, and the secular state is not neutral in its effects, standpoint, governing assumptions or treatment of religious truth claims. (shrink)
This article explores the recurrent global claim by indigenous peoples for their spiritual concerns to be taken seriously and given appropriate effect in public policy. The secular liberal state's commitment to ideals of religious neutrality and equal treatment of all faiths and none is clearly tested to the degree it privileges traditional indigenous religion in the name of fostering indigenous culture. This dilemma has been acutely raised in New Zealand where Maori metaphysical concerns—the appeasement of taniwha (spiritual monsters) and the (...) evils of mingling the mauri (life-force) of human and non-human species in genetic engineering—have been subjected to judicial scrutiny. Quite apart from issues of justiciability, the legal acknowledgment of indigenous spirituality raises questions about the continued secularity of the state. This essay traverses the varying responses to indigenous spirituality, especially criticisms that such recognition constitutes government countenancing of primitive superstition, a fostering of paganism or naked religious favouritism. (shrink)
Here we review 37 modern neuroimaging studies in an attempt to address this question posed by Halstead (1947) as he and other icons of the last century endeavored to understand how brain and behavior are linked through the expression of intelligence and reason. Reviewing studies from functional (i.e., functional magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography) and structural (i.e., magnetic resonance spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, voxel-based morphometry) neuroimaging paradigms, we report a striking consensus suggesting that variations in a distributed network predict (...) individual differences found on intelligence and reasoning tasks. We describe this network as the Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT). The P-FIT model includes, by Brodmann areas (BAs): the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BAs 6, 9, 10, 45, 46, 47), the inferior (BAs 39, 40) and superior (BA 7) parietal lobule, the anterior cingulate (BA 32), and regions within the temporal (BAs 21, 37) and occipital (BAs 18, 19) lobes. White matter regions (i.e., arcuate fasciculus) are also implicated. The P-FIT is examined in light of findings from human lesion studies, including missile wounds, frontal lobotomy/leukotomy, temporal lobectomy, and lesions resulting in damage to the language network (e.g., aphasia), as well as findings from imaging research identifying brain regions under significant genetic control. Overall, we conclude that modern neuroimaging techniques are beginning to articulate a biology of intelligence. We propose that the P-FIT provides a parsimonious account for many of the empirical observations, to date, which relate individual differences in intelligence test scores to variations in brain structure and function. Moreover, the model provides a framework for testing new hypotheses in future experimental designs. (shrink)
J. L. Schellenberg’s Philosophy of Religion argues for a specific brand of sceptical religion that takes ‘Ultimism’ – the proposition that there is a metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically ultimate reality – to be the object to which the sceptical religionist should assent. In this article I shall argue that Ietsism – the proposition that there is merely something transcendental worth committing ourselves to religiously – is a preferable object of assent. This is for two primary reasons. First, Ietsism is far (...) more modest than Ultimism; Ietsism, in fact, is open to the truth of Ultimism, while the converse does not hold. Second, Ietsism can fulfil the same criteria that compel Schellenberg to argue for Ultimism. (shrink)
In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
In Heidegger’s Being and Time certain concepts are discussed which are central to the ontological constitution of Dasein. This paper demonstrates the interesting manner in which some of these concepts can be used in a reading of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. A comparative analysis is performed, explicating the relevant Heideggerian terms and then relating them to Eliot’s poem. In this way strong parallels are revealed between the two men’s respective thoughts and distinct modernist sensibilities. Prufrock, (...) the protagonist of the poem, and the world he inhabits illustrate poetically concepts such as authenticity, inauthenticity, the ‘they’, idle talk and angst, which Heidegger develops in Being and Time. (shrink)
This paper is a detailed examination of some parts of J. P. Moreland's book on "the argument from consciousness". (There is a companion article that discusses the parts of the book not taken up in this critical notice.).
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
In the same year, 1961, Peter D. Mitchell and Robert R.J.P. Williams both put forward hypotheses for the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and photophosphorylation in chloroplasts. Mitchell's proposal was ultimately adopted and became known as the chemiosmotic theory. Both hypotheses were based on protons and differed markedly from the then prevailing chemical theory originally proposed by E.C. Slater in 1953, which by 1961 was failing to account for a number of experimental observations. Immediately following the publication of Williams (...) 's hypothesis and before his own was published, Mitchell initiated a correspondence. Examination of the letters shows the development of a dispute based on the validity of the proposals, who should have priority and particularly whether Mitchell had drawn on Williams 's work without acknowledgement. We have concluded that Mitchell's proposals were original although it is evident that prior to the correspondence Williams had considered and rejected a proposition similar to Mitchell's theory. However, a major cause of the dispute was the difference in disciplinary backgrounds of Mitchell, a microbial biochemist and Williams, a chemist. (shrink)
A. J. Ayer, who died in 1989, was acknowledged as one of Britain's most distinguished philosophers. In this memorial collection of essays leading Western philosophers reflect on Ayer's place in the history of philosophy and explore aspects of his thought and teaching. The volume also includes a posthumous essay by Ayer himself: 'A defence of empiricism'. These essays are undoubtedly a fitting tribute to a major figure, but the collection is not simply retrospective; rather it looks forward to present and (...) future developments in philosophical thought that Ayer's work has stimulated. (shrink)