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1. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 1
Alexander R. Pruss Omnirationality
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God is omnirational: whenever he does anything, he does it for all and only the unexcluded reasons that favor the action, and he always acts for reasons. Thisdoctrine has two unexpected consequences: (a) it gives an account of why it is that unification is a genuine form of scientific explanation, and (b) it answers the question of when the occurrence of E after a petitionary prayer for E is an answer to the prayer.
2. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 1
Peter van Inwagen C. S. Lewis’s Argument Against Naturalism
3. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 1
Nicholas Wolterstorff C. S. Lewis on the Problem of Suffering
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C. S. Lewis’s small book, The Problem of Pain, first published in 1940, is essentially a theodicy, specifically, a version of soul-making theodicy. In this essay I present Lewis’s theodicy and I offer some critical comments. I conclude by asking whether his theodicy remains intact and helpful upon the death of Lewis wife, as he reflects on that in A Grief Observed. I conclude that it does.
4. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 1
Brian Leftow God’s Deontic Perfection
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I offer part of an account of divine moral perfection. I defend the claim that moral perfection is possible, then argue that God has obligations, so that one part of his moral perfection must be perfection in meeting these. I take up objections to divine obligations, then finally offer a definition of divine deontic perfection.
5. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 1
Jonathan L. Kvanvig Theories of Providence and Creation
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Einstein was notoriously confident that God doesn’t play dice with the universe. Perhaps it is a confidence born of a deeper modal presumption: that Godcouldn’t play dice with the universe. If so, such confidence almost certainly disappoints. Even if God doesn’t play dice with the universe, he might. Thus arises the issue here addressed: what implications does this datum have for a proper understanding of divine providence? My interest is in theories that aim to present complete theories of providence, ones that refuse to relegate anything that happens to a domain falling outside the scope of providence. What we can learn about the parts of it that are most promising for a fully satisfying theory of providence, in light of the dice-playing possibility?
6. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 1
Lynne Rudder Baker Updating Anselm Again
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I set out four general facts about things that we can refer to and talk about, whether they exist or not. Then, I set out an argument for the existence of God. Myargument, like Anselm’s original (11th c.) argument, is a reductio ad absurdum: It shows that the assumption that God does not exist leads to a contradiction. Theargument is short and in (almost-)ordinary language. Each line of the argument, other than the reductio premise, is justified by one of the general facts. Finally, I consider some traditional objections to Anselm’s argument, and show how my updated version avoids them.
7. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 1
Paul Draper The Limitations of Pure Skeptical Theism
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Michael Bergmann argues directly from our ignorance about actual and merely possible goods and evils and the broadly logical relations that hold betweenthem to the conclusion that “noseeum” arguments from evil against theism like William L. Rowe’s are unsuccessful. I critically discuss Bergmann’s argument in the first part of this paper. Bergmann also suggests that our ignorance about value and modality undermines the Humean argument from evil against theism that I defended in a 1989 paper. I explain in the second part of this paper why this suggestion is false.
8. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Juan Comesaña Epistemic Pragmatism: An Argument Against Moderation
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By “epistemic pragmatism” in general I will understand the claim that whether propositions instantiate certain key epistemic properties (such as being known orbeing justifiably believed) depends not just on factors traditionally recognized as epistemic, but also on pragmatic factors, such as how costly it would be to the subject if the proposition were false. In what follows I consider two varieties of epistemic pragmatism. According to what I shall call moderate epistemic pragmatism, how much evidence we need in favor of a proposition in order to know that the proposition is true depends on our preferences. According to what I shall call extreme epistemic pragmatism, on the other hand, our preferences influence our epistemic position at a more basic level, because they help determinehow much justification we actually have in favor of the proposition in question. Simplifying brutally, moderate epistemic pragmatism has it that the more worried we are about a proposition’s being false, the more justification we need in order to know it, whereas extreme epistemic pragmatism has it that the more worried we are about a proposition’s being false, the less justification we have for it. Recently, Fantl and McGrath have presented an interesting argument for moderate epistemic pragmatism, an argument which relies on the principle that (roughly) knowledge is sufficient for action (KA). In this paper I argue that KA, together with a plausible principle about second-order evidence, entails extreme epistemic pragmatism.
9. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Matthias Steup Is Epistemic Circularity Bad?
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Is it possible to argue that one’s memory is reliable without using one’s memory? I argue that it is not. Since it is not, it is impossible to defend the reliability ofone’s memory without employing reasoning that is epistemically circular. Hence, if epistemic circularity is vicious, it is impossible to succeed in producing a cogent argument for the reliability of one’s memory. The same applies to any other one of one’s cognitive faculties. I further argue that, if epistemic circularity is vicious, it is impossible to produce a cogent argument for the reliability of anything. For example, if epistemic circularity were vicious, a cogent argument for the reliability of one’s car would not be possible. The seeming viciousness of epistemic circularity even threatens, I propose, the possibility of justification and knowledge. Much, therefore, hangs one the question of whether epistemic circularity is indeed bad. I argue that epistemic circularity, or bootstrapping, need not be bad. When we use a crystal ball—a source perspicuously guilty of unreliability—to confirm its own reliability, bootstrapping is foolish. When we attribute reliability to a witness solely because the witness says he is reliable, bootstrapping is dogmatic. Foolish and dogmatic bootstrapping are bad. However, when a witness provides a rich body of testimony, using that testimony to gauge the witness’s reliability need not be a vicious form of circularity. When done critically, I argue, such reasoning exemplifies a form of bootstrapping that is benign.
10. Res Philosophica: Volume > 90 > Issue: 2
Ted Poston BonJour and the Myth of the Given
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The Sellarsian dilemma is a powerful argument against internalistic foundationalist views that aim to end the regress of reasons in experiential states. LaurenceBonJour once defended the soundness of this dilemma as part of a larger argument for epistemic coherentism. BonJour has now renounced his earlier conclusions about the dilemma and has offered an account of internalistic foundationalism aimed, in part, at showing the errors of his former ways. I contend that BonJour’s early concerns about the Sellarsian dilemma are correct, and that his latest position does not adequately handle the dilemma. I focus my attention on BonJour’s claim that a nonconceptual experiential state can provide a subject with a reason to believe some proposition. It is crucial for the viability of internalistic foundationalism to evaluate whether this claim is true. I argue it is false. The requirement that the states that provide justification give reasons to a subject conflicts with the idea that these states are nonconceptual. In the final section I consider David Chalmers’s attempt to defend a view closely similar to BonJour’s. Chalmers’s useful theory of phenomenal concepts provides a helpful framework for identifying a crucial problem with attempts to end the regress of reasons in pure experiential states.