A Concise Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion by Anthony Thiselton

By Anthony Thiselton

Overlaying thinkers from Plato to Freud, supplying distinct explainations of primary rules, and outlining transparent definitions of advanced rules, this can be a finished reference device for all these learning, or attracted to, the philosophy of faith.

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His initial concern with evolution owed much to the influence of Spencer (1820–1903), but he rejected Spencer’s positivism and mechanistic world-view. ‘Duration’ is more than ‘clock-time’ (Time and Free Will, 1890). Bergson’s most lasting legacy is his careful critique of Darwin’s theory. He reaches the conclusion that biological evolution, far from substantiating a mechanistic or positivist world-view, transcends it and exposes its inadequacy. This provided an impetus, in turn, for the process philosophy of Whitehead and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Watson’s works Behaviour (1914) and Behaviourism (1924) provide classic expositions of this view. A starting-point concerning the fallibility of introspection 35 is understandable, but Watson effectively perceives the human self as a mechanism the activities of which may be reduced to biophysical, neurological responses to stimuli of an empirical nature only (see empiricism). F. Skinner (1904–90). Skinner presses Watson’s school of psychology into ‘radical behaviourism’, arguing for the elimination of ‘mind’ as a philosophical and psychological doctrine.

All the same, individual-centred autonomy remains ‘shallow’, just as heteronomy (law imposed by another) can be oppressive. , 92–96). (6) Controversy about the status of autonomy has divided the two broad intellectual approaches that might provisionally be described as the modern and the postmodern. Modernity inherits a philosophy of individual capacities and rights inherited through Locke and Kant. Postmodernity inherits from Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger (1889–1976) and Foucault (1926–84) the view that against the enormous power-shaping factors of social and communal forces, individual autonomy is illusory.

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