This short source describes the history of the kalam and how it was adopted by Muslims. Furthermore it outlines an argument made by al-Ghazali in defense of the existence of a Creator. The chapter as a whole concerns the kalam cosmological argument, which holds that there is a reason for the existence of the universe.
Scholars discussing Aquinas’s ethics typically understand it as largely Aristotelian, though with some differences accounted for by the differences in worldview between Aristotle and Aquinas. In this paper, I argue against this view. I show that although Aquinas recognizes the Aristotelian virtues, he thinks they are not real virtues. Instead, for Aquinas, the passions—or the suitably formulated intellectual and volitional analogues to the passions—are not only the foundation of any real ethical life but also the flowering of what is best (...) in it. (shrink)
Only the most naïve or tendentious among us would deny the extent and intensity of suffering in the world. Can one hold, consistently with the common view of suffering in the world, that there is an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good God? This book argues that one can. Wandering in Darkness first presents the moral psychology and value theory within which one typical traditional theodicy, namely, that of Thomas Aquinas, is embedded. It explicates Aquinas's account of the good for human beings, (...) including the nature of love and union among persons. Eleonore Stump also makes use of developments in neurobiology and developmental psychology to illuminate the nature of such union. Stump then turns to an examination of narratives. In a methodological section focused on epistemological issues, the book uses recent research involving autism spectrum disorder to argue that some philosophical problems are best considered in the context of narratives. Using the methodology argued for, the book gives detailed, innovative exegeses of the stories of Job, Samson, Abraham and Isaac, and Mary of Bethany. In the context of these stories and against the backdrop of Aquinas's other views, Stump presents Aquinas's own theodicy, and shows that Aquinas's theodicy gives a powerful explanation for God's allowing suffering. She concludes by arguing that this explanation constitutes a consistent and cogent defense for the problem of suffering. (shrink)
The rapid, perplexing increase in the incidence of autism has led to a correlative increase in research on it and on normally developing children as well. In this paper I consider some of this research, not only for what it shows us about human cognitive capacities but also for its suggestive implications regarding the ability of science to teach us about the world.
To what extent can one be saddled with responsibility or guilt as a result of actions committed not by oneself but by others with whom one has a familial or national connection or some other communal association? The issue of communal guilt has been extensively discussed, and there has been no shortage of writers willing to apply the notion of communal responsibility and guilt to Germany after the Holocaust. But the whole notion of communal guilt is deeply puzzling. How can (...) evil actions cast a shadow over the future in this way to generate obligations or guilt on the part of those who did not in any way participate in those actions? In this article, I will focus on a question that is a smaller-scale analogue of the question of communal guilt, one which raises similar perplexities but in a more tractable way. I will concentrate on the restoration of relations with perpetrators of great evil in cases in which their whole-hearted repentance is not in doubt. Most of us feel a strong antipathy to the restoration of relations with such a perpetrator. What explains and supports that emotive reaction is the subject of this article, and its conclusions are suggestive of promising approaches to the question of communal guilt. (shrink)
Few philosophers or theologians exerted as much influence on the shape of Medieval thought as Thomas Aquinas. He ranks amongst the most famous of the Western philosophers and was responsible for almost single-handedly bringing the philosophy of Aristotle into harmony with Christianity. He was also one of the first philosophers to argue that philosophy and theology could support each other. The shape of metaphysics, theology, and Aristotelian thought today still bears the imprint of Aquinas work. In this extensive and deeply (...) researched study, Eleonore Stump enages Aquinas across the full range of his philosophical writings. She examines Aquinas' major works, Summa Theologiae and Summa Contra Gentiles and clearly assesses the vast range of Aquinas' thought from his metaphysics, theology, philosophy of mind and epistemology to his views on free will, action, the soul and ethics, law and politics. She considers the influence of Aquinas' thought on contemporary philosophy and why he should bestill read today. (shrink)
In this paper, the author argues that a second-person experience is an experience one has when one has conscious awareness of another consciously aware person. The author shows that there are some things we know in second-person experiences which are either difficult or impossible to put in propositional form at all but stories can capture them for us. An account of a second-person experience is what we typically find in narratives. The author argues that the second-person point of view has (...) a special place in some areas of philosophy, including philosophy of religion. It matters to many issues in philosophy of religion, perhaps especially to the problem of evil, that God is taken to be a person who has personal relations with created persons. The paper proceeds to show that philosophical attention to the second-person account in the biblical narrative of the book of Job illuminates the book in a new way and sheds light on the problem of evil. /// O presente artigo parte do princípio de que uma experiência na segunda-pessoa constitui a experiência que temos quando estamos conscientemente atentos à presença de outra pessoa conscientemente desperta. A autora demonstra a existência de algumas coisas que conhecemos mediante a experiência da segunda pessoa as quais são ou difíceis ou até mesmo impossíveis de colocar em forma proposicional, ainda que narrativas as possam perfeitamente captar para nós. O relato de uma experiência na segunda pessoa é precisamente aquilo que tipicamente encontramos em narrativas. A autora argumenta que o ponto de vista da segunda pessoa tem um lugar especial em algumas áreas da filosofia, incluindo a filosofia da religião. Na verdade, não deixa de ser relevante para o tratamento de muitas questões no âmbito da filosofia da religião, mas talvez de um modo muito especial no que se refere ao tratamento do problema do mal, partir do princípio de que Deus é pessoa e mantém relações de pessoa-a-pessoa com as suas criaturas pessoais. Posto isto, o artigo procede com a demonstração de que a atenção filosófica ao relato na segunda pessoa que se encontra no Livro de Job não deixa de iluminar este livro sapiencial bem como de projectar nova luz sobre o velho problema do mal. (shrink)
