Faith in a Hard Ground by G.E.M. Anscombe, Mary Geach, Luke Gormally

By G.E.M. Anscombe, Mary Geach, Luke Gormally

Elizabeth Anscombe’s forthright philosophy speaks on to many non secular and moral problems with present concern.This number of her essays types a spouse quantity to the significantly acclaimed Human lifestyles, motion and Ethics, released in 2005.

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Say the opposite of what he really believes, and be mistaken. That is, the opposite of what he thinks will be true; and he will say the opposite of what he thinks. So what he says will be true and you will believe it because he says it. But you won’t be believing him! Ordinarily, of course, when you believe what a man says, this is because you assume that he says what he believes. But even this doesn’t give us a sufficient condition for your believing to be believing him. For here again one can construct a funny sort of case—where you believe that what he believes will be true, but by accident, as it were.

If you insist on saying that the deluded victim does not ‘believe the pen-friend’ because the pen-friend doesn’t exist, you will deprive yourself of the clearest way of describing his situation: ‘he believed the non-existent person’. And, somewhat absurdly, you will have to say that his own expression of belief ‘I believe her’, is not an expression of belief, or not a proper one. What then would be the proper one? We had better settle for saying that the victim believes the pen-friend, and that the ancient was believing Apollo—who does not exist.

In this essay he appears to be arguing only against a certain argument, not against Christian beliefs: he appears to be saying ‘If you hold them, it is on other grounds, not these’; he even ostensibly holds them—for other reasons; namely, their admirable content. But it is very clear that the Christian religion is false if, say, Christ is a myth. The role of Christ is not, as some people, who I suppose are in some line of descent from Lessing, would say: to show how noble a human being might be, and so inspire us.

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