philosophy and ethics

mugWelcome to my site!

Browse the free notes for students, philosophical questions, books on philosophy, religion and ethics, and examples of my travel photography. Click any book cover for more information.

A single click, from the index, will take you straight to particular notes, books, subjects and arguments.

 

All change, please...

Nothing lasts forever in the digital world, so please note that mel-thompson.co.uk has now departed this online life, along with its email address. Everything is now based on essexthinker.com , with essexthinker as my name on X and Facebook and mel@essexthinker.com as email. I definitely live in Essex, but 'thinker' may possibly transgress the Trades Description Act!

My latest photography page...

Return of the anthropic perspective!

The original 'Notes for Students' on the Anthropic Principle and Argument are a reflection on whether or not you can use an anthropic argument to demonstrate the existence of God. But now there's something very new and different, because a form of anthropic argument gave shape to Stephen Hawking's final cosmologiocal theory, as described in Thomas Hertog's book On the Origin of Time (2023). This is fascinating for both the Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Religion and effectively blows the lid off many arguments between atheists and theists. My comments on it are to be found, along with the original notes, here.

The Logic of Divine Impotence

If there is one single thing that inclines me to atheism, it is the logic of divine impotence and the wriggles that some theists use to avoid it. Read more.

(This short article about God is also relevant to those studying 'miracles' and 'the problem of evil')


My next book...

Most of us are practical atheists. Partly that's down to the culture within which we live and partly because 'God' is such a strange word, standing for very different things - from the gods of Ancient Greece to the philosophical quest for reality itself, and from a cultural legacy in literature, art and music to existential questions about the meaning of life.

So what can 'God' mean today, in a secular and humanist society? Is it inevitably linked to supernatural ideas or to religion? If both disappear, will it still have meaning? Am I right to call myself an atheist, when what I reject is a supernatural caricature of 'God'?

I'm doing battle with this book, determined to be absolutely honest, and to get it finished and published in 2024.

Click here for more information and to read an article related to this subject, originally published in The Philosopher magazine. 


Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72)

If you've always thought of Feuerbach as an atheist who saw God as no more than a projection of humankind's best qualities, think again. He's a remarkable thinker, and worth reading if you are interested in what the idea of 'God' can mean in today's secular world.

Here are some of my notes on The Essence of Christianity, 1841.


Thinking of self-publishing?

I run Brimstone Press, a self-publishing, not-for-profit cooperative, helping you to self-publish in an environment of shared expertise and support. Take a look!


mountain hut

Nietzsche craved the high alps; Heidegger his mountain hut. Where do you go for inspiration?

A place? A person? A career? An aspiration? Something to work towards or escape from? What is 'home' for you?

My latest book asks the most fundamental of all questions: Where do I belong?

Starting with Nietzsche's challenge to find meaning in a directionless universe, it explores the way we map out our personal worlds to create a sense of home.

From the orientation of temples in the ancient Near East, to the danger of being treated as no more than a customer or voter in an atomised world, it examines the importance of personal space and what we do with it.

Available from Bookshops or Amazon, from only £1.99 / $2.99


Why 'Philosophy and Ethics'?

I believe it is important to explore fundamental existential questions. Who am I? What is the purpose of life? What should I do? How can I find and promote happiness? How should I relate to those around me and the natural world? Such questions are crucial, urgent and universal, whether they are asked from a religious perspective or a secular one.

I take a broadly secular and humanist approach, but have been, at different times, both an ordained Anglican and a practising Buddhist. If you think that's weird, just read 'About Me'!


coverIn June 1916, two remarkable religious thinkers found themselves on opposite sides of the battle of Verdun; for both the experience was uniquely formative, but they responded to it very differently. It transformed their ideas of God, their careers and their lives.

A German Lutheran chaplain and a French Jesuit stretcher bearer, although separated by only a few hundred yards of mud and barbed wire, tried to cope with, and make sense of, that horror of death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. They – Paul Tillich and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – reflect a century of thinking about religion, politics, humanism, existential angst and the global future.

It's the story of two men and their struggles with religious belief, but also of the whole way in which ideas about God and religion have been shaped and re-shaped during the last hundred years.

Paperback £7.99 / $11.50 | Kindle £1.99 / $2.99

Click here for more information and a sample.


Bali

Fancy a trip to Bali? Click the image to see some of my travel photography, or here for the whole range of destinations. check

Looking for a particular subject?

Questions or comments?

E-mail me.

Doing A-Level? Or just looking for a readable introduction?

Three of my former Hodder textbooks are now re-published in paperack and e-book editions for students and anyone interested in getting to grips with the subject ...

Ethical theory Phil and eth science

I'm not sure the Buddha would approve of this website. He was suspicious of most philosophy, thinking it a distraction from the real business of living and seeking happiness for all.

He was also a great philosopher!

Distant stare, open necked shirt and a brain the size of a planet! It can only be Wittgenstein, who changed his whole approach twice, and did so brilliantly!

If you want to think clearly, take a walk!

Always a challenge! Nietzsche appears in several places in this website.

But a challenge of a very different kind comes from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - a deeply troubled Jesuit with a passion for evolution. He is one of the two heroes of my book Through Mud and Barbed Wire.


Cheap and Cheerful!

All the notes and articles on this website come FREE. I've also tried to keep the cost of my self-published (or re-published) paperbacks and e-books as low as possible.

Sadly, I have no control over the price of my earlier, conventionally published books, but many are now available secondhand on Amazon, which might help.