In this paper, I argue that theists are extremely well-situated with respect to developing metaethical accounts that qualify as ‘robust’ versions of moral realism. In the first part of the essay, a number of metaethical desiderata are identified. In the second part, theistic strategies for accommodating those desiderata are explained and defended. The upshot is that, contrary to the received philosophical wisdom, there are good theoretical reasons for theistic philosophers to seek to develop metaethical accounts that ground moral facts in (...) facts about God. (shrink)
Critics of theological accounts of the nature of morality have argued that such accounts must be rejected, even by theists, because such accounts (i) have the unacceptable implication that nothing is morally wrong in possible worlds in which atheism is true, (ii) render the substantive content of morality arbitrary, and (iii) make it impossible or redundant to attribute moral properties to God or God’s actions. I argue that none of these criticisms constitute good reason for theists to abandon theological accounts (...) of the nature of morality. (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.
Molly Cochran offers an account of the development of normative theory in international relations over the past two decades. In particular, she analyzes the tensions between cosmopolitan and communitarian approaches to international ethics, paying attention to differences in their treatments of a concept of the person, the moral standing of states and the scope of moral arguments. The book draws connections between this debate and the tension between foundationalist and antifoundationalist thinking and offers an argument for a pragmatic approach (...) to international ethics. (shrink)
Whistleblowers have usually been treated as outcasts by private-sector employers. But legal, ethical, and practical considerations increasingly compel companies to encourage employees to disclose suspected illegal and/or unethical activities throughinternal communication channels. Internal disclosure policies/procedures (IDPP''s) have been recommended as one way to encourage such communication.This study examined the relationship between IDPP''s and employee whistleblowing among private-sector employers. Almost 300 human resources executives provided data concerning their organizations'' experiences.
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)
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)
There is quite a bit of disagreement in cognitive science regarding the role that consciousness and control play in explanations of how people do what they do. The purpose of the present paper is to do the following: (1) examine the theoretical choice points that have lead theorists to conflicting positions, (2) examine the philosophical and empirical problems different theories encounter as they address the issue of conscious agency, and (3) provide an integrative framework (Wild Systems Theory) that addresses these (...) problems and potentially naturalizes conscious agency. It does so by grounding conscious and control in the notion of self-sustaining energy-transformation systems (i.e., living systems), versus computational or self- organizing systems, as is the case in information processing theory and dynamical systems theory, respectively. Given its assertion that content (and consciousness) emerges in self-sustaining systems, Wild Systems Theory may also provide a sound theoretical basis for a science of consciousness in general. (shrink)
The concept of contextual emergence has been introduced as a speci?c kind of emergence in which some, but not all of the conditions for a higher-level phenomenon exist at a lower level. Further conditions exist in contingent contexts that provide stability conditions at the lower level, which in turn accord the emergence of novelty at the higher level. The purpose of the present paper is to propose that (proto-) consciousness is a contextually emergent property of self-sustaining systems. The core assumption (...) is that living organisms constitute self-sustaining embodiments of the contingent contexts that accord their emergence. We propose that the emergence of such systems constitutes the emergence of content-bearing systems because the lower-level processes of such systems give rise to and sustain the macro-level whole (i.e., body) in which they are nested, while the emergent macro-level whole constitutes the context in which the lower- level processes can be for something (i.e., be functional). Such embodied functionality is necessarily and naturally about the contexts that it has embodied. It is this notion of self- sustaining embodied aboutness that we propose to represent a type of content capable of evolving into consciousness. (shrink)
The present paper analyzes the regularities referred to via the concept 'self.' This is important, for cognitive science traditionally models the self as a cognitive mediator between perceptual inputs and behavioral outputs. This leads to the assertion that the self causes action. Recent findings in social psychology indicate this is not the case and, as a consequence, certain cognitive scientists model the self as being epiphenomenal. In contrast, the present paper proposes an alternative approach (i.e., the event-control approach) that is (...) based on recently discovered regularities between perception and action. Specifically, these regularities indicate that perception and action planning utilize common neural resources. This leads to a coupling of perception, planning, and action in which the first two constitute aspects of a single system (i.e., the distal-event system) that is able to pre-specify and detect distal events. This distal-event system is then coupled with action (i.e., effector-control systems) in a constraining, as opposed to 'causal' manner. This model has implications for how we conceptualize the manner in which one infers the intentions of another, anticipates the intentions of another, and possibly even experiences another. In conclusion, it is argued that it may be possible to map the concept 'self' onto the regularities referred to in the event-control model, not in order to reify 'the self' as a causal mechanism, but to demonstrate its status as a useful concept that refers to regularities that are part of the natural order. (shrink)
