Reason and Goodness

Reason and Goodness

Reason and Goodness

Reason and Goodness

Excerpt

This book is the second in a series of three, which discuss successively the position of reason in the theory of knowledge, in ethics, and in theology. Each is concerned with the vindication of reason against recent philosophical attacks. The first volume, Reason and Analysis, is based in part on the Carus Lectures presented to the American Philosophical Association in 1959. The second, Reason and Goodness, and the third, Reason and Belief, which is yet to appear, are based on the Gifford Lectures delivered at St Andrews in 1952 and 1953. The last two volumes are also based in part on the William Belden Noble Lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1948 and incorporated with the Gifford series by kind permission of the Harvard Board of Preachers. Each of the three books is designed to stand by itself, but if a reader of the present volume finds himself impatient because some point of importance has been too cavalierly dealt with, he may perhaps find a fuller treatment of it in the earlier and epistemological volume.

In the ten months during which my wife and I were resident in St Andrews, we received more hospitality and kindness than I can record or properly acknowledge. I owe a special debt to Professor Edgar P. Dickie, chairman of the Gifford Committee at St Andrews, who presided with heroic patience over the long series of lectures and gave me much wise counsel and encouragement. One of my happiest recollections of those months is of the many Sunday evenings of good talk at Craigard, The Scores, St Andrews, then the residence of Professor and Mrs T. M. Knox. Since then the Knoxes have moved across the road into the massive house of the Principal of the University; but on revisiting them in St Andrews in 1959, we found ourselves instantly enfolded again in the atmosphere we had remembered, of high talk and untiring friendliness. The dedication of this volume is a small token of an enduring gratitude.

Although the appearance of the book has been unduly delayed, it would have been delayed still longer but for the generosity of the American Council of Learned Societies, which gave me one of its munificent senior awards in 1958. Yale capped this by granting me leave, and I went promptly off to my favourite outpost for research, the British Museum library, for a year of reading and happy scribbling. Though I have said many critical things about recent developments . . .

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