The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy
Vol. 1: The Principles of Moral Philosophy
Автор(и) : George Turnbull
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2005
ISBN : 978-0-86597-455-1 (vol. 1)
Брой страници : 462
Език : английски
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"The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy" presents the first masterpiece of Scottish Common Sense philosophy. This two-volume treatise is important for its wide range of insights about the nature of the human mind, the foundations of morals, and the relationship between morality and religion. In order to understand the Enlightenment in Scotland, Turnbull’s work must be put next to that of Francis Hutcheson.
In the first volume, The Principles of Moral Philosophy, Turnbull presents a detailed study of the faculties of the human mind and their interrelations. He contends that moral philosophy should be treated as one part, the highest part, of natural philosophy, and not as a field requiring its own distinctive methodology. Moral philosophers should rely on observation and experiment as their means of exploration into the workings of the human mind.
In the second volume, Christian Philosophy, Turnbull presents arguments for the existence of God and for God’s infinite perfection. The underlying notion here is God’s moral government of the world, a government that is particularly at work in the allotment of recompense for our good and evil deeds.
The Liberty Fund edition of The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy is the first modern edition of this work.
"The first thing to be observed with regard to our make and state, is, “That we have a certain sphere of activity.”
Whatever disputes there are among philosophers about the freedom of our will, it is universally acknowledged, “That man has in several cases a power to do as he wills or pleases. Thus, if he wills to speak, or be silent, to sit down, or stand, ride, or walk; in fine, if his will changes like a weather-cock, he is able to do as he wills or pleases, unless prevented by some restraint or compulsion. He has also the same power in relation to the actions of his mind, as to those of the body. If he wills or pleases, he can think of this, or that subject, stop short, or pursue his thoughts, deliberate, or defer deliberation; resolve, or suspend his deliberations as he pleases,<25> unless prevented by pain, or a fit of an apoplexy, or some such intervening restraint or compulsion. And this, no doubt, is a great perfection for man to be able in relation both to his thoughts and actions, to do as he wills and pleases in all these cases of pleasure and interest. Had he this power or liberty in all things, he would be omnipotent.” And in having this power or liberty to a certain extent, does his superior excellence above the brute creation consist. Were not man so made, he would necessarily be a very low and mean creature in comparison of what he really is; as he is now constituted a free agent; or as he is invested with a certain extent of dominion and efficiency."
George Turnbull (1698–1748) belongs to the founding figures in the Scottish Enlightenment. Finding their native Calvinism repressive, they sought a rational religion closely associated with their new science of human nature, supportive of tolerance, and compatible with classical ideals. He was a lesser-known contemporary of Hutcheson, Hume, and Smith. He taught at Marischal College, Aberdeen, then became a traveling tutor, and ended his career as an Anglican clergyman, first as a chaplain to the Prince of Wales, then as a minister in Ireland. Turnbull was the first member of the Scottish Enlightenment to provide a formal treatise on the theory and practice of education.