Saturday, January 20, 2024

Burthogge on Transubstantiation

 Richard Burthogge, from his Organum Vetus et Novum (published in 1648):

32. The Lights of Faith and Nature, of Revelation and Reason, though they be not the same, yet are not contrary; I mean, that what is shewn or seen to be true in one Light, can never be shewn or seen to be false in the other: What is Apprehended by Sense rightly circumstanced and condition'd, to be This or to be That, or else by Reason rightly acting to be so, or so, it is never contradicted by Revelation. Things are nothing to a man but as they stand in his Analogie: for him to believe against his Faculties, is to believe a Contradiction. If in the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the Elements first and last are Bread and Wine to Sense, and to Reason judging according to Sense, I cannot hold my self obliged by (any) Revelation to believe them Flesh and Blood, but in a Notion consistent with the judgment Sense and Reason make of them; that is, not flesh and blood substantially, but sacramentally; not flesh and blood really, but only by signification. Else Truth might be Incongruity, Inconsistency. Transubstantiation is to me a Mystery; I am so far from making truth of it, that I cannot make any sense of it; I might as well believe that two and two make not four, or three and three six, as that it is not Bread, or Wine, which to my Eye, my Taste, my Touch, in a word, which being an Object of Sense, to all Examinations of my Sense is so. What is against Sense, is against Knowledge.
What is notable about this is that it anticipates, and very likely is the original source, for Tillotson's much more famous version of this argument, first published in 1684:

1. Whether any Man have, or ever had, greater Evidence of the Truth of any Divine Revelation than every Man hath of the Falshood of Transubstantiation? Infidelity were hardly possible to Men if all Men had the same Evidence for the Christian Religion which they have against Transubstantiation; that is, the clear and irresistible Evidence of Sense. He that can once be brought to contradict or deny his Senses, is at an end of Certainty; for what can a Man be certain of, if he be not certain of what he sees? In some Circumstances our Senses may deceive us, but no Faculty deceives us so little and so seldom: And when our Senses do deceive us even that Error is not to be corrected without the help of our Senses.
This argument had significamt influence on Protestant apologetics and polemics, but even more significantly was explicitly adapted by Hume in his argument against all miracles, and therefore received some wide philosophical discussion in that context. It's worth noting that Tillotson's version is slightly more cautious than Burthogge's, because Tillotson allows for the fact that "our Senses may deceive us". (Burthogge holds that there can be nothing more fundamental than sensation, which is the foundation of all of our notions; he has a fairly expansive view of how we can go beyond what we sense, but he thinks everything has to bottom out in what we sense.)

Friday, January 19, 2024

Then Cease, My Song, Till Fair Aurora Rise

 An Hymn to the Evening
by Phillis Wheatley 

 Soon as the sun forsook the eastern main
The peals of thunder shook the heav'nly plain;
Majestic grandeur! From zephyrs wing,
Exhales the incense of the blooming spring.
Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
And through the air their mingled music floats
Through all the heav'ns what beauteous dyes are spread,
But the west glories in the deepest red;
So may our breasts with ev'ry virtue glow,
The living temples of our God below! 

 Filled with the praise of him who gives the light,
And draws the sable curtains of the night,
Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind,
At morn to wake more heav'nly, more refin'd,
So shall the labours of the day begin
More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
Night's leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,
Then cease, my song, till fair Aurora rise.

Dashed Off II

 All univocal predications presuppose analogical predications.

Ezk 44:2 and the perpetual virginity (this is certainly a contributor to artistic representation)

divine names
-- negative
-- relative
-- substantial
-- -- -- translative
-- -- -- proper
-- -- -- -- -- shared simple perfection
-- -- -- -- -- perfections in mode of creative relation
-- -- -- -- -- perfections in mode of supereminence

"For what signs do specifically is to mediate between the physical and the objective, where the objective represents itself in knowledge (both as partially including and as transcending the physical environment) and the sign always represents an object other than itself. The sign depends upon the object in that the object provides the measure or content whereby and according to which the sign signifies. But the object in representing itself also depends upon the sign for being presented (the object determines *what* is presented, the sign *whether* it is presented), and the sign is, in its own being, indifferent to whether the object has also a physical existence. Hence the sign is just as well able to include or to omit that physical existence, depending on the circumstance of the environment surrounding the significative action here and now." Deely

logical: signs raise ideas
dynamic: signs dispose powers
emotional: signs raise emotions
energetic: signs direct action

the legal system as interpretant

signs as "the ways and means" of attaining and communicating knowledge (Locke)

'Aliquid stat pro aliquo' and 'aliquid stat pro alio' include things that are not signs, e.g., full substitutes. A stand-in or substitute is not as such operating as a sign. Sign requires the addressable in respect of the standing.

The infinity of semiosis is a potential infinite, and thinking of it as an actual infinite arises from confusing semiosis with constructions in the field of semiosis. It is especially important to grasp here that 'potential infinite' is not the same as 'indefinite finite'; it is infinite as potential being is being.

systems, societies, and the cosmos as 'transcendental substances'

The formal sign transcends the index, icon, symbol division.

A means is a direction of something to an end, precisely as an end, by a power.

Codes in Eco's sense are posited in sign-making, not preconditions of it; he talks about them as if they were rulebooks when in reality they are more like the laws of interaction that emerge in fictional worlds. Eco's theory of codes cannot survive a mass market paperback, much less a sonnet; he has confused a convenient posit in a limited model with reality.

