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1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Joshua R. Farris Souls, Emergent and Created: Why Mere Emergent Dualism Is Insufficient
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With the challenges from science, there has been a shift away from traditional or classical versions of substance dualism (most notably Thomism and Cartesianism come to mind) toward emergentist accounts of the mind. Of particular importance for those still inclined to make some distinction between the mind and brain, emergent substance dualism provides an attractive option. However, it promises more than it can deliver. In the present article, I show that a version of emergent substance dualism, where the brain produces a soul (what I call mere emergent substance dualism), lacks the resources to account for the particularity of the soul. I show that, if, in fact, souls (in this case human souls) have primitive thisness, then physical laws could not produce these souls. That being the case, I show how creationism and emergent substance dualism, rather than being disjunctive options, are compatible. In the end, what I call emergent-creationism or creationist-emergentism provides an attractive theory of the origin of souls.
2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
William Hasker Emergent Dualism and Emergent Creationism: A Response to Joshua Farris
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Joshua Farris offers “emergent creationism” as an alternative to emergent dualism. It is argued that emergent creationism cannot deliver some of the advantages claimed for it, and that Farris’s objections to emergent dualism are not compelling.
3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Stephen E. Parrish Defending Theistic Conceptualism
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There has been much discussion of the relationship between God and abstract objects. Three positions taken by theists are Absolute Creationism, Theistic Conceptualism, and Antirealism. I argue that Theistic Conceptualism combined with Perfect Being theology can avoid common criticisms, and that it renders the created abstract objects of Absolute Creationism unnecessary. I also hold that Antirealism is quite close to Theistic Conceptualism, and that Antirealism when combined with God as an omniscient being ends up being almost indistinguishable from it.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Christopher Woznicki Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Account of Petitionary Prayer: A Reformation Alternative to Contemporary Two-Way Contingency Accounts
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Many contemporary philosophical accounts of petitionary prayer assume that petitionary prayer attempts to persuade God to act by giving God reasons to do that which God would otherwise not have done had the prayer not been offered. Alternatively, this essay suggests there is an account of what petitionary prayer accomplishes that has largely been left underexplored in contemporary philosophical literature: the Secondary-Causal Account. I suggest that the work of the Italian Reformer, Peter Martyr Vermigli, is a helpful resource for developing this alternative which is faithful to Scripture, meets confessional requirements, and can meet common intuitions about prayer.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
John C. Wingard, Jr. God and Possible Worlds: A Reformed Exploration
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In this essay I consider how God is related to possible worlds from a classically evangelical and Reformed perspective, contending that God’s essential perfections determine what is genuinely possible. I then consider briefly three views that take God to be a significant delimiter of possible worlds and offer some defense of one of those views, the view that there are many genuinely possible worlds that are equally and unsurpassably good and that God might have chosen to actualize. I conclude by noting two significant implications of my position, one epistemological and the other concerning the problem of evil.
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Daniel A. Bonevac Pauline Arguments for God’s Existence
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In Acts 17, Paul offers general framework for demonstrating the existence of God—a supernatural being, a creator, designer, and ultimate purpose of the universe, who cannot be identified with anything natural but instead underlies and explains the natural world as a whole. What Paul says, combined with unstated theses about causation and explanation that his Stoic and Epicurean audience would have shared, adds up to a powerful argument for God’s existence. Cosmological and design arguments emerge as special cases.
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Stephen T. Davis “Nobody Has the Right to Tell Me What to Believe or Do”: The Illusion of Human Autonomy
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The word “autonomy” has many uses in contemporary philosophy and culture, some of them helpful. But Joel Feinberg says, “I am autonomous if I rule me, and no one else rules I.” Certain philosophers (among them, James Rachels) turn this sort of sentiment into an argument against religion. A principle of obedience to God—so they say—violates one’s personal autonomy. In the present paper, I reply to such arguments and try to sort out what is acceptable and what is unacceptable about autonomy.
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Chad Bogosian, Paul Copan The Epistemology of Religious Disagreement: An Introduction
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Our introduction to the special topics forum provides a brief explanation of terms central to the general epistemology of disagreement literature that has developed over the past fifteen years. We then provide an overview of each contributor’s paper with an eye toward how each one relates to and extends the discussion about the epistemology of disagreement. Papers are arranged in an effort to draw readers into the discussion as follows: applying different general theories about disagreement to religious disagreement in particular, analyzing core principles related to disagreement, and then on to specific everyday issues related to navigating religious disagreements such as conversion and tolerance. Of special interest is the possibility of prospects for reasonable religious disagreement or lack thereof.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
John Warwick Montgomery God and Gödel
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One of the perennial defenses of God’s existence is the ontological argument, associated particularly with St. Anselm. Ontological arguments are generally discounted in today’s philosophical circles, but a remarkably sophisticated version was developed by the preeminent mathematical logician Kurt Gödel. This short paper evaluates the major objection to ontological proofs and finds Gödel’s formulation convincing.
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Chad Bogosian Rowe’s Friendly Atheism and the Epistemology of Religious Disagreement
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In this paper, I engage William Rowe’s “Friendly Atheism” to illuminate the discussion of religious disagreement. I argue that his view gives way to an epistemic principle about how two “intellectual peers” might remain steadfast in what they believe their total available evidence supports and thereby reasonably disagree about their religious beliefs (or lack thereof ). I consider a key objection from Uniqueness thesis proponents and show how there are additional epistemic considerations to help fix the proposed problem.
11. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Jon Matheson Religious Disagreement and Divine Hiddenness
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In this paper, I develop and respond to a novel objection to conciliatory views of disagreement. Having first explained conciliationism and the problem of divine hiddenness, I develop an objection that conciliationism exacerbates the problem of divine hiddenness. According to this objection, conciliationism increases God’s hiddenness in both its scope and severity, and is thus incompatible with God’s existence (or at least make God’s existence quite improbable). I respond to this objection by showing that the problem of divine hiddenness is not made any worse by conciliationism.
12. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
John M. DePoe Hold on Loosely, But Don’t Let Go: Evaluating the Evidential Impact of Religious Disagreement
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The problem of peer disagreement represents a growing challenge to justified religious belief. After surveying the state of the dialectic of the problem, I explore three ways for religious believers to remain steadfast in light of religious disagreement. The first two ways focus on the believer’s basing his religious beliefs on a direct awareness of the truth or evidence of his beliefs. The third way considers the virtue of faith as a means for resisting peer disagreement.
13. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Thomas D. Senor The Uniqueness Argument and Religious Rationality Pluralism
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In this paper, I offer a defense of what I dub “religious rationality pluralism”—that is, that people of various religions can be rational in holding a variety of religious perspectives. I distinguish two arguments against this position: the Uniqueness argument and the Disagreement argument. The aims of this essay are to argue (i) that the Uniqueness thesis is ambiguous between two readings, (ii) that while one version of the thesis is quite plausible, it cannot be successfully used to argue against rationality pluralism, and (iii) the version of the thesis that would support the argument is false.
14. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Helen De Cruz Religious Conversion, Transformative Experience, and Disagreement
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Religious conversion gives rise to disagreement with one’s former self and with family and friends. Because religious conversion is personally and epistemically transformative, it is difficult to judge whether a former epistemic peer is still one’s epistemic peer post-conversion, just like it is hard for the convert to assess whether she is now in a better epistemic position than prior to her conversion. Through Augustine’s De Utilitate Credendi (The Usefulness of Belief) I show that reasoned argument should play a crucial role in assessing the evidential value of religious conversions, both for the person who converts and for her (former) peers.
15. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Robert Audi Religious Disagreement: Structure, Content, and Prospects for Resolution
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Religious disagreement is pervasive in contemporary life, both internationally and inside pluralistic societies. Understanding it requires understanding both what constitutes a religion and what constitutes genuine disagreement. To resolve religious disagreements, we need principles for rationally approaching them and standards for law-making that are fair to all citizens. This paper considers what sorts of evidences parties to a religious disagreement should present if they hope for resolution or at least mutual tolerance. The paper suggests some common ground as a basis for communication and partial agreement on issues likely to divide the religious. It concludes with some ethical principles intended to help those who seek peaceful resolution of religious disagreements in the framework of pluralistic democracy.
16. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Bryan Frances The Epistemology of Real-World Religious Disagreement without Peers
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When you learn that a large body of highly intelligent, fair-minded, reasonable, and relatively unbiased thinkers disagree with you, does that give you good reason to think you’re wrong? Should you think, “Wait a minute. Maybe I’ve missed something here”? Should you at least drastically reduce your confidence? There is a general epistemological problem here regarding controversial beliefs, one that has nothing especially to do with religious belief. I argue that applying this discussion to religion transforms the problem in unexpected and interesting ways, and that the religious believer is often epistemically reasonable in sticking with her controversial belief.
17. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
18. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Angus Menuge Knowledge of Abstracta: A Challenge to Materialism
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I argue that materialism is unable to account for knowledge deriving from such abstracta as rules of inference, algorithms, and the ideals of infinity, perfection, and eternity. Both reductive and nonreductive materialism subscribe to the causal closure of the physical world, which implies that a creature’s concepts derive exclusively from the interactions of brains with the physical environment. These resources do not explain the acquisition of abstract concepts or the successful use of these concepts in gaining important knowledge about the world. By contrast, if both God and souls exist, we can understand how knowledge based on abstracta is possible.
19. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Travis Dumsday Spatial Extension as a Necessary Condition for Being a Physical Object and Why It Matters for Philosophy of Religion
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What is it for an object to be a physical object? Here I provisionally take up the idea that spatial extension is at least a necessary condition for being a physical object, whether or not it is also sufficient. I then argue for the following conditional proposition: if spatial extension is a necessary condition for being a physical object, then metaphysical naturalism is false. Given that all religious systems affirm the falsity of metaphysical naturalism, this conditional carries obvious significance for philosophy of religion. And if it holds, two possible consequences ensue: for those committed to the idea that spatial extension is a necessary condition for being a physical object, a new disproof of metaphysical naturalism results. By contrast, for those committed to metaphysical naturalism, a new disproof of any extension-based account of the physical results. Either way, we obtain a significant conclusion.
20. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
John R. Gilhooly Angelology and Nonreductive Dualism
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The traditional distinction between the angelic and human nature rests on the corpo­reality of the human nature. In light of this fact, I compare a paradigm case of pure substance dualism (PSD) and a paradigm case of compound substance dualism (CSD) to the standards of angelology. I argue that CSD provides an intuitive ground for the traditional distinction, whereas PSD fails to distinguish between angels and humans. Given these paradigm cases, angelology gives us a theological reason to prefer some version of CSD to PSD.