When we start to discuss religion we run into controversial questions about history and anthropology, about the scope of scientific explanation, and about free will, good and evil. This book explains how to find our way through these disputes and shows how we can be freed from assumptions and prejudices which make progress impossible by deeper philosophical insight into the concepts involved. Books about religion usually concentrate on a few central Judaeo-Christian doctrines and either attack them or defend them with (...) tenacious conservatism, yielding nothing. This book has a broader scope, and instead of trying to prove that religion, or any particular religion, is reasonable or unreasonable, it seeks to persuade people to be reasonable about religion. (shrink)
The ancient Greek commentators on Aristotle constitute a large body of Greek philosophical writings, not previously translated into European languages. This volume includes notes and indexes and forms part of a series to fill this gap.
Our paradigm for religion is Christianity, which appeared as a sub-society, the culture of which differed both from Jewish culture and from that of the Greeks and Romans. Human beings are essentially social, depending upon society for all rational thought and activity. As social beings we live with regard to customs we think good on the whole. Customs are rationalised by theoretical and moral beliefs. They contrast with nature and also with convention and habit. Religions, like families, are societies intermediate (...) between individuals and states. So-called secular values concern the same things as religious and have comparable practical consequences. (shrink)
abstract I first summarise Martha Nussbaum's theory of emotion and place it against its historical background. Borrowing distinctions from Plato I then argue that the emotions discussed in Hiding From Humanity affect us primarily as social beings, not as individuals, and suggest modifying and educating them by social means.
I distinguish temptation to do what we think we shouldn't, temptation not to do what we think we should, and the difficulties we experience in customary religious practices like prayer. I ask whether temptation requires a tempter, also whether the phenomena we call ‘weakness of will’ can be explained without postulating a non-cognitive faculty of will. I look at Plato's claim that training the emotions is the main function of education. Finally I consider how obstacles to prayer can be understood (...) consistently with seeing a continuous development from the natural to the supernatural. (shrink)
Why do some philosophers, despite all we know about evolution and embryology, think that consciousness makes the mind-body relation a problem still unsolved and perhaps insoluble by those with human brains? They ask how consciousness arises in matter, not in living organisms, whereas non-philosophers ask how far down the ladder of life it extends and when it arises in individuals of sentient and intelligent species. They desire the privacy of Locke's closet, furnished with phenomenological properties; and besides replacing Aristotle's ‘folk’ (...) conception of causation by Hume's, they mathematicise physical explanation in line with Newton's First Law of Motion. Non-philosophers operate with ‘vague’ concepts of life, sentience and intelligence which allow them to treat these things as truly and naturally emergent. Machines that perform intelligent tasks are no more conscious of the reasons for their movements than actors performing them on the stage. (shrink)
It is often held that movement can be defined in terms of places and times. Thus Russell says: We must entirely reject the notion of a state of motion. Motion consists merely in the occupation of different places at different times, subject to continuity as explained in Part V.
The paper presents goodness and truth as analogous formal concepts. I first argue that saying something is true of something and saying it is false of it are basic ways of speaking truly or falsely. I then consider thinking a property a good one for something to acquire and thinking it a bad, equate this with having something as a positive or negative objective, an object of desire or aversion, and argue that these are basic ways of thinking rightly or (...) wrongly. Finally I discuss the notions of a way of speaking or thinking, making special reference to Frege’s ‘Negation’ and ‘The Thought.’. (shrink)