Already a subscriber? - Login here
Not yet a subscriber? - Subscribe here

Browse by:

Displaying: 1-20 of 21 documents


1. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Merold Westphal

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Religious pluralism (as a disputed philosophical theory about the undisputed empirical fact of religious pluralism) has evoked lively debate. I make three observations. First, there is a striking similarity between postmodern and earlier modern responses to religious difference insofar as each represents an a priori refusal to let religious believers disagree with each other cognitively. Second, the rejection of theo-logical exclusivism by religious pluralism presumes that its account of religious difference is true, while that of theo-logical exclusivism is false. Third, religious pluralism (pace Hick) does not follow from the premises of Kantian anti-realism. I suggest that religious pluralism is motivated by the terrible history and contemporary specter of religiously sanctioned violence. I argue that we should look directly at the content of religious belief in order to break the link between religious truth claims and religiously sanctioned violence and domination.
2. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Robert Audi

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The aim of this paper is to offer a framework for discussing the connections between ethics and religion and to propose some broad substantive theses about how they may be related philosophically, politically, and psychologically. Section I outlines some ontological, epistemological and conceptual connections between ethics and religion, focusing particularly on the question of whether either is dependent on the other. Section II mainly addresses the motivational capacities of religious as opposed to secular ethics. In Section III the main concern is to assess the extent to which conflict between religious and secular ethics should be expected, given certain plausible assumptions about the grounds of both. The final section makes some proposals for reducing conflict between religious and secular standards for structuring democratic societies and for the conduct of their citizens.
3. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Philip L. Quinn

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The world religions make conflicting claims about the nature of ultimate reality, and they all appeal to experience for justification of their claims. The experiential justifications for conflicting religious beliefs thus seem to be mutually destructive. One response to this situation, advocated by John Hick, is to reinterpret traditional religious claims in ways that eliminate the conflicts; another, favored by William P. Alston, is to defend the rationality of continuing, despite the conflicts, to engage in the doxastic practice of one’s own religion. I begin this paper with a summary of the criticism of Alston’s defense that I have spelled out in greater detail elsewhere. After arguing that Alston’s conclusions require significant modification, I go on to defend the modified Alstonian conclusions against objections recently raised by Hick. I conclude by suggesting a view that seems to me to combine the best features of Alston’s and Hick’s approaches to religious pluralism.
4. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Kai Nielsen

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
I explicate and argue for a way of looking at life, and responding to it, that is uncompromisingly secularist. It is an atheism and a social naturalism: a distinctive form of naturalism that I argue answers better than religious orientations or “scientific” forms of naturalism to both our cognitive interests and to our moral and political and other affective interests. It is a thoroughly anti-metaphysical naturalism rejecting metaphysical realism and physicalism without taking an antirealistor dualist turn. How it is a social naturalism is explained and defended as well as the senses in which it is non-scientistic, historicist, and contextualist. It will alsoseek to make clear what really grips some religiously sensitive people, even people fully attuned to modernity, about religion and then to show how we can live full well and even flourishingly without religion. However, I do not only argue that we can so live, but that we should so live. We should be secularists all the way down.
5. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Charles Taliaferro

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Philosophical assessments of different religious traditions face two substantial objections, among others. According to one, the very nature of religious traditions as embedded forms of life prevents this philosophical undertaking. According to the other, a philosophical inventory is possible but under its guise no religious tradition will be left standing. I reply to both and then comment on whether there is (or can be) an ideal observation post from which to philosophically elucidate and compare different religious beliefs and practices.
6. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
William E. Mann

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In the Prologue to his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, John Duns Scotus considered five arguments for the claim that humans, equipped only with their native intellectual capacities, would be incapable of discovering the truths most important for their salvation. Scotus endorsed three of the arguments,regarding them as ‘more probable’ than the other two. I shall not attempt detailed analyses of the arguments. Rather, my purpose is to embed the arguments in a more general picture of the epistemology of religious belief. In the course of doing that, I shall suggest that Scotus should have taken one of the two less probable arguments more seriously. I shall argue, finally, that Scotus’s position on belief formation is rationally defensible.
7. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Stephen F. Barker

