J. L. Mackie


John Leslie Mackie ( born August 28, 1917 in Sydney, Australia, † December 12, 1981 in Oxford) was an Australian philosopher. Mackie graduated in 1938 his studies at the University of Sydney and received the Wentworth Travelling Fellowship, the 1938-40 allowed him to stay in Oxford. After his military service he was Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer in moral and political philosophy at the University of Sydney ( 1946-54 ) and then Professor of Philosophy at the Universities of Otago ( Dunedin, New Zealand), Sydney (Australia), York ( England) and Oxford ( England) from 1974 and a member of the British Academy.

He is considered one of the most important empirically oriented philosophers of the 20th century, who grappled with topics that traditionally more metaphysically oriented philosophers processed. These topics include for reporting based on David Hume 's moral philosophy and ethics, which he continues with the means of analytic philosophy, and an analysis of the most important proofs of God in his work " The Miracle of Theism " ( German: The Miracle of Theism ). His conclusion there: " Anyway, it's not easy to defend the religion, once one has acknowledged that the understood as a statement of fact saying that there is a God, before reason can not be maintained. "

In the field of ethics he is considered one of the most important representatives of the so-called error theory of morality. Mackie argues against the ethical positions that criticized the existence of objective, take the time and circumstances of independent values ​​(such as Immanuel Kant and his categorical imperative ) John Stewart Mills utilitarianism and John Rawls ' theory of justice as fairness, the less fair either as proposed by Mackie looking for a balance of interests through a 3-stage universalization. He advocates a " practical system " of morality one that emanates from self-love and ichbezogenem altruism to promote an expansion of sympathy to defuse the necessary emerging social Konfllikte - a now understood as a global commitment to charity ( Christian ) charity, which in Old Testament was based on the inner confliction to the Roman period mainly on the Jewish people, he therefore referred to as an "ethic of illusions ".

In addition, Mackie worked on general epistemological issues, in particular in the areas of truth and probability paradoxes, and to questions of causality, to which he contributed the concept of INUS condition.


  • Truth, Probability, and Paradox (1973 ) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-824402-9
  • The Cement of the Universe. A study of causation (1974 ) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-824642-0
  • Problem from Locke ( 1976) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-824555-6
  • Ethics. Inventing Right and Wrong ( 1977), Viking Press, ISBN 0-14-013558-8
  • The Third Theory of Law ( 1977), Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol 7, No. 1
  • Hume's Moral Theory ( 1980) Routledge & Keegan Paul, ISBN 0-7100-0525-3
  • The Miracle of Theism. Arguments for and against the Existence of God ( 1982) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 - 19-824682 -X
  • Logic and Knowledge: Selected Papers, Volume I ( 1994 ) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 - 19-824679 -X
  • Persons and Values: Selected Papers, Volume II (1985 ) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-824678-1

Published in German:

  • Ethics. The invention of the morally right and wrong. ( Translator's Rudolf Ginter ), Reclam, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-15-007680-4
  • The Miracle of Theism. Arguments for and against the existence of God. ( Translator's Rudolf Ginter ), Reclam, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-15-008075-7.