A natural experiment was conducted studying the relations among student cheating, motivation, religiosity, and attitudes toward cheating. Students enrolled in a dual religious/college curriculum were surveyed regarding their cheating behavior, attitudes toward cheating, religiosity, and learning/grade motivations toward classes. Business and liberal arts college students were represented. Results strongly support the following conclusions. First, grade orientation is associated with increases in self-reported cheating. Second, among these religious students, more religiosity correlates with reduced reports of cheating in all courses. This result (...) appears to be due to the unique effect of religion on self-reported cheating rates and, depending on course content, on a reduction of grade orientation in religious students. Third, business students report more cheating than their liberal arts counterparts, even when taking the same courses. They have less critical attitudes toward cheating and greater grade orientation, both of which statistically contribute to this difference, but other factors are involved as well. Keywords: academic integrity, motivation, religiosity, cheating. (shrink)
This empirical study of Fortune 1000 firms assesses the degree to which those firms have adopted various practices associated with corporate ethics programs. The study examines the following aspects of formalized corporate ethics activity: ethics-oriented policy statements; formalization of management responsibilities for ethics; free-standing ethics offices; ethics and compliance telephone reporting/advice systems; top management and departmental involvement in ethics activities; usage of ethics training and other ethics awareness activities; investigatory functions; and evaluation of ethics program activities. Results show a high (...) degree of corporate adoption of ethics policies, but wide variability in the extent to which these policies are implemented by various supporting structures and managerial activities. In effect, the vast majority of firms have committed to the low cost, possibly symbolic side of ethics management (e.g., adoption of ethics codes and policies, etc.). But firms differ substantially in their efforts to see that those policies or codes actually are put into practice. (shrink)
A recurrent theme in ethnomethodological research is that of instructed actions. Contrary to the classic traditions in the social and cognitive sciences, which attribute logical priority or causal primacy to instructions, rules, and structures of action, ethnomethodologists investigate the situated production of actions which enable such formulations to stand as adequate accounts. Consequently, a recitation of formal structures can not count as an adequate sociological description, when no account is given of the local production ofwhat those structures describe. The natural (...) sciences can be described as a domain of practical action in whichthe use of methods enables the intersubjective reproduction of naturalistic observations and experiments. As numerous sociological studies of laboratory practices have shown, the achievement of intersubjective order cannot be reduced to formal methods; instead, it arises from the work of custom-fitting relevant methods to the local circumstances of the research. In this paper we discuss a possible extension of this idea to cover two intertwined aspects of molecular biology: (1) the work of following instructions on how to perform routine laboratory procedures, and (2) the relationship between cellular orders and the encoded instructions contained in the DNA molecule. We suggest that a classic conception of scientific action is implied by the way formal instructions are treated as a primary basis, both for molecular biologists' actions and the cellular functions they study, and we envision an ethnomethodological alternative to those conceptions of social and biological order. (shrink)
Hartmann's way of conceiving what he terms "the actual ought-to-be [aktuales Seinsollen]" offers a fruitful approach to crucial issues in the phenomenology of action. The central issue to be dealt with concerns the description of the "constitution" of anticipated possibilities as projects for action. Such potentialities are termed "problematic possibilities" and are contrasted with "open possibilities" in most of the works published by Husserl as well as those published by Alfred Schutz. The description given by Alfred Schutz emphasized that the (...) projecting of possibilities is thoroughly conditioned by the agent's habitual beliefs and interests. Schutz, however left open the possibility that other factors might affect the projecting of courses of action and the choosing of one in preference to others. In particular, he left open the possibility that the agent come to take an