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In “The Will to Believe,” William James affirms that we have some control over what we believe and asks how this control should be exercised. He rejects the evidentialists’ view that we ought to believe only when intellectual grounds make it quite sure that the belief is true. For him, “options” are choices among contrary beliefs. Some options are “living,” “forced,” and “momentous.” James’ thesis concerns belief-options that have these three features and where proof as to the truth is unavailable. He holds that in such cases we have a right to believe, provided believing has better consequences than not believing would. James is correct that sometimes it is permissible to believe without adequate grounds. His view is misleading, though, when he leaves the impression that this is so only where the option is living, forced, momentous, and not settleable by evidence. The right to believe has broader scope than this. Moreover, James’ right to believe presupposes a view of truth at odds with his later pragmatism.
8. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Guy Axtell

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The criteria of “forced, live, and momentous options,” as William James utilized them in his pragmatic defense of religious belief, cannot, I argue, both support religious pluralism and acknowledge lessons about failure of epistemic responsibility in Heaven’s Gate-followers. But I attempt to re-vitalize the pragmatic argument, showing it capable of walking this narrow line. I proceed (1) by developing the distinction and relationship between a commitment to a particular religious system or community, and a commitment to the generic “religious hypothesis” itself; and (2) by explicating and expanding upon the “experimental” status—and associated pragmatic criteria for success or failure—that James already recognized for commitments to particular religious communities. I thus show how the “pragmatic argument” takes on heightened significance—and renewed promise—in light of problems associated with New Age and so-called “cult” religiosity.
9. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
William P. Alston

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In what follows, I discuss the extent to which the epistemology of religious belief differs from the epistemology of other areas of our belief, as well as the extent to which it is similar. There will be important similarities: for example, the standards for the application of terms of epistemic assessment like ‘justified’, ‘warranted’,and ‘rational’. But in this essay, I concentrate on delineating some important differences between religious and non-religious epistemology.
10. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Gary Gutting

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The project of “religious epistemology,” as it has developed and thrived among certain analytic philosophers over the last thirty years, has seldom exhibited a strong historical sensibility. Nonetheless, contemporary discussions of the rationality of religious belief obviously have important antecedents in the history of modern philosophy, particularly in the history of the Enlightenment project that so strongly challenged traditional religious belief. This paper develops two themes from this history that I will try to show are particularly important for understanding contemporary issues about the rationality of religious belief: the affirmation of ordinary life, and the question of radical evil in human nature.
11. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Howard Wettstein

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The problem of theodicy is a philosophical classic. I argue that not only are the classical answers suspect, but that the question itself is problematic. In its classical form, the problem presupposes a conception of divinity—call it “perfect-being theology”—that does not go without saying. Even so, there is a significant gap between what the Western religions tell us about the reign of justice and what we seem to find in the world. I argue that approaches to evil need to maintain focus on this discrepancy. I conclude with some suggestions for the shape of “nonopiate” ways of coming to terms with evil.
12. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Michael P. Levine

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
The shift from the logical to the empirical argument from evil against the existence of God has been seen as a victory by analytic philosophers of religion who now seek to establish that the existence of evil fails to make the existence of God improbable. I examine several arguments in an effort to establish the following: (i) Their victory is pyrrhic. They distort the historical, philosophical and religious nature of the problem of evil. (ii) In attempting to refute the empirical argument they rely on disguised but well-worn strategies. (iii) A refusal to let evil count in any way against the probability of the existence of God indicates that their rejection is ideological and contrary to traditional theism. (iv) Aspects of their arguments are morally repugnant. (v) Their arguments are indicative of a lack of vitality, relevance and “seriousness” in Christian analytic philosophy of religion.
13. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Keith E. Yandell

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Crossculturally, monotheistic traditions view God as occupying the apex of power, knowledge and goodness, and as enjoying independent existence. This conceptual context provides room for maneuvering concerning God’s nature (e.g., does God have logically necessary existence?) and God’s creatures (e.g., do created persons have libertarian freedom?). Logical consistency is always a constraint on such maneuvering. With that constraint in mind, our purpose here is to consider different conceptual maneuvers concerning God, created persons, and freedom (both human and divine) within Christian and Hindu Vedantic monotheism.
14. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Gary Iseminger

