In this paper I wish to examine the nature and role of "the phenomena of God" in Leinbiz's mature thought. In the first part of the paper, I discuss the nature of the universal harmony and argue that they are the perceptiual states of finite substances and the relations among them that constitute God's phenomena. In the second part of the paper, I attempt to specify the theoretical role that God's phenomena play in Leibniz's phenomenalism. This leads finally to a (...) discussion of Leibniz's teleological reasoning in the investigation of nature and of how that justification undercuts the argument for God's existence from the pre-established harmony. (shrink)
The argument from design stands as one of the most intuitively compelling arguments for the existence of a divine Creator. Yet, for many scientists and philosophers, Hume's critique and Darwin's theory of natural selection have definitely undermined the idea that we can draw any analogy from design in artifacts to design in nature. Here, we examine empirical studies from developmental and experimental psychology to investigate the cognitive basis of the design argument. From this it becomes clear that humans spontaneously discern (...) purpose in nature. When constructed theologically and philosophically correctly, the design argument is not presented as conclusive evidence for God's existence but rather as an abductive, probabilistic argument. We examine the cognitive basis of probabilistic judgments in relationship to natural theology. Placing emphasis on how people assess improbable events, we clarify the intuitive appeal of Paley's watch analogy. We conclude that the reason why some scientists find the design argument compelling and others do not lies not in any intrinsic differences in assessing design in nature but rather in the prior probability they place on complexity being produced by chance events or by a Creator. This difference provides atheists and theists with a rational basis for disagreement. (shrink)
The existence of natural laws, whether deterministic or indeterministic, and whether exceptionless or ceteris paribus, seems puzzling because it implies that mindless bits of matter behave in a consistent and co-ordinated way. I explain this puzzle by showing that a number of attempted solutions fail. The puzzle could be resolved if it were assumed that natural laws are a manifestation of God’s activity. This argument from natural law to God’s existence differs from its traditional counterparts in that, whereas the latter (...) seek to explain the fact of natural laws, the former seeks to explain their possibility. The customary objections to the traditional arguments cannot be successfully adapted to counter this new argument, with one exception which has only limited effect. I rebut four claims that the theistic solution to the puzzle about natural laws is paradoxical, though I concede that one of these claims has merit. I consider four objections to the new argument but find three of them more or less unsatisfactory. The fourth, if successful, would undermine our claims to know the truth about the world. (shrink)
Gives two pared-down versions of the argument from design, which may prove more persuasive as to a Creator, discusses briefly the mathematics underpinning disbelief and nonbelief and its misuse and some proper uses, moves to why the full argument is needed anyway, viz., to demonstrate Providence, offers a theory as to how miracles (open and hidden) occur, viz. the replacement of any particular mathematics underlying a natural law (save logic) by its most appropriate nonstandard variant. -/- Note: This is an (...) extended abstract; there are no present plans to complete it. (shrink)
This paper first outlines the main ideas of British natural theology, and shows the perennial value some of them have kept. It then outlines ways of searching for connections between God and nature, seeking traces of intelligence, first in the context of the setting of the modern ontology of the laws of nature, and then in the context of the design argument. It contrasts the positions of Hume and Paley. A presentation of recent "intelligent design" proposals is then offered, from (...) the perspective of their continuing that tradition of argumentation. They are contrasted with a Millian acount of their leaving the problem of evil unanswered. Behe's concept of irreducible complexity is presented in greater details, followed by Dembski's attempt to turn it into a logically valid mode of inference. Objections stemming from philosophers of science are lastly considered. The nature of life's strategies is in the end found to escape both attempts to have it on one's side. (shrink)
Quantum field theory is generally accepted by the modern scientific community as the most accurate paradigm for understanding the mystery of reality. This theory revolutionizes what we know as ’matter’ and how material things are connected. But is also confirms an ancient philosophical and ethical truth: the unfathomable mystery of being. Quantum field theory demonstrates that beings be in such a manner that their composite reality evades human cognition. Quantum field theory forces a rethinking of what we mean by ’world’, (...) ’beings’, ’existence’, and ’God’, and our assumptions about order, God, responsibility and systems of ethics. (shrink)
This paper analyzes Berkeley's arguments for the existence of God in the Principles of Human Knowledge, Three Dialogues, and Alciphron. Where most scholarship has interpreted Berkeley as offering three quite distinct attempted proofs of God's existence, I argue that these are all variations on the strategy of inference to the best explanation. I also consider how this reading of Berkeley connects his conception of God to his views about causation and explanation.
