In Chapter 12 of Warrant and Proper Function, Alvin Plantinga constructs two arguments against evolutionary naturalism, which he construes as a conjunction E&N .The hypothesis E says that “human cognitive faculties arose by way of the mechanisms to which contemporary evolutionary thought directs our attention (p.220).”1 With respect to proposition N , Plantinga (p. 270) says “it isn’t easy to say precisely what naturalism is,” but then adds that “crucial to metaphysical naturalism, of course, is the view that (...) there is no such person as the God of traditional theism.” Plantinga tries to cast doubt on the conjunction E&N in two ways.His “preliminary argument” aims to show that the conjunction is probably false, given the fact (R) that our psychological mechanisms for forming beliefs about the world are generally reliable.His “main argument” aims to show that the conjunction E&N is self-defeating — if you believe E&N , then you should stop believing that conjunction.Plantinga further develops the main argument in his unpublished paper “Naturalism Defeated” (Plantinga 1994).We will try to show that both arguments contain serious errors. (shrink)
Intending to have a constructive dialogue with the combination of evolutionary theory (E) and metaphysical naturalism (N), Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN) takes the reliability of human cognition (in normal environments) as a purported explanandum and E&N as a purported explanans. Then, he considers whether E&N can offer a good explanans for this explanandum, and his answer is negative (an answer employed by him to produce a defeater for N). But I will argue that the whole EAAN (...) goes wrong by assuming that R is a qualified explanandum crying out for scientific explanations, since it cannot meet either of the two criteria for any scientifically qualified explanandum: Realizability Criterion and Informativeness Criterion. Hence, EAAN is simply setting a task that E&N, as a scientific theory, will not care at all. Therefore, EAAN cannot substantially shake E&N. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism aims to show that the conjunction of contemporary evolutionary theory (E) with the claim that there is no God (N) cannot be rationally accepted. Where R is the claim that our cognitive faculties are reliable, the argument is: The probability of R given N and E is low or inscrutable.Anyone who sees (1) and accepts (N&E) has a defeater for R, and this defeater cannot be defeated or deflected.Anyone who has an undefeated, undeflected (...) defeater for R has an undefeated, undeflected defeater for everything she believes.Therefore she has an undefeated, undeflected defeater for (N&E).Plantinga (2011) defends the second premise. It examines and rejects several candidate defeater defeaters and defeater deflectors. One candidate is Millikan’s teleosemantics. I show that Plantinga’s motives for rejecting teleosemantics as a defeater deflector are inadequate. I then show that teleosemantics is not on its own an adequate defeater deflector. Then I offer an additional premise that constitutes a defeater deflector in conjunction with teleosemantics. (shrink)
Plantinga’s Free Will Defense is an argument that, possibly, God cannot actualize a world containing significant creaturely free will and no wrongdoings. I will argue that if standard Molinism is true, there is a pair of worlds w1 and w2 each of which contains a significantly free creature who never chooses wrongly, and that are such that, necessarily, at least one of these worlds is a world that God can actualize.
pt. 1. De dicto: Necessary and contingent truths, by G. W. Leibniz. New essays concerning human understanding, by G. W. Leibniz. Introduction to the critique of pure reason, by Immanuel Kant. On the nature of mathematical truth, C. G. Hempel. Two dogmas of empiricism, by W. V. O. Quine. In defense of a dogma, by H. P. Grace and P. F. Strawson. The a priori and the analytic, by A. Quinton. The truths of reason, by R. Chisholm.--pt. 2. De re: (...) Reference and modality, by W. V. O. Quine. De re et de dicto, by A. Plantinga. World and essence, by A. Plantinga.--Bibliography (p. 200-202). (shrink)
The idea that films can be philosophical, or in some sense 'do' philosophy, has recently found a number of prominent proponents. What is at stake here is generally more than the tepid claim that some documentaries about philosophy and related topics convey philosophically relevant content. Instead, the contention is that cinematic fictions, including popular movies such as The Matrix , make significant contributions to philosophy. Various more specific claims are linked to this basic idea. One, relatively weak, but pedagogically important (...) observation is that some films can be used to provide philosophy students with vivid and thought-provoking illustrations of philosophical issues. Film screenings stimulate discussion and may motivate renewed engagement with difficult philosophical texts. A stronger contention, however, seeks to link innovative and philosophically valuable thinking to 'the film itself' or to the 'specificity of the cinematic medium'. Such claims raise interesting questions, including questions about the status of the increasingly prevalent philosophically motivated interpretations of particular movies. Who is actually doing the philosophizing in such cases? Is it the audio-visual display, the film-maker, or the philosopher who devises an interpretation of the work? What is the role of specifically cinematic devices