interest in possibilities in which she had no prior interest. More recent interpretations of his position on this issue have left this possibility undiscussed or else excluded it altogether. The result has been that a sort of value nihilism (subjectivism, sociologism, lingualism, anthropologism, historicism, psychologism, etc.) came to prevail in the phenomenological description of actions. A quite parallel development occurred in interpretations of Heidegger's account of actions (of "explication [Auslegung]" in the vocabulary of Being and Time). Heidegger expressly and emphatically rejected most ways of conceiving values in discussing the forms of action (circumspection and assertion in the vocabulary of Sein und Zeit). it came quite generally to be assumed that he subscribed to some variation of nihilism regarding values despite his insistence in the "Letter on Humanism" that he meant no such thing. The literature on this subject has concentrated on Scheler's work to the complete exclusion of Hartmann's axiology — as happened in Parvis Ermad's Heidegger and the Phenomenology of Values, His Critique of Intentionality, foreword by Walter Biernel (Glen Ellyn, Illinois: Torey Press, 1981). Scheler's view entails the radical separation of ontic traits from axiotic traits, of what-is from what-ought-to-be. However, for Hartmann, the set of ontic traits that becomes actual when laws about what-ought-to-be are satisfied is identical with the set of traits that ought-to-be, Hartmann's way of conceiving the ought-to-be, the actual ought-to-be, and the three-fold structure of the finalistic nexus seems entirely compatible with Heidegger's way of thinking about actions. They are also an enlightening supplement to Schutz's description of "Choosing Among Projects of Action" (in Collected Papers 1, 67-96). That description requires that choice and action be thoroughly conditioned by psychological, social, and historical facts about the agent. However, nothing of this vital determination of actions is sacrificed when these concepts that are so central to Hartmann's "absolutism" with respect to values are introduced into the description. Their introduction provides an elaboration that Schutz himself neglected, perhaps due to pragmatic deference to biases which were prevalent then in the intellectual climate of philosophy and sociology in the U.S. Still, the transformation they bring is a significant improvement. It shows decisively that being conditioned linguistically, psychologically, socially, and historically does not enclose the choice among projects within a "Hermeneutical Circle" such as would exclude the possibility that agents be open to previously unfamiliar values. Hartmann's conception of the plurality as well as the absoluteness (or "objectivity") of primary goods allows, put in Kantian terms, that an agent may, however rarely, take an interest in possibilities such as she may never before have been interested in at all; or, put in Heideggerian terms, that she may come to care about possibilities such as have never concerned her before. (shrink)
An interdisciplinary fusion between the philosophy of science and the teaching of science can help to eradicate the disciplinary rigidity entrenched in both. In this paper I approach the history of sciencethematically, identifying general themes which transcend the boundaries of individual disciplines. Such conceptual themes can be used as a basis for an interdisciplinary introduction to university science, encouraging certain important cognitive skills not exercised during the disciplinary training emphasised in traditional approaches. Courses which teach themes such as conservation, randomness, (...) and holism/reductionism have already proved successful, and these innovations should encourage philosophers and historians to explore the exciting new possibilities which arise from stepping outside the confines of a single discipline. (shrink)
We analyzed a sample of 356 forms containing information that Colorado law legally requires both licensed and unlicensed therapists to disclose to clients. The majority of forms contained the legally mandated information; fewer forms contained ethically desirable information. The average readability grade level was 15.74, corresponding to upper-level college, and 63.9% of the forms reached the highest (most difficult) readability grade of 17 +. Therapists are obeying the law, but do not appear to be taking advantage of the opportunity to (...) provide their clients useful information in an accessible way. (shrink)
The rise of computer-assisted journalism coincides with increasing public concerns about individual privacy, especially in the realm of information stored in electronic databases. This article contends that journalists (a) need to be more receptive to privacy concerns, and (b) need to reassure the public they will be sensitive in dealing with private information contained in electronic databases. The author calls for creation of a Code of Information Practices that could guide journalists in making decisions about usingprivate information in electronicformat. Such (...) a code might help persuade the public to be more receptive to journalists' arguments over the need for access to records and information. (shrink)
This article reviews the recent contributions of Amartya Sen and John McMurtry to theory of international development and social justice. The author argues that both fail to give an adequate account of the current transformation of collective life and the provision of collective goods. Without such an analysis, theories of justice are incomplete.
