The Quarterly Journal of Philosophical Investigations

Document Type : Research Paper


Researcher, Anthroopos Foundation, Amsterdam, International Member of the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW), Faculty of Philosophy, University of Leiden, The Netherlands



Herman Philipse considers “religious beliefs, faith and religion [to be] incompatible with science or reason”; he defines religion scientifically and specifically rejects religious doctrine. He describes reason “… as the whole of methods of empirical scientific research and critical discursive thinking as they have evolved in the scientific tradition and will continue to develop in the future” and he defines “… the phenomenon of conscience as a mental organ that can be scientifically explained and that makes the religious explanation superfluous …”. Herman Philipse classifies science as the highest in rank, discards religion and sees philosophy, a rational view of the world, as based solely on the sciences. For his subject, Hans Achterhuis “… primarily cites biologists, ethologists and evolutionary psychologists with a philosophical interest” because “they presently have more to offer [him] than do his immediate colleagues”. Furthermore, “… it will be clear that ethologists and sociobiologists are of the opinion that the violent behaviour of human beings must be understood in part from the point of view of the evolutionary history of the sort ….. most philosophers and anthropologists are not aware of this. Their considerations suggest that violence only entered our world together with humankind”. Achterhuis’s choice is a “historic concept of violence”.


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