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181. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Zbigniew Jan Marczuk Dennett’s Account of Mind versus Kim’s Supervenience Argument
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This paper challenges Daniel Dennett’s attempt to reconcile the performance of mind and brain within a physicalist framework with Jaegwon Kim’s argument that a coherent physicalist framework entails the epiphenomenalism of mental events. Dennett offers a materialist explanation of consciousness and arguesthat his model of mind does not imply reductive physicalism. I argue that Dennett’s explanation of mind clashes with Jaegwon Kim’s mind-body supervenienceargument. Kim contends that non-reductive physicalism either voids the causal powers of mental properties, or it violates physicalist framework. I concludethat Dennett’s account of mind does not escape or overcome Kim’s mind/body supervenience problem. If Kim’s argument does not prove Dennett’s explanationof mind to be either a form of reductive materialism, or a logically inconsistent view, it is due to the ambiguity of concepts involved in Dennett’s theory.
182. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Leslie Armour Morality and The Three-fold Existence of God
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Arguments about the existence of a being who is infinite and perfect involve claims about a being who must appear in all the orders and dimensions of reality.Anything else implies finitude. Ideas about goodness seem inseparable from arguments about the existence of God and Kant’s claim that such arguments ultimately belong to moral theology seems plausible. The claim that we can rely on the postulates of pure practical reason is stronger than many suppose. But one must show that a being who is infinite and perfect is even possible, and any such being must be present in the physical world as well as in what Pascal called the orders of the intellect and morality (which he called the order of charity). Indeed, locating God in the various orders without creating conflicts is problematic. Such arguments are necessarily difficult and sometimes self-defeating but I argue in this paper that there is a promising path.
183. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Yann Schmitt Hume on Miracles: The Issue of Question—Begging
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Hume’s chapter “Of Miracles” has been widely discussed, and one issue is that Hume seems to simply beg the question. Hume has a strong but implicit naturalist bias when he argues against the existence of reliable testimony for miracles. In this article, I explain that Hume begs the question, despite what he says about the possibility of miracles occurring. The main point is that he never describes a violation of the laws of nature that could not be explained by scientific theories.
184. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Mark McLeod-Harrison Relaxed Naturalism and Caring About the Truth
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Can our caring about truth be rooted in “relaxed” naturalism? I argue that it cannot. In order to care about truth we need the universe to be capable of providingnon-adventitious good, which relaxed naturalism cannot do. I use Michael Lynch’s work as a springboard to showing this claim.
185. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Hans Goller Mortal Body, Immortal Mind: Does the Brain Really Produce Consciousness?
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Neuroscientists keep telling us that the brain produces consciousness and consciousness does not survive brain death because it ceases when brain activityceases. Research findings on near-death-experiences during cardiac arrest contradict this widely held conviction. They raise perplexing questions with regardto our current understanding of the relationship between consciousness and brain functions. Reports on veridical perceptions during out-of-body experiences suggest that consciousness may be experienced independently of a functioning brain and that self-consciousness may continue even after the termination of brain activity. Data on studies of near-death-experiences could be an incentive to develop alternative theories of the body-mind relation as seen in contemporary neuroscience.
186. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Anna Tomaszewska McDowell and Perceptual Reasons
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John McDowell claims that perception provides reasons for empirical beliefs. Perceptual reasons, according to the author of Mind and World, can be identifiedwith passively “taken in” facts. Concepts figure in the acts of acquiring perceptual reasons, even though the acts themselves do not consist in judgments. Thus,on my reading, McDowell’s account of the acquisition of reasons can be likened to Descartes’ account of the acquisition of ideas, rather than to Kant’s theory ofjudgment as an act by means of which one’s cognition comes to be endowed with objective validity. However, unlike Descartes, McDowell does not acknowledgethe skeptical challenge which his conception of the acquisition of reasons might face. He contends that perception is factive without arguing for the backgroundassumption (about a “perfect match” between mind and world) on which it rests. Hence, as I suggest in my article, the McDowellian claim that perception provides reasons for empirical beliefs is not sufficiently warranted.
187. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Tadeusz Grzesik Faith and Conscience—The Surest of Arguments for the Existence of God
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In the first part of my paper, I shall consider how Anselm of Canterbury’s so-called ontological argument has been misapprehended by those treating it as a proof for the existence of God. In the second part, I shall focus on Chapter One of the Proslogion and on the Epistola de incarnatione Verbi to show what Anselm’s real purpose was regarding the problem of the existence of God. I shall support my view by referring also to the thought of John Henry Newman and Henri de Lubac.
188. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Anna Zhyrkova The Philosophical Originality of a Theologian: The Case of a Patristic Author Forgotten and Overlooked by History
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This paper explores possible reasons for the comparatively low estimation of the potential philosophical significance of Byzantine theological thought, which, in contemporary studies, is frequently viewed as lacking philosophical depth and originality. The ultimate question here, though, is whether we should grant that theology may, in fact, contain original and valuable philosophy. In order to subject the issues involved to scrutiny, I undertake an analysis of the important case of the legacy of John of Damascus, which, in my opinion, actually furnishes some answers to these questions.
189. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Daniel Gustafsson The Beauty of Christian Art
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This paper deals with beauty as we encounter it in Christian works of art. Three main points are argued: (i) beauty, as it appears in the Christian work of art, is an invitation to delight and gratitude; (ii) beauty, as we encounter it in the Christian work of art, asks of us both the deepening of discernment and the cultivation of desire; (iii) beauty, as it is manifested in the Christian work of art, is not created by the artist but is bestowed as a gift of God. Firstly, beauty must be recognised as giving delight. In defending this claim, the paper argues against theories which identify beauty with pleasure, and which devalue or dismiss beauty based on this false identification. Further, beauty does not only give, but also—as a gift—makes a claim upon us. Gratitude is the appropriate response to beauty’s gift. Secondly, beauty as manifested in beautiful particulars embedded in the material and cultural world requires discernment. Moreover, we must embody a real receptiveness to beauty—by becoming beautiful ourselves—through the cultivation of desire. A full response to beauty entails the reorientation of our vision as well as our volition towards the infinite beauty of God. Thirdly, though beauty is manifestly present in made-made objects, it is so as a gift of God. This understanding is supported by emphasising the Trinitarian nature of beauty. It is proposed that beauty is best identified not with the Son but with the Holy Spirit.
190. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Martin Lembke Grim, Omniscience, and Cantor’s Theorem
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Although recent evidence is somewhat ambiguous, if not confusing, Patrick Grim still seems to believe that his Cantorian argument against omniscienceis sound. According to this argument, it follows by Cantor’s power set theorem that there can be no set of all truths. Hence, assuming that omniscience presupposes precisely such a set, there can be no omniscient being. Reconsidering this argument, however, guided in particular by Alvin Plantinga’s critique thereof, I find it far from convincing. Not only does it have an enormously untoward side effect, but it is self-referentially incoherent as well.
191. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Francis Jonbäck How to Be a Friendly Skeptical Theist
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In this paper Skeptical Theism is described, applied and defended. Furthermore, William Rowe’s position of Friendly Atheism is described and a version of Friendly Theism suggested. It is shown that Skeptical Theism can be defended against two common arguments and that skeptical theists might be able to adopt the position of Friendly Theism.
192. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Dale Jacquette Faith as a Mustard Seed
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This investigation of the concept of faith is divided into two parts. Part One evaluates a topical philosophical interpretation of faith as irreducibly disjunctive, collecting the best fragmented ideas as to what constitutes faith in a recent family resemblance exposition as an objective for an adequate essentialist analysis of the concept of faith to achieve. Part Two offers a more extended essentialist analysis of the concept of faith as unconditional patience in the eventuality of a positive future state, and a detailed reduction of six supposedly disparate family resemblance senses of faith to this single definition. Criteria for a satisfactoryanalysis of faithfulness are considered and defended. In contrast with what has become a standard doxastic-epistemic interpretation of faith as persistent unjustified or even unjustifiable belief, a concept of faith is advanced that appears to satisfy the necessary and sufficient criteria identified. Systematic comparisonwith a variety of usages of the word “faith” suggests that the analysis agrees with many and arguably most applications of this sometimes loosely understood term.Implications of the analysis of the concept of faith are considered and defended against anticipated objections. Pascal’s wager is critically examined in relationto matters of religious faith, along with positivist meaningfulness requirements that seem to conflict especially with epistemically ungrounded belief, the powerof faith, and the metaphorical size of mustard seeds. The inquiry concludes with a synthesis of five aspects of six supposedly distinct senses of faith under the single essentialist reductive umbrella of unconditional patience in the eventuality of a positive future state.
193. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Georgios Patios Kierkegaard’s Construction of the Human Self
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The purpose of this article is to analyze Kierkegaard’s philosophical views concerning the problem of the nature of the human self. With the help of aclose examination of Kierkegaard’s texts the Concept of Anxiety and the Sickness unto Death, we argue that Kierkegaard “constructs” the human self in a specificway. this way reveals, through the examination by Kierkegaard of “anxiety” and “despair,” three main characteristics of the human self: a) the self is a dynamicprocess, always “becoming” in time through free will and freedom of choice, b) the human self is always a historical self, so that history is then a direct product of“becoming a self,” and c) the human self, in order to be “whole,” must freely ground itself in a transcendental being (God).
194. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
James A. Harold Distinguishing the Lover of Peace from the Pacifist, the Appeaser, and the Warmonger
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How is one to distinguish a true lover of peace from a mere appeaser, a pacifist, and a warmonger? Distinguishing them can be sometimes confusing,as they will often appropriate each other’s language. The criterion for the above distinction does not only lie in outward behavior, as knowledge of inward attitudesis also required. A right understanding of these attitudes and motivations involve at least an implicit grasp of the true nature of peace, which is investigated as something more than the mere absence of war, insofar as peace is primarily a work of two moral virtues: justice and charity. It is in the spirit of justice and charity that the true lover of peace must then distinguish—both in one’s own life and with nations—between what can be ignored and / or forgiven, and what must be redressed. Furthermore, the distinction between the lover of peace and the pacifist, with the possibility of pacifism being a distinct tradition from just war philosophy, is investigated. The argument is made that pacifism should not be considered outside the context of just war because one needs that context toaddress if and who demands restitution.
195. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Igor Gasparov Substance Dualism and the Unity of Consciousness
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In this paper I would like to defend three interconnected claims. The first stems from the fact that the definition of substance dualism recently proposed by Dean Zimmerman needs some essential adjustments in order to capture the genuine spirit of the doctrine. In this paper I will formulate the conditions for genuine substance dualism, as distinct from quasi-dualisms, and provide a definition for genuine substance dualism that I consider more appropriate than Zimmerman’s.The second is that none of the currently proposed forms of substance dualism are able to provide a satisfactory account of conscious subjectivity. To support this claim I present two arguments, the first against Cartesian Dualism, the other against Emergent Dualism. The third, I believe, derives from the two just mentioned: if the dualistic arguments against the ability of physicalist theories to provide a sound account of the unity of the subject of consciousness are persuasive enough, then, in order to acquire a more adequate account of the unity of the conscious subject, we will have to look more closely at such forms of quasi-dualism as spiritualism or a broadly Aristotelian view of human persons.
196. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Yishai Cohen Skeptical Theism and the Threshold Problem
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In this paper I articulate and defend a new anti-theodicy challenge to Skeptical Theism. More specifically, I defend the Threshold Problem according to which there is a threshold to the kinds of evils that are in principle justifiable for God to permit, and certain instances of evil are beyond that threshold. I further argue that Skeptical Theism does not have the resources to adequately rebut the Threshold Problem. I argue for this claim by drawing a distinction between a weak and strong version of Skeptical Theism, such that the strong version must be defended in order to rebut the Threshold Problem. However, the skeptical theist’s appeal to our limited cognitive faculties only supports the weak version.
197. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Leland R. Harper A Deistic Discussion of Murphy and Tracy’s Accounts of God’s Limited Activity in the Natural World
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Seemingly, in an attempt to appease both the micro-physicists and the classical theists, Nancey Murphy and Thomas Tracy have each developed accountsof God which allow for Him to act, in an otherwise causally closed natural world, through various micro-processes at the subatomic level. I argue that notonly do each of these views skew the accounts of both micro-physics and theism just enough to preclude the appeasement of either group but that both accountscan aptly be classified as, what I term, epistemic deism. I go on to argue that epistemic deism is a weak brand of deism that ultimately provides us with little to noanswers to any of serious questions discussed within the philosophy or religion.
198. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Edgar Valdez Kant, Augustine, and Room for Faith
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In this paper I argue for a notion of conversion in Kant’s critical philosophy by drawing a connection between the conversions to be found in Kant and the intellectual, moral, and religious conversions of Augustine. I liken Augustine’s Platonic metaphysics of God to Kant’s antinomy of Pure Reason as an intellectual conversion. I link Augustine’s moral conversion with Kant’s metamaxim to commit to a use of reason that is free from the influence of inclination. I connect Augustine’s religious conversion with Kant’s recognition of God as the postulated condition for the highest good. There are advantages to understandingthe conversions in Kant for understanding how his critical philosophy views faith more generally. The conversions in Kant point to the practical necessity offaith as Kant understands it. Such an interpretation also unifies Kant’s contribution to the conversation on the relationship between faith and reason. For Kantfaith, much like knowledge, is a form of holding true and as such is reasonable.
199. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
M. Andrew Holowchak The Fear, Honor, and Love of God: Thomas Jefferson on Jews, Philosophers, and Jesus
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In a letter to Benjamin Rush, Jefferson includes a syllabus—a comparative account of the merits of Jewish morality, ancient philosophy, and the precepts of Jesus. Using the syllabus as a guide, this paper is a critical examination of the influence of ancient ethical and religious thinking on Jefferson’s ethical and religious thinking—viz., Jefferson’s views of the ethics and religion of the Hebrews, the ancient philosophers, and Jesus.
200. Forum Philosophicum: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Maxim Kantor The Renaissance versus the Avant-Garde
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The essay contrasts two recurring phenomena of European culture: renaissance and avant-garde. The author discusses the paradigmatic Renaissance of 15ᵗʰ and 16ᵗʰ centuries and the paradigmatic Avant-Garde of early 20ᵗʰ century from the point of view of a practicing artist, interested in philosophical, social, religious,and political involvements of artists and their creation. The author shows the artistic and social history of 20ᵗʰ century as a struggle between the Avant-Garde and the Renaissance ideals, which, as he points out, found a fertile ground in in the 20 years that followed immediately the Second World War.