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In his little book on D.H.Lawrence Frank Kermode says that Lawrence's novels do not have a design on us. There are, to be sure, dogmas in them, the dogmas of Lawrence's treatises and letters; but, says Kermode, in the novels the ideas are made to submit to life. Lawrence himself said that the novel is the highest form of human experience precisely because the novel is ‘so incapable of the absolute... in a novel there is always a tom-cat, a black tom-cat which pounces on the white dove of the Word’.
Iris Murdoch, philosopher and novelist, said this (in a novel): ‘If a truth is complicated, you have to be an artist not to utter it as a lie’.
An analysis of the doctrine of the sanctity of life, and a defence of that doctrine against some trends in current ‘bioethics’, particularly as exemplified in Jeff McMahan's book ‘The Ethics of Killing’.
The argument presented on behalf of ‘the slightest philosophy’ by Hume that ‘The table, which we see, seems to diminish, as we remove farther from it: But the real table, which exists independent of us, suffers no alteration’, in contrasting the seen with the real table requires the first relative clause to be defining; but the possibility of identifying tables independently of being seen requires the clause to be non-defining. John P. Wright's objection to Reid's rejoinder is rebutted. A similarly worded argument in Alciphron avoids confusion since Berkeley denies that things like tables can be said in any unqualified sense to be seen.
Sacred music expresses and evokes emotional attitudes of distinctive kinds. Even people who are irreligious in their beliefs can find themselves moved by it in these ways. It has been suggested that for an unbeliever to cherish the experience of sacred music may actually constitute a form of sentimentality. This paper considers just what the appeal of this sort of music is, to believers as well as to unbelievers. There are non-religious musical works that have similar emotional content Everyday life prevents many important emotions from being experienced as consummately as they could be. Art can allow this to happen, can be a vehicle for emotion of the last instance. Indeed, a religious belief system is in part a similar vehicle. In art, where there is no gesture at belief, the risk of sentimentality is, if anything, less.
Following observations of Aristotle, Kant, Newton, Leibniz and Einstein (on space), we can devise a means of showing how the ontology of time supports the precedes-succeeds logic, which the temporal series shares with those of space and number, and how the past-present-future account is consistent with that. Time, by a relativist, not absolutist, account, turns out to be the existence and nonexistence of exactly the same thing in exactly the same respect. Both A and not-A can be the case, but not at the same time. On the relativist view their both being the case constitutes time. This turns out to be, in the most general sense, a causal theory of time.
Chapter 5 of John Locke's Second Treatise, ‘Of Property,” is a text that undermines itself, stammering to an unresolved and irresolvable conclusion because the structure of conditions upon which most of its moral argument about private property is based cannot be stretched to encompass the sudden twist Locke tries to make at the end. The moral conditions by which Locke defines a virtuous private possession within God's gift of the world to all mankind in common resist being extended to include an economy of money and limitless, unequal possession. The text comes to an end in total uncertainty, pointing simultaneously in two opposite directions. This paper explores just how deeply and hopelessly these distortions affect the text.
The overarching thesis of this essay is that despite the etymological relationship between the word ‘philosophy’ and wisdom—the word ‘philosophos’, in Greek, means ‘lover of wisdom’—and irrespective of the longstanding tradition of identifying philosophers with ‘wise men’—mainline philosophy, historically, has had little interest in wisdom and has been preoccupied primarily with knowledge. Philosophy, if we are speaking of the mainline tradition, has had and continues to have more in common with the natural and social sciences than it does with the humanities and liberal arts.
In advancing this thesis, I divide the history of philosophy into three competing traditions: the mainline tradition of philosophy and two philosophical ‘countercultures,’ one conservative the other radical. At issue between these rival traditions is precisely the relative significance of knowledge and wisdom and their respective places in inquiry. I also provide an account of the distinction between knowledge and wisdom—which I argue is greater than has perhaps been appreciated—and between the natural and applied sciences, on the one hand, and the humanities and liberal arts on the other.
An argument against the claim that moral realism cannot be sustained because moral beliefs, being affective-conative states, cannot themselves be true or false. In fact moral claims can fail both in terms of a failure of the standard it expresses to be realised by a given agent and also in terms of whatever it commends to be good or bad, right or wrong, in actual fact.