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101. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Lawrence Cahoone Physicalism, the Natural Sciences, and Naturalism
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The most common definitions of the physical lead to a problem for physicalism. If the physical is the objects of physics, then unique objects of other sciences are not physical and, if the causal closure of the physical is accepted, cannot cause changes in the physical. That means unique objects of chemistry, the Earth sciences, and biology cannot causally affect physical states. But physicalism’s most reliable claim, the nomological dependence of nonphysical entities and properties on the physical, can be accepted by a naturalism that avoids such problems.
102. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
J. Edward Hackett The Lived-Experience of Humanism in Husserl and James
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In this paper, I will argue that the experiential-based approaches of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology and William James’s radical empiricism can help inform an account of humanism more rooted in concrete experience. Specifically, I will outline a form of humanism closely connected to the conceptual similarities between James’s radical empiricism and the general character of Husserl’s phenomenology of experience. Whereas many forms of humanism are underscored by an eliminativist impulse, I sketch a humanism of lived-experience more motivated by the restrictive and experiential impetus closer to pragmatism and phenomenology than humanism defended on metaphysically eliminativist grounds.This paper is organized in the following way. In the first section, I explain the general character of Husserl’s phenomenology and explain the methodological commitments that underscore his concept of experience. In the second section, I outline the conceptual similarities between James’s later radical empiricism and Husserl’s thought. Finally, in the third section, James’s critique of metaphysics and his radical empiricism allow for a limited acceptability of religious interests in experience as well as scientific interests. These interests result from how we experience the world and affirm freedom and individuality of every person’s lived-experience.
103. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Ben Cordry The Argument from Unjust Hiddennesss
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In this article, I argue that if God existed as an absolute, cosmic sovereign, there would be a right to know this, which God would fulfill either by giving people such knowledge or positioning them so that they can achieve it. I then argue that there are many cases of different types in which this right, were it to exist, would be unfulfilled. Therefore, there is no God in this sense. While I focus on the right to know, my argument generalizes that no being or force oversees the world in such a way as to ensure the achievability of spiritual fulfillment.
104. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Richard Brian Davis, W. Paul Franks Layman’s Lapse: On an Incomplete Moral Argument for Theism
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C. Stephen Layman contends that an argument supporting theism over naturalism can be constructed based on three defensible, non–question-begging premises about the moral order. Previous critics of Layman’s argument have challenged the truth of these premises. We stipulate them arguendo but go on to show that there is a deeper problem: a fourth premise introduced to complete the argument—the “completion premise,” as we call it—is true only if we assume that God exists (begging the question about naturalism) or we concede that there is no afterlife (contrary to theism). We close with suggestions for how Layman’s argument must be strengthened to meet with dialectical success.
105. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
John Lemos Hard-heartedness and Libertarianism
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Richard Double argues that (1) libertarians believe we should hold people morally responsible for their actions and we must possess libertarian free will (LFW) to be morally responsible for our actions; (2) most libertarians believe there is scant epistemic justification for the belief that any of us possess LFW; and (3) morally conscientious persons hold people responsible for their actions only if they have epistemic justification for their guilt. Thus, he concludes most libertarians are not being morally conscientious when they hold people responsible for their actions. Double considers a possible pragmatic, moral argument against his position, but in so doing he only considers a consequentialist version of the pragmatic response. I show that there is a plausible nonconsequentialist way of responding to Double’s argument, and I defend it in the article.
106. Philo: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Mark Glouberman ‘O God, O Montreal!’: Secularity and Turbo-Charged Humanism
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In the book A Secular Age, Charles Taylor argues that: (1) modern secularism carries in it more than a trace residue of the explicitly religious way of thinking that it supersedes, and (2) the secular ensemble would not survive if the residue were filtered out. Modern secularism is not, in short, exclusively humanistic. Many who profess exclusive humanism, even perhaps the majority, are therefore—according to Taylor—exclusive humanists in name alone. My position is that Judeo-Christianity, in its teachings about men and women, is humanism. Humanism is what Western religion is all about at its core. This I defend by close examination of Taylor’s argument and by exposing some of the philosophical core of the Bible.