Signs are 'coded' by habitual sign-use.

shared signs vs. signs in common
signs in common as the beginning of culture

The natural world as we know it is made up as much of ens rationis as of ens reale.

Where human beings are concerned, the natural world includes culture and the cultural world includes nature.

We explain signs with signs, but signs are not ultimately explained by signs.

Hope is always in something and for something.

"Any being whose life and knowledge are distinct form his essence must be created." Saadia Gaon

Survival problems even among bacteria and fungi and plants already have a deontic structure; this is even more obviously true in the case of animals like dogs and men.

yissurim shel ahavah ("visitations of love") -- Saadia accepts, Maimonides rejects, that sufferings can be not merely punishments but also gifts of lovingkindness; Saadia quotes Ps 3:12.

Ideas whirl and whirl and interlace according to their affinities.

It is somewhat odd to think in terms of "what Christ means to you" or "what the Trinity means to you" or "what the Eucharist means to you" or anything like that; as if one asked what the global socioeconomic system meant to one, or what the global ecosystem meant to one. It's not that one couldn't say anything on the subject, but that the framing is obviously naive and limited in value.  The most accurate answer would be "everything". 

Signs may refer to what is present as easily as they may refer to what is absent.

consecration as transsignification

The sacraments are the ways in which we are Christophoroi. (If you have received rightly, you are what you have received in the way in which it is received.)

Ex 12:14  -- this day (Passover) "will be a memorial/remembrance/commemoration for you"
Josh 4:7 "These stones for a memorial to the sons of Israel forever"
Ex 28:12, 29 stones of ephod as memorials
Eccl 1:11 there will be no remembrance (cf. Ecc 2:16)
Is 57:8 signs of a strange god
Esth 6:1 the book of the records
Job 13:12 your platitudes (i.e., remembrance-sayings)
Ex 13:19 as a memorial before your eyes
Zech 6:14 crowns in temple
Ex 17:14 "Write this remembrance in the book...I will blot out the remembrance of Amelek" [note paradox, almost certainly deliberate]
Neh 2:20 You have no heritage or right or remembrance in Jerusalem.
Nm 31:51 gold from battle brought into tabernacle "as a memorial for the sons of Israel before the Lord"
Nm 10:10 at feasts blow trumpets over sacrifices as "a memorial for you before your God" (cf. Lv 23:24)
Nm 5:15 "an offering for remembrance"

"I understand by the causes of truth of a proposition whichever of them is enough for the proposition to be true." Buridan
-- he notes that undistributed general terms increase the possible causes of truth
"...a consequence is a compound proposition composed of antecedent and consequent."
"Conversion by contraposition is not a formal consequence but is valid on the assumption that all the terms supposit for something." 
"In every divided proposition of necessity the subject is ampliated to supposit for these that can be."

formal consequence: every proposition similar in form would be a good consequence (describing a valid argument
material consequence: Propositions similar in form would not always be a good consequence, except where addition of necessary propositions reduces it to a formal consequence

Original justice was the intended harmony of the whole human person in light of the human destination in beatitude.

The totality of good of a human life requires merited good, good as a result of earned achievement.

No creature is such that its nature excludes the possibility of sin.

"The perfect good, which is God, can be united to the human mind by grace, but not by nature: hence free will can be confirmed in good by grace, but not by nature." Aquinas

sins through the error of nonconsideration, sins through the error of false consideration

Proorizo (predestine) literally means forebound, prelimit. (The word is related to horizon.)

The cosmos as cosmos has intrinsic order to God as exemplar.

What we perceive presents itself as both object and thing, as both noumenal and phenomenal.

Our consciousness implies that there is more to us than that of which we are conscious.

The communion that constitutes the Church is a communion beyond what we can experience.

the Church as witness --> testimonial line --> apostolicity

"...for the Christian, there is an essential agreement between Christianity and human nature. Hence the more deeply one penetrates into human nature, the more one finds oneself situated on the axes of the great truths of Christianity." Marcel
"An absolute fidelity involves an absolute person."
"The body is the prototype of Having."
"It seems that every instrument is meant to serve as an extension (of my body) in order to develop and extend a faculty that is present in principle and possessed by him who uses the instrument; this is as true of a knive as of a magnfiying glass."
"My corporality includes what we may call historicity. A body is a history, or more exactly: a body is that in which a history ends, in which it is recorded."
"To meet somebody is not merely to cross his path; it is at the least to be for a moment close to him, with him; it is a co-presence."
"To think religiously  is to think the preesent under the aspect of the divine will."
"All hope is hope of resurrection."
"Hope is to desire what patience is to passivity."
"I am inclined to believe that hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism."

In the Church we are called to a fidelity beyond human capacity, a call to fidelity beyond death and unto eternity.

We explore our faculties by using things in the world.

Hope is the virtue of at-your-service.

In the witness of the Christian we find the witness of the Church.

Ps 72:17 His name (i.e., the Messiah's) endures before the sun.
Pr 8:22 The Lord created me (i.e., the Torah) in the Beginning (i.e., the Son) of His course.
I Sam 17:49 David (i.e., Christ) put his hand in his bag and took out a stone (i.e., Peter) and slung it and struck the Philistine (i.e., the Devil) on his forehead.

