Review Of "In Defense Of Mystical Ideas: Support For Mystical Beliefs From A Purely Theoretical Viewpoint" By T. Chapman

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In this short book, Chapman examines four characteristics of mystical religion identified by Bertrand Russell. First, is the belief that there is no way to knowledge superior to sense-perception. Second, there is a sense of the fundamental unity of all things. Third and fourth, are convictions that our commonsense view of time is illusory and that Evil is an illusion. Because Chapman does not believe that mystical experience can provide direct evidence for the truth of these beliefs, he seeks to provide independent argument for them on logical and philosophical grounds. Drawing on the thinking of people like Anselm, G.E.M. Anscombe, Thomas Aquinas, P.T. Geach, K. Goedel, and L. Wittgenstein, he deals with each of Russell's theses and some of their corollaries in turn. Argumentation in support of the theses includes discussions of truth, ineffability, analogy, the ontological argument, time, identity, and persons. Chapman's discussions are interesting and provocative, as well as original in the use to which they are put. Although he has gone into considerable detail in his examination under each heading, he has not extensively discussed whether these separate discussions, when taken together, form a consistent whole. For graduate level philosophy of religion studies.


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