107. Philo: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Steve Petersen A Normative Yet Coherent Naturalism
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Naturalism is normally taken to be an ideology, censuring non-naturalistic alternatives. But as many critics have pointed out, this ideological stance looks internally incoherent, since it is not obviously endorsed by naturalistic methods. Naturalists who have addressed this problem universally foreswear the normative component of naturalism by, in effect, giving up science’s exclusive claim to legitimacy. This option makes naturalism into an empty expression of personal preference that can carry no weight in the philosophical or political spheres. In response to this dilemma, I argue that on a popular (but largely unarticulated) construal of naturalism as a commitment to inference to the best explanation, methodological naturalism can be both normative and internally coherent.
108. Philo: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Lawrence Torcello On the Virtues of Inhospitality: Toward an Ethics of Public Reason and Critical Engagement
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This article seeks to reconceptualize Rawlsian public reason as a critical tool against ideological propaganda. The article proposes that public reason, as a standard for public discourse, must be conceptualized beyond its mandate for comprehensive neutrality to additionally emphasize critique of ideologically driven ignorance and propaganda in the public realm. I connect uncritical hospitality to such ideological propaganda with Harry Frankfurt’s concept of bullshit. This paper proposes that philosophers have a unique moral obligation to engage bullshit critically in the public sphere. The obligation for such critique, I argue, represents philosophy’s essential moral component in a society committed to the protection of free speech and deliberative democracy.
109. Philo: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
CP Ruloff Against Mind-Dependence
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Paul Gould has recently defended Quentin Smith’s conceptualist argument for a single omniscient mind by developing a sub-argument for a crucial premise of Smith’s argument, namely, a premise that asserts that, nec­essarily, for any proposition p, p must be the effect of a mind. In this paper, I argue via reductio that Gould’s argument for this particular premise fails.
110. Philo: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
R. Zachary Manis The Problem of Epistemic Luck for Naturalists
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According to a (once) venerable tradition, our knowledge of the external world is crucially dependent on divine favor: our ability to obtain knowledge of the world around us is made possible by God’s having so ordered things. I argue that this view, despite its unpopularity among con­temporary philosophers, is supported by a certain inference to the best explanation: namely, it provides an effective way of reconciling two widely held beliefs that, on the assumption of naturalism, appear incompatible: (1) that knowledge is incompatible with the kind of luck present in Gettier sce­narios and (2) that arguments for external world skepticism can be effectively rebutted by “shifting” them in the style of G. E. Moore.
111. Philo: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Dan Flores Correlations and Conclusions: Neuroscience and the Belief in God
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Interest in the nature of religious and mystical experiences (henceforth RMEs) is old. Recently, this interest has shifted toward understanding the relationship between brain function and RMEs. In the first section, I introduce neurocognitive data from three experiments that strongly correlate the report of religious mystical experiences with specific neural activity. Although correlations cannot be considered as “absolute” proof, strong correlations provide us with inductive grounds for justifying the belief or nonbelief of some proposition. These data suggest that the human brain plays a key role in having an RME and will provide support for the claim that our explanations for phenomena should be located in the natural world. In the next section, I explore the meaning of an RME from a Jamesian perspective and discuss the use of RMEs and the apparent design of the world as proof for God’s existence. My point is to show that the whole enterprise of using phenomena “that only God could have brought about” as the proof for God’s existence is inherently question begging and so is no proof that God exists. In the third section, I lay out in detail my assumptions for my main argument in the final section. There, I argue that belief in the supernatural is not justifiable given the data we have from contemporary science and basic rules of reasoning.
112. Philo: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Tony Houston Renaissance Humanism: Obscurantist Impieties
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What Neoplatonism and scholasticism did for Plato and Aristotle, Renaissance humanism did for Cicero and Epicurus. Renaissance humanists were critical of efforts to reconcile Plato and Aristotle with Christianity, yet their own efforts to reconcile philosophy with Christianity were hardly faith­ful to the originals. Plato’s idealism was easily appropriated for Neoplatonist dualism. Aristotle’s metaphysics became orthodoxy for the scholastics. The Renaissance humanists transformed Stoic constancy into acquiescence, aca­demic skepticism into learned ignorance, and Epicureanism into an affirma­tion of material pleasure without the philosophical materialism. The further from Plato’s idealism, the more obscurantism was required to reconcile phi­losophy with dualist theology.
113. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Michael Martin Reply to Davis
114. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Jim Lippard Historical but Indistinguishable Differences
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Victor Reppert’s paper (pp. 33-45) supposes that there are objectively indistinguishable properties between possible worlds that resultin the property of intentionality existing in one world but not in another objectively indistinguishable world, differing only in their histories. It is also a supposition of Reppert’s paper that proposed ensembles of purely natural properties that lead to the emergence of intentionality fail to do so, but instead only have referential power on the basis of imputed or projected intentionality from human beings. This brief essay examines this supposition and consequence and attempts to provoke more detailed examination of the underlying issues.
115. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Stephen T. Davis Is Belief in the Resurrection Rational?: A Response to Michael Martin
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This essay is a response to Michael Martin’s “Why the Resurrection Is Initially Improbable,” Philo, Vol. 1, No.1. I argue that Martin has not succeeded in achieving his aim of showing that the Resurrection is initially improbable and thus, by Bayes’s Theorem, implausible. I respond to five of Martin’s arguments: (1) the “particular time and place argument”; (2) the claim that there is no plausible Christian theory of why Jesus should have been incarnated and resurrected; (3) the claim that the Resurrection accounts in the New Testament are unreliable; (4) Martin’s assumptions about how one establishes the initial probability of Resurrection; and (5) the use Martin makes of Bayes’s Theorem to discredit belief in the Resurrection.
116. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Wes Morriston Must the Past Have a Beginning?
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In defense of his claim that the universe must have been created, William Lane Craig gives two distinct philosophical arguments against the possibility of an infinite past. The first appeals to various paradoxes allegedly generated by the idea of an actual infinite. The second appeals to a dynamic theory of the nature of time, and tries to show on that basis that an infinite series of events could not have been “formed by successive addition.” The present paper is concerned with the second of these two arguments. I try to show that it cannot stand on its own independently of the first argument, that Craig does not succeed in defending it against standard objections, and that even those who are inclined to accept a dynamic theory of time should not be convinced by what Craig says in its defense.
117. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
E. M. Fales Are the Gods Apolitical?
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The increasingly strident debate in the United States over the role of religion in public policy raises the general questions whether the United States is a liberal democracy and whether it should be; but also the theoretical question---addressed here---whether it is legitimate for citizens in a liberal democracy to offer religious convictions as grounds for policy. The historically most prominent reason given for the exclusion of religious grounds is that the injection of religion into policy is divisive and potentially destructive of certain rights. I argue another reason, which has been overlooked, is that religious traditions and movements are fundamentally political enterprises that, in effect, introduce foreign agents when permitted institutional participation in domestic politics.
118. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Victor Reppert The Argument from Reason
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In this paper I argue that the existence of human reason gives us good reason to suppose that God exists. If the world were as the materialist supposes it is, then we would not be able to reason to the conclusion that this is so. This contention is often challenged by the claim that mental and physical explanations can be given for the same event. But a close examination of the question of explanatory compatibility reveals that the sort of explanation that would have to be given for the event of, say, inferring that atheism is true, is incompatible with the event being explicable as a purely physical product of a purely physical universe.
119. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
Paul Edwards Richard Swinburne’s Arguments
120. Philo: Volume > 2 > Issue: 2
R. Harwood Dying for It
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The claim that the Resurrection of Jesus is historical fact is often justified on the basis that the disciples died for the belief. I analyze the argument, and show that three key premises cannot be accepted. The first is the claim that the disciples died for their beliefs. I give a detailed analysis of what is involved in dying for a belief in this context, and show that we have no assurance that the disciples died for their beliefs in that sense at all. The second is that the disciples could not have been sincerely mistaken, and the third is that the beliefs of the disciples were those attributed to them by apologists. I suggest that neither of these premises can be established with any certainty.