quinta-feira, 29 de novembro de 2007

AC Grayling: «Compounding the issue»

  • «(...) philosophy is a very different business from either religious studies or theology. Philosophy is enquiry, critical and open-ended enquiry, in which examination of evidence, assumptions, claims, methods and motivations is conducted according to the public and challengeable discipline of reason. As a subject of study "religion" admits of historical and sociological investigation, both empirical enquiries. "Theology" turns on the assumption that there is something for it to be about (god or gods), rather as "astrology" turns on the assumption that distant stars and galaxies influence whether you are impatient or sexy or keen on travel. These two -ologies have as much credibility as each other, but the latter usually does less harm than the former. Neither merits bracketing with philosophy, any more than the study of demon possession as a source of disease is bracketable with medicine. (...) But the key point is that ethics is a matter for everyone. The question of how one should live, what one's values should be, what is worthwhile and what is unacceptable in our relationships with each other, and what matters most in our conduct and our aims, is a vital matter on which everyone should reflect. The various religions have their various (and often competing) views on these matters, and are entitled to put them; but they do not own them or even have particularly interesting, still less plausible or constructive, things to say about them - often rather far from it. The reflex running together of the words "religion and morality" as if religion has some sort of special lien, or even monopoly, on the subject of morality is part of the problem, not part of the solution, in our contemporary world. Once we disjoin the words in this unreflectively reflex conjunction, we will make better progress with thinking about what is required for the living of good individual lives in good societies.»

(AC Grayling no The Guardian.)

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