Gold & Stoljar reveal that adherence to the radical neuron doctrine cannot be maintained via appeals to scientific principles. Using arguments from (1) naturalism and materialism, (2) unification, and (3) exemplars, it is shown that the “mind-is-brain” materialism explicit in the trivial version of the neuron doctrine ultimately suffers the same theoretical fate. Cognitive science, if it is to adopt an ontology at all, would be better served by a metaphysically neutral ontology such as double-aspect theory or neutral monism.
Cognitive psychologists tend to treat intentionality as a control variable during experiments, yet ignore it when generating mechanistic descriptions of performance. Wynn's work brings this conflict into striking relief and, when considered in relation to recent neurophysiological findings, makes it clear that intentionality can be regarded mechanistically if one defines it as the planning of distal effects.
This investigation applies a social cognition framework to examine moral awareness in business situations. Using a vignette-based instrument, the investigation compares the recall, recognition, and ascription of importance to moral-versus strategy-related issues in business managers (n = 86) and academic professors (n = 61). Results demonstrate that managers recall strategy-related issues more than moral-related issues and recognize and ascribe importance to moral-related issues less than academics. It also finds an inverse relationship between socialization in the business context and moral awareness. (...) Future directions for moral awareness research and the practical implications for these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Hommel et al. propose that action planning and perception utilize common resources. This implies perception should have intention-relative content. Data supporting this implication are presented. These findings challenge the notion of perception as “seeing.” An alternative is suggested (i.e., perception as distal control) that may provide a means of integrating representational and ecological approaches to the study of organism-environment coordination.
Ballard et al. model eye position as a deictic pointer for spatial perception. Evidence from research on gaze control indicates, however, that shifts in actual eye position are neither necessary nor sufficient to produce shifts in spatial perception. Deictic context is instead provided by the interaction between two deictic pointers; one representing actual eye position, and the other, intended eye position.
Grush makes extensive use of von Holst and Mittelstaedt's (1950) efference copy hypothesis. Although his embellishment of the model is admirably more sophisticated than that of its progenitors, I argue that it still suffers from the same conceptual limitations as entailed in its original formulation.
In his new book on Pascal's Wager, Jeff Jordan argues that only the ‘Jamesian’ version of the wager argument, as he sees it presented in William James' essay The Will to Believe , constitutes a sound pragmatic argument in favour of theism, whereas Pascal's original wager argument is doomed to fail on various grounds. This article argues that Jordan's theory is untenable. The many-gods objection is used as an example: it is demonstrated that the Jamesian Wager argument too (...) is powerless to rebut this objection. (shrink)
I would like to thank the editors of Philosophy East and West for courteously asking me if I would like to respond to Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips' very thoughtful remarks about the review I wrote of Phillips' translation and commentary on the pratyakṣa chapter of Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, prepared in collaboration with N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (Phillips and Tatacharya 2004). Let me begin by reaffirming what I said at the beginning of my review, that the book is "a monumental (...) and momentous achievement, one whose importance cannot be understated." I have indeed enormous admiration for the magnitude of their achievement and respect for the contribution they have made through this translation to the field of .. (shrink)
Philosophy for Children arose in the 1970s in the US as an educational programme. This programme, initiated by Matthew Lipman, was devoted to exploring the relationship between the notions ‘philosophy’ and ‘childhood’, with the implicit practical goal of establishing philosophy as a full-fledged ‘content area’ in public schools. Over 40 years, the programme has spread worldwide, and the theory and practice of doing philosophy for or with children and young people appears to be of growing interest in the field (...) of education and, by implication, in society as a whole. This article focuses on this growing interest by offering a survey of the main arguments and ideas that have given shape to the idea of philosophy for children in recent decades. This aim is twofold: first, to make more familiar an actual educational practice that is not at all well known in the field of academic philosophy itself; and second, to invite a re-thinking of the relationship between philosophy and the child ‘after Lipman’. (shrink)
