. Seven threats to ethics
A Very Short Introduction
A Very Short Introduction Second Edition
5. The religions of Abraham
Muslim understandings of God
2. The Adviser to Princes
Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum
4. Necessity: do causes guarantee their effects?
2. The concept of God
Religions differ widely in their conceptions of God’s nature. Some religions conceive of God as a being that brought the world into existence but has since left it to its own devices, whereas others conceive of God as actively engaged with the world of human affairs—answering prayer, performing miracles, and speaking to humanity. Some religions regard God as a unity, whereas others take God to be triune (that is, to be three persons in one being). Some religions take God to have been incarnated in human form, whereas others recoil in horror from
5. The problem of evil
The Brothers Karamazov , Fyodor Dostoevsky tells the story of an 8-year-old boy who accidently wounds a general’s hunting dog. In retaliation, the general orders his hounds to tear the boy to pieces in the presence of his mother. Similar examples of suffering and affliction—‘evil’, as the term is employed in the philosophy of religion—can be multiplied without apparent limit. From the atrocities of Hitler’s Germany to the killing fields of Cambodia, from the gangland wars of Mexico to the torture-chambers of Syria, no student of history can be unaware of the horrors
6. Conscious will
Do we have free will?
Hold out your hand in front of you and—whenever you feel like it, and of your own free will—flex your wrist.
The timing of conscious acts
Did you carry out that simple task of holding out your arm and flexing your wrist? If not, you should do so now—or do it again a few times—because this simple action is notorious in the psychology of voluntary action.
The feeling of willing
All these arguments and experiments cast doubt on the idea that our consciousness is the cause of our actions. Yet there remains
8. The evolution of consciousness
It’s a lovely day and you are gazing at a great oak tree in the forest. You see the green leaves rippling in the breeze, dappled shade dancing on the forest floor, and birds flying from branch to branch. Looking closer, you see the intricate pattern of bark on the trunk and catch a glimpse of a beetle scurrying to hide. You smell the earth, littered with acorns, and feel the damp air around you. This is your conscious experience. This is how the tree is for you.
Mirrors, selves, and other minds