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1. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Theodore M. Drange Nonbelief vs. Lack of Evidence: Two Atheologlcal Arguments
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Here are two atheological arguments, called the “Lack-of-evidence Argument” (LEA) and “the Argument from Nonbelief” (ANB). LEA: Probably, if God were to exist then there would be good objective evidence for that. But there is no good objective evidence for God’s existence. Therefore, probably God does not exist. ANB: Probably, if God were to exist then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world. But there are many nonbelievers in the world. Therefore, probably God does not exist. Reasons are given for saving that although LEA is not totally implausible, ANB is a stronger atheological argument than it is.
2. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Adolf Grünbaum Theological Misinterpretations of Current Physical Cosmology
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In earlier writings, I argued that neither of the two major physical cosmologies of the twentieth century support divine creation, so that atheism has nothing to fear from the explanations required by these cosmologies. Yet theists ranging from Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, and Leibniz to Richard Swinburne and Philip Quinn have maintained that, at every instant anew, the existence of the world requires divine creation ex nihilo as its cause. Indeed, according to some such theists, for any given moment t, God’s volition thatthe-world-should-exist-at-t supposedly brings about its actual existence at t.In an effort to establish the current viability of this doctrine of perpetual divine conservation. Philip Quinn I argued that it is entirely compatible with physical energy-conservation in the Big Rang cosmology, as well as with the physics of the steady-state theories.But I now contend that instead, there is a logical incompatibility on both counts. Resides, the stated tenet of divine conservation has an additional defect: It speciously purchases plausibility by trading on the multiply disanalogous volitional explanations of human actions.
3. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Michael Martin Why the Resurrection is Initially Improbable
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A strong case can be made that the initial probability of the Resurrection is very low even if one accepts the existence of a theistic God. Even sophisticated theists who maintain that God performs miracles believe that these are rare initially improbable events. Consequently, strong evidence is needed to overcome this initial improbability. In the case of the Resurrection there is no plausible theory why this event should have occurred; moreover, even if there is, it is unlikely that it would have happened at the particular time and place it did.
4. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Theodore Schick Jr. The ‘Big Bang’ Argument for the Existence of God
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Some believe that evidence for the big bang is evidence for the existence of god. Who else, they ask, could have caused such a thing? In this paper, I evaluate the big bang argument, compare it with the traditional first-cause argument, and consider the relative plausibility of various natural explanations of the big bang.
5. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Kai Nielsen Naturalism and Religion: Must Naturalistic Explanations Explain Religion Away?
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There are, it is argued, conceptually and empirically adequate naturalistic explanations of religion that explain religion without explaining it away and without leaving out anything needed fully to comprehend religious phenomena. Moreover, naturalistic explanations arc sometimes also critiques of religion. This article concerns itself with a subspecies of such explanations through articulating and defending some naturalistic criticisms of the truth-claims of religion. The rationale is displayed for naturalistic thinkers going from truth-claim analyses to functional analyses and the central naturalistic explanations of the roles and functions of religion are distinguished and related. It is shown how these analyses dovetail and, particularly when supplemented by an error-theory of religious belief, constitute a comprehensive and adequate explanation of religion.
6. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Quentin Smith Why Stephen Hawking’s Cosmology Precludes a Creator
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Atheists have tacitly conceded the field to theists in the area of philosophical cosmology, specifically, in the enterprise of explaining why the universe exists. The theistic hypothesis is that the reason the universe exists lies in God’s creative choice, but atheists have not proposed any reason why the universe exists. I argue that quantum cosmology proposes such an atheistic reason, namely, that the universe exists because it has an unconditional probability of existing based on a functional law of nature. This law of nature (“the wave function of the universe”) is inconsistent with theism and implies that God does not exist. I criticize the claims of Alston, Craig, Deltete and Guy, Oppy and Plantinga that theism is consistent with quantum cosmology.
7. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Richard M. Gale R. M. Adams’s Theodicy of Grace
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R. M. Adams’s essay, “Must God Create the Best?” can be interpreted as offering a theodicy for God’s creating morally less perfect beings than he could have created. By creating these morally less perfect beings, God is bestowing grace upon them, which is an unmerited or undeserved benefit. He does so, however, in advance of the free moral misdeeds that render them undeserving. This requires that God have middle knowledge, pace Adams’s version of the Free Will Theodicy, of what would result from his actualization of possible free persons. It is argued that God’s possession of such middle knowledge negates the freedom of created beings, since God completely determines every action of every created person. And since they are not free, they cannot qualify as morally unmeritorious or undeserving. And, with that, Adams’s theodicy of grace-in-advance collapses.
8. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Paul Kurtz First Things First: Toward a Minimal Definition of Humanism
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We need to clarify “humanist” and “humanism,” terms that have been open to considerable philosophical definition-mongering. I wish to propose a minimal core definition. Although this is normative, it is continuous with common usage. First, humanism expresses a set of values and virtues. emphasizing human freedom and autonomy. This ethical theory contrasts with divine-command ethics. Second, humanism, particularly secular humanism, rejects supernaturalism. Humanism should not be simply equated with atheism; however. it proposes a reflective form of agnostic or skeptical atheism. Third, secular humanism is committed to a key epistemological principle: amethod of inquiry that emphasizes reason and scientific objectivity. Fourth, it has a nonreductive naturalistic ontology drawn from the sciences. Last, humanist philosophers should not only be concerned with theoretical issues, but with the role of humanism in practical life as an alternative to theistic religion.
9. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Timothy J. Madigan Legor et Legar: Schopenhauer’s Atheistic Morality
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Friedrich Nietzsche referred to Arthur Schopenhauer as the first inexorable atheist among German philosophers. Yet Schopenhauer’s philosophy---in particular his discussion of “compassion” as the basis of morality---can serve as a starting point for dialogue among Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and atheistic humanists, all of whom need to address what Raimundo Panikkar calls “The Silence of God.”
10. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Isaac Nevo Reflective Equilibrium and the Contemplative Ideal of Knowledge
11. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Theodore M. Drange Incompatible-Properties Arguments: A Survey
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Ten arguments for the nonexistence of God are formulated and discussed briefly. Each of them ascribes to God a pair of properties from the following list of divine attributes: (a) perfect, (b) immutable, (c) transcendent, (d) nonphysical, (e) omniscient, (f) omnipresent, (g) personal, (h) free, (i) all-loving, (j) all-just, (k) all-merciful, and (1) the creator of the universe. Each argument aims to demonstrate an incompatibility between the two properties ascribed. The pairs considered are: 1. (a-1), 2. (b-1), 3. (b-e), 4. (b-i), 5, (c-f), 6. (c-g), 7. (d-g), 8. (f-g), 9. (e-h), and 10. (j-k). Along the way, several other possible pairs are also mentioned and commented upon.
12. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Kai Nielsen On Being a Secularist All the Way Down
13. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Graham Oppy Atheism: A Retrospective
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This paper provides a detailed examination of Michael Martin’s Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1990). I argue that Martin’s project in this book is seriously damaged by his neglect of high-level theoretical considerations about rationality, justification, and argumentation. Furthermore, I suggest that this failing is endemic to recent discussions of arguments about the existence of God: there is no prospect of making progress in this area unless much more attention is paid to high-level theoretical questions about the connections between rationality, justification, and argumentation.
14. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Graham Oppy Maydole’s Modal Perfection Argument (Again)
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In “On Oppy’s Objections to the Modal Perfection Argument,” Philo 8, 2, 2005, 123–30, Robert Maydole argues that his modal perfection argument—set out in his “The Modal Perfection Argument for a Supreme Being,” Philo 6, 2, 2003, 299–313—“remains arguably sound” in the face of the criticisms that I made of this argument in my “Maydole’s 2QS5 Argument,” Philo 7, 2, 2004, 203–11. I reply that Maydole is wrong: his argument is fatally flawed, and his attempts to avoid the criticisms that I have made of his argument are to no avail.
15. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michael Almeida Martin on Miracles
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Michael Martin introduces a non-Humean conception of miracles according to which miracles are events that need not violate a law of nature and are brought about by the exercise of a possibly non-theistic, supernatural power. Call those m-miracles. I consider Martin’s argument that the occurrence of an m-miracle would not confirm the existence of God. Martin presents an interesting argument, but it does not establish that m-miracles would not confirm the existence God. I argue that, on the contrary, it is quite reasonable to conclude that Martin’s m-miracles provide at least some confirmation for the hypothesis that God exists.
16. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Quentin Smith Can the New Tenseless Theory of Time Be Saved by Individual Essences?
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I will begin by conceding that some of Beer’s arguments are sound (mostly on pages before the last page), and observe that Beer’s theory that “now” ascribes an individual essence to a time on each occasion of its tokening is a novel theory that seems fruitful and is worthy of being pursued and of being developed to deal with the criticisms in the following points.
17. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michelle Beer On the Individual Essences of Moments of Time
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In “Can the New Tenseless Theory of Time be Saved by Individual Essences?” Smith objects to the co-reporting theory on the groundsthat, since it grants that every time “now” is tokened it expresses a unique individual essence of that time which can be apprehended only at that time, the co-reporting theory is consistent with an A-theory of time that holds that each moment of time acquires its own particular property of presentness. I argue that Smith’s conclusion does not follow, since moments of time have world-indexed properties which, though distinct from the individual essences ascribed to them by the use of “now,” are expressible by the use ofdate-expressions.
18. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Kenneth G. Ferguson Biological Function and Normativity
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Ruth Millikan and others adopt a normative definition of biological functions that is heavily used in areas such as Millikan’s teleosemantics, and also for emerging efforts to naturalize other areas of philosophy. I propose an experiment called the Lapse Test to determine exactly what form of normativity, if any, truly applies to biological functions. Millikan has not gone far enough in playing down as “impersonal” or “quasi” the precise mode of normativity that she attributes to biological functions. Further, her mode fails to qualify as genuine normativity at all, lacking an essential feature: some lapse of responsibility on the part of any entity or system that is charged with failing to do as it is “supposed.” Nor, as we will see, is there anything in English idioms used to describe biological functions that can provide a persuasive argument to rehabilitate Millikan’s normative definition.
19. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Gianluca Di Muzio Epicurus’ Emergent Atomism
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The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus regarded his atomism as a cure for the fear of natural phenomena. An atomistic philosophy, however, can easily lead to determinism and epiphenomenalism, which threaten human happiness even more than the fear of nature. The present paper attempts to reconstruct Epicurus’ strategy for dealing with the unwanted consequences of his atomism. The author argues that Epicurus employed a form of emergentism about properties to show that freedom exists and mental states are not causally inert epiphenomena.
20. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Michelle Beer A Defense of the Co-Reporting Theory of Tensed and Tenseless Essences
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The co-reporting theory holds that for every A-sentence-token there is a B-sentence that differs in sense but reports the same event orstate of affairs. Thus, if it is now t7, what is reported by now tokening “It is t7 now” is identical with what is reported by tokening “It is t7 at t7.” Quentin Smith has argued that the fact that the sentence-tokens differ in sense but are co-reporting is compatible with the A-theory supposition that their difference in sense consists in the fact that the A-sentence-token alone conveys the information that t7 has an irreducible A-property of presentness. I counter argue that every time the indexical “now” is tokened it expresses, not an irreducible A-property, but a unique individual essence of a moment of time which can be apprehended only at that time.