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21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Richard Carrier Fatal Flaws in Michael Almeida’s Alleged ‘Defeat’ of Rowe’s New Evidential Argument from Evil
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In a previous issue of Philo, Michael Almeida claimed to have “defeated” William Rowe’s “New Evidential Argument from Evil” againstthe existence of a benevolent god. However, Almeida’s argument suffers from serious logical errors and even logical absurdities, leaving Rowe’s argument intact and quite unthreatened by anything Almeida argues.
30. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Gordon Barnes The Sins of Christian Orthodoxy
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Christian orthodoxy essentially involves the acceptance of the New Testament as authoritative in matters of faith and conduct. However, the New Testament instructs slaves and women to accept a subordinate status that denies their equality with other human beings. To accept such a status is to have the vice of servility, which involves denying the equality of all human beings. Therefore the New Testament asserts that slaves and women should deny their equality with other human beings. This is false. Moreover, these same passages in the New Testament implicitly assert that slavery and the subordination of women are morally permissible. This isalso false. Therefore orthodox Christianity is false.
31. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Patrick McKee Toward an Epistemology of Wise Judgment
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The term “wise” applied to judgments is honorific, suggesting special epistemic achievement. That achievement consists in making ajudgment on the basis of an aspect of inner experience I call seeing through illusion. I analyze the inner experience of seeing through illusion, then use it to develop a moderate internalist theory of wise judgment. The theory illuminates examples of wise judgment, explains ordinary intuitions we have about it, and can be defended against objections. This suggests that an epistemology of wise judgment can be developed in terms of existing epistemological concepts.
32. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Kyle Swan Critical Study of Michael Gill, The British Moralists on Human Nature and the Birth of Secular Ethics
33. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Jerome Gellman Credulity and Experience of God
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In this paper I argue that Richard Swinburne fails to adequately support his Principle of Credulity in favor of the validity of alleged experiences of God. I then formulate an alternative, analogical argument for the validity of alleged experiences of God from the validity of sense-perceptual experiences, and defend it against objections of Gale and Fales. But then I argue against trying to establish the validity of alleged experiences of God by analogy.
34. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Tyler Wunder Critical Study of James K. Beilby, Epistemology as Theology: An Evaluation of Alvin Plantinga’s Religious Epistemology
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James Beilby’s Epistemology as Theology is the first monograph to address Alvin Plantinga’s completed Warrant Trilogy. The book provides a thorough introduction to Plantinga’s current religious epistemology, but readers hoping for a critical treatment of Plantinga will be largely disappointed: while Beilby does level criticisms against Plantinga, he often underestimates their significance. One of Beilby’s main goals is to sketch out how a version of Reformed epistemology, even if not exactly Plantinga’s version, can withstand its critics. I provide a chapter-by-chapter examination of Beilby’s book, and argue his defense of Reformed epistemology is not obviously a significant improvement over Plantinga’s.
35. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Del Kiernan-Lewis Naturalism and the Problem of Evil
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The evidential argument from evil against theism requires a background of assumptions which, if correct, would appear to pose at least as great an evidential threat to naturalism as extensive pain and suffering pose to theism. In this paper, I argue that the conscious suffering and objective moral judgments required to construct evidential arguments from evil form the basis of powerful prima facie arguments against naturalism that are similar in force and structure to recent versions of the evidential argument from evil.
36. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Graham Wood Fine-Tuning ‘Analogies’ and the Law of Small Probability
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Analogies are offered to guide our explanatory responses to the fine-tuning of the universe. Situations that prompt us to reject an explanation involving a single chance event are presented as analogous to the fine-tuning. Thus, by analogy, we are prompted to reject an explanation of the fine-tuning involving a single universe fine-tuned by chance. But if the alleged analogues are not analogous they misguide us. I argue that the alleged analogues are not analogous and hence they do misguide our explanatory responses to the fine-tuning. I use William Dembski’s work on eliminating chance explanations for “specified” events of small probability to illustrate the misguiding nature of the analogies.
37. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Paul Kabay Explanatory Atheism: A Retrospective
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Quentin Smith has recently explored and defended two different atheistic accounts of the origin of the universe. Both have been proposed as alternatives to the traditional theistic account. The first postulates that a zero-dimensional timeless point is the cause of the universe. The second postulates that the universe is self-caused, in the sense that each of its instantaneous parts is caused by some other instantaneous part, and the existence of the parts logically entails the existence of the whole. I offer a number of reasons why these attempts at explanatory atheism are not altogether satisfactory. In reply to the first I argue that it is implausible to think that a nomologically simple entity could cause something with the physical properties of the big bang. In reply to the second I argue that the existence of the parts of the universe does not logically entail the universe as a whole, and so we cannot understand the universe to be self-caused.
38. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Michael Almeida Critically Muddled: A Reply to Carrier
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In a recent article in Philo I critique William Rowe’s new evidential argument from evil. Richard Carrier claims I advance an argument for theism in that article and proposes a counterexample to that argument. I show that Carrier’s counterexample fails for reasons that are fairly obvious. I then offer help. The best chance for a counterexample to the argument I offer comes from the possibility of cryptid creatures. But it is not difficult to show that counterexamples from cryptic creatures also fail. I conclude that these critical observations present no interesting problem for the defeat of Rowe’s new argument.
39. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Daniel Murphy Quantum Cosmology and Theism: A Reply to Quentin Smith
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Quentin Smith has argued that quantum-cosmological theory is incompatible with theism. The two claims that Smith argues render theism inconsistent with Hawking’s theory are that of the initial creation of the universe by God and His continued conservation of it. His primary argument is that divine decision and Hawking’s wave function entail contradictory probabilities that the universe begin to exist and continue to evolve in a certain way. I attempt to refute the argument by providing a schema that accommodates probabilities conditioned on divine decision as well as those conditioned on the wave function with respect to these two issues.
40. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Edmund Wall Natural Law and Basic Goods: An Irresolvable Debate?
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There would appear to be enormous philosophical differences between some influential exponents in contemporary natural law ethics. It would appear that there are deep and irresolvable philosophical differences between Ralph McInerny, on the one side, and Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, and John Finnis, on the other, with regard to both the contents of the basic goods of natural law, and as to whether there is an objective hierarchy among the basic goods themselves. The second of these apparently unbridgeable philosophical differences seems to account for the apparent differences between them on the starting point of morality. All of these putative philosophical differences seem to depend on what appear to be very different approaches by the two camps toward ultimate ends in ethics. I argue that the philosophical differences between the two camps on these fundamental matters are not considerable, and that whatever philosophical differences do exist lack philosophical support from either of the two sides.