"The idea of living beings as subject to *disease* includes a recognition of a Final Cause in organization; for diesase is a state in which the vital forces do not attain ther *proper ends*." Whewell
"In contemplating the series of causes and effects which constitutes the world, we necessarily assume a *First Cause* of the series."
"In contemplating the series of Causes which are themselves the effects of other causes, we are necessarily led to assume a Supreme Cause in the Order of Causation, as we assume a First Cause in Order of Succession."
"Terms must be constructed and appropriated so as to be fitted to enunciate simply and clearly true general propositions."

1 Jn 2:20, 27f  Chrisma
This can be taken as metaphorical and translated as "(spiritual) anointing" but
(1) the most natural translation is 'oil', not 'anointing', although the latter is possible
(2) 'received from him' could be understood as a particular occasion, i.e., 'the oil that he gave you'
(3) what is said fits well with later chrismation traditions (particularly the contrast between the chrisma and the spirit of antichrist) -- the physical anointing in the flesh would itself be a sign of Christ having come in the flesh.
2 Cor 1:21
established (confirmed), anointed, sealed, given Spirit as deposit
-- note emphasis on fragrance in 2 Cor 2:14-16; this either refers back or is to be seen as sacrificial (incense or actual sacrifice)
-- cp. Eph 1:13, 4:30

Rv 7 as elucidating baptism (note that this reading makes for a straightforward argument for martyrdom of blood)

Ezk 9:4 the cross (tau) on the forehead that saves

Contract presupposes (1) a rationality somehow in common; (2) authority in the parties; (3) a possibility of mutually recognized good.

Contracts do not transfer rights but, within already existing rights, form new ones. (They may, however, transfer title.)

An oath adds a new obligation to a contract.

The sacrament of matrimony makes it so that the ordinary acts of maintaining the marriage are meritorious when done with fatih and good will, and in a way that goes beyond being merely good deeds.

IV Lateran makes clear tha thte fundamental root of transubstantiation is that Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice, whose body and blood are contained under the forms of bread and wine through divien power for the end of our receiving from Him what He has received from us in a mystery of unity.

IV Lateran canon 5: the Roman Church which (1) by the will of God (2) holds over all others pre-eminence of ordinary power (3) as the mother and mistress of all the faithful.

As the eucharistic species signify, Christ is their objective cause. However, they are not merely signs by similarity or by convention, as the consecrated bread and wine were, but indexical signs, like effects signifying their cause, of the Body and the Blood of Christ, which is present through them.

Accidents are ways and capacities for acting.

The blessed are united to God both individually and communally, in mens and commens, so as in some sense to share each other's vision of God hierarchically.

saints as mediating exemplates (exemplate exemplars)

instruments as means, the intention of which includes contributing powers; if cognitive, ministers; if only physical, tools.

spiritual direction : confessional :: homily : Mass

the hagiographical presentation of the Holy Virgin as a model for the consecrated life

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Spiritual Roots and the Moral of the Story

 I rejected any approach which begins with the question 'What do modern children like?' I might be asked, 'Do you equally reject the approach which begins with the question "What do modern children need?" -- in other words, with the moral or didactic approach?' I think the answer is Yes. Not because I don't like stories to have a moral: certainly not because I think children dislike a moral. Rather because I feel sure the the question 'What do modern children need?' will not lead you to a good moral. If we ask that question we are assuming too superior an attitude. It would be better to ask 'What moral do I need?' for I think we can be sure that what does not concern us deeply will not deeply interest our readers, whatever their age. But it is better not to ask the questions at all. Let the pictures tell you their own moral. For the moral inherent in them will rise from whatever spiritual roots you have succeeded in striking during the whole course of your life. 

 [C. S. Lewis, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children", On Stories, HarperOne (San Francisco: 2017) pp. 62-63.]

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Long, Long Afterward

The Arrow and the Song
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
 It fell to earth, I knew not where;
 For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
 Could not follow it in its flight. 

 I breathed a song into the air,
 It fell to earth, I knew not where;
 For who has sight so keen and strong,
 That it can follow the flight of song? 

 Long, long afterward, in an oak
 I found the arrow, still unbroke;
 And the song, from beginning to end,
 I found again in the heart of a friend.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Poirot Necessities

 In Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, Hercule Poirot at one point comments that he knows how things must be, but does not know that they are so. Call this kind of 'must' a Poirot necessity. The essential feature of a Poirot necessity is that it is an alethic strong modality (i.e., necessity), but is not characterized by what in modal logic is often known as the M axiom or the T axiom. The M/T axiom says that "It is necessary that P" implies "P"; to put it sloganishly, necessity implies truth. Most of the time when we are talking about necessities, we are talking about strong modalities that can be characterized by this axiom. However, a Poirot necessity is a necessity (and therefore a strong modality) that is weaker than this. That something must be does not imply that it is.

The most commonly studied kind of modal logic which has a strong modality that works this way is one where the characteristic axiom is known as the D axiom. The D axiom says that necessity implies possibility. This is implied by standard systems with an M/T axiom, but you can have a system with a D axiom and no M/T axiom. In these systems, necessity does not imply truth. Systems of this sort are usually interpreted as systems for deontic logic; that is, the strong modality or necessity is interpreted as obligation. 'Must' is interpreted as 'ought'. Poirot necessities are not deontic; they are not any kind of obligation. They are alethic, that is, actual necessities. They are, in short, 'musts' that are not 'oughts', if by 'ought' you mean something about what we should do. 

