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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 4
Christianity and Ethical Theory (continued)

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Displaying: 1-20 of 46 documents


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1. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Christopher Menzel Theism, Platonism, and the Metaphysics of Mathematics
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In a previous paper, Thomas V. Morris and I sketched a view on which abstract objects, in particular, properties, relations, and propositions (PRPs), are created by God no less than contingent, concrete objects. In this paper r suggest a way of extending this account to cover mathematical objects as well. Drawing on some recent work in logic and metaphysics, I also develop a more detailed account of the structure of PRPs in answer to the paradoxes that arise on a naive understanding of the structure ofthe abstract universe.
2. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Del Ratzsch Nomo(theo)logical Necessity
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The issues of just what laws of nature are and what makes statements law-like have been more discussed than advanced. After exploring the general area and uncovering some difficulties which, I suspect, make the case even knottier than generally imagined, I argue that certain resources available only to the theist---in particular, counterfactuals of God’s freedom---may provide the materials needed for constructing solutions.
3. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Alvin Plantinga Justification and Theism
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The question is: how should a theist think of justification or positive epistemic status? The answer I suggest is: a belief B has positive epistemic status for S only if S’s faculties are functioning properly (i.e., functioning in the way God intended them to) in producing B, and only if S’s cognitive environment is sufficiently similar to the one for which her faculties are designed; and under those conditions the more firmly S is inclined to accept B, the more positive epistemic status it has for her. I conclude by making some qualifications and applications and exmaining some objections.
4. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Richard Otte A Theistic Conception of Probability
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Although the doctrines of theism are rich enough to support a distinctively theistic conception of probability, historically there has been little discussion of probability from a theistic perspective. In this article I investigate how a theist might view epistemic probability. A unique conception of probability naturally follows from ideas central to theism, and it is argued that this conception of probability avoids many problems associated with other interpretations of probability.
5. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Robert Merrihew Adams Vocation
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Is there a way in which we can have obligations that do not follow from general ethical principles in conjunction with non-normative facts about our situation in the world? I argue for an affirmative answer to this question, based on a divine command theory of vocation. I explore the structure of such a theory, deriving from Kierkegaard the idea that a vocation will normally be closely connected with one’s selfhood, and that it may override other prima facie obligations. Epistemological issues about vocation are also discussed.
6. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Nicholas Wolterstorff Why Animals Don’t Speak
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In this paper I ask what it is for one’s performance of some locutionary action to count-as one's performance of some illocutionary action, After looking at the so-called institutional analysis and finding it unsatisfactory, I offer a normative analysis: To perform an illocutionary action is to acquire a certain normative standing, or status. I go on to ask how such acquisition comes about by way of making sounds or inscribing marks. If my analysis is correct, it follows that only those creatures who can acquire rights and responsibilities can speak---that is, perform illocutionary actions. It is my contention that animals cannot.
7. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Marilyn McCord Adams Duns Scotus on the Goodness of God
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Over the past thirty years, analytical philosophers of religion have confronted the problem of evil in the guise of the atheistic argument from evil against the existence of God. Many have met it from the posture of defense, constructing logically possible morally sufficient reasons for divine permission of evils from the materials of religion-neutral value-theory. At best, such defenses vindicate divine goodness along the dimension “producer of global goods,” while neglecting the religiously more relevant dimension of His goodness to individual suffering creatures. My methodological recommendation is that we Christian philosophers shift away from defense and concentrate on formulating what we really believe about the goodness of God and how He is solving the problem of evil. If successful, our accounts would not only exhibit how divine permission of evils is logically consistent with His goodness to creatures, but also advertise Him as a character worthy of worship. Failures would pinpoint more precisely where and how evil is a problem for us. I illustrate this method by examining Duns Scotus’ many-faceted conception of divine goodness and measure its power to explain the compossibility of God and evil.
8. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 4
Index: Volume 4, 1987
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articles
9. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
James G. Hanink, Gary R. Mar What Euthyphro Couldn’t Have Said
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In this paper we argue for a simple version of Divine Command Morality, namely that an act’s being morally right consists in its being in accord with God’s will, and an act’s being morally wrong consists in its being contrary to God’s will. In so arguing, we contend that this simple version of Divine Command Morality is not subject to the Euthyphro dilemma, either as Plato or as contemporary critics have ordinarily proposed it. Nor, we maintain, is our position incompatible with the most adequate formulation of natural law ethics. Finally we explain why Euthyphro could not have made a better case for his own position.
10. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Robert Merrihew Adams Divine Commands and the Social Nature of Obligation
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Divine command metaethics is one of those theories according to which the nature of obligation is grounded in personal or social relationships. In this paper I first try to show how facts about human relationships can fill some of the role that facts of obligation aresupposed to play, specifically with regard to moral motivation and guilt. Then I note certain problems that arise for social theories of obligation, and argue that they can be dealt with more adequately by an expansion of our vision of the social dimension of ethics to include God as the most important participant in our system of personal relationships.
11. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Jeffrie G. Murphy Kantian Autonomy and Divine Commands
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James Rachels has argued that a morally autonomous person (in Kant’s sense) could not consistently accept the authority of divine commands. Against Rachels, this essay argues (a) that the Kantian concept of moral autonomy is to be analyzed in terms of an agent’sresponsiveness to the best available moral reasons and (b) that it is simply question-begging against divine command theory to assume that such commands could not count as the best moral reasons available to an agent.
12. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Gregory Mellema What is Optional in the Fulfillment of Duty?
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Moral duties are often described in terms of rigid requirements to perform, or refrain from performing, actions of certain specific types. In various theological traditions this point is often expressed in terms of the demands God places upon His creatures. However, there are several important ways, as Kant, Mill, and others have noted, in which the fulfillment of duty admits of options. In this paper an effort is made to offer a precise characterization of these ways. On this basis it is concluded that many duties are not of the form in which duties are commonly characterized.
13. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Linda Zagzebski Does Ethics Need God?
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This essay presents a moral argument for the rationality of theistic belief. If all I have to go on morally are my own moral intuitions and reasoning and those of others, I am rationally led to skepticism, both about the possibility of moral knowledge and about my moral effectiveness. This skepticism is extensive, amounting to moral despair. But such despair cannot be rational. It follows that the assumption of the argument must be false and I must be able to rely on more than my own human powers and those of others in attempting to live a moral life. The Christian God has such a function. Hence, if it is rational to attempt a moral life, it is rational to believe in the Christian God.
14. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Patrick Goold Kierkegaard’s Christian Imperative
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This paper describes a strategy for defending some of the core claims of Christianity from evidentialist critics. The strategy is neither epistemological nor based on considerations of ‘proper basicality’. Indeed, this strategy, if successful, shows Christian faith to be notmerely permissible but ethically obligatory. It does so by taking seriously the claim that faith is a virtue (in the classical sense) and that a reflecting conscience will discover this. The paper also hopes to contribute to Kierkegaard scholarship by offering a new interpretation both of Sickness Unto Death and, by implication, of Kierkegaard’s general significance for philosophy of religion.
15. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Richard L. Purthill Alpha and Beta Virtues and Vices
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In this paper I argue that there are pairs of virtues relating to the same areas of human life, each with its characteristic excess and defect. The excess of one member of the pair is usually related to the defect of the other, and the defect of one to the excess of the other. One of these paired virtues is typically seen by our society as “masculine” the other as “feminine.” This leads to an undervaluing of one member of each pair and an over-valuing of the other.
discussion
16. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
David Basinger Middle Knowledge and Human Freedom: Some Clarifications
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The concept of middle knowledge---God’s knowledge of what would in fact happen in every conceivable situation---is just beginning to receive the attention it deserves, For example, it is just now becoming clear to many that classical theism requires the affirmation of middle knowledge. But this concept is also coming under increasing criticism. The most significant of these, I believe, has been developed in a recent discussion by William Hasker, in which he argues that the concept of a true counterfactual of freedom is incoherent. I also believe, however, that his critique ultimately fails and specify why in the essay which follows.
17. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
William Hasker The Hardness of the Past: A Reply to Reichenbach
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book reviews
18. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
David B. Burrell Spirit, Saints and Immortality
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19. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Arthur F. McGovern A Matter of Hope: A Theologian’s Reflections on the Thought of Karl Marx
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20. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 4 > Issue: 3
Frederick D. Wilhelmsen An Interpretation of Existence
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