in the philosophical points made in such interpretations? Is there any tension between the goal of appreciating a film as a work of art and the goal of arguing that a film has significant implications for a position on a problem in philosophy? A course in the general area of cinema as philosophy can focus on issues related to the locus and status of cinematic philosophizing. It can also delve into specific films and film-makers and philosophically oriented interpretations of specific philosophical topics, such as personal identity. Issues pertaining to interpretation, meaning, and authorship can be usefully investigated in this connection, as can topics in meta-philosophy related to the very nature of philosophical insight or knowledge. Author Recommends Carroll, Noël and Jinhee Choi, eds. 2008. The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology , Part VIII: Film and Knowledge. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 381–405. Inclues a brief introduction by Carroll followed by papers by Bruce Russell, Karen Hanson, and Lester H. Hunt. Kania, Andrew, ed. 2009. Memento . London: Routledge. A number of philosophers elucidate philosophical themes in Memento and discuss more general issues pertaining to cinema's philosophical significance. Livingston, Paisley. 2009. Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Part 1 surveys arguments surrounding the cinema as philosophy theme, providing detailed criticisms of some of the bold theses in this area. Part 2 discusses issues related to cinematic authorship and the status of philosophically motivated interpretations of works of fiction, arguing for a partial intentionalist account of a work's meanings. Part 3 illustrates the intentionalist principles in a discussion of Ingmar Bergman's philosophical sources, providing insight into themes of motivated irrationality, inauthenticity, and self-knowledge in some of Bergman's works. Livingston, Paisley and CarlPlantinga, eds. 2009. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film , Part IV: Film as Philosophy. London: Routledge. 547–659. Offers a succinct survey by Wartenberg as well as entries on Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, and Andrei Tarkovsky, discussions of film and specific philosophical topics (morality, skepticism, personal identity, and practical wisdom), and examples of philosophically motivated interpretations of three specific films: The Five Obstructions , Gattaca , and Memento . Smith, Murray and Thomas E. Wartenberg, eds. 2006. Thinking Through Cinema: Film as Philosophy . Malden, MA: Blackwell. A collection of papers that combines essays devoted to general positions on the cinema as philosophy topic as well as specific interpretations of works in different genres. Turvey, Malcolm. 2008. Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition . Oxford: Oxford University Press. A probing critical investigation into the assumptions underlying influential philosophical claims about the epistemic value of cinema. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2008. Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy . London: Routledge. Ably surveys and responds to arguments against the idea that films can 'do philosophy'. It defends a conditionalist form of intentionalism in response to the 'imposition objection' according to which it is only the commentator who reads philosophical themes 'into' the movie; illustrates the favored account of film as philosophy with interpretations of specific cinematic fictions. Online Materials Film-Philosophy http://www.film-philosophy.com/ > Founded in 1996, this peer-reviewed online journal is dedicated to philosophically oriented interpretations of films and cinema studies more generally. The e-mail salon encourages discussion of related topics. Includes essays, festival reports, calls for papers, conference and job information, and book reviews. The archive includes contributions from 1997 to the present. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 'Philosophy of Film.' The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/film/ > A brief survey of a range of issues in the philosophy of cinema including a few paragraphs on the film as philosophy topic. Philosophical Films http://www.philfilms.utm.edu/2/filmlist.htm > A briefly annotated list of philosophical films grouped in rubrics such as 'The Meaning of Life' and 'Environmental Ethics'. Sample Syllabus What follows is a 4-week 'start-up module' followed by samples of optional units that focus on particular topics and cinematic examples. Introductory Module Week I: Introduction & Overview Livingston, Paisley. 'Recent Work on Cinema as Philosophy.' Philosophy Compass 3 (2008): 1–14, 20 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00158.x ). Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Ed. Paisley Livingston and CarlPlantinga. London: Routledge. 549–59. Russell, Bruce. 2008. 'The Philosophical Limits of Film.' The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology . Ed. Noël Carroll and Jinhee Choi. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 387–390. Week II: The Bold Thesis on Film as Philosophy Reading: Livingston, Paisley, 'Theses on Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter One. 11–38. Screening: October (dir. Sergei Eisenstein 1928). Week III: Debating the Bold Thesis: The Case of October Carroll, Noël. 1998. 'For God and Country.' Interpreting the Moving Image . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 80–91. Smuts, Aaron. