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Philosophia Christi

Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012
Alvin Plantinga's New Argument Against Materialism

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1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
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symposium on materialism
2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Jeremy Evans Guest Editor’s Introduction
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3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Alvin Plantinga A New Argument against Materialism
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We ordinarily think that the content of a belief, or an intention, or an undertaking is relevant to the actions caused by beliefs, intentions, and undertakings. Not only do we ordinarily think these things; they are no more than the sober truth. I attempt to argue that if materialism about us human beings (either reductive or nonreductive) were true, then these things would be false: it would not be by virtue of their contents that beliefs, intentions, and undertakings cause what they do. If materialism were true, facts about the content of beliefs, intentions, and undertakings would be irrelevant to their causal powers. If this argument is correct, then embracing materialism exacts a substantial cost: giving up these obvious and commonsense truths.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Michael Tooley Plantinga’s New Argument against Materialism
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In this paper, I have attempted to do two main things. First, I argue that Alvin Plantinga’s new argument against materialism, though interesting, shares the fate of his earlier arguments in that it is, in the end, unsuccessful. Secondly, I then argue, contrary to Plantinga’s view that there is no strong argument for materialism, that there is in fact very strong scientific support that can be offered against the hypothesis that the human mind is an immaterial substance, and hence in support of the conclusion that some form of materialism is true.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Alvin Plantinga Functionalism and Materialism: A Reply to Tooley
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My major dispute with Michael Tooley’s response (“Plantinga’s New Argument against Materialism”) to my original article is with his philosophy of mind. Tooley’s objection depends on a functionalist account of mental states such as beliefs, desires and intentions. I offer reasons to reject functionalism and, hence, the same goes for any objection to my argument that is based on or presupposes functionalism.
articles
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Esther L. Meek Michael Polanyi and Alvin Plantinga: Help from Beyond the Walls
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This essay introduces Michael Polanyi’s work through contrasting his innovative epistemology of subsidiary-focal integration with key distinctives of Christian analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga. Polanyi’s contrasting proposals helpfully bring to light shaping assumptions of the analytic tradition, contributing creatively to a larger common agenda. Polanyi disputes the unexamined assumption that the simplest epistemic experience is a focally apprehended “find-myself-believing” that is explicitly and propositionally expressed. I also contrast the two regarding infallibilism, foundationalism, externalism, justification, epistemic duty, creative antirealism, and ways of tapping Calvin’s notion of the sensus divinitatis
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Nathan A. Jacobs Are Created Spirits Composed of Matter and Form?: A Defense of Pneumatic Hylomorphism
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In this essay, I argue that both human souls and angels are hylomorphic, a position I dub “pneumatic hylomorphism” (PH). Following a sketch of the history of PH, I offer both an analytic and a confessional defense of PH. The former argues that PH is the most cogent anthropology/angelology, given the Christian understanding of the intermediate state and angels. My confessional defense shows that PH plays a crucial role in pro-Nicene theology. I close with an assessment of contemporary anthropological alternatives, and conclude these do not advance the discussion beyond the patristic and medieval alternatives; thus PH remains the most cogent and confessional sound option.
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Cristian Mihut Change of Heart: Forgiveness, Resentment, and Empathy
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This paper proposes an answer to a puzzle regarding robust notions of forgiveness. Robust forgiveness occurs when victims extend grace to perpetrators in the absence of moral reparation or repentance. If unmerited grace is one of its necessary features, is robust forgiveness a moral and rational response to perpetrators? The paper sketches an empathetic model of forgiveness as a plausible candidate for answering this puzzle. However, this particular model must be refined to handle cases where resentment infiltrates and cements deeply in our motivational structures. Still working broadly within an empathetic framework, the paper proposes a modification aimed to alleviate worries about the dispersing and entrenchment of resentment.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Christian Miller The Challenge to Virtue, Character, and Forgiveness from Psychology and Philosophy
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Much has been made of the situationist argument against virtue ethics by Gilbert Harman and John Doris, an argument which draws on empirical results from social psychology. After presenting their argument as well as the most plausible reply, I turn to what I believe is the real challenge to virtue ethics in this area, a challenge that needs to be addressed by both philosophers and theologians alike. The paper ends by applying this challenge to the specific virtue of forgiveness.
