“NATURAL theology” is generally used as the name of a study which seeks to “get at religious truth” by the use of man's reasoning powers, and not to expound revelation. But I want to limit its application to part of this field. By natural theology I mean here a study which seeks to “get at religious truth” by an empirical examination of things, and not by “pure reason.” It is a “scientific” theology. An example of a natural theologian in this (...) sense would be, I suppose, the author of any one of the Bridgewater Treatises, or Paley, or F. R. Tennant. Perhaps I might have called this kind of theology “empirical theology” ; but I do not want to invent new terms more than I have to. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to show that there are two distinct ethical theories in the writings of Bishop Butler. This is something that his critics do not seem to have realized. One or two of them have seen that the Dissertation on Virtue contains ideas which do not harmonize very well with those of the Rolls Sermons , but no one has made a detailed study of the differences. It has been usual to dismiss them with the remark (...) that Butler is an inconsistent writer and we should not worry too much over details. (shrink)
The attitude of the impartial spectator has seemed to some to be the appropriate one for a moral philosopher: the philosopher should disengage himself from the moral battle and try to understand it; the academic moral philosopher's responsibility is to write about morality rather than to recommend moral positions—and, indeed, where an ideological standpoint is presupposed in academic moral philosophy, it is commonly not consciously presupposed.
THE GROUNDS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF MAY BE VARIOUS, AND SUCH GROUNDS ARE ASSESSABLE BY BOTH BELIEVER AND NON-BELIEVER; BUT THE ARTICULATION OF SUCH GROUNDS IS, THOUGH A PROPER ONE, AN AVOIDABLE TOPIC FOR THE BELIEVER AND THE PHILOSOPHER. (BP, EDITED).
In the last section of his article Professor Kellenberger says that Professor Flew misunderstands the nature of religious utterances. These are affirmations of belief or trust, whereas Flew treats them as if they were hypotheses. If ‘God loves us’ is held by someone as an hypothesis then it would be proper to ask what justifies him in holding it, and, equally, what would have to happen for him to feel that he could no longer justifiably hold it. But if ‘God (...) loves us’ is said by someone as an affirmation of trust such questions seem out of place. (shrink)