26 September 2019
Dr Piers Benn, a past fellow student of our own Dr Rvd Steer, from Fordham University in central London, was kind enough to visit us at Abingdon School to give a lecture to the philosophy and theology students of Upper and Lower Sixth.
Dr Benn – whose research interests involve ethics, such as medical ethics, philosophy of religion and philosophy of psychiatry – went into great detail on the question surrounding whether or not morality requires a divine foundation. He began with explaining to us the argument proposed by the key theist Dr William Lane Craig. This surrounded the premises that objective moral values and duties cannot exist independently of God, given that the consensus is that we know that they do exist. As a result he concludes that God therefore exists.
Dr Benn managed to articulate extremely well the different aspects and critiques surrounding this argument, primarily the counter argument in regard to objective moral principles being a product of evolution rather than a God. Dr Benn explained that Craig went back to this argument with the belief that it explains how the objective moral values and duties got there, but not why. This followed on to lead him to the question of the Euthyphro dilemma that the upper sixth students are currently looking at, giving us all great insight into the lesser known fringes of our respective courses, and how correlations can be made between different philosophical topics and schools of thought.
Written by Sinclair Pearce, Upper Sixth