New Essays in Philosophical Theology
Flew (Anthony) & MacIntyre (Alasdair), Eds.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Back Cover Affidavits

  1. 'This book is among the most promising and most important in its particular field to be published within recent years. Indeed, there is no other in which men trained in the school of philosophy dominant in England today have sought as they do here to come to terms with Christian theology.'
    → British Weekly
  2. 'What is really appealing about these essays is not a new sophistication but a refreshing naivety and transparent sincerity, a kind of virginal approach to the old problems which, expressed in vigorous contemporary English, makes the book eminently attractive and readable.'
    → The Times Literary Supplement



"Flew (Anthony) & MacIntyre (Alasdair) - New Essays in Philosophical Theology: Preface"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology


Full Text (Truncated)
  1. This is a collection of twenty-two papers by sixteen different philosophers working in the British Commonwealth. The first thing which all the contributors have in common is a familiarity with and a great indebtedness to the recent revolution in philosophy. They are therefore certain to be labelled 'Logical Positivists' by most laymen, including many professional theologians; and even by most philosophers outside the English-speaking countries. This label is entirely inappropriate: if it is to be taken, as it is and should be, to imply a toeing of the party line of the now defunct Vienna Circle; a position brilliantly epitomized by the Ayer of "Ayer (A.J.) - Language, Truth and Logic"). This is not the place to describe or discuss the revolution in philosophy or to estimate the part played in it by the Vienna Circle. It should be sufficient here simply to repudiate the popular misconception that all the philosophers are Logical Positivists nowadays; and to ask that this volume be judged on its arguments, and not be forced into some preconceived matrix of misunderstanding. The second thing which the contributors share is a concern with theological questions, and a conviction that these call for serious and particular treatment. (Whereas the Logical Positivists used to reject all theology holus-bolus as so much meaningless metaphysics.) But this common conviction and concern is not accompanied by a community of religious belief. One Editor is a Christian and one is not: while the contributors and contributions are likewise divided just about equally1.
  2. Our title perhaps calls for some explanation. The word 'new' is put in: not because the papers included are here published for the first time — for the majority have already appeared before somewhere; but because it is only in the last few years that attempts have been made to apply these latest philosophical techniques and insights to theological issues, while this is probably the first time that a whole book has been devoted to this enormous job. We should like to have used the expression 'Philosophy of Religion' for its analogy with 'Philosophy of History', 'Philosophy of Science', and so on: since the questions discussed here are philosophical and bear the same sort of relation to religious thought and practice as the questions of the philosophy of history and of science bear to the thought and practice of working scientists and historians; the relation, that is, of arising out of or being posed by these empirical disciplines, while being themselves philosophical and not factual questions (see Chapter III). But this expression has become, and seems likely for some time to remain, associated with Idealist attempts to present philosophical prolegomena to theistic theology. So we have adapted as an alternative the expression 'Philosophical Theology'; which has a welcome analogy to 'Philosophical Ethics' and 'Philosophical Aesthetics', occasionally used to cover the parallel philosophical inquiries which arise out of moral and critical thought and practice. We realize that many will be startled to find the word 'theology' so used that: the expression 'theistic theologian' is not tautological; and the expression 'atheist theologian' is not self-contradictory. But unless this unusual usage of ours is adopted we have to accept the paradox that those who reach opposite conclusions about certain questions must be regarded as having thereby shown themselves to have been engaged in different disciplines; the paradox that whereas St. Thomas's presentation of the quinque viae is a piece of (Natural or Philosophical) Theology, "Hume (David), Tweyman (Stanley), Ed. - Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" must belong to some other and nameless discipline.
  3. A very little needs to be said about our principles of selection. We have tried to include papers covering as many as possible of the most important problems. We have not included "Wisdom (John) - Gods", the paper from which much of the present discussion arose, because it has already been twice reprinted and we preferred to make room for less well-known papers. We have included contributions to the 'Theology and Falsification' controversy by Flew, Hare and Mitchell and pieces on 'Death' by MacKinnon and Flew: in spite of the fact that all these are much shorter and slighter than the rest of the contents; and because they are often referred to, though they originally appeared in a journal now unfortunately defunct and consequently unobtainable.




