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The Axiological Theism of A. E. Taylor

  • Charles F. Sawhill Virtue (a1)

If a rational argument is to be advanced for the existence of God, it must be some form of the cosmological, depending on the concept of causation, or the ontological, an elaboration of the concept of being. The metaphysical fertility of the axiological approach to theism consists in its reformulation of the ontological argument—viz., that the nature of existent reality itself is indicative of supra natural being.

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page 110 1 Essays Catholic and Critical, edited by Gordon Selwyn, London, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1926, p. 55.

page 111 note 1 The Faith of a Moralist, Macmillan, London, 1930, Vol. II, p. 195. (Here in after referred to as The Faith.)

page 111 note 2 Though we must remember that we do not know what mind is, even in ourselves. The concept of mind is thus an anthropomorphic symbol, but it is not mere symbol.

page 111 note 3 The Faith, I, p. 244.

page 112 note 1 Loc. Cit., p. 166.

page 112 note 2 Ibid.., p. 168.

page 112 note 3 Ibid.., p. 169.

page 112 note 4 See Taylor's biographical statement. Contemporary British Philosophy, Second Series, p. 271: “I suppose that at this time in my life I was not far from developing into a kind of ‘Positivist’.”

page 112 note 5 General Theory of Value, New York, Longmans Green, 1926.

page 112 note 6 Human Values, p. 39, New York, Harper, 1931.

page 112 note 7 The Problem of Conduct, fn., p. 201: “Ethics, to parody Mr. Bradley, consists mostly in finding bad reasons for being what you cannot help being.”

page 112 note 8 Bradley F. H., Ethical Studies, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1927, Essay V, p. 201: “There is nothing better than my station and its duties, nor anything higher or more truly beautiful.”

page 112 note 9 The Problem, p. 277.

page 113 note 1 Loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 66.

page 113 note 2 Laird John, The Idea of Value, Cambridge University Press, 1929.

page 113 note 3 Urban W.M., The Intelligible world, George Allen and Unwin, London, 1929.

page 113 note 4 Whitehead A. N., Process and Reality, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1929.

page 113 note 5 R. B. Perry, General Theory of Value.

page 113 note 6 Prall D. W., “A Study in the Theory of Value,” University of California Publications in Philosophy, Vol. III, 1921.

page 113 note 7 D. H. Parker, Human Values.

page 114 note 1 Hartmann Nicolai, Ethics, 3 Vols., Translated by Stanley Coit, Macmillan, New York, 1932.

page 114 note 2 The Faith, Vol. I, p. 58.

page 114 note 3 Ibid.., p. 42.

page 114 note 4 Ibid.., p. 43.

page 114 note 5 Op. cit., p. 38.

page 115 note 1 The Faith, Vol. I, p. 60.

page 115 note 2 Op. cit., p. 58.

page 115 note 3 Ibid.., p. 61.

page 115 note 4 Urban, W. M., The Intelligible World, p. 157.

page 115 note 5 The Faith, I, pp. 64–5.

page 116 note 1 The Faith, I, p. 67.

page 116 note 2 Ibid.., p. 68.

page 116 note 3 Ibid.., p. 104, fn. Taylor was quite sensitive on this point, since it involved, if not an abandonment, at least a re-interpretation, of his earlier position. Several times in the Gifford Lectures, Taylor quotes Wordsworth. Might he not here also be echoing the Prelude ? Cf. Book I, lines 348–49,

“The calm existence that is mine when I

Am worthy of myself.”

page 117 note 1 Op. cit., p. 54.

page 118 note 1 Op. cit., p. 356.

page 118 note 2 Ibid.., p. 363.

page 118 note 3 Taylor does not discuss the problem of evil adequately. His doctrine of time, however, as the becoming of what ought to be, or the ceasing to be of what ought to be (positive or negative change in value) makes it possible to avoid the simple identification of what is with what ought to be and to admit that there is a great deal that is not as it Ought to be. This doctrine of time also makes impossible the sophistical denial of evil involved in the idealistic assertion that the whole is as it ought to be. The whole is as it ought to be only in the sense that reality is a purposive process becoming more fully what it is only in part; and this doctrine would hold (though Taylor does not make this point) even when the whole suffers genuine setbacks, as it may in periods of moral and cultural recession, provided only that there be significant factors striving as they ought to strive.

page 119 note 1 Notice the explicit repudiation of Bradley's formula which *****accepted in The Problem of Conduct.

page 119 note 2 The Faith, I, pp. 223–24.

page 120 note 1 Taylor argues parenthetically that his doctrine of eternity is implicit in any realistic theory of metaphysical causality.

page 120 note 2 Op. cit., p. 68.

page 120 note 3 D. H. Parker, Human Values, p. 29.

page 121 note 1 The Faith, I, p. 146.

page 121 note 2 Essays Catholic and Critical, pp. 61 and 63.

page 121 note 3 Taylor was, of course, a Christian. Echoes of the language of the King Jame's Bible and the Book of Common Prayer occur all through his writings.

page 122 note 1 The Faith, I, p. 105. Taylor does not press the point, but the same argument holds for the intellectual search for truth and the aesthetic desire for beauty. This is an axiological, not a merely moral argument.

page 122 note 2 Ibid., pp. 233–34.

page 122 note 3 Ibid.., p. 238.

page 122 note 4 Ibid.., p. 239.

page 123 note 1 Op. cit., pp. 245–46.

page 124 note 1 Hartmann, Ethics, Vol. I, p. 266.

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