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John Gray: Religion, atheism, and the good life

19th February 2019 @ 7:30 pm


John GrayIt is commonly claimed that atheists can be as moral as practitioners of traditional religions, and no doubt this can be so. However, John Gray suggests that atheists have promoted a wide variety of conceptions of the good life.

Examining the history of atheism over the past several centuries, he will argue that it has not been a single intellectual movement but a diversity of contending sects adhering to divergent and often conflicting values and advancing very different ways of life. The question is therefore not whether atheists can be moral, but: Which morality should atheists follow?

About the speaker

John Gray studied at Oxford, where he was then a Fellow in Politics at Jesus College, and Professor in Politics from 1996. Between 1998 and 2007 he was Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. Since 2008 he has been Emeritus Professor at the LSE. He has published many books, including most recently: Gray’s Anatomy: Selected Writings (Penguin, 2009, 2010, 2016), The Silence of Animals: Thoughts on Progress and other Modern Myths (Penguin, 2013), The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom (Penguin, 2015) and Seven Types of Atheism (Penguin, 2018).


This lecture is part of the God & the Good: Thinking Religion and Ethics series, organised by the Department of Philosophy and the Prokhorov Centre in partnership with Sheffield Cathedral.


19th February 2019
7:30 pm
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University of Sheffield


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