Nonetheless, a D system of modal logic would fit Poirot necessities very well -- arguably better than it fits any intuitive notion of obligation. For instance, there is a a rule in a D system, interpreted as a deontic system, known as deontic necessitation. It tells you, roughly, that if something is a theorem (proven from the logical principles of the system itself), then it is obligatory. This often seems weird to people to think of logical theorems as obligatory. However, there's no weirdness at all if we are interpreting D systems as alethic systems rather than deontic systems. Obviously, if something is provable from logical principles, it is part of 'how things must be', and when something is proven, we can easily say it has Poirot necessity.

This ties into something I've argued off and on for quite a while, that what we usually call deontic logics are actually best seen as logics concerned with requirements for solutions to problems. A Poirot necessity fits this bill exactly. When Poirot says that he knows what must have happened, he is saying that, given the set-up of the problem, he knows what is required to solve the problem; then he correctly notes that, given this, he still does not know that this is what actually happened.

I think Poirot necessities are very common, and absolutely essential to inquiry. If you give a set-up to a physicist, he can tell you what must happen. In the right circumstances -- and 'the right circumstances' are very extensive for a field like physics -- you would expect that this is what did happen. But strictly speaking, from the physicist's 'what must happen' on its own, you don't know 'what happens'. Sometimes physicists give you the correct answer about what must happen given the problem set-up as understood, but ambiguities about the set-up, or disruption of it, or even just a completely new phenomenon, make it so that it does not. This is a common happening at the edge of inquiry. Almost the entire history of particle physics consists of physicists figuring out what must be the case before they actually discover it -- but, once they've determined that such-and-such particle must exist, that's not actually the end of the story. The 'must' is a Poirot necessity. They still have to get the actual evidence, just like Poirot does. And when they do get the actual evidence, they sometimes find that they were spot-on; more often, they find out that they were right to a certain level of precision that was the best they could originally do; sometimes, as in the history of the discovery of the neutrino, they find something that very loosely does something in the neighborhood of what they expected, but has features and behavior that are definitely what they had inferred it would have. And physics, of course, is not at all unique in this respect.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Gifford Lectures I Have Read

Almost since the beginning of the blog, I have used it to keep track of my longstanding project of reading Gifford Lectures. The last update was February of last year, and I have read several more, so it makes sense to update the post again.

The Gifford Lectures are one of the most prestigious honors in the philosophical world. Provided for at four Scottish universities by Lord Gifford in his will after his death in 1887, they are intended to be broadly popular lectures on subjects relevant to natural theology (in the broad sense of the term) and the foundations of ethics, and lecturers can lecture on any topic of their choice as long as it has some kind of relevance to those topics. The general expectation is that the lectures will themselves serve as a foundation of a book on the same topic.

It is quite difficult to compile and keep an adequate list of Gifford Lectures. The usual lists are those of Davidson and Jaki; both are imperfect even for the time they cover, and, of course, they only do the Lectures up to the time they made their list. The Gifford Lectures website has not been very conveniently organized for updating and correcting them, and is currently undergoing renovation, anyway. And in various sources, sometimes it's uncertain whether a lecturer who was appointed actually lectured, and sometimes it's uncertain whether a book they published actually gives the content of their Gifford Lectures, rather than just being a work they published after them. In addition, some lectures get published versions immediately, some slowly, some long after the death of the lecturer, which creates an additional complication. The published versions also may or may not share the same title as their lectures. Sources are sometimes not very clear about whether a title is the title of the lecture or the book, which increases the chances of errors about titles. 

Bold indicates that I have read it; ambiguous cases (e.g., I've only read parts, or don't remember if I actually read it), I have simply not bolded. * indicates that, for whatever reason, I have it on my own shelves. A few other footnoted comments on the nature of the list are marked by other symbols. If you notice any omissions or errors, let me know; there are definitely gaps in the past decade for them all, and Edinburgh's tendency over the past years to divide up the lectures has made it exponentially more difficult to keep track. In some cases, like Daube or Demant, the lectures are only published well after the lecture was actually delivered, making them easier to miss. In addition, sometimes even in the same source, there is a great deal of confusion about dates for Gifford Lectures, because sometimes it is the year of appointment, sometimes the year of delivery, and sometimes the year of publication. In addition, sometimes the dates in the sources turn out to be impossible. So there still may be some date-errors lurking in all of this.

