Reflections on philosophy and culture

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Religion, Ethics, Cosmology

Below is the text of a presentation I did last night for the AU Philosophy Club's occasional public forum, Philosophy at the Gnu's Room.  It consists in a few rough thoughts in response to Thomas Nagel's wonderful essay, "Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament," whose themes I'd like to write about more formally in the near future.

I want to talk a little bit about common ground between secular and religious points of view.  Now, when I talk about common ground, I don’t mean touchy-feely can’t-we-all-get-along let’s-celebrate-our-similarities-rather-than-our-differences common ground, but something much more like the kind of common ground that two armies have to share in order to do battle with each other.  That is, I want to pose the question: what kinds of intellectual ambitions do religious and secular thought have in common?  What are the spoils of war, so to speak, over which religious and secular thought are in competition?