This book describes the "naturalistic fallacy", as attributed to Hume, that non-moral premises cannot logically entail a moral conclusion, and distinguishes it from the similarly named though subtly different fallacy identified by Moore in Principia Ethica by comparing and contrasting its presence in a range of ethical or moral systems. A review of Hume’s position elicits the implications to theological naturalism, and how this relates to Kierkegaard’s "paradox of faith" and the doctrine of ineffability. Methods of logical examination of religious (...) language are discussed, leading to the dissection of the analytic proposition that ‘God is Good’ and of the connotations of proper names. Porter concludes from this a solution to the naturalistic fallacy: that "good" is essential to "God" by definition, and therefore that premises relating to God must contain an inherent morality. Originally published in 1968, this book includes topics such as Mediaeval attitudes to deity and morality; Religious myth, images and language; Comparative conceptions of deity. (shrink)
Part of the greatness of great literature consists in the profound, philosophic ideas the works contain. These ideas may not be unknown to philosophy but, when rendered in literary form, they gain an aesthetic force often lacking in the philosophic treatise with its careful train of reasoning.In this insightful study, Burton Porter explores the philosophic content of some outstanding literary works, analyzing and evaluating the ideas that drive the narrative.Porter first examines the concept of free will and determinism in Melville's (...) Moby Dick, placing the quest for the white whale within the context of foreordination, hubris, prophecy, and defiance of divine power. Connections are also drawn to Euripides' Medea and Shakespeare's King Lear as well as the Old Testament.The good and the right are traced in Anouilh's Antigone and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, showing the philosophic antagonisms in the literature and in the conflicted minds of the authors.Voltaire' Candide and Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov are then explored insofar as they express the problem of evil--the tension between human suffering on earth and belief in a benevolent, wise, almighty God.Finally, the nature of the self is investigated in Rilke's The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge and Kafka's The Metamorphosis, focusing on identity and the mind-body problem.Porter makes philosophy come alive by showing its expression in art and revealing the depth of ideas that make literature compelling.Burton Porter (Springfield, MA) is currently professor of philosophy at Western New England College and a visiting professor of philosophy at Mt. Holyoke College. He is the author or editor of numerous books including Philosophy Through Fiction and Film, The Voice of Reason, and Reasons For Living. (shrink)
Lively, comprehensive, and contemporary, The Voice of Reason: Fundamentals of Critical Thinking covers three principal areas: thought and language, systematic reasoning, and modes of proof. It employs highly accessible explanations and a multitude of examples drawn from social issues and various academic fields, showing students and other readers how to construct and criticize arguments using the techniques of sound reasoning. The Voice of Reason examines the traditional elements of the field and also explores new ground. The first section of the (...) book elucidates the relationship between thought and language, explaining how words function. It discusses meaning, connotation, vagueness, ambiguity, and definition, identifying the linguistic elements that can produce mistakes in thinking. The next section describes the rules of systematic reasoning, examining such topics as truth, relevance, and adequacy; deductive logic (categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive); and induction (cause and effect, analogy, generalization, and hypothesis). Sixteen fallacies in thinking are also described through extensive illustrations and applications. The final section of the book offers a unique study of what constitutes proof in several different areas--including politics, advertising, law, and social issues--as well as in the academic disciplines of literature, science, history, and ethics. The author describes the various rules of evidence, using essays by major figures in each field as examples. An ideal text for courses in critical thinking, informal logic, and reasoning and writing, The Voice of Reason offers numerous pedagogical features including a host of examples; assignments, exercises, and puzzles at both the halfway point and at the end of each chapter; cartoons and quotations throughout; and practical applications of theoretical concepts. An extensive Instructor's Manual contains answers to the exercises that appear throughout the text. (shrink)
ChapterI THE NATURALISTIC FALLACY AZ THE NATURE OF THE FALLACY The criticism which has since been labelled the naturalistic fallacy was first described by the eighteenth-century empircist David Hume, in a small but celebrated ...