1888-1890 J. H. Stirling, Philosophy and Theology
1890-1892 G. G. Stokes, Natural Theology
1892-1893 O. Pfleiderer, Philosophy and Development of Religion
1894-1896 A. C. Fraser, Philosophy of Theism
1896-1898 C. P. Tiele, Elements of the Science of Religion, Volume IVolume II
1900-1902 W. James, *The Varieties of Religious Experience
1903-1904 H. M. Gwatkin, The Knowledge of God and Its Historical Development
1905-1906 S. S. Laurie, On God and Man
1908-1909 R. Flint
1909-1910 W. W. Fowler, The Religious Experience of the Roman People
1910-1912 B. Bosanquet, The Principle of Individuality and Value ; The Value and Destiny of the Individual
1913-1914 H. Bergson
1915-1916 W. M. Ramsay, Asianic Elements in Greek Civilization
1919-1921 G. F. Stout, Mind and Matter ; God and Nature#
1921-1923 A. Pringle-Pattison, The Idea of God in the Light of Recent Philosophy ; The Idea of Immortality
1926-1927 A. S. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World
1927-1928 A. N. Whitehead, *Process and Reality
1928-1929 J. Dewey, The Quest for Certainty
1930-1931 N. Soderblom, *The Living God
1932-1934 E. R. Bevan, Symbolism and Belief ; Holy Images
1934-1935 A. Schweitzer, Indian Thought and Its Development
1937-1938 C. S. Sherrington, Man on His Nature
1938-1940 R. Niebuhr, *The Nature and Destiny of Man
1940-1941 O. Kraus
1947-1949 C. Dawson, Religion and Culture ; Religion and the Rise of Western Culture
1949-1950 ^N. Bohr
1950-1952 C. E. Raven, Natural Religion and Christian Theology
1952-1953 A. J. Toynbee, An Historian's Approach to Religion
1954-1955 R. Bultmann, History and Eschatology
1956-1957 A. Farrer, The Freedom of Will
1957-1959 W. Kohler
1959-1960 R. D. Maclennan
1961-1962 J. Baillie, The Sense of the Presence of God
1962-1964 D. Daube, *The Deed and the Doer in the Bible*Law and Wisdom in the Bible
1964-1966 D. M. Mackinnon, The Problem of Metaphysics
1966-1968 H. D. Lewis, The Elusive Mind ; The Elusive Self ; Freedom and Alienation
1968-1970 W. H. F. Barnes
1970-1971 E. L. Mascall, The Openness of Being
1971-1973 PANEL (A. Kenny, H. C. Longuet-Higgins, and C. H. Waddington) The Nature of Mind ; The Development of Mind
1973-1974 O. Chadwick, The Secularization of the European Mind
1974-1976 S. L. Jaki, The Road of Science and the Ways to God
1976-1977 J. P. Jossua, Pierre Bayle ou l'obsession du mal
1977-1979 J. C. Eccles, The Human Mystery ; The Human Psyche
1979-1980 N. R. Smart, Beyond Ideology
1980-1981 S. H. Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred
1981-1982 I. Murdoch, *Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals
1982-1983 D. Daiches, God and the Poets
1983-1984 M. A. Arbib and M. Hesse, The Construction of Reality
1984-1985 J. Moltmann, God in Creation
1985-1986 P. Ricoeur, Oneself as Another
1986-1987 J. H. Hick, An Interpretation of Religion
1987-1988 A. MacIntyre, *Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry
1988-1989 R. Panikkar, The Rhythm of Being
1989-1990 M. Douglas; M. Midgley, Science as Salvation
1990-1991 J. Barr, Biblical Faith and Natural Theology
1991-1992 A. Schimmel, Deciphering the Signs of God
1992-1993 M. Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought
1993-1994 J. Polkinghorne, Faith of a Physicist
1995-1996 G. A. Cohen, If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich?
1996-1997 R. Sorabji, Emotion and Peace of Mind
1997-1998 H. R. Roston III, Genes, Genesis, and God
1998-1999 C. M. Taylor, Varieties of Religion Today ; Modern Social Imaginaries ; A Secular Age
1999-2000 D. Tracy, This Side of God
2000-2001 O. O'Neill, Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics
2001-2002 M. Arkoun, The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought
2002-2003 M. Ignatieff, The Lesser Evil
2003-2004 J. W. van Huyssteen, Alone in the World?
2004-2005 @ S. Toulmin; M. Anstee; N. Chomsky, Illegal but Legitimate
2005-2006 J. B. Elshtain, *Sovereignty: God, State, and Self
2006-2007 S. Conway Morris; J. Riley-Smith
2007-2008 A. Nehamas, On Friendship; R. M. Veatch, Hippocratic, Religious, and Secular Medical Ethics
2008-2009 D. Eck; J. Sacks
2009-2010 P. Churchland, Braintrust; M. S. Gazzaniga, Who's In Charge; T. Eagleton, Reason, Faith, and Revolution
2010-2011 G. Brown; P. Harrison, The Territories of Science and Religion
2011-2012 S. Sutherland; D. MacCulloch, Silence; J. Al Khalili
2012-2013 B. Latour, Facing Gaia; S. Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature; R. Williams, The Edge of Words
2013-2014 O. O'Neill; R. D. Williams; C. O'Regan
2014-2015 J. Waldron, One Another's Equals; H. Nowotny
2015-2016 K. Tanner, Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism; S. Jasanoff
2016-2017 R. English; J. Stout
2017-2018 A. Fuentes; E. H. Ecklund
2018-2019 M. Beard
2019-2020 M. Welker
2020-2021 D. N. Hempton
2021-2022 S. Neiman
2022-2023 J. Dupre

