Deity and Morality

With Regard to the Naturalistic Fallacy

By Burton F. Porter

© 1968 – Routledge

176 pages

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About the Book

This book describes the "naturalistic fallacy", as attributed to Hume, that non-moral premises cannot logically entail a moral conclusion, and distinguishes it from the similarly named though subtly different fallacy identified by Moore in Principia Ethica by comparing and contrasting its presence in a range of ethical or moral systems. A review of Hume’s position elicits the implications to theological naturalism, and how this relates to Kierkegaard’s "paradox of faith" and the doctrine of ineffability. Methods of logical examination of religious language are discussed, leading to the dissection of the analytic proposition that ‘God is Good’ and of the connotations of proper names. Porter concludes from this a solution to the naturalistic fallacy: that "good" is essential to "God" by definition, and therefore that premises relating to God must contain an inherent morality.

Originally published in 1968, this book includes topics such as Mediaeval attitudes to deity and morality; Religious myth, images and language; Comparative conceptions of deity.

Table of Contents

1. The Naturalistic Fallacy 2. David Hume 3. Divine Command, Goodness and Obedience 4. Deity and Morality 5. The Doctrine of Ineffability 6. Religious Discourse and Poetic Language 7. The ‘Logical Parallels’ Approach to Religious Language 8. ‘God is Good’: An Analytic Proposition 9. The Connotation of Proper Names 10. The Concept of God. Appendix: An Analysis of the Key Terms Involved

About the Author

Dr. Porter received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. from St. Andrews University, Scotland, with graduate study at Oxford University, England. He has taught at various institutions such as Russell Sage College, the University of Maryland (Europe), and Drexel University, and he has served as Department Chair and Dean of Arts and Sciences. He taught at Mount Holyoke College as Visiting Professor of Philosophy, and he is presently on the faculty at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Porter received the award of Outstanding Educator of America.

He is the author of 11 print books including What the Tortoise Taught Us (Rowman and Littlefield), The Head and the Heart (Humanities Books), Philosophy Through Fiction and Film (Prentice Hall), The Voice of Reason (Oxford University Press), The Good Life (Rowman and Littlefield, 4/ed), Religion and Reason (St. Martin’s Press), Philosophy Through Film (Sloan Publications), Personal Philosophy (Harcourt Brace), Reasons for Living (Macmillan Publishing), and Philosophy, A Literary and Conceptual Approach (Harcourt Brace). He has also published 4 on-line books, Forbidden Knowledge, The Moebius Strip, Lab Rats, and Black Swans and White Tigers, as well as numerous articles.

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Philosophy of Religion

Reissuing seminal works originally published between 1901 and 1991, Routledge Library Editions: Philosophy of Religion offers a selection of outstanding scholarship covering many aspects of philosophical enquiry into belief and faith. Topics include the history of atheism, natural religion, Christian ethics and the human soul. Some books look specifically at philosophers such as Hobbes, Plato, Kant, Feuerbach, Kierkegaard and Pascal. From classic works by Edward Westermarck, John Laird and G.D. Hicks to more recent investigations, this set contains important works by the likes of D.Z. Phillips, Frederick Ferré and A.C. Ewing making it an essential collection of these previously out-of-print works in a key subject.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Religious
RELIGION / Philosophy