Das »Richtige und das Gute« (1930), das ethische Hauptwerk W. D. Ross’, enthält eine Vielzahl wichtiger moralphilosophischer Thesen und Argumente, die bis in die Gegenwart kontrovers diskutiert werden. Im Mittelpunkt steht seine pluralistische Deontologie, der zufolge sich die richtige Handlung aus einer Abwägung der in der jeweiligen Situation relevanten und unableitbaren Prima-facie-Pflichten ergibt, von denen nur ein Teil auf die Optimierung der Handlungsfolgen bezogen ist. Diese Deontologie wurde zu einem modernen Klassiker unter den normativen ethischen Theorien. Darüber hinaus stellt Ross’ (...) These, dass moralische Intuitionen eine Quelle selbstevidenten Wissens sein können, einen wichtigen Referenzpunkt in Debatten um den erkenntnistheoretischen Fundamentalismus dar. Auch für die Handlungstheorie liefert Ross einflussreiche Argumente, wenn er die Ansicht vertritt, dass Pflichten nie ein bestimmtes Motiv des Handelnden zum Gegenstand haben können. Eine zentrale Stellung nimmt für Ross die Güterlehre ein, in welcher er von vier Grundgütern, Tugend, Wissen, Lust und Gerechtigkeit, ausgeht. Wurde Ross in den ersten Jahrzehnten des 20. Jahrhunderts im damaligen Großbritannien als ein herausragender Ethiker – einer der bedeutendsten des Jahrhunderts, auf Augenhöhe mit G.E. Moore – angesehen, wandelte sich das Meinungsbild in den folgenden Jahrzehnten unter dem Einfluss besonders des Logischen Positivismus und der Philosophie Wittgensteins. In den letzten Jahrzehnten ist jedoch wieder ein wachsendes Interesse an Ross’ Ethik festzustellen. Dabei wird »Das Richtige und das Gute« bisweilen sogar mit der »Nikomachischen Ethik«, Kants »Grundlegung« und Humes »Untersuchung über die Prinzipien der Moral« verglichen. (shrink)
What connexion is there between factual statements concerning God or man and moral judgments? That is the question which occasions this paper. Not long ago moral philosophers were wont to say that there is a logical gap between the two sorts of utterance to which I have just referred: that nothing follows in terms of moral value from a statement of fact, no ‘ought’ from any ‘is’. They recognised only one restriction on what may be said in terms of ‘ought’ (...) by what has been said in terms of ‘is’, namely that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. It is manifest nonsense to say that anyone ought to do what he cannot do. But, this apart, they thought it possible without contradiction or anomaly to hold any conceivable factual belief and at the same time subscribe to any conceivable moral judgment. They would have held that it makes perfectly good sense to say, for example, ‘This is God’s will but it ought not to be done’ or ‘Men are not pigs but a good man will live like a pig’. Bizarre such judgments may be, they would have said, but nonsensical they are not. They conceived it to be their main business, as moral philosophers, to erect warning notices along the edge of the is-ought gap so that contemporary moralists would not fall headlong into it as so many of their predecessors, in less enlightened ages, had done. (shrink)
At the beginning of his book, Principles of Christian Theology, John Macquarrie says that theology ‘implicitly claims to have its place in the total intellectual endeavour of mankind’. The question I want to discuss is this: in what terms, if any, can that claim be justified?
