Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers

By Stuart Brown; Diané Collinson et al. | Go to book overview
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Main publications:
(1957) (ed.) Faith and Logic, London: Allen & Un win.
(1967) Law, Morality and Religion in a Secular Society, London: Oxford University Press.
(1973) The Justification of Religious Belief, London: Macmillan.
(1980) Morality: Religious and Secular, London: Oxford University Press (Gifford Lectures).
(1990) How to Play Theological Ping-Pong, London: Hodder & Stoughton.
(1993) 'War and friendship', in Kelly James Clark (ed.), Philosophers Who Believe, Downer's Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, pp. 23-44 (autobiographical).
(1995) Faith and Criticism, London: Oxford University Press.

Secondary literature:
Abraham, W.J. and Holtzer, S.W. (1987) The Rationality of Religious Belief: Essays in Honour of Basil Mitchell, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Ferré, F. (1962) Language, Logic and God, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.

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.

ALAN SELL


Molina Garmendia, Enrique

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.


Main publications:
(1907) La ciencia y el tradicionalismo.
(1914) Filosofía americana ensayos.
(1925) Por los valores espirituales.
(1925) Dos filósofos contemporáneos: Guy au y Bergson', second edition, Santiago: Nascimento, 1948.
(1936) La herencia moral de lafilosofía griega.
(1944) Nietzsche, dionisiaco y asceta: Su vida, su ideario.
(1947) De lo espiritual en la vida humana, second edition, Santiago: Nascimento.
(1951) Lafilosofia en Chile en la primera mitaddel siglo XX: notas y recuerdos; second edition, Santiago: Nascimento, 1953.
(1952) Desarrollo de Chile en la primera mitaddel siglo XX, 2 vols, Santiago: Universidad de Chile.
(1984) Obra compléta.

Secondary literature:
Escobar, Roberto (1976) La filosofia en Chile, Santiago: Editorial Universal.
Jaksic, Iván (1989) Academic Rebels in Chile: The Role of Philosophy in Higher Education and Politics, Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Lipp, Solomon (1975) Three Chilean Thinkers, Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press.

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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