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181. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Francis J. Beckwith Zygotes, Embryos, and Subsistence: A Response to Corcoran
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This article is a response by the author of Defending Life, Francis Beckwith, to Kevin Corcoran’s critical review of that book. In his review Corcoran maintains that Beckwith provides only a “typical” genetic code argument for the zygote’s individual humanity, and that Beckwith fails to show that there exists an individual human organism that subsists from conception and develops into a mature version of itself. Beckwith argues that Corcoran is mistaken on both counts.
182. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Charles Taliaferro Experimental Thoughts and Thought Experiments: Reflections on What Matters in Recent Work by Derek Parfit
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Parfit’s new two-volume book, On What Matters, is used to make three points about the use of thought experiments in philosophy: thought experiments must be relevantly focused, finely-grained in descriptive force, and, when they meet these conditions, a thought experiment can overturn a substantial philosophical position, namely Parfit’s rejection of libertarian freedom. While principally a contribution to philosophical methodology, along the way this paper defends moral realism, Parfit’s rejection of a combined egoist and contractualist ethic, and a defense of libertarian free agency.
183. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
184. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Brad Seeman Guest Editor’s Introduction
185. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Paul K. Moser Gethsemane Epistemology: Volitional and Evidential
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This article contends that a God worthy of worship would care about how a human fills in the following blank: “I inquire or believe regarding God’s existence because I want _____.” It asks what human motives we should expect God to want in human inquiry and belief regarding God. This approach is widely neglected among philosophers, theologians, and oth­ers, but it can illuminate some important issues in religious epistemology. The article identifies the volitional struggle of Gethsemane as crucial to receiving salient evidence of God, and it notes how this approach manifests serious shortcomings in the arguments of traditional natural theology. It indicates that such arguments fail to accommodate the motives that God, as worthy of worship, would want in human inquiry and belief regarding God. The article proposes that divine redemption would aim for the profound moral, Gethsemane transformation of humans independent of abstract philosophical arguments. It identifies the key issue, for religious episte­mology, of whether we are willing to undergo such transformation.
186. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Katharyn D. Waidler Volitional Evidence for God
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In “Volitional Evidence for God,” Kate Waidler affirms Paul Moser’s view that evidence for God, that is, a morally perfect being, entails the volitional transformation of a moral agent. However, she challenges Moser’s rejection of natural theology. Waidler argues that the agent’s volitional transformation requires prior intellectual assent to the existence of a morally perfect being. For some, this entails the removal of certain intellectual obstacles to belief and requires engaging in some form of natural theology. Waidler appeals to Augustine as one whose volitional transformation becomes possible only when he comes to the intellectual understand­ing of the nature of God as a perfect being.
187. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Harold Netland If “Personifying Evidence” Is the Answer, What Is the Question?: A Response to Paul Moser
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Paul Moser’s creative and significant proposal concerning “personifying evidence of God” is examined in relation to three questions: (1) Given a commitment to robust Christian theism, what would an explicitly Christian account of religious epistemology look like? (2) Why should one accept the claims of Christian theism as true rather than those of atheism? (3) Given our awareness of widespread religious diversity and disagreement why should one accept the claims of Christian theism as true? The essay argues that Moser’s proposal is most plausible with respect to (1) but is more problematic when understood to be addressing (2) and (3).
188. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Charles Taliaferro The Evidence for Paul Moser
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Moser’s dismissal of natural theology as a matter of “spectator” evidence is questioned, as is Moser’s reservations about the possibility of impartial philosophical inquiry. Some assistance from natural theology can help Moser meet some of his critics’ objections. A worry that is noted concerns whether Moser’s stress on the centrality of personal repentance and transformation in religious epistemology may blur the line between philosophy and apologetics.
189. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Paul K. Moser Natural Theology and the Evidence for God: Reply to Harold Netland, Charles Taliaferro, and Kate Waidler
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This essay replies to the responses of Harold Netland, Charles Taliaferro, and Kate Waidler to my symposium paper, “Gethsemane Epistemology.” It contends that a God worthy of worship would not need the arguments of traditional natural theology, and that such arguments would not lead to such a God in the way desired by God. In addition, it explains why Paul’s position in Romans 1 offers no support to the arguments of traditional natural theology.
190. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
W. Paul Franks Original Sin and Broad Free-Will Defense
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I begin with a distinction between narrow and broad defenses to the logical problem of evil. The former is simply an attempt to show that God and evil are not logically incompat­ible whereas the latter attempts the same, but only by appealing to beliefs one takes to be true in the actual world. I then argue that while recent accounts of original sin may be consistent with a broad defense, they are also logically incoherent. After considering potential replies, I conclude by proposing an account of original sin that is both logically coherent and consistent with a broad defense.
191. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Michael T. McFall Can We Have a Friend in Jesus?: An Aristotelian Analysis
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Many state that they have a friend in Jesus, but close analysis reveals that this claim is difficult to defend. Furthermore, only once does Jesus claim that humans can be friends with him. This essay explores whether humans can be friends with Jesus. In arguing that this is possible, attention is given to what kind of friendship is possible in Aristotle’s taxonomy of utility, pleasure, and character-friendships. None of these describes the kind of friendship possible between humans and Jesus, but holy-friendship (developed from character-friendship) suffices to demonstrate how such friendship is possible.
192. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Jordan Wessling The Scope of God’s Supreme Love: A Defense of Talbott’s Contention that God Truly Loves Us All
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In the course of defending the doctrine of universalism (the teaching that God will eventually reconcile all created persons to Himself ), the philosopher of religion Thomas Talbott has defended the logically independent claim that God loves every created person with what might be termed “supreme love”: the love that makes it so that God, without internal conflict and cessation, truly desires and seeks a created person’s supreme or highest good. Talbott’s arguments concerning God’s supreme love for all have received considerably less attention than his arguments for universalism, a regrettable fact given the relative paucity of philosopher literature dealing with the nature and scope of divine love. Therefore, in this paper, I defend not universalism, but develop and defend one of Talbott’s arguments for the universal scope of God’s supreme love.
193. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Mark J. Boone Proper Function and the Conditions for Warrant: What Plantinga’s Notion of Warrant Shows about Different Kinds of Knowledge
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Alvin Plantinga’s Warrant and Proper Function gives two major definitions of warrant. One states that reliable cognitive faculties aimed at true belief and functioning properly in the right environment are necessary and sufficient for warrant; the other definition only states that they are necessary. The latter definition is the more important one. There are different kinds of knowledge, and justification is necessary for some beliefs to be warranted. Even a belief warranted by proper function can receive a higher degree of warrant by justification. This implies that natural theology has a useful role within the contours of a Plantingian epistemology.
194. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Eric LaRock An Empirical Case against Central State Materialism
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I argue on empirical grounds (1) that consciousness is not nothing but a self-scanning mechanism in the central nervous system; (2) that consciousness is not reducible to an epistemic ability, such as the ability to recognize an object; (3) that mind could not merely be a (material) cause that is apt to bring about a certain range of behaviors; and (4) that recent empirical investigations reveal new problems and new evidence that should compel advocates of causal functionalism (of the sort defended by David Armstrong and David Lewis) to reconsider the feasibility of their account of mind.
195. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Andrew Loke Is an Uncaused Beginning of the Universe Possible?: A Response to Recent Naturalistic Metaphysical Theorizing
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This paper advances the discussion on an issue which is hotly debated in discussions on the kalam cosmological argument today, by developing a philosophical argument which is stronger and more rigorous than other arguments which have been proposed thus far.
196. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Jonathan Loose Constitution and the Falling Elevator: The Continuing Incompatibility of Materialism and Resurrection Belief
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Ontological dualism is energetically resisted by a range of Christian scholars includ­ing philosophers such as Baker and Corcoran who defend accounts of human persons based on material constitution. Whilst Baker’s view fails to account for diachronic identity, Corcoran’s account of life after death makes use of Zimmerman’s problematic “Falling Elevator Model.” It is argued that Zimmerman’s recent reassessment of the model overestimates its value for materialists. In fact, the model generates either a fatal encounter with the nature of identity, or absurdity. A lack of alternatives is illustrated by anticriterialist proposals. Thus it seems materialism and resurrection belief remain incompatible.
197. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Michael W. Austin Defending Humility: A Philosophical Sketch with Replies to Tara Smith and David Hume
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In this philosophical note I first offer a brief sketch of a Christian conception of humility. Next, I consider two criticisms of the claim that humility is a virtue, one from David Hume and a second from contemporary philosopher Tara Smith. What follows in this note is not a comprehensive defense of the claim that humility is a virtue. However, if humility is not a virtue, it will be for reasons other than those proffered by Hume and Smith, as their criticisms fail on philosophical and empirical grounds.
198. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
199. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Angus Menuge Guest Editor’s Introduction
200. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Robert Greg Cavin, Carlos A. Colombetti Swinburne on the Resurrection: Negative versus Christian Ramified Natural Theology
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We consider the impact of negative natural theology on the prospects of Christian ramified natural theology with reference to Richard Swinburne’s argument for the Incarnation and Resurrection. We argue that Swinburne’s pivotal claim—that God would not allow decep­tive evidence to exist for the Incarnation and Resurrection—is refuted by key evidence from negative natural theology. We argue, further, that Swinburne’s argument omits dominating items of evidence of negative natural theology which seem to critically weaken the probability of the Incarnation and Resurrection. Negative natural theology thus serves as a formidable obstacle to Christian ramified natural theology.