Saturday, 21 August 2010

Bertrand Russell versus faith in God

There has been a fine old ding-dong in the books pages of The Tablet, the Catholic weekly. Sir Michael Dummett, the retired Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford, has accused Professor John Haldane of St Andrews of a style of thought that is "old-fashioned and cramped".

In a review of Professor Haldane's book Reasonable Faith (Routledge, £21.99) Sir Michael declares that "a man's philosophy ought not to be controlled by his religious beliefs". He then says: "If the results of someone's philosophising appear to be coming into conflict with what he otherwise firmly believes, he ought to conclude that they cannot be correct, although he is unable at present to see where or how they have gone wrong."

That sounds very like religious belief controlling a man's philosophy. Just such an example in a woman's philosophy is given by Mary Geach in an introduction to a collection of essays, Faith in a Hard Ground (2008) by the renowned philosopher G E M Anscombe, her mother. Read more

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