Tuesday, 21 November, 4:00pm-5:30pm - IRC Seminar – “The Idea of an A Priori Law” – Ralph Walker, Magdalen College, Oxford
Kant believes in a moral law that is not given by God, or by anything else we are familiar with: it is something in its own right. It is not without parallels. The truths of logic and arithmetic also seem to have a similar status, as do all the truths we commonly call a priori. These things cannot simply be human habits of thought. In the case of morals, of course, it is often held that they have their source in the will of God, though Aquinas – aware of the Euthyphro Dilemma – is clear that they have their source in the nature of God, not His will. It is not at all clear what that really means, but it presents an idea worth exploring. This talk develops this strange but familiar concept of an a priori law.
RALPH WALKER is Emeritus Fellow in Philosophy at Magdalen College Oxford. An expert on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, he was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, before becoming a fellow of Merton College in 1968. He moved to Magdalen in 1972 and has worked there ever since. Apart from focusing on Kant, he has also published widely on epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion, including a book on the coherence theory of truth. His books have been translated into numerous languages.
This event is organised by the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion in collaboration with the Humane Philosophy Project and the Centre for Theology, Law, and Culture, with sponsorship from the John Templeton Foundation and the University of Warsaw.