George H. Smith explains why Edward Gibbon rejected miraculous accounts in his masterpiece, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
George H. Smith explains the basic tenets of deism and why it posed a political threat.
George H. Smith explains the origins of deism and its basic ideas.
George H. Smith explains some tactics that early freethinkers used in the attempt to avoid punishment for blasphemy and other religious crimes.
George H. Smith explores Shaftesbury’s defense of ridicule and satire in matters of religion.
George H. Smith explains how some leading Christian theologians justified the death penalty for heretics and blasphemers.
George H. Smith explains the similarities between medieval heresy and our modern notion of treason against the state.
Augustine argued that religious persecution was justified when done in the interest of the salvation of those persecuted.
George H. Smith begins his series on the historical relationship between religious skepticism and libertarianism.
George H. Smith discusses what Bernard Mandeville meant in saying that private vices produce public benefits, and how Francis Hutcheson criticized that theory.
George H. Smith discusses Bernard Mandeville’s defense of legal prostitution and other vices.
George H. Smith explains why Mandeville’s ideas about vice made him one of the most notorious writers of his time.
George H. Smith continues his discussion of Joseph Butler’s theory of moral psychology, and summarizes his ideas about conscience and rational self-interest.
George H. Smith discusses Joseph Butler’s influential theory of psychology and his ideas about self-interest and benevolence.
George H. Smith discusses various objections to the claim that all actions are necessarily self-interested.
George H. Smith discusses the Hobbesian theory of self-interest and why classical liberals were so intent on refuting it.
George H. Smith explains David Hume’s theory of the social evolution of our ideas about justice.
George H. Smith begins his discussion of David Hume’s moral and social philosophy.