All of the ingredients for what has become known as Anselmian perfect being theology were present already in the thought of St. Augustine. This paper develops that thesis by calling attention to various claims Augustine makes. It then asks whether there are principled reasons for determining which properties the greatest possible being has and whether an account of what contributes to greatness can settle the question whether the greatest possible being is the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and (...) Jacob. The paper develops Augustine’s answer to the first question by extracting several principles he endorses that generate a hierarchy of greatness. It addresses the second question by discussing the requirements of worship and of creation. (shrink)
This paper develops an interpretation of the doctrine of the Trinity, drawn from Augustine and the Athanasian Creed. Such a doctrine includes divinity claims (the persons are divine), diversity claims (the persons are distinct), and a uniqueness claim (there is only one God). I propose and defend an interpretation of these theses according to which they are neither logically incompatible nor do they do entail that there are three (or four) gods.
I discuss conditions for the validity of proxy consent to treatment on behalf of an incompetent person. I distinguish those incompetents who, when previously competent, expressed an opinion on the treatment in question from those who were never competent or who, though previously competent, never expressed an opinion on the proposed treatment. In the former case valid proxy consent usually requires respecting the stated wishes of the patient. The latter case is more difficult. I consider a widely-held principle which appeals (...) to the counterfactual wishes of the incompetent person. I argue that it is unacceptable and propose in its place a principle having to do with the best interests of the patient. Keywords: proxy consent, informed consent, competence, hypothetical wishes, substituted judgment, counterfactual wishes CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Several debates in contemporary metaphysics provoke us to ask what an event is. One theory, Pioneered by chisholm, Develops the analogy between the occurrence of events and the truth of corresponding propositions. I call these propositional analyses. It is unclear whether their adherents wish to jettison our event-Concepts, And replace them with concepts from another category, Such as semantics. The other theory of what events are that I scrutinize, Namely kim's and goldman's property-Exemplification analysis, Seems reductive. My suspicion is that (...) if you attempt to boil down the occurrence of an event to the "obtaining" or "taking place" of a proposition-Like "state of affairs"--Or to the "exemplification" of a property by an "object"--At some "time", We have a residual event: a mysterious episode of "obtaining" or "exemplifying" in which either states of affairs or properties and objects participate. Reduction is unlikely. (shrink)
In a recent article, EdwardWierenga defends a version of Social Trinitarianism according to which the Persons of the Trinity form a unique society of really distinct divine beings, each of whom has its own exemplification of divinity. In this paper, I call attention to several philosophical and theological difficulties with Wierenga’s account, as well as to a problem that such difficulties pose for Social Trinitarianism generally. I then briefly suggest what I take to be a more (...) promising approach to the Trinity. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that a false assumption drives the attraction of philosophers to a divine command theory of morality. Specifically, I suggest the idea thatanything not created by God is independent of God is a misconception. The idea misleads us into thinking that our only choice in offering a theistic ground for morality is between making God bow to a standard independent of his will or God creating morality in revealing his will. Yet what is God is (...) hardly independent of him, and in coupling a perfect being theology with the doctrine of divine simplicity we discover that God’s “reason” is God. Accordingly, obeying the truths of goodness that we humans speak of as contained in the divine wisdom hardly impugns the divine sovereignty. By modifying divine command ethics to give primacyto God’s love or justice, thinkers such as Robert M. Adams, Philip L. Quinn, and Edward J. Wierenga admit the repugnance of this picture in spite of their verbal allegiance to divine command ethics. Accordingly, they implicitly concede that basing morality on God’s sheer power should not be the preferred option for the Christian theist. (shrink)
One of the cornerstones of western theology is the doctrine of divine omnipotence. God is traditionally conceived of as an omnipotent or all-powerful being. However, satisfactory analyses of omnipotence are notoriously elusive. In this paper, I first consider some simple attempts to analyze omnipotence, showing how each fails. I then consider two more sophisticated accounts of omnipotence. The first of these is presented by EdwardWierenga; the second by Thomas Flint and Alfred Freddoso. I argue that both of (...) these accounts fail. Finally, I propose and defend a novel account of omnipotence. (shrink)
In this paper I examine an argument that has been made by Patrick Grim for the claim that de se knowledge is incompatible with the existence of an omniscient being. I claim that the success of the argument depends upon whether it is possible for someone else to know what I know in knowing (F), where (F) is a claim involving de se knowledge. I discuss one reply to this argument, proposed by EdwardWierenga, that appeals to first-person (...) propositions and argue that this response is unsuccessful. I then consider David Lewis’s theory of de se attitudes involving the self-ascription of properties. I claim that, according to this theory, there are two senses in which someone else can know what I know in knowing (F). I then argue that the second sense allows for the compatibility of de se knowledge with the existence of an omniscient being. (shrink)
Many theists hold that for any world x that God has the power to actualize, there is a better world, y, that God had the power to actualize instead of x. Recently, however, it has been suggested that this scenario is incompatible with traditional theism: roughly, it is claimed that no being can be essentially unsurpassable on this view, since no matter what God does in actualizing a world, it is possible for God (or some other being) to do better, (...) and hence it is possible for God (or some other being) to be better. In reply to an argument of this sort, Daniel and Frances Howard-Snyder offer the surprising claim that an essentially unsurpassable being could – consistently with his goodness and rationality – select a world for actualization at random. In what follows, I respond to the most recent contributions to this discussion. I criticize William Rowe’s new reply to the Howard-Snyders (but I endorse the spirit of one of his arguments), and I claim that EdwardWierenga’s new defence of the Howard-Snyders fails. I conclude that the Howard-Snyders’ argument fails to show that an essentially unsurpassable being could randomly choose a world for actualization. Accordingly, it fails to block an important argument for atheism. (shrink)
EdwardWierenga has argued that the free will defense (FWD) is compatible with compatibilism (IFaith and PhilosophyD, April 1988). I maintain that Wierenga is mistaken. I distinguish between the IconceptualD doctrine of compatibilism and the ImetaphysicalD doctrine of soft determinism, and offer arguments that the FWD fails if either doctrine is true. Finally, I reconstruct Wierenga's argument and argue that it fails because either it is equivocal or it contains a false premise.
Social Trinitarians attempt to solve the logical problem of the Trinity by claiming that there are three numerically distinct divine persons. A common objection to this view is that it is seemingly committed to the existence of multiple Gods and is therefore polytheistic. I consider EdwardWierenga’s response to this objection, as well as two other possible responses, and show that each faces serious philosophical problems. I conclude that, in the absence of a better method of distinguishing the (...) property of being divine from that of being a God, social Trinitarians are committed to the existence of more than one God. (shrink)