In-Page Footnotes ("Flew (Anthony) & MacIntyre (Alasdair) - New Essays in Philosophical Theology: Preface")

Footnote 1:
  • It will perhaps be of interest to some to mention that though we made our selection with no thought of denomination in mind it has turned out that the majority of our Christian contributors are within the Anglican communion. To our great regret the one Roman Catholic whom we approached felt unable to co-operate.



"Prior (Arthur N.) - Can Religion be Discussed?"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter I


Philosophers Index Abstract
    The author constructs a dialogue between a "Barthian protestant, modernist protestant, Catholic, logician and psychoanalyst."


COMMENT: Originally published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 1942



"Smart (J.C.C.) - Metaphysics, Logic and Theology"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter II



"Smart (J.C.C.) - The Existence of God"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter III

COMMENT: Originally published in Church Quarterly Review, 1955



"Findlay (J.N.) - Can God's Existence Be Disproved?"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter IV.A


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. This article attempts to show that a necessity of existence is part and parcel of the concept of a god, if the latter is taken to be an object worthy of worship.
  2. For a being that might not have existed, and that only contingently possessed divine excellences, could never merit the absolute deference of worship.
  3. But if, as critics of the ontological proof have argued, existence can never be necessary, it follows that the whole concept of a god is incoherent, and that the existence of a god is not dubious, but impossible.


COMMENT:



"Hughes (George E.) - Has God's Existence Been Disproved? A Reply to Professor J. N. Findlay"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter IV.B

COMMENT:



"Rainer (A.C.A.) - Necessity and God: A Reply to Professor Findlay"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter IV.C

COMMENT:



"Findlay (J.N.) - God's Non-Existence: A Reply to Mr. Rainer and Mr. Hughes"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter IV.D

COMMENT:



"Martin (C.B.) - A Religious Way of Knowing"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter V


Philosophers Index Abstract
    This paper is an attempt to show how statements concerning a certain alleged religious way of knowing betray a logic extraordinarily like that of statements concerning introspective and subjective ways of knowing.


COMMENT: Originally published in Mind, Vol. 61, No. 244 (Oct., 1952), pp. 497-512



"Flew (Anthony) - Theology and Falsification (A)"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter VI.i.A

COMMENT:



"Hare (R.M.) - Theology and Falsification (B)"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter VI.i.B

COMMENT:



"Mitchell (Basil) - Theology and Falsification (C)"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter VI.i.C

COMMENT:



"Flew (Anthony) - Theology and Falsification (D)"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter VI.i.D

COMMENT:



"Crombie (I.M.) - Theology and Falsification"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter VI.ii

COMMENT: Originally published in Socratic Digest, V



"McPherson (Thomas) - Religion as the Inexpressible"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter VII

COMMENT: Originally published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Mar., 1954), pp. 319-331 (under the title 'Positivism and Religion' and in a version directed to a different public)



"Flew (Anthony) - Divine Omnipotence and Human Freedom"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter VIII

COMMENT: Originally published in Hibbert Journal, 1955 (in a much abbreviated version)



"Flew (Anthony) & MacKinnon (D.M.) - Creation"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter IX

COMMENT: Originally published in Church Quarterly Review, 1955



"Williams (Bernard) - Tertullian's Paradox"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter X

COMMENT:



"Martin (C.B.) - The Perfect Good"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter XI


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. In part 1 of the article the author explicates certain analogies "implicit in much talk about God": that God's authority is like that of a father, and that the goodness of God is like the goodness of man.
  2. In the second part he shows in what way he believes there is "an inherent contradiction in the notion of God's perfect nature."
  3. He concludes that the alleged union of the divine and human in the person of Christ is a logical impossibility.


COMMENT: Originally published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 1955



"Hepburn (Ronald W.) - Demythologising and the Problem of Validity"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter XII

COMMENT: Originally published in Theology, 1955 (in a much abbreviated version).



"Nowell-Smith (Patrick) - Miracles"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter XIII



"MacIntyre (Alasdair) - Visions"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter XIV



"MacKinnon (D.M.) - Death (A)"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter XV.A

COMMENT: Originally published in University, 1951-2



"Flew (Anthony) - Death (B)"

Source: Flew & MacIntyre - New Essays in Philosophical Theology, Chapter XV.B

COMMENT: Originally published in University, 1951-2



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