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J. L. Mackie

John L. Mackie (1917 - 1981) was a philosopher, originally from Sydney, Australia. From 1967 until his death, he was a fellow of University College, Oxford. He was in 1974 elected a fellow of the British Academy.

He was well known for his contributions to the field of meta-ethics, where he took the position of moral skepticism, arguing against the objective existence of right and wrong on fundamental grounds concerning what kinds of things those must be, if they exist.

Mackie was also well known for vigorously defending atheism, and arguing that the problem of evil defeated the main monotheistic religions. Other areas to which he made significant contributions include the nature of causal relationships, and of conditional statements describing them.


  • Truth, Probability, and Paradox (1973)
  • The Cement of the Universe (1974)
  • Problems From Locke (1976)
  • Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (1977)
  • Hume's Moral Theory (1980)
  • The Miracle of Theism (1982)

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