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy: In Defense of a Bold Thesis.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 67:4: 409–20. Week IV: Cinema as Philosophy: Objections and Replies Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Arguing over Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter Two. 39–59. Additional Optional Units Depending on the instructor's areas of interest and expertise, any of the following units could be added (and in some cases, easily expanded into longer segments). The Case of Ingmar Bergman Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Ingmar Bergman.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and CarlPlantinga. London: Routledge. 560–568. Screening(s): Wild Strawberries (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1966). Skepticism Fumerton, Richard. 2009. 'Skepticism.' In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and CarlPlantinga. London: Routledge. 601–10. Screening: The Matrix (dir. Andy and Larry Wachowski 1999) or Total Recall (dir. Paul Verhoeven 1990). Ethics Kupfer, Joseph. 1999. Visions of Virtue in Popular Film . Boulder, CO: Westview. 35–60. Falzon, Chris. 2009. 'Why be Moral?' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and CarlPlantinga. London: Routledge. 591–599. Screening: Groundhog Day (dir. <span class='Hi'>Harold</span> Ramis 1993), or Crimes and Misdemeanors (dir. Woody Allen 1989), or Hollow Man (dir. Paul Verhoeven 2000). Personal Identity Knight, Deborah. 2009. 'Personal Identity.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and CarlPlantinga. London: Routledge. 611–619. Hanley, Richard. 2009. ' Memento and Personal Identity: Are We Getting it Backwards?' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 107–126. Martin, Raymond. 2009. 'The Value of Memory: Reflections on Memento. ' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 87–106. Screening: Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan 2000). Freedom and (Genetic) Determinism Sesardic, Neven. 2009. 'Gattaca.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and CarlPlantinga. London: Routledge. 641–649. Screening: Gattaca (dir. Andrew Niccol 1997). Focus Questions • Is there anything special about the experience of fiction films that is especially well suited to the stimulation of worthwhile philosophical reflection? • Have any novel and philosophically significant ideas found their first expression in a cinematic work? • Under what circumstances can the film medium be used as an expression of a cinematic author's views? • What sort of background knowledge has to be in place for a film to be interpreted as articulating reasonably precise philosophical theses and arguments? • Does the goal of spelling out a film's philosophical meaning sometimes conflict with the goal of appreciating its value as a work of art? (shrink)
In contrast to many of his contemporaries, A. J. Ayer was an analytic philosopher who had sustained throughout his career some interest in developments in the work of his ‘continental’ peers. Ayer, who spoke French, held friendships with some important Parisian intellectuals, such as Camus, Bataille, Wahl and Merleau-Ponty. This paper examines the circumstances of a meeting between Ayer, Merleau-Ponty, Wahl, Ambrosino and Bataille, which took place in 1951 at some Parisian bar. The question under discussion during this meeting was (...) whether the sun existed before humans did, over which the various philosophers disagreed. This disagreement is tangled with a variety of issues, such as Ayer’s critique of Heidegger and Sartre (inherited from Carnap), Ayer’s response to Merleau-Ponty’s critique of empiricism, and Bataille’s response to Sartre’s critique of his notion of ‘unknowing’, which uncannily resembles Ayer’s critique of Sartre. Amidst this tangle one finds Bataille’s statement that an ‘abyss’ separates English from French and German philosophy, the first recorded announcement of the analytic-continental divide in the twentieth century. References H. B. Acton. Philosophy in France. Philosophy, 22(82):161-166, 1947. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100025365 A. J. Ayer & T. Honderich. An Interview with A. J. Ayer. In A. P. Griffiths, editor, A.J. Ayer Memorial Essays, pages 209-226. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991. A. J. Ayer. Language, Truth and Logic. London, Gollancz, 1936. A. J. Ayer. Novelist-Philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. Horizon, 12(67):12–26, & 12(68):101-110, 1945. A. J. Ayer. Novelist-Philosopher, Albert Camus. Horizon, 13(75):155-168, 1946a. A. J. Ayer. Secret Session. Polemic, 2:60-63, 1946b. A. J. Ayer. Some Aspects of Existentialism. In F. Watts, editor, H. B. Acton. Philosophy in France. Philosophy, 22(82):161-166, 1947. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100025365 A. J. Ayer & T. 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Dreyfus & M. Wrathall, editors, A Companion to Heidegger, pages 141-155. Oxford, Blackwell, 2005. E. W. Knight. Literature Considered as Philosophy: The French Example. New York, Macmillan, 1958. C. A. Mace. Review of The Psychology of Sartre by Peter J. R. Dempsey. Mind, 61(243):425-427, 1952. B. Magee. Men of Ideas: Some Creators of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1982. A. R. Manser. Sartre and "Le Néant." Philosophy, 36(137):177-187, 1961. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100058022 M. Martin. Sensible Appearances. In T. Baldwin, editor, The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1870-1945, pages 521-532. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521591041.044 PMid:14585038 F. Maubert. Francis Bacon, sa dernière interview: “Je poursois le peinture car je sais qu’il n’est pas possible de l’arreter.” Paris-Match, 2242:92-93, 1992. J. M. E. McTaggart. The Unreality of Time. 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In my “Plantinga Untouched,” I argued that James Beilby’s recent objection to Plantinga’s EAAN was unsuccessful. Beilby has sincereplied that a naturalist can grant the Inscrutability Thesis and yet be alethically rational in hoping for a high P(R/N and future developments of E) and, therefore, needn’t accept the alethic defeater for R. I argue that this is impossible, since a naturalist cannot consistently grant that thesis and meet Beilby’s own criteria for alethic hope. Consequently, Plantinga is (still) (...) right in maintaining that the naturalist who grants that P(R/N&E) is low or inscrutable has a defeater for R. (shrink)
Universals: Loux, M. J. The existence of universals. Russell, B. The world of universals. Quine, W. V. O. On what there is. Pears, D. F. Universals. Strawson, P. F. Particular and general. Wolterstorff, N. Qualities. Bambrough, R. Universals and family resemblances. Donagan, A. Universals and metaphysical realism. Sellars, W. Abstract entities. Wolterstorff, N. On the nature of universals.--Particulars: Loux, M. J. Particulars and their individuation. Black. M. The identity of indiscernibles. Ayer, A. J. The identity of indiscernibles. O'Connor, D. J. (...) The identity of indiscernibles. Allaire, E. B. Bare particulars. Chappell, V. C. Particulars re-clothed. Allaire, E. B. Another look at bare particulars. Meiland, J. W. Do relations individuate? Long, D. C. Particulars and their qualities. Copi, I. Essence and accident. Chandler, H. S. Essence and accident. Plantinga, A. World and essence. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that the definition of a possible world in the actualist tradition of A. Plantinga, R.M. Adams, R. Chisholm, J. Pollock and N . Wolterstorff is unable to accomodate tensed states of affairs. An example of a tensed state of affairs is the transiently obtaining state of affairs that the storm is present, which obtains only if its negation, it is not the case that the storm is present also obtains but at (...) different times. A possible world that includes tensed states of affairs and their negations cannot be defined in the traditional way, which states that a possible world is a state of affairs S that includes every state of affairs S' or (exclusive disjunction) the negation of S'. Rather, it must be defined in a new way: A possible world is a state of affairs S that includes every state of affairs S' or (inclusive disjunction) the negation of S', such that for every pair P of mutually contradictory tensed states of affairs entailed by S, the members of P obtain nonsimultaneously in S. (shrink)
The existence of evil and suffering in our world seems to pose a serious challenge to belief in the existence of a perfect God. If God were all-knowing, it seems that God would know about all of the horrible things that happen in our world. If God were all-powerful, God would be able to do something about all of the evil and suffering. Furthermore, if God were morally perfect, then surely God would want to do something about it. And yet (...) we find that our world is filled with countless instances of evil and suffering. These facts about evil and suffering seem to conflict with the orthodox theist claim that there exists a perfectly good God. The challenged posed by this apparent conflict has come to be known as the problem of evil. (shrink)
THE PAPER BEGINS BY CONSIDERING THREE ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS OF "ANALYTIC," ONE IN TERMS OF LOGICAL TRUTH, ONE IN TERMS OF THE MEANINGS OF WORDS, AND ONE IN TERMS OF SELF-CONTRADICTION OR INCOHERENCE. NEXT, FIVE DEFINITIONS OF "NECESSARY" ARE CONSIDERED, ONE IN TERMS OF ANALYTICITY, AND ONE PICKING OUT THE BROADER KIND OF LOGICAL NECESSITY DISCUSSED BY KRIPKE AND PLANTINGA. FINALLY, THREE DEFINITIONS OF "A PRIORI" ARE CONSIDERED. ONLY ON A FEW OF THESE DEFINITIONS DO THE CATEGORIES OF ANALYTIC, NECESSARY, (...) AND A PRIORI COINCIDE. (shrink)
Despite the recent claims of some prominent Catholic philosophers, I argue that Cardinal Newman's writings are in fact largely compatible with the contemporary movement in the philosophy of religion known as Reformed Epistemology, and in particular with the work of Alvin Plantinga. I first show how the thought of both Newman and Plantinga was molded in response to the "evidentialist" claims of John Locke. I then examine the details of Newman's response, especially as seen in his Essay in (...) Aid of A Grammar of Assent, suggesting that many of Newman's central ideas closely mirror Plantinga's. Finally, I argue that ifNewman and Plantinga part ways at any point, it is with respect to the basicality of specifically Christian (as opposed to theistic) belief. (shrink)
It is shown that two arguments given by Alvin Plantinga, which he offers to refute the existentialist thesis that propositions, states of affairs, and properties are ontologically dependent upon the objects they are directly about, are unsound. The existentialist position is then defended on the basis of both some intuitive considerations and a rigorous argument that does not presuppose any particular theory of the nature of propositions, states of affairs, and properties.