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By Paul T. Phillips

In mid-twentieth century Britain, 4 intellectuals - Julian Huxley, Bertrand Russell, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Barbara Ward - held sway over renowned conceptions of morality. whereas Huxley and Russell championed rules knowledgeable through agnosticism and atheism, Muggeridge and Ward have been adherents to Christianity. In Contesting the ethical excessive flooring, Paul Phillips finds how this primary dichotomy was once consultant of British society on the time, and the way a few of the ideologies promoted by means of those 4 moralists are nonetheless current this present day. As world-class public figures in an open discussion board of discussion, Huxley, Russell, Muggeridge, and Ward all accomplished enormous public realization, really throughout the turbulent Sixties. Phillips captures the rebellious spirit of the time, detailing how those thinkers exploited the preferred media to disseminate rules on triumphing social concerns - from justice and international peace to defense of our surroundings. Phillips skilfully strains the rules in their notion to their prior careers and social activities of earlier generations, and exhibits what percentage in their methods have been followed by means of a number of present-day teams from the Christian correct and Left to the recent Atheists and environmentalists. an important contribution to British highbrow heritage, Contesting the ethical excessive floor offers new insights into the ethical philosophies of 4 of Britain's such a lot influential minds within the 20th century.

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Extra resources for Contesting the Moral High Ground: Popular Moralists in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain

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Southwell’s successor as editor was George Jacob Holyoake, a former tinsmith who was also an Owenite and Chartist. Holyoake, however, was far more circumspect and careful with his words in print. indb 26 2013-02-04 15:39:49 The Setting 27 term that would come into usage later in the century. However, in 1842 he too was charged with blasphemy; the Cheltenham Chronicle stated that he was a blasphemer, citing a speech Holyoake had given on another subject which strayed into religion in response to a question from the audience.

Recently Charles Taylor in A Secular Age has, in tracing the answer to why adherence to Christianity is now but one option facing people in our times, even widened the relevant time frame for Britain and Western Europe (Latin Christendom) back through the Renaissance and Reformation, to the late Middle Ages. ”4 Obviously it is related in part to the story of the growth of unbelief dealt with in the next section of this chapter. ”5 The world which Taylor paints in 1500 was, for most people, an enchanted one.

In the late nineteenth century within the ranks of learned clergy doubt spread concerning traditional beliefs. This made it difficult for church leaders to maintain some semblance of order and agreement about core beliefs at times of ordination, and later, to maintain positions as functioning, salaried ministers of religion. The novel Robert Elsmere (1888) by Mrs. Humphry Ward brought this problem to the public attention of many clergy who privately faced such difficulties, and many laity who were now made more aware.

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