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
John Jefferson Davis Buddha, the Apostle Paul, and John Hick: The Challenge of Inter-Religious Epistemologies
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This paper proposes four postulates for assessing, in the context of Buddhist-Christian dialogue, the respective understandings of the nature of the Metaphysical Ultimate (MU): the postulates of Internal Coherence; Depth of Soteric Efficacy; Breadth of Epistemic Warrant; and Breadth of Explanatory Power. It is argued that the application of these postulates supports the conclusion that the notion of the MU exemplified in Christian theism, where the MU is conceived of as being characterized (analogically) as personal in nature, not strictly and completely ineffable, and cognizable by conceptual distinctions, has stronger and broader. epistemic warrants than that concept of the MU exemplified in Zen Buddhism.
11. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Kirk R. MacGregor The Existence and Irrelevance of Gratuitous Evil
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This article breaks fresh ground on the probabilistic problem of evil, contesting its first premise (probably, if God exists, gratuitous evil does not exist) instead of the commonly contested second premise (probably, gratuitous evil exists). In so doing, it presents a rehabilitated version of Leibniz’s argument for the irrelevance of gratuitous evil vis-à-vis the existence of God, according to which it is logically impossible for any world God might create to be devoid of pointless evil. Accordingly, my argument provides theists a more fruitful strategy for dealing with evil than asking skeptics to deny their intuitive recognition of pointless suffering.
philosophical notes
12. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Stewart Goetz Is N. T. Wright Right about Substance Dualism?
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According to N. T. Wright, anyone who is a Christian should at least think twice before he or she speaks about the soul, especially as an entity that is distinct from its physical body and can survive death in a disembodied intermediate state until the resurrection and reembodiment. In Wright’s mind, talk of the soul is talk about soul-body substance dualism (dualism, for short), which is the villain in Christian anthropological thought. As far as Wright is concerned, it is time for Christians to renounce dualism once and for all. In this paper, I take issue with Wright’s position on substance dualism.
13. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Charles Taliaferro Experimental Thoughts and Thought Experiments: Reflections on What Matters in Recent Work by Derek Parfit
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Parfit’s new two-volume book, On What Matters, is used to make three points about the use of thought experiments in philosophy: thought experiments must be relevantly focused, finely-grained in descriptive force, and, when they meet these conditions, a thought experiment can overturn a substantial philosophical position, namely Parfit’s rejection of libertarian freedom. While principally a contribution to philosophical methodology, along the way this paper defends moral realism, Parfit’s rejection of a combined egoist and contractualist ethic, and a defense of libertarian free agency.
14. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Francis J. Beckwith Zygotes, Embryos, and Subsistence: A Response to Corcoran
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This article is a response by the author of Defending Life, Francis Beckwith, to Kevin Corcoran’s critical review of that book. In his review Corcoran maintains that Beckwith provides only a “typical” genetic code argument for the zygote’s individual humanity, and that Beckwith fails to show that there exists an individual human organism that subsists from conception and develops into a mature version of itself. Beckwith argues that Corcoran is mistaken on both counts.
book reviews
15. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
William Lane Craig Defending the Axioms: On the Philosophical Foundations of Set Theory
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16. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Charles Taliaferro The Poetics of Evil: Toward an Aesthetic Theodicy
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17. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Nathan D. Shannon God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God
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18. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
David Cramer The War of the Lamb: The Ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking; War and the American Difference: Theological Reflections on Violence and National Identity
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19. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Raymond J. VanArragon Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith
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20. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
News and Announcements
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