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61. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Rob Lovering The Problem of the Theistic Evidentialist Philosophers
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That theistic evidentialist philosophers have failed to make the evidential case for theism to atheistic evidentialist philosophers raises a problem—a question to be answered. I argue here that—of the most plausible possible solutions to this problem—each is either inadequate or, when adequate, in conflict with the theistic evidentialist philosophers’ defining beliefs. I conclude that the problem of the theistic evidentialist philosophers—the question of why theistic evidentialist philosophers have failed to make their case to atheistic evidentialist philosophers—is a problem for theistic evidentialist philosophers—an objection to their defining beliefs.
62. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Bradley Monton Against Multiverse Theodicies
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In reply to the problem of evil, some suggest that God created an infinite number of universes—for example, that God created every universe that contains more good than evil. I offer two objections to these multiverse theodicies. First, I argue that, for any number of universes God creates, he could have created more, because he could have created duplicates of universes. Next, I argue that multiverse theodicies can’t adequately account for why God would create universes with pointless suffering, and hence they don’t solve the problem of evil.
63. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
David J. Anderson, Joshua L. Watson The Mystery of Foreknowledge
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Many have attempted to respond to arguments for the incompatibility of freedom with divine foreknowledge by claiming that God’s beliefs about the future are explained by what the world is like at that future time. We argue that this response adequately advances the discussion only if the theist is able to articulate a model of foreknowledge that is both clearly possible and compatible with freedom. We investigate various models the theist might articulate and argue that all of these models fail.
64. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Aaron Segal, Alvin Plantinga Response to Churchland
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Paul Churchland argues that Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism is unsuccessful and so we need not accept its conclusion. In this paper, we respond to Churchland’s argument. After we briefly recapitulate Plantinga’s argument and state Churchland’s argument, we offer three objections to Churchland’s argument: (1) its first premise has little to recommend it, (2) its second premise is false, and (3) its conclusion is consistent with, and indeed entails, the conclusion of Plantinga’s argument.
65. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Evan Fales Divine Commands and Moral Obligation
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A popular proof for the existence of God assumes that there are objective moral duties, arguing that this can only be explained by there being a supreme law-giver, namely God. The upshot is either a Divine Command Theory (DCT)—or something similar—or a natural-law theory. I discuss two prominent theories, Robert Adams’ DCT and Stephen Evans’ hybrid DCT/natural-law theory. I argue that they suffer from fatal difficulties. Natural-law theories are plausible, if God exists, but can’t be used to prove His existence; and are less plausible, on the evidence, than a naturalistic natural-law theory, which has the best prospects for providing an objective foundation for morality.
66. Philo: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Michael W. Hickson Conscientious Refusals without Conscience: Why Not?
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In this paper I uncover and critically analyze a methodological assumption in the literature on conscientious refusals in health care. The assumption is what I call the “Priority of Conscience Principle,” which says the following: to determine the moral status of any act of conscientious refusal, it is first necessary to determine the nature and value of conscience. I argue that it is not always necessary to discuss conscience in the debate on conscientious refusals, and that discussing conscience is even problematic, since it can lead authors to beg the question.
67. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
J.L. Schellenberg A Reply to Wykstra
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Wykstra’s paper defends two objections to my reasoning in The Wisdom to Doubt. One says that we in fact do take evidence to be representative of all the relevant evidence that exists when forming the judgment that it makes some proposition probable, the other that our judgments as to the representativeness of evidence are often justified, and can be justified even in matters of religion. Both objections are instructive but ultimately unsuccessful, as I show here.
68. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Matthew Carey Jordan Metaphysical Naturalism and Some Moral Realisms
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I argue that morality as such is characterized by a number of distinctive features, and that metaphysical naturalists should believe that there are moral facts only if there is a plausible naturalistic explanation of the existence of facts which exemplify those features. I survey three prominent (and very different) naturalistic moral theories—the reductive naturalism of Peter Railton, Frank Jackson’s analytic descriptivism, and Christine Korsgaard’s Kantianism—and argue that none of them has the resources to explain the existence of genuine moral facts.
69. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Paul Draper Faith without God: An Introduction to Schellenberg’s Trilogy
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This paper summarizes J.L. Schellenberg’s trilogy on the philosophy of religion. In the first book, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, Schellenberg analyzes basic concepts in the philosophy of religion. In the second, The Wisdom to Doubt, he rejects theism but defends skepticism about both naturalism and a very general religious position that he calls “ultimism.” And in the third book, The Will to Imagine, Schellenberg argues that rationality requires ultimistic faith.
70. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Felipe Leon Moreland on the Impossibility of Traversing the Infinite: A Critique
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A key premise of the kalam cosmological argument is that the universe began to exist. However, while a number of philosophers have offered powerful criticisms of William Lane Craig’s defense of the premise, J.P. Moreland has also offered a number of unique arguments in support of it, and to date, little attention has been paid to these in the literature. In this paper, I attempt to go some way toward redressing this matter. In particular, I shall argue that Moreland’s philosophical arguments against the possibility of traversing a beginningless past are unsuccessful.
71. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
J. J. MacIntosh Sceptical Ultimism, or Not so Sceptical Atheism?
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In John Schellenberg’s important trilogy he offers us reasons, individually and cumulatively impressive, for adopting a sceptical attitude towards religious claims, both positive and negative. Part of Schellenberg’s argument consists in reminding us of the necessity of not overestimating our present state of intellectual development. In this paper, while allowing the force of the overestimation points, I consider the very real strength of the arguments he develops for atheism, and suggest that they outweigh his sceptical arguments in favour of non-commitment.Whenever I hear that a writer of real ability has demonstrated away the . . . existence of God, I am eager to read the book, for I expect him by his talents to increase my insight into these matters. Already, before having opened it, I am perfectly certain that he has not justified . . . his specific [claim] because . . . as reason is incompetent to arrive at affirmative assertions in this field, it is equally unable, indeed even less able, to establish any negative conclusion in regard to these questions.
72. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Stephen J. Wykstra Facing MECCA: Ultimism, Religious Skepticism, and Schellenberg’s “Meta-Evidential Condition Constraining Assent”
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Schellenberg’s Wisdom to Doubt uses a “meta-evidential condition constraining assent” that I dub MECCA. On MECCA, my total current evidence E may be good evidence for H, yet not justify my believing H, due to meta-evidential considerations giving me reason to doubt whether E is “representative” of the total evidence E* that exists. I argue that considerations of representativeness are implicit in judging that E is good evidence, rendering this description incoherent, and that Schellenberg’s specific meta-evidence has less trumping power than he thinks.
73. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
J.L. Schellenberg Reactions to MacIntosh
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In his response to my trilogy, Jack MacIntosh suggests a variety of ways in which its conclusions may be challenged, drawing on considerations scientific, moral, and prudential. I argue that the challenges can be met, and, in the process, show how the trilogy’s reasoning can be extended and strengthened on a number of fronts.
74. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Gordon Barnes How to be an Evidentialist about Belief in God
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Evidentialism about belief in God is the proposition that a person is justified in believing in God only if she has evidence for her belief. Alvin Plantinga has long argued that there is no good argument for evidentialism about belief in God. However, it does not follow that such evidentialism is unjustified, since it could be properly basic. In fact, there is no good argument against the proper basicality of evidentialism about belief in God. So an evidentialist about belief in God can accept it as properly basic.
75. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Alexis Mourenza, Nicholas D. Smith Knowledge Is Sexy
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Philosophers’ appeals to the processes of natural selection that are adaptive in terms of survival provide an incomplete picture of what naturalists have available to them to make the sort of defense skeptics claim cannot be made. To supplement this picture, we provide evidence from what Darwin called “sexual selection” and also what others now call “social selection” to provide a more complete picture of why it is reasonable to suppose that evolution has supplied human beings and many other animals highly reliable and also veridical cognitive processes.
76. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Richard N. Manning A Spinozistic Deduction of the Kantian Concept of a Natural End
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Kant distinguishes “natural ends” as exhibiting a part-whole reciprocal causal structure in virtue of which we can only conceive them as having been caused through a conception, as if by intelligent design. Here, I put pressure on Kant’s position by arguing that his view of what individuates and makes cognizable material bodies of any kind is inadequate and needs supplementation. Drawing on Spinoza, I further urge that the needed supplement is precisely the whole-part reciprocal causal structure that Kant takes to be distinctive of natural ends alone.
77. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Jacqueline Mariña Transcendental Arguments for Personal Identity in Kant’s Transcendental Deduction
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One of the principle aims of the B version of Kant’s transcendental deduction is to show how it is possible that the same “I think” can accompany all of my representations, which is a transcendental condition of the possibility of judgment. Contra interpreters such as A. Brook, I show that this “I think” is an a priori (reflected) self-consciousness; contra P. Keller, I show that this a priori self-consciousness is first and foremost a consciousness of one’s personal identity from a first person point of view.
78. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
David Kyle Johnson Natural Evil and the Simulation Hypothesis
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Some theists maintain that they need not answer the threat posed to theistic belief by natural evil; they have reason enough to believe that God exists and it renders impotent any threat that natural evil poses to theism. Explicating how God and natural evil coexist is not necessary since they already know both exist. I will argue that, even granting theists the knowledge they claim, this does not leave them in an agreeable position. It commits the theist to a very unpalatable position: our universe was not designed by God and is instead, most likely, a computer simulation.
79. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Peter Brian Barry Wickedness Redux
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Some philosophers have argued that the concepts of evil and wickedness cannot be well grasped by those inclined to a naturalist bent, perhaps because evil is so intimately tied to religious discourse or because it is ultimately not possible to understand evil, period. By contrast, I argue that evil—or, at least, what it is to be an evil person—can be understood by naturalist philosophers, and I articulate an independently plausible account of evil character.
80. Philo: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Beth Seacord Animals, Phenomenal Consciousness, and Higher-Order Theories of Mind
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Some advocates of higher-order theories of consciousness believe that the correct theory of consciousness together with empirical facts about animal intelligence make it highly unlikely that animals are capable of having phenomenally conscious experiences. I will argue that even if the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness is correct, there is good evidence (taken from experiments in mind reading and metacognition, as well as considerations from neurophysiology and evolutionary biology) that at least some nonhuman animals can form the higher-order thoughts and thus will count as phenomenally conscious on HOT theory.