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Animadversions

Snowdon & Ward - Naturalism and Metaphysics - Q&As

(Text as at 18/12/2010 19:58:05)

(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)


  1. This was a follow-up session1 to Snowdon2 and Ward3.
  2. Fiona Ellis: chaired the Session, and started off with two questions:-
    • Is there more to the world than the T-World? Ie. Is there value in the world?
    • What’s the relation between consciousness and value? Are all values conscious states? Is consciousness necessary to discern value?
  3. Paul Snowdon: Value in the world? Does it have a natural basis? Music has a value for listeners – it’s a consumable, like wine. Naturalistically, values are embedded in the lives and enjoyment of human beings. Value relies on minds, but not on a supernatural mind. We discern (in music) not value but sound and structure.
  4. Keith Ward: Is there objective value? Might I be defective in not appreciating things of value? The concept of God is an integrating concept. Is Mathematics a matter of discovery or of creation? Is value there to be discovered, or have we moral relativism?
  5. Paul Snowdon: Could the theists please help those who can’t see the clothes to see them? Are those who can’t see God depraved?
  6. Keith Ward: We all are! But, we don’t choose to believe in God – it’s a basic way of viewing the world. No-one denies that the lectern exists, but it’s a different sort of question whether God exists.
  7. Paul Snowdon: What does “numbers in the mind of God” mean? What kind of hypothesis is it that there exists a God whose mind holds all mathematical truth. It needs more explanation, or it’s not an answer. For instance, does God discern a truth beyond himself? And, if he does, have we got anywhere or are we in a regress?
  8. Paul Snowdon: People believe what they are taught or brought up to believe. Different things seem “natural” in different societies – eg. flat earthers – but it is possible to escape. Intellectual progress involves becoming critical of “cultural givens”.
  9. Keith Ward: But what of those (like himself) who were brought up as atheists? How do they “get religion”? Even in Britain, believing in God is counter-cultural.
  10. Paul Snowdon: T-Naturalism does have an answer – it’s still cultural – but it’s not “because you’re stupid” that you believe in God (or disbelieve, for that matter). In a liberal society, many positions are unclear.
  11. Paul Snowdon: Appreciated the “tone” of the discussion – cutting out the confrontational aspects – he himself is the son of a vicar, and many of his best friends are Christians.



In-Page Footnotes:

Footnote 1: My notes are not very full, and my memory of the session is now substantially gone. So, this write-up gives a flavour only.


Printable Versions:



Table of the Previous 2 Versions of this Note:

Date Length Title
21/06/2010 09:40:19 75 Snowdon & Ward - Naturalism and Metaphysics - Q&As
20/06/2010 10:10:34 16 Snowdon & Ward - Naturalism and Metaphysics - Q&As



Note last updated Reading List for this Topic Parent Topic
18/12/2010 19:58:05 None available Heythrop - Religion and Naturalism Conference

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Snowdon - Naturalism and Metaphysics Ward - Naturalism and Metaphysics      

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

Heythrop - Religion and Naturalism Conference        

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