Early Skeptics, with Dr. David Hitchcock
02 May, 2008
Agnosticism, atheism and religious scepticism have a longer history in western thought than is often recognized. I survey the history of such thinking in the ancient Greek philosophical tradition from the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The views surveyed include arguments against the anthopomorphism of popular religion, explicit agnosticism, naturalistic explanations of the origin of religion, arguments that truly divine beings would be indifferent to human doings and sufferings, and sceptical attacks on the most common arguments for the existence of gods.
Brief biography of David Hitchcock
David Hitchcock is professor of philosophy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Born in 1942 in England, he was brought by his parents to Hamilton at the age of 5 and has lived there ever since, except for a year in England as a child and four years in California as a graduate student. His research falls into three main areas: the philosophy of argument, ancient philosophy, and the history of logic. He is the author of a textbook on critical thinking, as well as co-author of a textbook on logic and critical thinking in medicine. He has also co-edited a volume of original papers on the use of the "Toulmin model" for the analysis and evaluation of arguments. He is the author of dozens of book chapters, journal articles and conference proceedings papers. They deal with such topics as the evaluation of inferences, the concept of relevance, practical reasoning, the effectiveness of computer-assisted instruction in critical thinking, Plato's conception of the good, the relation between fallacies and formal logic in Aristotle's thought, Aristotle's theory of argument evaluation, the reconstruction of Stoic propositional logic, and the Polish version of Alfred Tarski's classic paper on the concept of logical consequence.
Dr. Hitchcock received his B.A. in Honours Philosophy in 1964 from McMaster University and his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1974 from Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California. His Ph.D. dissertation dealt with the role of myth in Plato's dialogues and its relation to rational argument. He has been a full-time faculty member at McMaster since July 1968.
Dr. Hitchcock was the founding president (1983-85) of the Association
for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking, an international scholarly
association, and is currently serving a two-year term (2007-09) on its board.
Dr. Hitchcock has been a member of the New Democratic Party of Canada since 1963. He was the NDP candidate for Member of Parliament in the constituency of Hamilton-Wentworth in three federal elections, in 1979, 1980 and 1984. He is currently membership organizer in the Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale New Democratic Party Provincial Riding Association. He is also the official agent of Gordon Guyatt, who has been nominated as the NDP candidate in the constituency of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale in the next federal election.
He is married and has two daughters, one stepson and four granddaughters.