Theism and Humanism

  • Arthur James Balfour
1913 to 1914
University of Glasgow

Theism and Humanism, Balfour’s first course of Gifford Lectures given in 1914, is aimed at defending the tenability of natural theology in a manner which appeals to the sensibilities of the ‘common man’. Balfour’s logic in this series rests on his appeal to common sense, finding Theism to be the most sensible and easily understandable basis for aesthetics, ethics and intellectual values such as reason, perception and intuition.

Realms of Value

  • Ralph Barton Perry
1946 to 1948
University of Glasgow

In Realms of Value Perry discusses the fields of philosophy of the natural and social sciences, aesthetics, philosophy of education, and philosophy of religion in the context of the “realms” of value. The task of his study is to bring unity and order into these areas, relying on a fundamental definition of value, defining it as any interest in any object.

Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals

  • Iris Murdoch
1981 to 1982
University of Edinburgh

This book, a revised and expanded version of Murdoch’s 1982 Gifford Lectures, is an intriguing, scholarly, but sprawling work that proceeds reflectively through an enormous range of topics, including art and religion, morals and politics, Wittgenstein, metaphysics, deconstruction, Schopenhauer, imagination, and Martin Buber. What Murdoch presents here is not a systematic treatise, but what can be described as ‘a huge hall of reflection full of light and space and fresh air, in which ideas and intuitions can be unsystematically nurtured’.

Ethics in an Age of Technology and Religion in an Age of Science

  • Ian G. Barbour
University of Aberdeen

Barbour attempts to ‘present an interpretation of Christianity that is responsive both to the historical tradition and to contemporary science’. The first volume (Religion in an Age of Science) explores the impact of science and its challenges to religious life, asking and answering questions surrounding the compatibility of science and religion and the impact of science on human nature.

The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding

  • Brian Hebblethwaite
  • George Lakoff
  • Lynne Rudder Baker
  • Michael Ruse
  • Philip Johnson-Laird
University of Glasgow

The 2001 Gifford Lectures commemorate the 550th anniversary of the founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451. In two lectures each, five scholars from various disciplines examine The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding. In Part I, cognitive psychologist Philip Johnson-Laird discusses the relationship between language and understanding. In Part II, linguist George Lakoff explores the mind-body relationship and the shaping influence of embodiment on thought, arguing for a new philosophy of ‘embodied realism’.

Thou Shall Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

  • Lenn Evan Goodman
  • John Hare
  • Abdulaziz Sachedina
University of Glasgow

In 2005 Lenn E. Goodman, along with John Hare, Abdulaziz Sachedina and A.C. Grayling, delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow on the topic "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Professor Goodman, approaching the topic from the perspective of Jewish philosophy, published his lectures.

In his first lecture Professor Goodman seeks to put the commandment in the broad context of the Hebrew Bible and in the context of rabbinic tradition. His second lecture attempts to answer the question as to the relationship between ethics and God. Dr. Goodman's thesis is that "We learn about God through our ethical understanding and we learn about ethics through our understanding of God."

Action and Belief

  • Thomas Malcolm Knox
1966 to 1968
University of Aberdeen

Sir Malcolm Knox delivered his Gifford Lectures in 1966–1968 at the University of Aberdeen. The series was published in two separate volumes under the titles Action and A Layman’s Quest. Knox takes up Lord Gifford’s requirements in the first series of lectures (Action, published in 1968) through a treatment of action (as the core element in ethics) and its connection with religious belief.

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