Just click on any topic to get the notes...
Latest addition to this page...
I have added an article, originally published in 'Dialogue', entitled 'Can Natural Law escape Aquinas?' to augment the notes on Natural Law for keen students and the general reader. To read it, click here.
Philosophy of Religion
There is a page on the Ontological Argument, with some material taken from my Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics supplemented with further comments and reflections. Notes on Faith and Reason, serve as background to Anselm's Ontological Argument, pointing out distinctions in the relevant Latin terms in 'faith seeking unerstanding' and 'I believe in order to understand.'
I have revised and posted sets of notes on The Argument from Design, based on the relevant sections in my Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics. These are supplemented by the notes on the Anthropic Principle and Argument.
Here is a short outline of the Anthropic Principle and Argument, for students looking at the Argument from Design, or issues in Religion and Science.
Language explores issues arising from Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Logical Positivism, Verification and 'Language Games' , both generally and in relation to religious language, with brief notes on 'experiencing as', 'believing in', analogy, myth and symbolism. (This page conflates my earlier notes on religious language.)
Religious Experience What is it? Is it a natural phenomenon? What kinds of experience are called 'religious'? Is it what is experienced, or how it is experiences that makes it religious? (These notes have been revised and now form a web page.)
Is the Philosophy of Religion a mistake? This is aslightly revised blog post of mine which asks whether the Philosophy of Religion can really get to grips with what religion is about.
Religion and Science, originally published in the Hodder's A-level Access series, is now available free on this website. Its chapters include: Evolution and Design, Freedom and Determinism, Miracles, Scientific Explanations of Religion and much more.
Just click on the cover for more information and to go to the text of this book.
Earlier notes on Miracles are now revised and available on a single webpage.
The Cosmological Arguments gives a basic outline of Kalam Argument and the Cosmological Arguments from Aquinas. But students doing this topic should also see also the chapter on 'The Origins of the Universe' in Religion and Science.
The Problem of Evil - These notes have been revised and are now set out on a single web page, with clear section headings. and an outline of the Irenaean and Augustinian approaches, along with the Free Will Defence, a brief look at the impact of this problem on ideas of God and a note on the distinction here between philosophy and theology.
The following are older pdf files, awaiting revision:
The nature of the self is considered in Aristotle and the soul and in Parapsychology and the debate about life after death.
Revelation through Scripture examines some of the problems of uncritically ascribing ultimate authority to religious writings.
Freud examines his basic criticism of religion and also his views about what religion offers.
Kant's ethical theory outlines his 3 forms of the Categorical Imperative, and provides a context for them in terms of his 'Copernical Revolution' and the postulates of the pure practical reason.
Utilitarianism offers a basic set of outline notes, including Bentham, Mill, Preference Utilitariaism and an assessment of some of its problems and advantages as an ethical theory.
Natural Law Ethics These notes give the background to the Natural Law approach to ethics, along with my comments and a rant about economics and the need for a natural law approach to ideas about society.
Meta-ethics These notes offer a broad introduction to Meta Ethical theories, including emotivism and prescriptivism. They draw on material from An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics.
If you are about to start examining the Divine Command Theory, take a look at these wi-phi videos by Stephen Darwall (Yale): God and Morality Part 1 and God and Morality Part 2. They are wonderfully clear and set out the main issues.
The following are older pdf files, awaiting revision - please use keeping this in mind; they will be revised and updated as soon as time allows:
Freedom and Ethics - asks questions about whether anyone is free to choose, and how much freedom we need for moral responsibility. Free Will and Determinism This gives a very brief introduction to determinism, relevant both to issues of morality and the nature and freedom of the will.
Virtue Ethics Brief notes introducing this approach to ethics, referring both to Aristotle and modern virtue ethics. Further notes, taken from sections of An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics are available here under the title Aristotle and Virtue Ethics.
Abortion and Euthanasia These notes give a basic introduction to the issues and the way in which natural law, Kantian and situationist theories might approach them. (Please be aware, this is an old lecture, awaiting an update.)
What is Conscience? These notes are taken from the relevant sections of An Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics, giving a basic introduction to what conscience is and what part it plays within moral debate.
The Ethics of War Basic notes on the Just War theory and associated issues, taken from a lecture given in 2008.
Sexual Morality: Christian demands and modern attitudes A lecture which attempts to show that neither Christian demands nor modern attitudes are simple and uniform, but looks at some basic ways in which religion engages with sexual morality.
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