The aim of my paper is to highlight that for Peirce the reality of God makes sense of the whole scientific enterprise. The belief in God is a natural product of abduction, of the "rational instinct" or educated guess of the scientist or the layman, and also the abduction of God may be understood as a "proof" of pragmatism. Moreover, I want to suggest that for Peirce scientific activity is a genuine religious enterprise, perhaps even the religious activity par excellence, (...) and that to divorce religion from science is antithetical to both the scientific spirit and the real Peirce. Understanding the real Peirce requires to deal with his religious concerns, which are increasingly recognized as being perhaps as philosophically important as his scientific concerns. Since a key notion in this project is the idea of "il lume naturale" that Peirce borrowed from Galileo, I want also to pay attention to that expression which during years I have been following through Peirce's papers and books. -/- In order to try to explain some of this, my paper is arranged into four brief sections after this already long introduction: 1) God and scientific inquiry; 2) The belief in God as a product of abduction; 3) Galileo and Peirce: Il lume naturale; and by way of conclusion 4) Some remarks on the religious framework of Peirce's approach. (shrink)
This paper is an evaluation of C. S. Peirce’s late essay “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God” (1908), based on the two logical values that he calls “productiveness” and “security.” After reviewing the unique logical form of “abduction” and noting that it is a formal fallacy—and so enjoys less “security” than deduction or induction—I turn to the extraordinary case of abduction that is found in “A Neglected Argument.” I argue that the productiveness of the Neglected Argument is found (...) in its ability to instigate practical results. The security of the Neglected Argument, on the other hand, is rooted in an activity Peirce calls “musement,” a kind of rational intuition. Moreover, I suggest that Peirce’s notion of “musement,” which has remained something of a mystery in Peirce studies, arose from hisearly reading of Friedrich von Schiller’s aesthetics. (shrink)
In a recent article, Graham Oppy offers a lucid and intriguing examination of William Paley's design argument. Oppy sets two goals for his article. First, he sets out to challenge the "almost universal assumption" that Paley's argument is inductive by revealing it actually to be a deductive argument. Second, he attempts to expose Paley's argument as manifestly poor when interpreted in this way. I will argue that Oppy is unsuccessful in accomplishing his first goal, leaving his second goal quite irrelevant. (...) Contrary to Oppy's interpretation, Paley's argument is best interpreted as an inference to the best explanation. (shrink)
I DEFEND IN DETAIL AN EXPOSITION OF THE ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN IN "PHILOSOPHY" 1968 AGAINST A. OLDING’S RECENT ATTACK IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES. I JUSTIFY THE DUALISM UNDERLYING THE ORIGINAL EXPOSITION. I FIND OLDING GUILTY OF TWO INTERESTING FALLACIES OF INDUCTIVE LOGIC - THE SUPERSIMILARITY FALLACY (POSTULATING IN AN ARGUMENT FROM ANALOGY SIMILARITIES OF CAUSES IN RESPECTS IN WHICH DIFFERENCES OF EFFECTS SUGGEST DIFFERENCES OF CAUSES) AND THE COMPLETIST FALLACY (CLAIMING THAT AN EXPLANATION OF E BY C IS IMPERFECT UNLESS THE (...) EXISTENCE OF C AND HOW C CAUSES E CAN ALSO BE EXPLAINED). (shrink)
ARGUMENTS FROM DESIGN TO THE EXISTENCE OF GOD MAY TAKE AS THEIR PREMISS EITHER THE EXISTENCE OF REGULARITIES OF COPRESENCE OR THE EXISTENCE OF REGULARITIES OF SUCCESSION. THERE ARE NO VALID FORMAL OBJECTIONS TO A CAREFULLY ARTICULATED ARGUMENT OF THE LATTER TYPE. AGAINST SUCH AN ARGUMENT NONE OF THE OBJECTIONS IN HUME’S "DIALOGUES" HAVE ANY WORTH. THE ARGUMENT MAY HOWEVER GIVE ONLY A SMALL DEGREE OF SUPPORT TO ITS CONCLUSION.
In his ’Logic and Theism’ Sobel claims that the allocation of prior probabilities to theories is a purely subjective matter. I claim that there are objective criteria for determining prior probabilities of theories (dependent on their simplicity and scope); and if there were not, science would be a totally irrational activity. I reject Sobel’s main criticism of my own cumulative argument for the existence of God that I argue illegitimately from each datum raising the probability of theism to the conjunction (...) of all data raising that probability, since I explicitly adopted a procedure which does not commit that fallacy. (shrink)
This paper responds to a number of articles critical of my paper, "Arguments from Design" in the first issue of ’Think’, by Norman, Bostrom, Dawkins, and Schick. It claims that the hypothesis that God sustains the laws of nature remains the simplest and so most probably true explanation of the existence and character of laws of nature.
I analyze different accounts of laws of nature: the Hume-Lewis regularity account, the Armstrong-Tooley relations between universals account, and my preferred account in terms of the powers and liabilities of individual substances. On any account it is most unlikely a priori that a universe would be governed by simple laws of nature. But if there is a God, it is quite probable that he will choose to create free agents of limited power, and to put them in a universe governed (...) by simple laws of nature, in order that their purposes may have their intended effects. Hence, the operation of simple laws of nature confirms the existence of God. (shrink)
I distinguish between the argument to the existence of God from the operation of laws of nature and the argument from the laws being of such a kind as (together with the boundary conditions of the universe) to lead to the evolution of humans. There could not be a ’scientific’ explanation of these data, but there could be a ’personal’ explanation that they were caused by a person in virtue of his powers and purposes. The simplest and so most probably (...) true explanation is that they were brought about by God. (shrink)
After a discussion of several concepts of explanation, in which the criterion of simplicity is emphasized and some interesting historical examples are used as illustration, this paper presents the cosmological and teleological arguments. The central claim is that the hypothesis of theism is more simple and elegant and so more rational than any of its alternatives.