About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gutting on Kitcher

Gary Gutting discusses Philip Kitcher over here. I'll be reviewing Kitcher's forthcoming book, The Ethical Project, for The Philosophers' Magazine, and am looking forward to reading it.


Patrick said...

"Most believers, however, do not come to religion through philosophical arguments. Rather, their belief arises from their personal experiences of a spiritual world of meaning and values, with God as its center."

I hate the word "spiritual" with the fires of a thousand suns. And this paragraph exemplifies why.

Russell Blackford said...

I think that most religious believers come to their views through socialisation (especially by parents), though some also do through powerful emotional experiences. I think it's true that few do through accepting the sorts of arguments put by, say, William Lane Craig.

Anonymous said...

I think you're probably right. I just think that the word "spiritual" does more damage than it needs to. From the context of the article, I'm interpreting the portion I quoted as meaning something like,

"Most believers, however, do not come to religion through philosophical arguments. Rather, their belief arises from being socialized into viewing the world through a lens of particular meanings and values, which are linked by their community to a belief in a god."

And that I believe! I had a friend recently post to facebook a picture captioned, "The ultimate disproof of atheism." It was a picture of a beautiful nebula. For her, the feeling of looking at a beautiful thing is linked to her belief in God. She seems to actually feel like that wouldn't be possible if God weren't real.

So I believe that part! I just can't stand the use of "spiritual" in the quoted sense. It would be as if I constantly referred to people who claim to have been abducted as "people who have had UFO abduction experiences," and claimed that they believe in UFOs because of a "powerful experience of being abducted." Its misleading about where I stand on the subject.

Patrick said...

Sorry, that was me again, I forgot to uncheck anonymous.

Russell Blackford said...

Sure - I agree with you on that!