Now showing 1 - 10 of 33
  • Publication
    Natural reason : A Study of the Notions of Inference, Assent, Intuition, and First Principles in the Philosophy of John Henry Cardinal Newman
    (Peter Lang, 1984)
    Natural Reason is an examination of the religious epistemology of John Henry Cardinal Newman. Although his epistemology was developed primarily to defend the rationality of religious belief, it is, nevertheless, pertinent to problems of belief in general. The theme of the work is that Newman’s central epistemological notions conceal crucial ambiguities. These are the result of his inheriting an inadequate philosophical tradition whose limitations make it exceedingly difficult for him to give systematic expression to this thought. The clarification of these ambiguities will allow Newman’s thought to reveal itself in all its brilliance.
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    The Contemporary University and its Cultured Despisers
    (Glasnevin Publishing, 2012-03)
    Once upon a time, not so long ago, there were no universities. You could travel wherever your fancy took you and stumble upon kings and courts, soldiers, churches (some with little schools attached), towns, merchants, farmers, in fact, all manner of things- but no universities. Then, in a very short period of time and in different places - Paris, Bologna, Oxford- and no one knows quite how or why, the university appeared; chaotically, anarchically, without any grand plan or design, with its subsequent organisation by authorities merely tidying up a pre-existent emergent order (see Knowles 1962).
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    A Problem of Unity in St. Thomas’s Account of Human Action
    (American Catholic Philosophical Association, 1987-06)
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    Faith in search of understanding
    (The Liffey Press, 2003-06)
    From the age of about fourteen my religious faith was marked by increasing intensity, a common enough teenage experience. At the same time, however, I was coming to have doubts, doubts that I found difficult to express since I didn’t possess the requisite vocabulary or ideas, nor did I have those around me with whom I could discuss such matters. When I was sixteen I discovered Bertrand Russell’s Why I’m not a Christian. On reading this book all the inchoate questions I had suddenly became clear. Russell’s book acted like sulphuric acid on the grounds of my faith; I found that they could not stand up to rational criticism so I abandoned my faith and, for the next 14 years or so, I was a convinced atheist—an atheist, note, not an agnostic for I subscribed to the principle that if there was no evidence for a belief system then that constituted evidence for its negation.
  • Publication
    Angelic Interiority
    (Irish Philosophical Journal, 1989-06)
  • Publication
    Metaphysics and certainty: Beyond justification
    (Fondazione Idente de Studi e di Recerca, 2003-01)
  • Publication
    Born alive: the legal status of the unborn child in England and the U.S.A.
    (Barry Rose Law Publishers, 2005-05)
    This work ex­plores the philosophical underpinnings of the law of homicide via an historical, thematic, logical and philosophical analysis of the anomalous legal status of the unborn child in the two major common-law jurisdictions, England & Wales and the USA. The book describes a trajectory from a consideration of the history and social embodiment of a particular rule of the criminal law to a broader and more reflective philosophical and jurisprudential discussion of the questions that it raises for the law and for society as a whole.
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  • Publication
    Why chickens have no myths: Walker Percy on language and man
    (Veritas, 2013-07)
    It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it….1 Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from his troubled dreams and found that while he had not been metamorphosed into a giant insect—what a story that would have made!—he had been transplanted from his comfortable bed to the floor of what looked like a rain forest. All around him were trees, or what looked like trees, with strange shapes and unrecognisable foliage. The tree-like things stretched up to the sky—and what a sky! Purple instead of the normal blue and, as Gregor saw when he reached a clearing, with not one but what looked like two suns! Wherever Gregor was, it wasn’t Earth; it wasn’t even Prague. The forest was raucous with sounds—an Amazonian cacophony of whistles, shrieks and jabberings. Suspended between terror and exhilaration, Gregor began to explore his new environment. First things first—what would he eat and drink? Was he in danger from attack by plants or animals? How would he know what was a plant or an animal? Were there human beings on this planet or, if not human beings, then rational beings of some kind or other? How would he know if there were any such beings on this planet?
  • Publication
    Artificial Intelligence and Wittgenstein
    (Philosophical Society at St. Patrick's College, 1988-06)
    The association of Wittgenstein’s name with the notion of artificial intelligence is bound to cause some surprise both to Wittgensteinians and to people interested in artificial intelligence. After all, Wittgenstein died in 1951 and the term artificial intelligence didn’t come into use until 1956 so that it seems unlikely that one could have anything to do with the other. However, establishing a connection between Wittgenstein and artificial intelligence is not as insuperable a problem as it might appear at first glance. While it is true that artificial intelligence as a quasi-distinct discipline is of recent vintage, some of its concerns, especially those of a philosophical nature, have been around for quite some time. At the birth of modern philosophy we find Descartes wondering whether it would be possible to create a machine that would be phenomenologically indistinguishable from man.