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21. 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.
22. Philo: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Kyle Swan Critical Study of Michael Gill, The British Moralists on Human Nature and the Birth of Secular Ethics
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Franklin Mason Presentism and the Special Theory
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Presentism—the thesis that only those things that are present exist—seems to face an insurmountable barrier in the Special Theory ofRelativity (STR). For the STR entails that simultaneity, and so the present, are relative to inertial frame. But if the present is the real and the present is relative, so too is in the real relative. But this cannot be. The real is absolute. But what is the Presentist to do? I suggest that she craft an alternative to the STR that is empirically equivalent to it but makes rooms for a present, and a real, that are absolute.
32. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
David Macarthur Quinean Naturalism in Question
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This paper is a critical discussion of Quine’s naturalist credos: (1) physicalism; (2) there is no first philosophy; (3) philosophy is continuous with science; and (4) the only responsible theory of the world as a whole is scientific theory. The aim is to show that Quine’s formulations admit of two readings: a strong reading (often Quine’s own) which is compatible with reductive forms of naturalism but implausible; and a mild reading which is plausible but suggestive of more liberal forms of naturalism. The paper ends by claiming that naturalism is a normative doctrine that is inconsistent by its own lights.
33. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Wes Morriston Must an ‘Origins Agnostic’ Be Skeptical About Everything?
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Plantinga claims to give a person who is agnostic about the ultimate source of his cognitive faculties an undefeatable defeater for all his beliefs. This argument of Plantinga’s bears a family resemblance to his much better known argument for saying that naturalism is self-defeating, but it has a much more ambitious conclusion. In the present paper, I try to show both that Plantinga’s argument for this conclusion fails, and that even if an “origins agnostic” were to succumb to it, a cure for his skepticism is ready at hand—one that does not involve believing in anything like God.
34. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Franklin Mason The Grounds of Moral Considerability
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Not all beings matter from the moral point of view. But how are we to distinguish those that do from those that do not? Some argue that mere sentience alone makes a being matter morally. Others argue that an ability to set ends and thus to place value on those ends is necessary for moral value. I break from these views and argue for a radically more inclusive account of the source of moral value. What makes a being matter morally is that it has a good of its own.
35. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Wesley Cooper An Eldritch Tale: Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and the Self
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This essay continues Kafka’s tale of a human being who metamorphoses into a beetle. The tale is developed in the light of some recent theory about personal identity and rational choice, particularly Robert Nozick’s Closest-Continuer theory and Mark Johnston’s Relativism about the self. These are potentially complementary conceptions of relativity about the self, Nozick’s focusing on the individual’s ‘metric’ as a criterion of personal continuity, Johnston’s on social standards. When the individually authentic determination about ‘closeness’ coincides with the community’s standards for continuity, the two accounts are complementary. The tale concludes with reference to applying the concept of personal identity for branching selves in the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. Application of the concept of personal identity in an MWI context implies that there is a bad end in store for us all, as David Lewis argued in his last essay.
36. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jerome Gellman Critical Study of Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
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I examine the two main arguments that Richard Dawkins offers in The God Delusion to convince believers that God does not exist. Dawkins’ arguments, as stated, are not successful. Neither do sympathetic extensive reformulations have what it takes to require a believer to admit that God probably does not exist. I further argue against Dawkins’ assuming that belief in God, if legitimate, can be only a scientific hypothesis.
37. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Richard T. McClelland Critical Study of Michael Novak, No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers
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This study develops a concept of “justificatory respect” and applies it to a recent theistic response to contemporary presentations ofatheism and agnosticism. The related concepts of reflexive justificatory respect (applying to one’s own positions) and of an associated epistemic virtue as necessary but not sufficient conditions for theists and unbelievers to engage one another in successful dialogical inquiry are also developed. Novak’s book signally fails to exercise both kinds of respect. His failures serve to partially delineate the condition for success in the project he desiderates. They also highlight the special qualifications of agnostics for engaging in that project.
38. Philo: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Stephen J. Sullian Christian Morality and Slave Morality
39. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Jim D. Shelton Beauty, Play, and the Meaning of Life
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This paper discusses the views of Moritz Schlick connecting aesthetics with the meaning of life. The fundamental question that Schlick asks is how anything appears beautiful. The discussion of the beautiful comes down to a discussion of aesthetic pleasure. Aesthetic pleasure has the characteristic of having no use defined in survival terms of self-preservation and propagation. Art, for Schlick, is seen as essentially play. Schlick addressed how his view that connects aesthetic pleasure and play essentially to the non-useful, can be explained in light of the theory of natural selection. Then this is related to the meaning of life as play or youth.
40. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Joshua W. Seachris The Meaning of Life as Narrative: A New Proposal for Interpreting Philosophy’s ‘Primary’ Question
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Even if the question, “What is the meaning of life?” is coherent, the fact remains that it is vague. Its vagueness largely centers on the use of the term “meaning.” The most prevalent strategy for addressing this vagueness is to discard the word “meaning” and reformulate the question entirely into questions such as, “What is the purpose of life?” or “What makes life valuable?” among others. This approach has philosophical merit but does not account for the intuitions and sub-questions driving the original question as plausibly as does an interpretation that I call the narrative interpretation. I will argue that the question, “What is the meaning of life?” should be understood as the request for a narrative that narrates across those elements and accompanying questions of life of greatest existential import to human beings.