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41. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Agnieszka Rostalska, Rafal Urbaniak Swinburne’s Modal Argument for the Existence of a Soul: Formalization and Criticism
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This paper evaluates Richard Swinburne’s modal argument for the existence of souls. After a brief presentation of the argument, wedescribe the main known objection to it, which is called the substitution objection (SO for short), and explain Swinburne’s response to that objection. With this as background, we formalize Swinburne’s argument in a quantified propositional modal language, modifying it so that it is logically valid and contains no tacit assumptions, and we explain why we find Swinburne’s response to SO unsatisfactory. Next, we indicate that, even though SO is quite compelling, a weakening of one of the premises yields a valid argument for the same conclusion which is immune to SO. This version of the argument, however, is epistemically circular.
42. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Matthew Carey Jordan Theistic Ethics: Not as Bad as You Think
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Critics of theological accounts of the nature of morality have argued that such accounts must be rejected, even by theists, because such accounts (i) have the unacceptable implication that nothing is morally wrong in possible worlds in which atheism is true, (ii) render the substantive content of morality arbitrary, and (iii) make it impossible or redundant to attribute moral properties to God or God’s actions. I argue that none of these criticisms constitute good reason for theists to abandon theological accounts of the nature of morality.
43. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
D.S. Clarke Reductionism and Discourse Relativity
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This paper is an interpretation and defense of Putnam’s claim that reductionist sentences identifying experiences with physical events or processes are meaningless. Discourses are formulated within frameworks that are characterized by their methods of justification, types of term introduction, and vocabularies. Examples of both meaningful intra-framework and meaningless cross-framework identities are considered, along with examples of theoretical identities across sub-frameworks. In agreement with Putnam, mental/physical identities are classified as cross-framework. But I qualify Putnam’s thesis by arguing that they can be meaningful to theextent they provide guides to beneficial social actions.’
44. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Sanford Levy Metaethical Naturalism and Thick Moral Arguments
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There has long been interest in deriving evaluative conclusions from nonevaluative premises. I revisit two classic attempts at this derivation by Philippa Foot and John Searle. They try the derivation using “thick arguments.” I argue that all thick arguments fail. Their failure is not due to a special feature of morality or of moral language, as many critics have charged. Rather it is because the thick evaluative terms are theoretical terms.
45. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Graham Oppy Craig’s Kalam Cosmology
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Hypotheses about the shape of causal reality admit of both theistic and non-theistic interpretations. I argue that, on the simplest hypotheses about the causal shape of reality—infinite regress, contingent initial boundary, necessary initial boundary—there is good reason to suppose that non-theism is always either preferable to, or at least the equal of, theism, at least insofar as we restrict our attention merely to the domain of explanation of existence. Moreover, I suggest that it is perfectly proper for naturalists to be undecided between these simple hypotheses about the causal shape of reality: contrary to the proponents of cosmological arguments, there are no decisive objections to any of these simple hypotheses. (I argue this case in detail in connection with objections offered by William Lane Craig; however, I believe that the case holds quite generally.)
46. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Paul Churchland Is Evolutionary Naturalism Epistemologically Self-Defeating
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Alvin Plantinga argues that our cognitive mechanisms have been selected for their ability to sustain reproductively successful behaviors, not for their ability to track truth. This aspect of our cognitive mechanisms is said to pose a problem for the biological theory of evolution by natural selection in the following way. If our cognitive mechanisms do not provide any assurances that the theories generated by them are true, then the fact that evolutionary theory has been generated by them, and even accepted by them, provides no assurance whatever that evolutionary theory is true. Plantinga’s argument, I argue, innocently assumes that the (problematic) “truth-tracking character” of our native cognitive mechanisms is the only possible or available source of rational warrant or justification for evolutionary theory. But it isn’t. Plantinga is ignoring the artificial mechanisms for theorycreation and theory-evaluation embodied in the complex institutions andprocedures of modern science.
47. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
John Leslie A Cosmos Existing Through Ethical Necessity
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The paper develops a Platonic and Spinozistic metaphysics. With an unprovable yet absolute necessity, the cosmos exists just because of the ethical need for it. We, and all the intricate structures of our universe, exist as intricately structured thoughts in a divine mind. This mind could contain infinitely many other universes as well, and minds of the same kind could exist in infinite number. Evidence for this is supplied by the finely tuned orderliness of our universe, and by the sheer fact that any universe exists.
48. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Andrew Melnyk Naturalism as a Philosophical Paradigm
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I develop the conjecture that “naturalism” in philosophy names not a thesis but a paradigm in something like Thomas Kuhn’s sense, i.e., a set of commitments, shared by a group of investigators, whose acceptance by the members of the group powerfully influences their day-to-day investigative practice. I take a stab at spelling out the shared commitments that make up naturalism, and the logical and evidential relations among them.
49. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Robin Collins God and the Laws of Nature
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This paper argues that theism and related axiarchic hypotheses provide the only promising solution to the problems of cosmic coincidence and induction raised by necessitarians against the regularity view of the laws of nature. Hence, it is argued, the fundamental order of the world provides significant support for theism and these related hypotheses.
50. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Paul Pistone Introduction
51. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Peter van Inwagen Some Remarks on the Modal Ontological Argument
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This paper examines the so-called modal ontological argument. It pays special attention to the role that the symmetry and transitivity of the accessibility relation play in the argument, and examines various approaches to a defense of the “possibility premise,” the premise of the argument that states that the existence of a perfect being is metaphysically possible. It contains an analysis of Gödel’s attempt to show that this premise is true, and of a recent formulation by David Johnson of Gödel’s argument.
52. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
William Wainwright Two (or Maybe One and a Half) Cheers for Perfect Being Theology
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In a series of influential articles published in the 1980s, Thomas Morris argued that the most promising approach to many issues in the philosophy of religion is “perfect being theology.” A philosopher who adopts it begins by construing God as a maximally perfect being and then fills the conception in by using his or her modal intuitions and intuitions concerning what properties are and are not perfections. While I am sympathetic with Morris’s program, two aspects seem problematic. More justification is needed for construing God as a maximally perfect being, and the appeal to intuitions needs more support than Morris provides for it. I will comment on both difficulties.
53. Philo: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Peter Byrne Is Morality Undercut by Evolutionary Naturalism
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This paper surveys the argument that a secular world-view that is committed to a neo-Darwinian account of human origins generates a vicious form of moral skepticism. The argument turns around the claim that Darwinism entails the unreliability of moral sense or conscience. This argument is analyzed and found wanting. It rests on a major error about the scope of evolutionary biology in explaining human thought.
54. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Eric Reitan Moving the Goalposts? The Challenge of Philosophical Engagement with the Public God Debates
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When philosophers contribute to public debates as polarized as contemporary ones about theistic belief, it is common to encounter responses that, philosophically, are woefully misguided. While it is tempting to simply dismiss them, a closer examination of recurring responses can offer insight of philosophical significance. In this paper I exemplify the value of engaging with recurring but misguided popular objections by looking carefully at one such objection to my recent book, Is God a Delusion?
55. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Kai Draper Evidence without Priors
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I argue that it is possible to acquire evidence that has no probability, not even zero, prior to its acquisition. If I am right then, contrary to certain Bayesian models of confirmation, conditionalization is not the only possible basis upon which a rational agent will alter her credence in some hypothesis in response to new evidence. My conclusion follows from certain analyses of the Sleeping Beauty problem. Because those analyses are controversial, however, I alter the Sleeping Beauty scenario to generate an obvious example of evidence that has no prior probability.
56. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
M. Andrew Holowchak The ‘Soft Dictatorship’ of Reason: Freud on Religion, Science, and Utopia
57. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Yehuda Gellman A Problem for the Christian Mystical Doxastic Practice
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William Alston has identified what he calls a “Christian Mystical Practice” as one of the many doxastic practices in which humans engage. He defends CMP as being as rational as other doxastic practices, including the sense perceptual practice, having its own input and output rules, and its own background overrider system. I argue that there seems to be a serious problem with Alston’s characterization of the overrider system for CMP. The presence of this problem threatens to damage Alston’s argument for the rationality of engaging in the Christian Mystical Practice.
58. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Christopher H. Pearson Methodological Naturalism, Intelligent Design, and Lessons from the History of Embryology
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Intelligent Design proponents consistently deny that science is rightfully governed by the norm of methodological naturalism—that independent of one’s actual metaphysical commitments regarding the natural/supernatural, a scientist, qua scientist, must behave as if the world is constituted by the natural, material world. This essay works to develop more fully a pragmatic justification for methodological naturalism, one that focuses on a number of key elements found in 17th and 18th century embryology.
59. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Joseph P. Li Vecchi Analogical Deduction via a Calculus of Predicables
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This article identifies and formalizes the logical features of analogous terms that justify their use in deduction. After a survey of doctrines in Aristotle, Aquinas, and Cajetan, the criteria of “analogy of proper proportionality” are symbolized in first-order predicate logic. A common genus justifies use of a common term, but does not provide the inferential link required for deduction. Rather, the respective differentiae foster this link through their identical proportion. A natural-language argument by analogy is formalized so as to exhibit these criteria, thereby showing the validity of analogical deduction.
60. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
James Baillie New Problems for Religious Pluralism
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John Hick’s theory of religious pluralism posits the same ineffable spiritual reality, ‘the Real,’ as the source of all major religious traditions. He offers pluralism as the best explanation of salvific parity, the thesis that these religions are equally effective vehicles for salvation. Most criticisms of Hick have focused on the explanans, arguing that the Real cannot play any explanatory role due to its ineffability. I raise two difficulties for the explanandum, the thesis of salvific parity. I call these the problems of bad religion and good secularism.