1888-1892 F. M. Muller, Natural Religion ; Physical Religion ; Anthropological Religion ; Theosophy or Psychological Religion
1892-1894 W. Wallace, Lectures and Essays
1894-1896 J. Caird, The Fundamental Ideas of Christianity
1897-1898 A. B. Bruce, The Providential Order of the World ; The Moral Order of the World
1900-1902 E. Caird, The Evolution of Religion ; The Evolution of Theology
1903-1905 E. Boutroux, Science and Religion in Contemporary Philosophy+
1907-1908 A. C. Bradley, Ideals of Religion
1910-1912 J. Watson, The Interpretation of Religious Experience
1913-1915 A. J. Balfour, Theism and Humanism
1916-1918 S. Alexander, Space, Time and Deity
1919-1921 H. Jones, A Faith that Enquires
1922-1923 A. J. Balfour, Theism and Thought
1923-1925 W. P. Paterson, The Nature of Religion
1927-1928 J. S. Haldane, The Sciences and Philosophy
1929-1931 J. A. Smith
1932-1933 W. Temple, Nature, Man and God
1935-1937 W. M. Dixon, The Human Situation
1937-1938 ^W. E. Hocking
1938-1940 J. Laird, Theism and Cosmology ; Mind and Deity
1946-1948 R. B. Perry, *Realms of Value
1949-1950 H. H. Farmer, Revelation and Religion ; Reconciliation and Religion
1952-1954 J. Macmurray, The Self as Agent ; Persons in Relations
1955-1956 L. Hodgson, For Faith and Freedom
1959-1961 C. F. Weizsacker, The Relevance of Science
1962-1963 C. W. Hendel
1965-1967 H. Butterfield
1971-1972 R. W. Southern
1974-1975 B. G. Mitchell, Morality, Religious and Secular
1979-1980 S. Brenner
1981-1982 S. Clark, From Athens to Jerusalem
1981-1982 C. J. Larner, The Thinking Peasant
1982-1983 A. J. Sanford, The Mind of Man
1982-1983 P. Drew
1983-1984 A. D. Galloway
1984-1985 C. Sagan, The Varieties of Scientific Experience
1985-1986 D. M. MacKay, Behind the Eye
1986-1987 CENTENARY PANEL [N. Spurway, ed., Humanity, Environment, and God]
1989-1990 J. Barrow, New Theories of Everything
1990-1991 G. Steiner, Grammars of Creation
1991-1992 M. Warnock, Imagination and Time
1993-1994 J. S. K. Ward, Religion and Revelation
1995-1996 J. H. Brooke and G. Cantor, Reconstructing Nature
1997-1998 R. J. Berry, God's Book of Works
1999-2000 R. McInerny, Characters in Search of an Author
2000-2001 PANEL [A. Sanford, ed., The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding
2001-2002 L. R. Baker, The Metaphysics of Everyday Life
2002-2003 S. Blackburn, *Truth
2004-2005 L. E. Goodman, Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself; J. Hare; Abdulaziz Sachedina
2007-2008 D. Fergusson, Faith and Its Critics
2008-2009 C. Taylor
2009-2010 G. Vattimo, Of Reality
2012-2013 V. Ramachandran
2014-2015 J. Marion, *Givenness and Revelation
2015-2016 P. Schmidt-Leukel, Religious Pluralism and Interreligious Theology
2016-2017 S. Carroll, The Big Picture
2018-2019 J. Butler, The Force of Nonviolence
2019-2020 M. Pagel

1888-1890 A Lang, The Making of Religion
1890-1891 E. Caird
1894-1896 L. Campbell, Religion in Greek Literature
1899-1901 R. A. Lanciani, New Tales of Old Rome
1902-1904 R. B. Haldane, The Pathway to Reality
1907-1909 J. Ward, The Realm of Ends
1911-1913 J. G. Frazer, The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead
1914-1916 J. A. Thomson, The System of Animate Nature
1917-1919 W. R. Inge, The Philosophy of Plotinus
1919-1920 L. R. Farnell, Greek Hero Cults and Ideas of Immortality
1926-1928 A. E. Taylor, The Faith of a Moralist
1929-1930 C. Gore, The Philosophy of the Good Life
1932-1933 R. R. Marett, *Faith, Hope and Charity in Primitive Religion ; Sacraments of Simple Folk
1935-1936 H. H. Henson, Christian Morality
1936-1937 W. Jaeger, The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers
1937-1938 W. G. De Burgh, From Morality to Religion
1938-1939 J. Bidez, Eos
1939-1940 R. Kroner, The Primacy of Faith
1946-1948 E. Brunner, Christianity and Civilization
1948-1949 A. M. Macbeath, Experiments in Living
1949-1951 H. J. Paton, The Modern Predicament
1951-1953 B. Blanshard, Reason and Goodness ; Reason and Belief
1953-1955 C. A. Campbell, On Selfhood and Godhood
1955-1956 W. C. Heisenberg, *Physics and Philosophy
1956-1958 V. A. Demant, The Penumbra of Ethics
1958-1960 G. H. von Wright, Norm and Action
1960-1962 S. Runciman, The Great Church in Captivity
1962-1963 H. Chadwick
1964-1966 J. N. Findlay, The Discipline of the Cave ; The Transcendence of the Cave
1967-1969 R. C. Zaehner, Concordant Discord
1970-1971 W. H. Thorpe, Animal Nature and Human Nature
1972-1973 A. J. Ayer, The Central Questions of Philosophy
1975-1976 R. Hooykaas, Fact, Faith, and Fiction
1977-1978 D. Stafford-Clark
1980-1981 G. Vlastos, Socrates
1982-1983 D. G. Charlton, New Images of the Natural in France
1983-1984 J. Macquarrie, In Search of Deity
1984-1985 A. Grunbaum
1986-1987 A. Flew, The Logic of Mortality
1988-1989 W. Burkert, Creation of the Sacred
1990-1991 H. Putnam, Renewing Philosophy
1992-1993 A. Peacocke, Theology for a Scientific Age
1994-1995 N. Wolterstorff, Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology
1996-1997 M. Dummett, Thought and Reality
1998-1999 M. M. Adams, Christ and Horrors
2000-2001 S. M. Hauerwas, With the Grain of the Universe
2001-2002 P. van Inwagen, The Problem of Evil
2004-2005 A. Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies
2006-2007 M. Rees
2010-2011 R. Scruton, *The Face of God
2012-2013 D. Alexander, Genes, Determinism and God
2014-2015 L. Zagzebski, Exemplarist Moral Theory
2016-2017 M. Rea
2018-2019 M. Johnston
2021-2022 O. O'Donovan, The Disappearance of Ethics

