The earth cannot support humanity's increasing population and consumption. Concerned scientists and citizens are therefore wondering how we might work toward a sustainable, survivable human future. Sustainability involves increased technological efficiency and agricultural productivity, but also incentives and attitudes that moderate consumption. Social psychology contributes to changing attitudes and behavior with evidence that a) materialism exacts psychic as well as environmental costs, and b) economic growth has failed to improve human morale. Two principles-the adaptation level phenomenon and social comparison-help explain (...) why materialism and increasing affluence fail to satisfy. (shrink)
According to orthodox Christianity, salvation depends on faith in Christ. If, however, God eternally punishes those who die ignorant of Christ, it appears that we have special instance of the problem of evil: the punishment of the religiously innocent. This is called the soteriological problem of evil. Using Molina's concept of middle knowledge, William Lane Craig develops a solution to this problem which he considers a theodicy. As developed by Craig, the Molinist theodicy rests on the problematic assumption that all (...) informed persons who would freely reject Christ are culpable. Using an informed Muslim as a counter-example, I try to show that Craig's Molinist solution begs the question. (shrink)
While I may have misunderstood certain points in Craig's Molinist theodicy, a careful reading of my article will show that Craig is incorrect in his claim that I have failed to evaluate his proposal on the basis of its asserted standard: plausibility. The heart of my argument is that Craig's theodicy is implausible because it fails to provide a credible explanation of the culpability of all non-believers. In this rejoinder I try to show (1) why an evidentialist exoneration of reflective (...) disbelievers (in Christ) also applies, contra Craig, to the unevangelized; and (2) that an evidentialist account of reflective disbelief is more plausible than Craig's sinful-resistance account. (shrink)
The multifarious nature of biodiversity is considered in relation to difficulties of definite determination and managerial mandates for monitoring. At a micro scale there is some convergence with the concept of community, but the linkage is largely lost in the spectra of temporal scope, spatial scales, successional seres, and taxonomic trajectories. Practicality points to selecting suitable suites of indicators as surrogates for particular purposes. Domains of partial ordering on multiple indicators constitute comparable collectives, whereas different domains require recognition of special (...) situations. Theoretical treatise and practical process can proceed in parallel, with dialogue and cross-fertilization serving to invigorate and inspire; whereas compulsive concern for completeness and consistency can be counter-productive as well as unduly expensive. Inability to completely capture all aspects of biodiversity in one full formulation is interesting and integral to issues of biocomplexity. (shrink)
An increasing number of natural scientists are doubling as natural theologians. I critically examine two recent defences of the design argument by biologists: "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe and "Nature's Destiny" by Michael Denton. Each claims that recent findings in biology provide new evidence for belief in a supernatural designer. For the sake of argument, I grant both the validity and soundness of their arguments. What I then try to show is that even if we grant that the new (...) biology supports a supernatural designer, J. S. Mill's objections, based on ordinary observation, still make it reasonable to doubt that the designer is the God of traditional theism -- a being infinite in power, knowledge, and goodness. (shrink)
The notion that there is a category mistake or some other conceptual confusion in regarding seeing, hearing, and other forms of perception as events, states, or processes is incorrect. Ryle's analysis of "seeing" as an achievement word does not rule out our regarding seeing as an event, but in fact suggests that we do so when we carry the analysis beyond the point where Ryle leaves it. Furthermore there are uses of "see" not noticed by Ryle which justify our saying (...) that within certain contexts seeing is a state and within other contexts a process. The question of what these events, states, and processes are cannot be met without recognizing a fundamental duality of aspect that characterizes perception. This duality can be formulated in terms of the way perception is known. One who observes a perceiver knows the perceiver's perception in a categorically different way than the perceiver knows it. From this it can be seen that perceptual events, states, and processes have both a physical aspect and an epistemological aspect. Any attempt to reduce one of these aspects to the other would involve a category mistake. (shrink)
Allthough small business accounts for over 90% of businesses in U.K. and indeed elsewhere, they remain the largely uncharted area of ethics. There has not been any research based on the perspective of small business owners, to define what echical delemmas they face and how, if at all, they resolve them. This paper explores ethics from the perspective of small business owner, using focus groups and reports on four clearly identifiable themes of ethical delemmas; entrepreneurial activity itself, conflicts of personal (...) values with business needs, social responsibility and the impact of owners' personality on business ethics. The mechanisms for resolving ethical dilemmas is not at all clear, as there appears to be a web of filters which are used in an inter-connected way. However a common starting point for resolving an ethical delemma which involves others is based on identifying who it is (e.g., a friend or institution) and the quality of the relationship with that person. The research yielded a rich source of material on business ethics and it is clear that future researchers must focus on this sector if business ethics is to make significant advances. (shrink)
Wolfhart Pannenberg's eschatological ontology has been criticised for undermining the goodness and reality of finite creaturely differentiation. Drawing on David Bentley Hart's recent ontological proposal, this article explores the critique of Pannenberg's ontology, and offers a defence of Pannenberg's depiction of the relationship between difference and totality, especially as it is presented in his 1988 work, Metaphysics and the Idea of God. In this work, Pannenberg articulates a structured relationship between difference and totality in which individual finite particularities are (...) preserved and affirmed within a coherent semantic whole. Creaturely differences are not sublated or eliminated in the eschatological totality, but they are integrated into a harmonious totality of meaning. This view of the semantic function of totality can be further clarified by drawing an analogy between Pannenberg's ontological vision and Robert W. Jenson's model of the eschatological consummation as a narrative conclusion to the drama of finite reality. (shrink)
This essay defends the view of G. C. Pande that, contrary to received opinion, "ānanda" (bliss, felicity) is accepted by Śaṅkara (ca. 788-820) as a feature of Brahman consistent with and parallel to sat (being) and cit (consciousness). It also includes a counterargument by B. N. K. Sharma, and in conclusion offers a reasoned judgment of the arguments of Śaṅkara and these two contemporary philosophers.
DavidMyers's critique of my proposed Molinist solution to the so-called soteriological problem of evil miscontrues that solution in several key respects. Once those misinterpretations are rectified, it emerges that his proffered critique of my Molinist solution is really quite unrelated to that solution, but constitutes instead an independent argument against the tenability of a religious epistemology of evidentialism in the context of Christian orthodoxy.
This is a review of a book that tries to re-establish mind-body dualism by using (a) empirical research on near-death experiences, placebo effects, creativity, claiming even that parapsychology should become a respected part of science, and (b) Frederic W. H. Myers' (1843-1901) metaphor of the brain as a kind of receiving device that records what the irreducible mind sends as messages. Among other things, we criticize the lack of philosophical clarity about mind-body relation, and question the book's tendency to (...) refer to past and current parapsychological literature as reliable. (shrink)