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al-Ghazàlì, Abù Hamìd Muhammad (1058-1111)

Persian Islamic theologian who rejected all philosophical claims to knowledge, attacking the views of al-Farabi and Ibn Sina, in Tahafut al falasifah (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), to which Ibn Rushd wrote a sharp reply. al-Ghazàlì's Logica et Philosophica defended an occasionalist view of the natural world and maintained that experience, including especially divine revelation, is a more reliable ground for knowledge than is reason.

Recommended Reading: Muhammad Al-Ghazali, Mysteries of the Human Soul (Kazi, 1995); Deliverance from Error: An Annotated Translation of Al-Munqidh Min Al Dalal and Other Relevant Works of Al-Ghazali, tr. by Richard Joseph McCarthy, S.J. (Fons Vitae, 2000); and Muhammad Quasem, Ethics of Al Ghazali: The Composite Ethics in Islam (Quasem, 1975).

Also see SEP, EB, ELC, and R. J. Kilcullen.

Gilligan, Carol (1936- )

American psychologist. Gilligan's In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development (1983) applies psychological research on female adolescents to theories of moral development, discovering in women a greater inclination toward an "ethics of care," characterized by focus on responsibilities within particular human relationships, than toward the male "ethics of justice," with its emphasis on rules and rights conceived in general terms. In Mapping the Moral Domain (1988), Gilligan further examines the social significance of her psychological theories.

Recommended Reading: Susan J. Hekman, Moral Voices, Moral Selves: Carol Gilligan and Feminist Moral Theory (Penn. State, 1995) and Caring Voices and Women's Frames: Gilligan's View, ed. by Bill Puka (Garland, 1994).

Also see Steven Darwall, ELC, and Maria da Penha F. S. de Carvalho.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins (1860-1935)

American novelist and social philosopher who chronicled the abuses of androcentric culture. "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892) describes the brutality suffered by married women under the guise of treatment of mental illness. Gilman's utopian novel Herland (1915) provides an imaginative vision of a matriarchal society free from any taint of male domination. In Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relation between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution (1898), Gilman maintained that securing the personal and political rights of women requires their achievement of genuine economic equality. His Religion and Hers: A Study of the Faith of Our Fathers and the Work of Our Mothers (1923) explored the patriarchal elements of traditional Christianity. Gilman described her personal resistance of gender models in the autobiographical The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1935).

Recommended Reading: The Charlotte Perkins Gilman Reader, ed. by Ann J. Lane (Virginia, 1999); Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Nonfiction Reader, ed. by Larry Ceplair (Columbia, 1991); Ann J. Lane, To Herland and Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Virginia, 1997); and The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on the Yellow Wallpaper, ed. by Catherine Golden (Feminist, 1992).

Also see EB.

Glanvill, Joseph (1611-1680)

English philosopher whose Vanity of Dogmatizing (1661) used skeptical arguments to show the fallibility of empirical study of the natural world. Sharing the Cambridge Platonists' concern with the realm of soul and spirit, however, Glanvill later argued that denying the reality of ghosts and witches would be the first step toward atheism.

Recommended Reading: Robert M. Burns, The Great Debate on Miracles: From Joseph Glanvill to David Hume (Bucknell, 1981); Sascha Talmor, Glanvill: The Uses and Abuses of Skepticism; and Joseph Glanvill, Saducismus Triumphatus: Or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions (Scholars' Facsimilies, 1966).

Also see EB and ELC.


German term for happiness.

γνωσις [gnôsis]

The most general Greek term for knowledge. Thus, Aristotle took it to include both accurate understanding {Gk. επιστημη [epistêmê]} and sensory experience {Gk. αισθησις [aisthêsis]} of the natural world. From the second century CE onward, the "Gnostics" used the term to signify the theological secrets they supposed crucial for genuine Christianity.

Recommended Reading: F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (NYU, 1967) and Cyril O'Regan, Gnostic Return in Modernity (SUNY, 2001).

Also see PP and ISM.

god, existence of

Attempts to demonstrate the existence of god have been a notable feature of Western philosophy. The most commonly employed theistic efforts include: the cosmological argument, the ontological argument, the teleological argument, and the moral argument. The most serious atheological argument is the problem of evil.

Recommended Reading: The Existence of God, ed. by John Hick and Paul Edwards (Macmillan, 1964); Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of Belief in God (Cornell, 1990); Richard Kearney, The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion (Indiana, 2001); Questioning God, ed. by John D. Caputo, Mark Dooley, and Michael J. Scanlon (Indiana, 2001); Richard M. Gale, On the Nature and Existence of God (Cambridge, 1993); Richard. Swinburne, The Existence of God (Clarendon, 1991); John L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and Against the Existence of God (Oxford, 1983); and Richard Kearney, The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion (Indiana, 2001); Divine Hiddenness, ed. by Daniel Howard-Snyder and Paul K. Moser (Cambridge, 2002).

Also see CE, SEP, and IEP.

Gödel, Kurt (1906-1978)

Czech logician and mathematician. By applying an arithmetical method to the syntactical study of formalized logical languages, Gödel demonstrated in "Über formal unentscheidbare Sätze der Principia Mathematica und vervandter Systeme" ("On formally undecidable propositions of Principia Mathematica and related systems") (1931) that any consistent formal system powerful enough to contain arithmetic must contain at least one proposition whose truth or falsity cannot be proven within the system. It follows further that the consistency of a formal system cannot be evaluated from within the system itself. These discoveries brought an abrupt end to hopes for the purely-syntactical logicization of arithmetic. Gödel's own reflections on the significance of his work may be found in "The modern development of the foundations of mathematics in the light of philosophy" (1961).

Recommended Reading: Gödel's Proof (NYU, 1983); S. G. Shanker, Gödel's Theorem in Focus (Routledge, 1988); Raymond M. Smullyan, Forever Undecided: A Puzzle Guide to Gödel (Oxford, 1988); Raymond M. Smullyan, Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems (Oxford, 1992); and John L. Casti and Werner Depauli, Gödel: A Life of Logic, the Mind, and Mathematics (Perseus, 2000).

Also see The Kurt Gödel Society, WSB, SEP, J. R. Lucas, Peter Suber, David J. Chalmers, MMT, EB, ELC, Joao Teixeira, and Austria-Forum.

Godwin, William (1756-1836)

English social reformer and husband of Mary Wollstonecraft. Godwin's Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness (1793) and Thoughts on Man, his Nature, Productions, and Discoveries (1831) employed utilitarian principles to show the corrupting influence of government and to defend political anarchism. Godwin also wrote the novel The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794).

Recommended Reading: The Anarchist Writings of William Godwin, ed. by Peter Marshall (Freedom, 1986); D. H. Monro, Godwin's Moral Philosophy: An Interpretation of William Godwin (Greenwood, 1980); and George Woodcock, William Godwin: A Biographical Study (Black Rose, 1989).

Also see EB, Anarchist Archives, SEP, ELC, and Christopher Joseph Roberson.


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