Confirmation of a hypothesis by evidence can be measured by one of the so far known incremental measures of confirmation. As we show, incremental measures can be formally defined as the measures of confirmation satisfying a certain small set of basic conditions. Moreover, several kinds of incremental measure may be characterized on the basis of appropriate structural properties. In particular, we focus on the so-called Matthew properties: we introduce a family of six Matthew properties including the reverse (...) class='Hi'>Matthew effect; we further prove that incremental measures endowed with reverse Matthew effect are possible; finally, we shortly consider the problem of the plausibility of Matthew properties. (shrink)
Michael Jordan is widely acclaimed as the greatest athlete who ever lived. The announcement of his retirement in January 1999 unleashed an unparalleled hyperbole of adjectives describing his superlative athletic accomplishments. Yet his continuing media presence and adulation after his retirement confirmed that Jordan is one of the most popular and widely known sports icons throughout the world. In China, the Beijing Morning Post ran a front paged article titled "Flying Man Jordan is Coming (...) Back to Earth" and in Bosnia Jordan's statement declaring his retirement was the lead story on the evening television news, pushing aside the war in Kosovo. An icon of the global popular, Jordan is "a kind of new world prince," in the words of Pulitzer Prizewinning author David Halberstam, who recently published a biography of the basketball legend (1999): "You hear time and again about people being in Borneo or somewhere and coming across a kid in a tattered Michael Jordan T-shirt. He's the most famous American in the world.". (shrink)
Through an argumentation analysis can one show how it is feasible to view a narrative religious text such as the Gospel of Matthew as a literary argument. The Gospel is not just good news but an elaborate argument for the standpoint that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. It is shown why an argumentation analysis needs to be supplemented with a pragmatic literary analysis in order to describe how the evangelist presents his story so as to reach (...) his argumentative objective. The analysis also shows why in the case of historical religious literary texts, certain demands are put on the analyst that are not normally present. (shrink)
It's an obituary of Jordan Howard Sobel, a prominent American-Canadian moral philosopher and a decision theorist who died in 2010. The obituary focuses on Sobels' close contacts with the Swedish philosophical community and on his contributions to Theoria.
In 1870 Jordan proved that the composition factors of two composition series of a group are the same. Almost 20 years later Hölder (1889) was able to extend this result by showing that the factor groups, which are quotient groups corresponding to the composition factors, are isomorphic. This result, nowadays called the Jordan-Hölder Theorem, is one of the fundamental theorems in the theory of groups. The fact that Jordan, who was working in the framework of substitution groups, (...) was able to prove only a part of this theorem is often used to emphasize the importance and even the necessity of the abstract conception of groups, which was employed by Hölder. However, as a little-known paper from 1873 reveals, Jordan had all the necessary ingredients to prove the Jordan-Hölder Theorem at his disposal (namely, composition series, quotient groups, and isomorphisms), and he also noted a connection between composition factors and corresponding quotient groups. Thus, I argue that the answer to the question posed in the title is “Yes.” It was not the lack of the abstract notion of groups which prevented Jordan from proving the Jordan-Hölder Theorem, but the fact that he did not ask the right research question that would have led him to this result. In addition, I suggest some reasons why this has been overlooked in the historiography of algebra, and I argue that, by hiding computational and cognitive complexities, abstraction has important pragmatic advantages. (shrink)
