Explanation for Intelligibility

  • Hugo A. Meynell
Part of the New Studies in the Philosophy of Religion book series (NSPR)


The relevance of the foregoing discussion to establishing a case for theism may be summed up in the form of the following two arguments.


Scientific Explanation Religious Experience Sufficient Reason Human Intelligence Ontological Argument 
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  1. 1.
    Cf. A. G. N. Flew, God and Philosophy (London, 1966) 3.16: ‘The other, when what is not the other is the universe, is hard to identify as anything but nothing.’Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See above. A failure to make such distinctions seems to underlie the following remark by Stuart Hampshire: ‘If you think of the fact of existence itself as a mystery, then you will soon find yourself looking for an explanation of the universe outside of the universe itself; in other words, you will look … for something beyond all existence which explains why anything at all exists’ (‘Metaphysical Systems’, in The Nature of Metaphysics, ed. D. F. Pears (London, 1957); cited Munitz, The Mystery of Existence, 8 –9).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    N. L. Wilson, ‘Existence Assumptions and Contingent Meaningfulness’, Mind (1956) 343.Google Scholar
  4. See J. J. Shepherd, Experience, Inference and God, 26.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Kai Nielsen, ‘On Fixing the Reference Range of “God”’ Religious Studies (October 1966) 26–7; cited Shepherd, Experience, Inference and God, 19).Google Scholar
  6. For this reason, the move to explicitly materialist metaphysical positions by some recent analytic philosophers is to be welcomed. Cf. J. J. Smart, Philosophy and Scientific Realism (London, 1963);Google Scholar
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    D. M. Armstrong, A Materialist Theory of the Mind(London, 1968);Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    A. Quinton, The Nature of Things (London, 1973).Google Scholar
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    C. B. Martin, Religious Belief (Ithaca, 1959) 152–6; cited Shepherd, Experience, Inference and God, 42 –3.Google Scholar
  10. F. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, second part; ‘On Self-Overcoming’, in W. Kaufmann (ed.), The Portable Nietzsche(New York, 1954) 225. Kaufmann remarks, as well he may, that this passage raises many philosophical difficulties (193).Google Scholar
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    See J. Mepham, ‘The Theory of Ideology in Capital’, Radical Philosophy (1972) 12–13.Google Scholar
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    See Armstrong, Belief Truth and Knowledge (Cambridge, 1973) passim.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 42.
    Bertrand Russell said, ‘You have to grasp this sorry scheme of things entire to do what you want, and that we can’t do’ (B. Russell and F. C. Copleston, ‘The Existence of God. A Debate’, in P. Edwards and A. Pap, A Modern Introduction to Philosophy (New York, 1973) 478.Google Scholar
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    On the mere pretence of doubting, see C. S. Peirce, in P. P. Wiener (ed.), Values in a Universe of Chance (Stanford, 1958) 40, 99.Google Scholar
  15. 60.
    For the claim that it can be fruitful, cf. Donald M. Mac Kay, Science, Chance and Providence (Oxford, 1978);Google Scholar
  16. 60.
    W. H. Thorpe, Purpose in a World of Chance (Oxford, 1978). See also pp. 110–15 below.Google Scholar
  17. 62.
    See D.J. Allan, The Philosophy of Aristotle (London, 1952) 45–7.Google Scholar
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    A. C. Ewing, Value and Reality (London, 1973) 156–63.Google Scholar
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    Duns Scotus, Reportata Parisiensia, 1,2,2,6; cited J. F. Ross, Philosophical Theology (Indianapolis and New York, 1969) 174.Google Scholar
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    Anselm, ‘Reply to Gaunilo’ (Anselm of Canterbury, ed. and tr. J. Hopkins and H. W. Richardson, vol. i (London, 1974) 123–4). ‘That than which a greater cannot be thought can only be thought to exist without a beginning. Now, whatever can be thought to exist but does not exist can be thought to begin to exist. Thus, it is not the case that that than which a greater cannot be thought can be thought to exist and yet does not exist. Therefore, if it can be thought to exist, it is necessary that it exist.’Google Scholar
  21. 83.
    See N. Rescher, The Philosophy of Leibniz (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1965) 66–7.Google Scholar
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    Die Philosophischen Schriften von G. W. Leibniz, ed. C. J. Ger- hardt (Hildesheim, 1965) iv, 359, 406; cited Rescher, Philosophy of Leibniz, 67.Google Scholar
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    M. Schlick, ‘Meaning and Verification’, Philosophical Review (1936) 352; cited Munitz, Mystery of Existence, 8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hugo A. Meynell 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugo A. Meynell
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Philosophy and of Theology and Religious StudiesUniversity of LeedsUK

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