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Like most aestheticians today I begin by firmly separating the concept of art from the concept of the aesthetic; unlike them, I conclude by reuniting these concepts in the thesis that the function of art is to promote the aesthetic. I understand the existence of artworks and of artists to be “institutional facts” (though the institution of art is an informal one, not to be confused with formal institutions to which it has given rise, such as museums, academies, etc.), while I take “aesthetic situations,” involving appreciators and objects made, at least in part, to be appreciated, to constitute something approaching a natural kind. Rather than dealing directly with the concept of a function I argue for three theses closely related to the idea that the function of art is aesthetic: that art is better than any other institution at promoting the aesthetic; that art is better at promoting the aesthetic than it is at doing anything else; and that art was intended by its instituters to promote the aesthetic.
15. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Peg Zeglin Brand

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
I investigate the role of feminist theorizing in relation to traditionally-based aesthetics. Feminist artworks have arisen within the context of a patriarchal Artworld dominated for thousands of years by male artists, critics, theorists, and philosophers. I look at the history of that context as it impacts philosophical theorizing by pinpointing the narrow range of the paradigms used in defining “art.” I test the plausibility of Danto’s After the End of Art vision of a post-historical, pluralistic future in which “anything goes,” a future that unfortunately rests upon the same outdated foundation as the concept “art.”
16. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Barry Hallen

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Today the study of African aesthetics constitutes one of the most exciting and dynamic subdisciplines in African and intercultural studies. Yet, because it is also a discipline in which African meanings must of necessity be translated into and expressed by one of the few ‘world’ languages (English, French), it is in the interests of all concerned—Africans and non-Africans—to work together to ensure that the highest possible professional standards are maintained. For it is intercultural dialogue based upon reciprocal language fluency that will best enable researchers to see where Western and African values and beliefs overlap and where they diverge.
17. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Andrew Chignell

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
In moving away from the objective, property-based theories of earlier periods to a subject-based aesthetic, Kant did not intend to give up the idea that judgments of beauty are universalizable. Accordingly, the “Deduction of Judgments of Taste” (KU, §38) aims to show how reflective aesthetic judgments can be “imputed” a priori to all human subjects. The Deduction is not successful: Kant manages only to justify the imputation of the same form of aesthetic experience to everyone; he does not show that this experience will universally occur in response to the same objects. This is what I call Kant’s problem of particularity. After critiquing Anthony Savile’s attempt to overcome this problem by linking Kant’s aesthetics to the theory of rational ideas, I elucidate the concept of (the oft-unnoticed) aesthetic attributes (§49) in a way that suggests a possible resolution to the problem of particularity.
18. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Mark DeBellis

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
Music analysis raises interesting problems for the theory of mental representation and meaning, and poses new challenges for epistemology. When an analysis purports to show the structure an analyst or reader hears a piece as having, what relation must thereby hold between hearing and analysis, and how does the analyst or reader know that it does? A paradox of analysis arises: if an analysis correctly captures the information content of a hearing, then it is bound to be uninformative. The solution is to distinguish different levels of content, where analysis and hearing share content on one level and diverge on another. The question then arises of how an analyst or reader knows that she hears a piece in the way described by an analysis. The nature of this (apparently a priori) knowledge is an important, and heretofore unappreciated, problem for epistemology. Music analysis is, finally, a fertile ground for investigating the age-old problem of the relation between perception and concepts.
19. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
Edith Wyschogrod

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
It is not the purpose of the present paper to chronicle transformations in the recent history of dance but rather to demonstrate that an art in which the materiality of the body and the localizability of space are critical has nevertheless been engaged in a struggle between sign and image. This struggle cannot be understood without attending to the tensions between the visceral and the virtual, between site specific spatiality and cyberspace. Exploring changes in dance, an art not generally discussed in this context, may help to illuminate the conceptual underpinnings of structuralism understood as a theory of signs and the shift to a poststructuralist culture of images.
20. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 4
George Allan

abstract | view |  rights & permissions | cited by
A standard account of creativity is that it is a process in which the form of a thing or event is altered—restructured or reinterpreted—in a way that changes fundamentally that thing’s or event’s meaning, its nature or function, its intrinsic or instrumental value. What is created in this manner, however, is only a variation of the initial form. Such processes are creative in a weak sense; the strong sense requires that the old form be replaced by a quite different one, as in reconstructions or metaphors. But creative substitution is not haphazard, not a matter of insight, genius, luck, or divine assistance. It utilizes the generative rules governing a formal structure to make or discover new forms that are transformations, not variations, of the original form. These procedures are teachable and not mysterious, although the possible transforms of the structure are never predictable.