Chris Dragos has recently presented two objections to criticisms I've published against Peter van Inwagen's No-Minimum argument. He also suggests that the best way to criticize the No-Minimum argument is via the concept of divine satisficing. In this article I argue that both of Dragos's objections fail, and I question whether satisficing is relevant to the viability of the No-Minimum argument.
It is widely thought that God must love each and every human to the same depth and degree. This proposition plays a prominent role in influential versionsof the problem of evil, and in theistic attempts to answer the problem of evil. A common reason cited in support of the idea of God’s loving equally every human is that a perfect being would possess every great-making property and loving equally every human would be a great-making property. It is the argument of (...) this essay, however, that a perfect being cannot in principle equally love every human. This argument is erected upon an unnoticed principle of perfect being theology: for all properties F, if F is a deficiency when had by a human, then F cannot be great-making when had by God. (shrink)
Is the no-minimum claim true? I have argued that it is not. Andrew Cullison contends that my argument fails, since human sentience is variable; while Michael Schrynemakers has contended that the failure is my neglect of vagueness. Both, I argue, are wrong.
‘William L. Rowe on Philosophy of Religion’ edited by Nick Trakakis, collects 30 papers of William Rowe's important work in the philosophy of religion. I review this collection, and offer an objection of one of Rowe's arguments.
The evidential argument from evil seeks to show that suffering is strong evidence against theism. The core idea of the evidential argument is that we know of innocent beings suffering for no apparent good reason. Perhaps the most common criticism of the evidential argument comes from the camp of skeptical theism, whose lot includes William Alston, Alvin Plantinga, and Stephen Wykstra. According to skeptical theism the limits of human knowledge concerning the realm of goods, evils, and the connections between values, (...) undermines the judgment that what appears as pointless evil really is pointless. For all we know the suffering of an innocent being, though appearing pointless, in fact leads to a greater good. In this paper I argue that no one who accepts the doctrines of skeptical theism has a principled way of avoiding moral skepticism. (shrink)
Is it reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of strong evidence that God exists? Pragmatic arguments for theism are designed to support belief even if one lacks evidence that theism is more likely than not. Jeff Jordan proposes that there is a sound version of the most well-known argument of this kind, Pascal's Wager, and explores the issues involved - in epistemology, the ethics of belief, decision theory, and theology.
Pascal is best known among philosophers for his wager in support of Christian belief. Since Ian Hacking’s classic article on the wager, three versions of the wager have been recognized within the concise paragraphs of the Pensées. In what follows I argue that there is a fourth to be found there, a version that in many respects anticipates the argument of William James in his 1896 essay “The Will to Believe.” This fourth wager argument, I contend, differs from the better-known (...) three in that it has as a premise the proposition that theistic belief is more rewarding than non-belief in this life, whether God exists or not. As we will see, this proposition provides a way of circumventing the many-gods objection. From the four wagers found in Pascal’s Pensées, I argue, one can salvage the resources for a version of the wager, Pascalian in nature, even if not in origin, immune to the many-gods objection. A brief comment on the apologetic role Pascal intended for the wagers played is our first task at hand. (shrink)
The first part of this paper exposits William Rowe's latest version of the evidential argument from evil. Integral to this new version is what we can call the 'level-playing field' requirement, which regulates probability values. It is the argument of the second part of this paper that either the two premises of the new version are regulated by the level-playing-field requirement or they're not. If they are both regulated, then no one would be in position to rationally accept one (...) of those premises; if they're not both regulated, then the theist would have good reason to reject the one that is. Either way, Rowe's latest version of the evidential argument fails. (shrink)
Pascal's wager attempts to provide a prudential reason in support of the rationality of believing that God exists. The wager employs the idea that the utility of theistic belief, if true, is infinite, and in this way, the expected utility of theism swamps that of any of its rivals. Not surprisingly the wager generates more than a good share of philosophical criticism. In this essay I examine two recent objections levelled against the wager and I argue that each fails. Following (...) this, I argue that a transfinite version of the wager -- one using the idea of an infinite utility -- is incompatible with standard axiomatic constructions of decision-theory and, as a consequence, the Pascalian would be well-advised to give up the idea of an infinite utility and employ only a finite version of the wager. The consequences of limiting the wager to finite utilities are also explored. (shrink)
This collection of essays is dedicated to William Rowe, with great affection, respect, and admiration. The philosophy of religion, once considered a deviation from an otherwise analytically rigorous discipline, has flourished over the past two decades. This collection of new essays by twelve distinguished philosophers of religion explores three broad themes: religious attitudes of faith, belief, acceptance, and love; human and divine freedom; and the rationality of religious belief. Contributors include: William Alston, Robert Audi, Jan Cover, Martin Curd, Peter van (...) Inwagen, Norman Kretzmann, George Nakhnikian, John Hawthorne, Philip Quinn, James Ross, Eleonore Stump, and William Wainwright. (shrink)