It is hard to overestimate the importance of the work of Augustine of Hippo, both in his own period and in the subsequent history of Western philosophy. Until the thirteenth century, when he may have had a competitor in Thomas Aquinas, he was the most important philosopher of the medieval period. Many of his views, including his theory of the just war, his account of time and eternity, his understanding of the will, his attempted resolution of the problem of evil, (...) and his approach to the relation of faith and reason, have continued to be influential up to the present time. In this volume of specially-commissioned essays, sixteen scholars provide a wide-ranging and stimulating contribution to our understanding of Augustine, covering all the major areas of his philosophy and theology. (shrink)
Some defenders of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) have responded to the challenge of Frankfurt-style counterexamples (FSCs) to PAP by arguing that there remains a flicker of freedom -- that is, an alternative possibility for action -- left to the agent in FSCs. I argue that the flicker of freedom strategy is unsuccessful. The strategy requires the supposition that doing an act-on-one''s-own is itself an action of sorts. I argue that either this supposition is confused and leads to counter-intuitive (...) results; or, if the supposition is acceptable, then it is possible to use it to construct a FSC in which there is no flicker of freedom at all. Either way, the flicker of freedom strategy is ineffective against FSCs. Since the flicker of freedom strategy is arguably the best defense of PAP, I conclude that FSCs are successful in showing that PAP is false. An agent can act with moral responsibility without having alternative possibilities available to her. (shrink)
In a preceding issue of Faith and Philosophy Stewart Goetz criticized a paper of mine in which I try to show that libertarians need not be committed to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) and that Frankfurt-style counterexamples to PAP are no threat to libertarianism. In my view, the main problem with Goetz’s arguments is that Goetz does not properly understand my position. In this paper, I respond to Goetz by summarizing my position in as plain a way as possible. (...) Goetz’s charge against my position has two parts, first, that it isn’t libertarian and, second, that it provides no good reason for libertarians to abandon PAP. This paper briefly presents my answers to these two parts of Goetz’s charge. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga’s “Advice to Christian Philosophers” had the effect of getting contemporary Christian philosophers to recognize themselves as a part of a community with a worldview different from that found in the rest of Academia, and to take seriously in their work their commitment to that distinct worldview. I argue that in the current climate of opinion, generated at least in part by Plantinga’s advice, it would be worthwhile for contemporary Christian philosophers to consider that we also belong to a (...) community of Christians that extends across centuries, and to ask what we are committed to by our participation in that larger community. (shrink)
Considerable effort has been expended on constructing theodicies which try to reconcile the suffering of unwilling innocents, such as Job, with the existence and nature of God as understood in Christian theology. There is, of course, abundant reflection on the problem of evil and the story of Job in the history of Jewish thought, but this material has not been discussed much in contemporary philosophical literature. I want to take a step towards remedying this defect by examining the interpretation of (...) the story of Job and the solution to the problem of evil given by one important and influential Jewish thinker, Saadia Gaon. (shrink)
The major Western monotheisms, and Christianity in particular, are often supposed to be committed to a substance dualism of a Cartesian sort. Aquinas, however, has an account of the soul which is non-Cartesian in character. He takes the soul to be something essentially immaterial or configurational but nonetheless realized in material components. In this paper, I argue that Aquinas’s account is coherent and philosophically interesting; in my view, it suggests not only that Cartesian dualism isn’t essential to Christianity but also (...) that the battle lines between dualism and materialism are misdrawn. (shrink)
Among the great philosophers of the Middle Ages Aquinas is unique in pursuing two apparently disparate projects. On the one hand he developed a philosophical understanding of Christian doctrine in a fully integrated system encompassing all natural and supernatural reality. On the other hand, he was convinced that Aristotle's philosophy afforded the best available philosophical component of such a system. In a relatively brief career Aquinas developed these projects in great detail and with an astonishing degree of success. In this (...) volume ten leading scholars introduce all the important aspects of Aquinas' thought, ranging from its historical background and dependence on Greek, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy and theology, through the metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, to the philosophical approach to Biblical commentary. New readers and nonspecialists will find this the most convenient, accessible guide to Aquinas currently in print. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Aquinas. (shrink)