Vol. 116 No. 8

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ASPECTS OF ATHEISTIC DETERMINISM Tom Rubens
A highly concentrated discourse on the many implications of the view that all human behaviour is caused, and that this causation is neither instigated nor guided by any deity. Stress is placed on the point that continuous causation means that any single instance ofbehaviour is pre-settled, but that the pre-settlement does not rob the actor of genuine ownership of his/her action. Within the causal framework, the actor is free in the compatibilist, as distinct from the libertarian, sense: s/he is free to act as a result of caused desires, but only when external social space is available for such action. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

PSYCHOANALYSIS, EMOTIONS AND LIVING A GOOD LIFE Michael Lacewing
A very sensitive examination of the importance of possessing emotional self-knowledge in the effort to live the good life. In contrast to the traditional view that the exercise of reason, in relation to the emotions, is the central factor in considering how to live, it is argued that the modern psychoanalytical view of the psyche is more illuminating, because it highlights the foundational status of feeling. Emotion is often highly complex, not fully accessible to the rational understanding, and containing unconscious meanings. Only by acknowledging the full range and potency of our feelings can we effectively envisage how to live, because this is the only way we can achieve a fully integrated sense of self. Before we can do anything else, we must be honest with ourselves about what our true feelings are. This self-honesty involves a kind of self-compassion: an openness toward all our feelings, no matter how problematic and painful these may be. Abstract by Tom Rubens. 

ESSAY – REFLECTIONS ON THE RIGHTS OF MAN Martin Green
Drawing on Tom Paine’s assertion, in ‘The Rights of Man’, that no governing body has the right to legislate for perpetuity, the author mounts a vigorous argument for the replacement of monarchy by a republican form of government.

NOTICE – Conway Memorial Lecture – Jeremy Bentham – Prophet of Secularism

BOOK REVIEW – HOW TO BE AN AGNOSTIC by Mark Vernon, review by Terry Liddle

OBITUARY – RICHARD SCORER (1919 – 2011) Margaret Scorer
Though from a religious background, Richard became an atheist during World War II, after which he joined the war effort as a meteorologist. Later, at Imperial College, London, he became a Reader in Mathematics and Professor of Theoretical Mechanics. He was twice married, the second time to the author, and raised two families. He had a very wide range of interests, including cycling, photography and woodwork, and was politically active, as a member of the Labour Party.

ETHICAL SOCIETY EVENTS

 

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