Now showing 1 - 10 of 33
  • Publication
    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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    Metaphysics and certainty: Beyond justification
    (Fondazione Idente de Studi e di Recerca, 2003-01)
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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.
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    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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  • Publication
    "Which is to be Master?": The indefensibility of political representation
    (Philosophy Documentation Center, 2009-09)
    Government, the systematic exercise of command by some over others backed by the allegedly legitimate use of violence, requires justification. All government is predicated upon a distinction between rulers and ruled. Who should occupy the position of ruler and who the position of the ruled is a perennial problem. In the contemporary world, representative democracy is the only plausible contender for the role of justified government. The key to the justification and popular acceptance of democracy as a (or the) legitimate form of government is the idea of representation, the idea being that in a representative democracy, the people, in some way, rule themselves and thus bridge the gap between the ruler and ruled. However, if a satisfactory account of representation is not forthcoming, the justificatory status of representative democracy becomes problematic.
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    Wittgenstein: world, reality and states of affairs
    (Philosophical Society at St. Patrick's College, 1992-06)
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    An Elementary Grammar of Rights and the Law
    (Addleton Academic, 2010-12)
    Rights are many and diverse. They are jural rather than material entities that subsist in a society of rational beings and relate essentially to property, in the limiting case, one’s property in oneself. Law is the product of social evolution and exists to vindicate rights. The conditions for the emergence of law are embodiment, scarcity, rationality and sociability. The context for the emergence of law is dispute resolution. The characteristics of such a customarily evolved law are its severely limited scope, its negativity, and its horizontality. A legal system (or systems) based on the principles of customarily evolved law could answer the needs of social order, namely, the vindication of rights, without permitting the paternalistic interferences with liberty characteristic of contemporary legal systems.