1889-1891 E. B. Tylor$
1891-1892 A. M. Fairbairn, The Philosophy of the Christian Religion +
1896-1898 J. Ward, Naturalism and Agnosticism
1898-1900 J. Royce, The World and the Individual
1900-1902 A. H. Sayce, The Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia
1905-1906 J. Adam, The Religious Teachers of Greece
1907-1909 H. Driesch, The Science and Philosophy of Organism
1909-1910 W. Ridgeway
1911-1913 A. Pringle-Pattison
1913-1915 W. R. Sorley, *Moral Values and the Idea of God
1917-1919 C. C. Webb, God and Personality ; Divine Personality and Human Life
1921-1922 E. W. Hobson, The Domain of Natural Science
1924-1926 W. Mitchell, The Place of Minds in the World
1927-1929 E. W. Barnes, Scientific Theory and Religion
1930-1932 E. Gilson, *The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy
1935-1936 W. D. Ross, Foundations of Ethics
1936-1938 K. Barth, The Knowledge of God and the Service of God according to the Teaching of the Reformation
1938/39, 1946/47 A. D. Nock
1947-1948 J. Wisdom
1948-1950 G. Marcel, The Mystery of Being
1951-1952 M. Polanyi, Personal Knowledge
1952-1954 P. Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. I, Vol II, Vol II
1956-1958 H. A. Hodges
1960-1962 H. H. Price, Belief
1963-1965 A. C. Hardy, The Living Stream ; The Divine Flame
1965-1966 R. Aron, History and the Dialectic of Violence
1966-1968 T. M. Knox, Action ; Layman's Quest
1969-1970 A. T. van Leeuwen, Critique of Heaven ; Critique of Earth
1972-1974 H. Arendt, The Life of the Mind
1975-1977 J. Z. Young, Programs of the Brain
1979-1980 F. C. Copleston, Religion and the One
1981-1983 A. Hultkrantz
1983-1984 R. Swinburne, The Evolution of the Soul
1984-1985 F. J. Dyson, Infinite in All Directions
1987-1988 A. Plantinga, Warrant: The Current Debate ; Warrant and Proper Function ; Warranted Christian Belief
1989-1990 I. G. Barbour, Religion in an Age of Science ; Ethics in an Age of Technology
1992-1993 J. Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture
1994-1995 J. Rogerson, The Bible and Criticism in Victorian Britain
1995-1996 A. Broadie, The Shadow of Scotus
1997-1998 R. Stannard, The God Experiment
2000-2001 J. S. Habgood, The Concept of Nature
2002-2003 E. Stump, Wandering in the Darkness
2003-2004 J. Haldane, Mind, Soul, and Deity
2007-2008 S. Pattison, Seeing Things
2009-2010 A. McGrath, A Fine-Tuned Universe
2012-2013 S. Coakley, Sacrifice Regained
2014-2015 D. Livingstone, Dealing with Darwin
2015-2016 M. Siddiqui, Struggle, Suffering, and Hope
2017-2018 D. Novak, Athens and Jerusalem
2018-2019 N. T. Wright, Discerning the Dawn
2019-2020 L. Sideris

 Mildred Cranston, in her The Teleological Argument in the Gifford Lectures, argues that there's no evidence that Fairbairn's The Philosophy of the Christian Religion and Boutroux's Science and Religion in Contemporary Philosophy actually overlap their Gifford Lectures.
# G. F. Stout did not live to put together the second volume, God and Nature; this was done by his son, A. K. Stout. According to the latter, G. F. Stout's first volume, while based on the Gifford Lectures was heavily reworked, revised, and reorganized; thus in putting together the second volume, A. K. Stout had to do a considerable amount of editorial work in light of the original lectures, various stages of revisions of them, what had already been covered in the first volume, and his sense of his father's intention.
^ While Bohr never published a book version of his lectures, the Gifford Lectures website notes that there is a summary of them in his Collected Works, volume 10. The Gifford Lectures website also notes that a summary of Hocking's second series is published in Rouner, ed., Philosophy, Religion, and the Coming World Civilization: Essays in Honor of William Ernest Hocking.
$ Cranston notes that while Tylor never published his Lectures, they were abstracted in Balfour, et al., Anthropological Essays Presented to Edward Burnett Tylor.
@ E. Said was originally appointed, but died before he could deliver them; Toulmin, Anstee, and Chomsky instead delivered a series in memoriam.