I want to put forward a certain view of the logical foundation of religious belief. It is, in a sentence, the view that religious belief is constituted by the concept of god. This view will be discussed under three headings. First, I shall explain as clearly as I can what I mean by it. Secondly, I shall indicate what seem to me to be interesting parallels, both with regard to universes of discourse in general and to religious belief in particular, (...) between my idea of a constitutive concept and Wittgenstein's ideas of a fundamental proposition and a religious ‘picture’. Thirdly, I shall try to substantiate the view I take of the logical foundation of religious belief by rebutting three conceivable objections to it: namely, that it rests on an illegitimate craving for generality, that it is at variance with common usage, and that it consigns religious belief to an intellectual ghetto. (shrink)
It is sometimes suggested that the logic of religious language differs from other kinds of language. Or it is said that each ‘language-game’ has its own ‘logic’ and that, whatever usual language-games are played in the context of religion, there is something that could be called the ‘religious language-game’ which does not correspond to any other and, therefore, has its own peculiar logic. In either case, religious people are urged to make clear what this logic is, so that their utterances (...) may be understood and evaluated. (shrink)
This is a well written, clear, instructive, erudite book. The author begins with what he calls Ancient Catholicism, which reaches until the Alliance of Church and State under Constantine. Careful attention is given to Patristics, including of course the tremendous achievement of Augustine, the emergence of monasticism, the conflict of the Papacy with the Holy Empire and the East-West Schism. A special section is devoted to what Professor Burkill calls Medieval Developments in which he includes ecclesiastical structures and their political (...) involvements as well as the academic achievements of Scholasticism in its different forms. The analysis of the complexity of the Renaissance, from a humanistic, religious and political point of view, is in the opinion of this reviewer, impressively presented. Indeed these pages, with their factual and ideological content, are among the best. From this heap of facts and ideas arise certain common features which we would do well to remember, as for example, the frequency with which men have been willing to die for their convictions, whatever these happen to be. Every belief has its martyrs, and to hold this as a criterion of truth would be presumptuous. What strikes the reader furthermore in Burkill’s unbiased analysis is the tendency for the persecuted, once triumphant, to become in turn the persecutors. Persecution, religious no less than political, has unfortunately appeared to most if not to all, to be a means of survival. In the last section of his book, where Burkill deals with the last three hundred years, religious pluralism has become overwhelming. Burkill strives to do justice to all and yet to keep some form of unity. The book reaches unto modern times and the last name mentioned is that of Teilhard de Chardin. I should add one more remark. This book is not an apologetics. The author, partial to no one particular brand of Christianity, treats all with respect and objectivity. It is the work of an observer. If he does not reveal the beauty of religion "from within," neither does he deny it. This is not his purpose. Furthermore, although his historical approach is laced with philosophical observations, the book is not what might be called a philosophy of religion either, at least not explicitly. It is a survey written by a man who is both a philosopher and a theologican [[sic]], and in my opinion a very good one.—W. D. (shrink)
In this lecture Armstrong argues that the main point of difference between Saint Augustine and other Christian Platonists centers less on how they view the effectiveness of man's free will than on their view of man's relationship to God. The Platonic tradition always stressed the goodness of the deity. Augustine, however, stressed God's immutability and power, and paid little attention to His goodness and His offer of redemption to all men, including those who stand outside the institutionalized church. This engaging (...) 1966 Saint Augustine Lecture is an unabashed polemic which is cast within an examination of three topics which illustrate Augustine's relationship to pagan and Christian Platonism. The criticism is stated with refreshing boldness and masterly erudition. The extensive notes are stimulating and informative. In the first section the author discusses the natural divinity of the soul and tells why most Christian thinkers, including Augustine, rejected the Platonic view that man's soul is naturally divine. The second topic presents the different attitudes Augustine and Platonism expressed toward the body and the material universe. Here Armstrong argues that in their fervent rejection of the Plotinian doctrine of the mystical body of the universe, Christians lost the sense of the holiness of everyday life and thereby dampened their awareness of the immediacy of the Holy Spirit. In his last topic of discussion Armstrong preaches against Augustine's doctrine of selective predestination and his conception of God as an arbitrary tyrant. These two views, says Armstrong, bring bad news to mankind and cause extreme pessimism rather than an awakening of love--the motive force which speeds man back to God.--W. D. T. (shrink)
The Right and the Good, a classic of twentieth-century philosophy by the eminent scholar Sir David Ross, is now presented in a new edition with a substantial introduction by Philip Stratton-Lake, a leading expert on Ross. Ross's book is the pinnacle of ethical intuitionism, which was the dominant moral theory in British philosophy for much of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Intuitionism is now enjoying a considerable revival, and Stratton-Lake provides the context for a proper understanding of Ross's great (...) work today. (shrink)
In this 1964 Saint Augustine Lecture, Callahan shows how Augustine refashioned three major doctrines which he inherited from his Greek and Christian predecessors. By far the most interesting doctrine that Callahan presents deals with the evolution of the concept of perfection. The author traces the development of the concept from its most anthropomorphic appearance in Homer and the pre-Socratics to its most famous expression in the ontological argument of Anselm. He shows how Anselm had derived his own argument for God's (...) perfection from an argument which Augustine used in the seventh book of the Confessions to establish God's incorruptibility. Callahan also examines Augustine's presentation of the ancient theme of the "flight of the soul" from the evils of this earth to the sanctuary of holiness or wisdom. In this portion of his lecture and in the final portion that deals with Augustine's psychological approach to the problem of time, Callahan is not at his best. His speculation on the extent of Augustine's indebtedness to Gregory of Nyssa provides the reader with little insight into Augustine's own viewpoint. This tendency toward distraction flaws the book because it fails to point out how Augustine infused inherited philosophical abstractions with the baroque vitality of his own genius.--W. D. T. (shrink)
Whoever decides to read this book will get what the title promises, nothing more, and nothing less. He will get nothing more, for it would be difficult indeed to elaborate upon all of Sartre's work in 148 pages. The author has not attempted to do so, but what she has done, she has done well.