Ideas of A.C. Grayling, by Theme

[British, fl. 1999, St Anne's College, Oxford; Professor at Birkbeck, London. Newspaper column, popularising philosophy.]

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1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 3. Earlier European Philosophy / c. Later medieval philosophy
Lucretius was rediscovered in 1417
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / a. Early logicism
Russell needed three extra axioms to reduce maths to logic: infinity, choice and reducibility
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 2. Self-Evidence
Two propositions might seem self-evident, but contradict one another
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 4. Other Minds / d. Other minds by analogy
The argument from analogy is not a strong inference, since the other being might be an actor or a robot
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 5. Action Dilemmas / b. Double Effect
It is legitimate to do harm if it is the unintended side-effect of an effort to achieve a good
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / e. Honour
In an honour code shame is the supreme punishment, and revenge is a duty
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 3. Natural Values / c. Natural rights
Experience, sympathy and history are sensible grounds for laying claim to rights
24. Political Theory / C. Ruling a State / 1. Social Power
Politics is driven by power cliques
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy
It is essential for democracy that voting is free and well informed
Democracies should require a supermajority for major questions
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / d. Representative democracy
A cap on time of service would restrict party control and career ambitions
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / e. Democratic minorities
Majority decisions are only acceptable if the minority interests are not vital
25. Social Practice / B. Equalities / 1. Grounds of equality
Liberty and equality cannot be reconciled
25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 1. Basis of justice
The very concept of democracy entails a need for justice
25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 2. The Law / a. Legal system
There should be separate legislative, executive and judicial institutions
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 1. War / a. Just wars
War must also have a good chance of success, and be waged with moderation
25. Social Practice / F. Life Issues / 4. Suicide
If suicide is lawful, but assisting suicide is unlawful, powerless people are denied their rights
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / a. Religious Belief
Religion gives answers, comforts, creates social order, and panders to superstition
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 2. Immortality / a. Immortality
To make an afterlife appealing, this life has to be denigrated
In Greek mythology only heroes can go to heaven