Of course, not all of them 'stick' equally well; and there are some that I really didn't like, although perhaps a few of them would improve on second reading. Others I liked as far as they went but didn't find much in them. Some of the ones I liked quite a bit (often for very different reasons), and would recommend quite generally, are (in no particular order, with E for Edinburgh, A for Aberdeen, S for St. Andrews, and G for Glasgow):

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience [E]
Nathan Soderblom, The Living God [E]
H. D. Lewis, The Elusive Mind and The Elusive Self [E]
Stanley Jaki, The Road of Science and the Ways to God [E]
Iris Murdoch, Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals [E]
David Daiches, God and the Poets [E]
Alasdair MacIntyre, Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry [E]
Arthur Balfour, Theism and Humanism and Theism and Thought [G]
George Steiner, Grammars of Creation [G]
R. R. Marett, Faith, Hope, and Charity in Primitive Religion and Sacraments of Simple Folk [S]
Warren Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy [S]
Etienne Gilson, The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy [A]
Jaroslav Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture [A]
William Wallace, Lectures and Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics [G]
Otto Pfleiderer, Philosophy and the Development of Religion [E]
Brand Blanshard, Reason and Belief [S]
T. M. Knox, A Layman's Quest [A]
C. P. Tiele, Elements of the Science of Religion, Volume II [E]
G. F. Stout, Mind and Nature and (with A. K. Stout) God and Nature [E]
Steven Runciman, The Great Church in Captivity [S]
Marilyn McCord Adams, Christ and Horrors [S]
E. W. Barnes, Scientific Theory and Religion [A]
Onora O'Neill, Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics [E]
Basil Mitchell, Morality, Religious and Secular [G]

[That's 11 E's, 5 S's, 4 G's, and 4 A's among my favorites, for those keeping count.] Needless to say, my enjoying the lectures as interesting, substantive, and thought-provoking does not imply that I agree with everything in them. These range from fairly technical works (Pfleiderer, Blanshard, Stout, Adams, Barnes) to fairly popular works (James, Balfour, Marett). They cover the ground of natural religion (or sometimes just natural-religion-ish things) from the standpoints of psychology (James), literature (Steiner, Daiches), history (Gilson, Pelikan, Runciman), metaphysics (Pfleiderer, Adams, Lewis, Knox), epistemology (Balfour, Blanshard, Stout, Knox), comparative religion and anthropology (Soderblom, Marett, Tiele), philosophy of science (Barnes, Heisenberg, Jaki), and ethics (Murdoch, Wallace, MacIntyre, O'Neill, Mitchell). They are also not uniformly religious, sometimes from the nature of the topic and sometimes from the background of the lecturer; Adams, for instance, has thoroughly Anglo-Catholic lectures while Blanshard's are largely critical of all forms of Christianity. Reading these, you'd get a good selection of approaches and, in content, the best of the best, at least among those I've so far managed to read. Quite a few of these can be found, either open or by signing up to borrow, from the Internet Archive, without which I would certainly not have been able to read more than a fraction of these.

If you prefer instead just to take a whirlwind tour, Larry Witham's The Measure of God is a reasonably decent popular survey of common themes in the Gifford Lectures, with occasional historical and biographical background for some of the best known lectures and lecturers.

Testing New Comment System

The Disqus commenting system, which I began using in 2012, has grown more and more annoying over the last several years, so I am experimenting with new commenting systems. Currently I am trying out Commento. It's fairly stripped down, so we'll see how moderating it goes. It is also a subscription commenting system; I have stubbornly refused to use a paid commenting system since the beginning of this blog, and was willing to tolerate restricted functionality, some minor advertising, and the like as a cost, but the advertisements for all the non-subscription commenting systems have become so utterly obnoxious and intrusive that it's a lost cause. It's either the Blogger comments, which I have never liked, or paying. Alas for the ancient days of Haloscan. But I figure that this weblog is about two decades old, so it's perhaps time just to grit my teeth and power through the inevitable pain it causes the sense of thrift I have inherited from my Scottish ancestors. Disqus actually lasted on the blog much longer than I expected when I first tried it; it wasn't very impressive to begin with, but then went through a period where it was actually fairly good, but over the past several years has been rather poor but without any obvious alternative. We'll see if this one even gets out of the trial phase and, if it does, how long it lasts.

The markup guide for styling comments is as follows (and is accessible by a little link under the comments box saying, Markdown):

italicssurround text with 
boldsurround text with 
**two asterisks**
 or just a bare URL
surround text with 
strikethroughsurround text with 
~~two tilde characters~~
prefix with 

Commento has upvotes/downvotes integrated into it, which is a con; I find the whole idea of voting comments up or down somewhat repulsive. Discussion is not a popularity contest, and unlike a very large website, I have no use for voting as a crude way to offload moderation onto commenters. So I'll just ask people to ignore the voting system as much as possible.

Disqus comments were imported over. I'm still fiddling with settings. At some point I will have a # of comments indicator for each post on the main page, but I have to insert it manually in the right place in the HTML, so that will happen only whenever I get around to it. Until then, nobody, including myself, will be able to see whether a post has comments except by clicking on the post itself. 
One very big advantage of Commento is that, since it is more stripped-down than Disqus, it loads much, much faster; I've already noticed it myself, so that's nice -- one of the ways Disqus had grown annoying was its increasingly weird loading behavior.

In any case, feel free to try it out and let me know what you think. Google, Twitter, and email address all work for login. At present, you can comment anonymously, but anonymous comments currently require manual approval. If you do comment anonymously, please do so with a 'distinguishing mark', like a signature or initials or a pseudonym, even if just made up for a given thread; one my pet peeves with regard to commenting is a bunch of anonymous commenters failing to distinguish themselves from other anonymous commenters.

ADDED LATER (for mobile device users): At the bottom of each mobile version of a post, you should see a link for 'View Web Version'; that will switch it to the web version, where the comments display. I could simply change the settings so that only the web version is visible, but the mobile version seems more readable on mobile devices, so I haven't yet decided to do that.