In the heyday of linguistic analysis Mitchell stoutly maintained both that such analysis was not necessarily inimical to Christian faith, and that the adumbration of worldviews was 'no part of the philosopher's business'. He participated in the 'Theology and Falsification' debate of the 1950s, granting Flew's claim that the problem of evil presented real difficulties to believers, but arguing that their faith will not allow them to regard theological assertions as only 'provisional hypotheses to be discarded if experience tells against them'. In Faith and Logic (1957) he argued that while belief in God's grace cannot be established by empirical evidence, it has empirical application. In The Justification of Religious Belief (1973) his case was that since we cannot strictly know whether or not there is a God, Christian theism, qua worldview, must be judged according to its ability to make sense of all the available evidence. The weight Mitchell places upon personal judgement in his cumulative theistic argument has caused concern to some whose arguments have, in turn, been found to be less than compelling.
In Law, Morality and Religion (1967), Mitchell shows how disagreements on moral issues derive from more or less fundamentally different understandings of morality as such-not least when those disagreeing are recognizable liberals. His Gifford Lectures (1980) comprise a critique of scientific, romantic and liberal humanism, together with a denial of the view that the traditional Western intuitions of conscience can be defended by entirely secular arguments, and without reference to Christian views of the human being's nature and needs.
A professional philosopher who is a Christian (as distinct from one who propounds a 'Christian philosophy'), Mitchell's patient and discerning quest of reasonableness in religion and morality has earned him the respect of a wide circle of students, colleagues and readers.
Sources: WW; Sell; personal acquaintance.
Chilean, b: 4 August 1871, La Serena, Chile, d: 1964. Cat: Social philosopher. Educ: Educated in Chile at the Institute Pedagógico. Appts: Minister of Education; Founder, Universidad de Conception; Editor of Atenea.
Although he ostensibly freed himself from the influence of positivism, which had been dominant in Chilean philosophy, Molina was slow to shed the last vestiges of determinism and was critical of Bergson until as late as 1925. Gradually he shifted to an anti-positivist stance later in life and
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Publication information: Book title: Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers. Contributors: Stuart Brown - Editor, Diané Collinson - Editor, Robert Wilkinson - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 540.
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