British classicist, ethicist, and Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School, John Hare will be participating at several public events next week (along with the God and Ethics panel on Tuesday). Hare is a widely acclaimed philosopher, best known for developing an account of the need for God’s assistance in meeting the demands of objective morality. If you’re looking for a discussion on religion and morality with a bit more intellectual bite, I’d encourage you to go along.
Here are the details:
Tues 26 July – Ethics: What Does God have to do with it? Panel Discussion
Q&A featuring John Hare, Mark Murphy and Glen Pettigrove. Moderated by Matt Flannagan.
Thurs 28 July – Divine Command Theory A public lecture.
Room 804-202, Fisher Building, 16 Waterloo Quadrant
The paper first defines what a divine command theory is and relates it to three differences between Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. It then discusses some recent versions of the theory, and replies to three main objections to it, ending with a brief discussion of divine command within Judaism and Islam.
Fri 29 July – Can we be good without God? A public lecture.
Library Theatre B15, Alfred Street
The paper argues that morality, as we are familiar with it in Western culture, originally made sense against the background of a set of beliefs and practices in traditional theism. In elite Western culture these beliefs and practices have now come into question and have been abandoned by many. The result is that morality no longer makes sense within that culture the way it once did. The paper will mention Immanuel Kant here, who put the point this way: morality without belief in God is indeed possible, but is rationally unstable. There are two problem areas in particular that the paper will stress. The first is the gap between the moral demand on us and our natural capacities to meet it. This gap produces the question: Can we be morally good? The second problem area is the source of the authority of morality. This produces the question: Why should we be morally good? The traditional theist answer to these questions has been that God enables us to live in the way we should, and that we should live that way because God tells us to live that way. The paper will look at various kinds of difficulty that arise when these traditional answers are no longer available.