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Philo

Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2013

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Displaying: 1-7 of 7 documents


guest editor’s preface
1. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Rik Peels, A New Case for Atheism
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articles
2. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Herman Philipse, A Decision Tree for Religious Believers
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I discuss the primary aims of my book God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason, which critically assesses the most promising apologetic strategies defending the reasonable endorsement of religious creeds. These apologetic strategies may be schematized as the end nodes of a decision tree for religious believers, as I explain in section 2. In section 3, the structure of the book is elucidated, and in section 4 I illustrate its argumentative strategy by some examples.
3. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Gijsbert van den Brink, What Is Wrong with Revelation? Herman Philipse on the Priority of Natural Theology
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According to Herman Philipse, well-educated Western people can no longer reasonably accept a religious faith on the basis of special revelation. Rather, they (or at least some experts in their community) should account for their religious views in terms of natural theology—i.e., using only arguments based on evidence that is generally accessible. Many believers, however, do not base their faith on natural theology. I argue that there is a sound reason for their reluctance: when it comes to views of life, rationality and faith commitments are inextricably interconnected. Drawing on an analysis of George Mavrodes, I argue that this is due to the fact that “proofs” are person-relative. From this perspective, I briefly show why each of Philipse’s six arguments for the priority of natural theology over revealed theology is mistaken.
4. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Jeroen de Ridder, Mathanja Berger, Shipwrecked or Holding Water? In Defense of Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Believer
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Herman Philipse argues that Christian belief cannot be warranted in Alvin Plantinga’s sense. More specifically, he thinks it is impossible for intellectually responsible and modern believers to hold their religious beliefs in the manner of properly basic beliefs, not on the basis of explicit evidence or arguments. In this paper, we consider his objections to Plantinga’s work and argue that they all fail.
5. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Rik Peels, A Bodiless Spirit? Meaningfulness, Possibility, and Probability
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The main conclusion of Herman Philipse’s God in the Age of Science? is that we should all be atheists. Remarkably, however, the book contains no argument whatsoever for atheism. Philipse defends the argument from evil and the argument from divine hiddenness, but those arguments count only against an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God, not against just any god. He also defends the claim that there cannot be any bodiless spirits, but, of course, not all religions take their gods to be bodiless. However, because his main target of criticism is monotheism and adherents of monotheism usually claim that God is a bodiless spirit, this paper discusses Philipse’s arguments against the existence of a bodiless spirit. I argue that his three main claims about religious belief in a bodiless spirit are false. First, contrary to what he says, there is good reason to think that the expression “bodiless spirit” is meaningful. Among other things, the Wittgensteinian semantic theory of psychological attribute ascription on which his argument relies turns out to be untenable. Second, Philipse’s thesis that the existence of a bodiless spirit is impossible is also problematic. We can properly use the word person for bodiless spirits. Also, an attribute such as presence or omnipresence can be understood metaphorically without the definition of “God “thereby losing too much meaning. And we do not need any criterion for diachronic personal identity of bodiless spirits; such identity may very well be a primitive fact. Third and finally, there is no reason to think that the existence of a bodiless spirit is improbable. The fact that science has discovered a dependence relation between mental states and brain states and the fact that science has never been able to detect bodiless spirits provide no reason to think otherwise.
6. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Emanuel Rutten, On Herman Philipse’s Attempt to Write Off Cosmological Arguments
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In his 2012 book God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason, Herman Philipse argues that all known deductive versions of the cosmological argument are untenable. His strategy is to propose a few objections to two classical deductive cosmological arguments. The first argument is from the impossibility of there being contingent entities that are the sufficient cause for the existence of a contingent entity: the second argument is from the impossibility of there being an infinite causal regress. In this article I argue that Philipse’s attempt to write off all deductive cosmological arguments fails.
7. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Boudewijn de Bruin, The Epistemology of Religious Testimony
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Swinburne’s The Existence of God purports to provide evidence that God very probably exists. While most of the evidence considered is publicly available, Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience considers private evidence gained from private religious experiences. Philipse, in God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason argues that one of the premises of this argument, the Principle of Credulity, is not applicable to religious experiences. The present paper focuses on a second premise, the Principle of Testimony. It defends the claim that even if the Principle of Credulity holds for religious experiences, testimonial evidence about religious experience does not offer the unbeliever sufficient grounds for the rational adoption of a belief in the existence of God.