In the Dialogues Hume attaches great importance to an objection to the design argument which states, negatively, that from phenomena which embody evil as well as good there can be no analogical inference to the morally perfect deity of traditional theism and, positively, that the proper conclusion as regards moral character is an indifferent designer. The first section of this paper sets out Hume's points, and the next three offer an updating of Hume's objection which will apply to Swinburne's Bayesian (...) form of the design argument. The final section concludes that Hume's objection, suitably developed, holds against most of the main theistic arguments, even in their Bayesian form. (shrink)
This paper considers the Bayesian form of the fine-tuning argument as advanced by Richard Swinburne. An expository section aims to identify the precise character of the argument, and three lines of objection are then advanced. The first of these holds that there is an inconsistency in Swinburne's procedure, the second that his argument has an unacceptable dependence on an objectivist theory of value, the third that his method is powerless to single out traditional theism from a vast number of (...) competitors. In the final section of the paper the fine-tuning argument is considered, not now as self-standing, but as one of a number of theistic arguments taken together and applied in the manner of the final chapter of Swinburne's The Existence of God. It is argued that points already made also block the way for this line of thought. (shrink)
A frequent objection to the fine-tuning argument has been that although certain necessary conditions for life were admittedly exceedingly improbable, still, the many possible alternative sets of conditions were all equally improbable, so that no special significance is to be attached to the realization of the conditions of life. Some authors, however, have rejected this objection as fallacious. The object of this paper is to state the objection to the fine-tuning argument in a more telling form than has been done (...) hitherto, and to meet the charge of fallacy. (shrink)
This paper re-examines an argument of kirk's aimed at refuting quine's inference from the underdetermination of physical theory to the indeterminacy of translation. it is claimed that kirk's argument is unsuccessful; unsuccessful, at any rate, if we make what has seemed until recently the only possible assumption about quine's criterion for individuating theories. but in recent publications quine has proposed a rather different criterion, and in the light of this, it is conceded, kirk's argument may well take effect. it is (...) then argued that quine's new criterion has disastrous effects; it not merely opens a way for kirk's criticism of one of the props of the indeterminacy thesis, but puts that thesis itself at risk. (shrink)
R kirk ("analysis", volume 33, 1973, pages 195-201) proposes an argument against quine's deduction of indeterminacy of translation from underdetermination of physical theory. the present paper is a reply to kirk, aimed primarily at showing that his argument is "ignoratio elenchi".