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Displaying: 81-100 of 236 documents

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81. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Kai Nielsen Meta-philosophy, Once Again
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I examine what I shall call meta-philosophy: a philosophical examination into what philosophy is, can be, should be, something of what it has been, what the point (if any) of it is and what, if anything, it can contribute to our understanding of and the making sense of our lives, including our lives individually and together, and of the social order in which we live.
82. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Matthew Flannagan Is Ethical Naturalism more Plausible than Supernaturalism? A Reply to Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
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In many of his addresses and debates, William Lane Craig has defended a Divine Command Theory of moral obligation (DCT). In a recent article and subsequent monograph, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has criticized Craig’s position.1 Armstrong contended that a DCT is subject to several devastating objections and further contended that even if theism is true a particular form of ethical naturalism is a more plausible account of the nature of moral obligations than a DCT is. This paper critiques Armstrong’s argument. I will argue Armstrong’s objections do not refute a DCT and the ethical naturalism he defends is not more plausible than Craig’s ethical supernaturalism.
83. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Ulrich Schmidt An Examination of Michael J. Almeida’s “The Metaphysics of Perfect Beings”
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A perfect being is a being which possesses all perfections essentially. A perfect being is essentially omniscient, essentially omnipotent, essentially perfectly good, and necessarily existing. In his excellent book “The Metaphysics of Perfect Beings” Michael J. Almeida investigates the following tough questions about perfect beings: What would a perfect being create? Which moral requirements would a perfect being (have to) fulfill when deciding what to create? Is there a minimum or a maximum amount of evil a perfect being would allow to occur? Could a perfect being permit any instance of pointless and undeserved suffering of creatures? Does a perfect being have some freedom to choose what to create? Could a perfect being be just in sending some people eternally to heaven and some people eternally to hell? Almeida applies modern theories about vagueness, infinite values, possible world semantics and many universes to these questions. In this way Almeida investigates these questions in more detail and depth than they have been before and substantially advances the discussion of these issues.
84. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Ian Cutler On the Author of Christ and the Author of The Anti-Christ: Nietzsche’s Diatribe on Paul and Affinity with Jesus
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Our world is littered with examples of the cannibalisation by secondary authors of the thoughts of original thinkers, rehashed as rule-books and manuals on how to live our lives. No such distortion of an idea has had the lasting success of Saint Paul’s corruption of the life and thoughts of Jesus of Nazareth—man or myth we’ll never know. Nietzsche’s over quoted remark, “God is dead,” belies his frustration that in 2,000 years, Western civilisation has not invented for itself a new god. His project of exposing Paul as a charlatan in his penultimate work, The Anti-Christ, hardly disguises Nietzsche’s belief that he could have done a better job, in his case celebrating everything that Christianity stood against: the lost glories of our ancient past symbolising our ‘natural’ human instincts. This essay reassesses assumptions about Nietzsche and his intentions in writing The Anti-Christ to reveal the philosopher’s deep affinity for the original, pre-Christian sage,who provided the main character and plot for Paul’s fiction.
85. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Richard Carrier On the Facts as We Know Them, Ethical Naturalism Is All There Is: A Reply to Matthew Flannagan
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In responding to Matthew Flannagan’s rebuttal to Walter Sinnott-Armstrong’s argument that ethical naturalism is more plausible than William Lane Craig’s Divine Command Theory of moral obligation (DCT), this author finds Flannagan incorrect on almost every point. Any defense of DCT is fallaciously circular and empirically untestable, whereas neither is the case for ethical naturalism. Accordingly, all four of Armstrong’s objections stand against Flannagan’s attempts to rebut them, and Flannagan’s case is impotent against a properly-formed naturalist metaethic.
86. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Lawrence Pasternack The Many Gods Objection to Pascal’s Wager: A Decision Theoretic Response
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The Many Gods Objection (MGO) is widely viewed as a decisive criticism of Pascal’s Wager. Some have attempted to rebut it by employing criteria drawn from the theological tradition. This paper will offer a different sort of defense of the Wager, one more suited to its apologetic aim as well as to its status as a decision under ignorance. It will be shown that there are characteristics already built into the Wager’s decision theoretic structure that can block many categories of theological hypotheses including MGO’s more outrageous “cooked-up” hypotheses and “philosophers’ fictions.”
87. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Paul C. Maxwell Is Reformed Orthodoxy a Possible Exception to Matt McCormick’s Critique of Classical Theism? An Exploration of God’s Presenceand Consciousness
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Matt McCormick argues that because a thinking mind must be able to make subject-object distinctions with objects outside of itself, and God is everywhere immediately present to all objects (according to a classical conception of omniscience), he cannot truly make this distinction and therefore cannot think. Here, I probe McCormick’s Kantian notions of psychological representations and metaphysics and explore a version of classical theism that may evade his critique.
88. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Jerome Popp Philosophy of Society
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John Searle holds that social reality is created by the deontology of institutions, the understanding of which requires an account of prelinguistic-intentionality.A tentative explanation is presented as to how the recognition of rudimentary rights and obligations developed from genetic preparedness and the conditions of survival for minimally-linguistic hominids. Searle’s rationality explanation of why people fulfill their obligations is contrasted with an alternative instrumentalist view. It is suggested that respect for the positive deontic powers of institutions contributes a sense of belonging that increases social cohesiveness and lowers social viscosity.
89. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
David Kyle Johnson The Failure of Plantinga’s Solution to the Logical Problem of Natural Evil
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The logical threat natural evil poses to theistic belief has been primarily ignored in the literature because Alvin Plantinga’s solution to the logical problem of natural evil is considered by most to be definitive. I will argue that it is not; Plantinga misunderstands the logical problem of natural evil and thus fails utterly in responding to it. This failure is significant because once the problem of natural evil is properly understood, it is clear that no existing solution to any version of the problem of evil can be adapted to solve it. Consequently, more attention needs to be paid by theists to the logical problem of natural evil.
90. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Morgan Luck, Nathan Ellerby Should We Want God Not to Exist?
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In his book, The Last Word, Thomas Nagel expresses the hope that there exists no God. Guy Kahane, in his paper ‘Should We Want God to Exist?’, attempts to defend Nagel from an argument that concludes such a hope may be impermissible. In this paper we present a new defense for the hope that God does not exist.
91. Philo: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Gregory W. Dawes, Jonathan Jong Defeating the Christian’s Claim to Warrant
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Alvin Plantinga notes that if what Christians believe is true, their beliefs are warranted. It follows, he argues, that the only decisive objection to Christian belief is a de facto one: an argument that shows that what Christians believe is false. We disagree. A critic could mount a direct attack on the Christian’s claim to warrant by offering a more plausible account of the causal mechanism giving rise to belief, one that shows that mechanism to be unreliable. This would represent a powerful de jure argument against Christian belief.
92. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Rik Peels A Bodiless Spirit? Meaningfulness, Possibility, and Probability
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The main conclusion of Herman Philipse’s God in the Age of Science? is that we should all be atheists. Remarkably, however, the book contains no argument whatsoever for atheism. Philipse defends the argument from evil and the argument from divine hiddenness, but those arguments count only against an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God, not against just any god. He also defends the claim that there cannot be any bodiless spirits, but, of course, not all religions take their gods to be bodiless. However, because his main target of criticism is monotheism and adherents of monotheism usually claim that God is a bodiless spirit, this paper discusses Philipse’s arguments against the existence of a bodiless spirit. I argue that his three main claims about religious belief in a bodiless spirit are false. First, contrary to what he says, there is good reason to think that the expression “bodiless spirit” is meaningful. Among other things, the Wittgensteinian semantic theory of psychological attribute ascription on which his argument relies turns out to be untenable. Second, Philipse’s thesis that the existence of a bodiless spirit is impossible is also problematic. We can properly use the word person for bodiless spirits. Also, an attribute such as presence or omnipresence can be understood metaphorically without the definition of “God “thereby losing too much meaning. And we do not need any criterion for diachronic personal identity of bodiless spirits; such identity may very well be a primitive fact. Third and finally, there is no reason to think that the existence of a bodiless spirit is improbable. The fact that science has discovered a dependence relation between mental states and brain states and the fact that science has never been able to detect bodiless spirits provide no reason to think otherwise.
93. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Herman Philipse A Decision Tree for Religious Believers
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I discuss the primary aims of my book God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason, which critically assesses the most promising apologetic strategies defending the reasonable endorsement of religious creeds. These apologetic strategies may be schematized as the end nodes of a decision tree for religious believers, as I explain in section 2. In section 3, the structure of the book is elucidated, and in section 4 I illustrate its argumentative strategy by some examples.
94. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Gijsbert van den Brink What Is Wrong with Revelation? Herman Philipse on the Priority of Natural Theology
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According to Herman Philipse, well-educated Western people can no longer reasonably accept a religious faith on the basis of special revelation. Rather, they (or at least some experts in their community) should account for their religious views in terms of natural theology—i.e., using only arguments based on evidence that is generally accessible. Many believers, however, do not base their faith on natural theology. I argue that there is a sound reason for their reluctance: when it comes to views of life, rationality and faith commitments are inextricably interconnected. Drawing on an analysis of George Mavrodes, I argue that this is due to the fact that “proofs” are person-relative. From this perspective, I briefly show why each of Philipse’s six arguments for the priority of natural theology over revealed theology is mistaken.
95. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Jeroen de Ridder, Mathanja Berger Shipwrecked or Holding Water? In Defense of Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Believer
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Herman Philipse argues that Christian belief cannot be warranted in Alvin Plantinga’s sense. More specifically, he thinks it is impossible for intellectually responsible and modern believers to hold their religious beliefs in the manner of properly basic beliefs, not on the basis of explicit evidence or arguments. In this paper, we consider his objections to Plantinga’s work and argue that they all fail.
96. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Emanuel Rutten On Herman Philipse’s Attempt to Write Off Cosmological Arguments
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In his 2012 book God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason, Herman Philipse argues that all known deductive versions of the cosmological argument are untenable. His strategy is to propose a few objections to two classical deductive cosmological arguments. The first argument is from the impossibility of there being contingent entities that are the sufficient cause for the existence of a contingent entity: the second argument is from the impossibility of there being an infinite causal regress. In this article I argue that Philipse’s attempt to write off all deductive cosmological arguments fails.
97. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Rik Peels A New Case for Atheism
98. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Boudewijn de Bruin The Epistemology of Religious Testimony
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Swinburne’s The Existence of God purports to provide evidence that God very probably exists. While most of the evidence considered is publicly available, Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience considers private evidence gained from private religious experiences. Philipse, in God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason argues that one of the premises of this argument, the Principle of Credulity, is not applicable to religious experiences. The present paper focuses on a second premise, the Principle of Testimony. It defends the claim that even if the Principle of Credulity holds for religious experiences, testimonial evidence about religious experience does not offer the unbeliever sufficient grounds for the rational adoption of a belief in the existence of God.
99. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
John Mizzoni Birds Trust Their Wings, Sharks Their Teeth, and Humans Their Minds: A Critique of Haught’s Critical Intelligence Argument against Naturalism
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John Haught offers a “critical intelligence” argument against naturalism. In this article, I outline Haught’s version of theistic evolution. Then I discuss the case he makes against naturalism with his critical intelligence argument. He uses two versions of the argument to make his case: a trustworthiness of critical intelligence argument and an ineffectiveness of naturalistic theories of the mind argument. I evaluate both versions of his critical intelligence argument against naturalism and find that they contain false premises. They thus come up short in making a strong case against naturalism.
100. Philo: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Loren Meierding Evidential Arguments from Ignorance and Knowledge
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In his Dialogues and Natural Religion, David Hume offered an inductive argument claiming that the observed mixture of good and evil in the world inductively justifies belief in indifferent first causes. The existence of a benevolent, omniscient God is rejected because it is much less probable. I show that a more comprehensive analysis of Hume’s argument applying Bayes’s Theorem indicates that if the good in our world greatly outweighs the evil, theists can then claim the inductive evidence actually provides confirmation for classical theism. I provide some reasons for believing that good greatly exceeds evil. Views that good modestly exceeds evil or is balanced by evil are also considered.