Robert Merton observed that better-known scientists tend to get more credit than less well-known scientists for the same achievements; he called this the Matthew effect. Scientists themselves, even those eminent researchers who enjoy its benefits, regard the effect as a pathology: it results, they believe, in a misallocation of credit. If so, why do scientists continue to bestow credit in the manner described by the effect? This paper advocates an explanation of the effect on which it turns out to (...) allocate credit fairly after all, while at the same time making sense of scientists' opinions to the contrary. (shrink)
Mark Jordan’s recent book, Rewritten Theology, challenges the way in which the achievement of Thomas Aquinas has been both received and reformulated,often in order to serve particular theological and philosophical ends. It helps to unmask the often hidden presuppositions behind efforts to “police” Thomism, efforts which frequently require a revision and a rewriting of the texts of Aquinas themselves. At a time when it appears that there is a repristinization of the Thomistic “synthesis” reminiscent of Garrigou-Lagrange, this book is (...) an auspicious reminder that such “synthesis” often comes at the cost of fidelity to theMaster in whose name it is fashioned. (shrink)
In Practice in Christianity, Søren Kierkegaard's pseudonym, Anti-Climacus enters into an extended engagement with Matthew 11.6, ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense at me’. In so doing, he comes to an understanding that ‘the possibility of offense’ characterises the ‘crossroad’ at which one either comes to faith in Christ's revelation or rejects it. Such a choice, as he is well aware, cannot be made from a neutral standpoint, and so he is led to propose that it is ‘the (...) thoughts of the heart’ (i.e. a person's disposition) that constitute the pivotal factor in determining whether or not God will reconcile a person into the Christian faith. In this paper, I discuss Anti-Climacus' interpretation of Mt. 11.6 and consider his reasons for interpreting a person's predisposition as being so decisive for faith. (shrink)
Kenney, Mark Review(s) of: A source critical edition of the gospels of Matthew and Luke in Greek and English, 2 vols., Christopher J. Monaghan, C.P., Rome: Gregorian and Biblical Press, 2010, pp.378, 45.00.
The Matthew Effect refers to the hypothesis that a scientific contribution will receive disproportionate peer recognition whenever there are sharp and distinct differences in prestige within the academic stratification system. This paper empirically examines whether there is an institutional Matthew Effect in economics: does the prestige of an author's economics department influence the visibility or allocation of peer recognition of a scientific contribution? After controlling for author quality, journal quality and article?specific characteristics, the empirical results showed nineteen universities (...) classified as elite have a statistically and numerically positive impact on the level of peer recognition of a scientific contribution. However, further analysis found that the positive institutional Matthew Effect of these elite universities was due solely to the differential peer recognition of scientific contributions by economists affiliated with the economics departments of Harvard University and the University of Chicago. (shrink)
Barbara Jordan (1936?1996), a formidable politician, won election to the Texas Senate (1966) and to the US Congress (1972). She became one of the most celebrated African?American politicians of the twentieth century, acclaimed both by white and black. Jordan was a voluntarist, viewing individuals as able to change the world through their own actions. She was committed to the American dream of inclusion, and also to the importance of positive ties to elites; to coping with the ?world as (...) it is?, to the futility of confrontation, and also to changing and influencing the attitudes of men at the top. Jordan opposed civil disobedience, nonviolent or not. Yet she admired symbols of defiance like Malcolm X and Mohammed Ali. A highly public figure, she was also exceptionally self?repressed. Critics likened her to the conservative Booker Washington, yet she was a staunch defender of voting rights and a radical integrationist. (shrink)
This article uses the NetCorps Jordan project as a case study of the ways in which Information Technology transforms social and economic life at the grass roots. Particular attention is paid to the role of gender in shaping such processes. In the end, this essay explores the motivations, the hopes and the results of one Arab country’s IT4 D experiment using the narratives of the participants as a guide. It is clear from the analysis below that culture, context and (...) gender play a significant role in who gets to do what with IT. (shrink)
This paper defends a Bayesian approach to confirming a miracle against Jordan Howard Sobel’s recent novel interpretation of Hume’s criticisms. In his book, ’Logic and Theism’, Sobel offers an intriguing and original way to apply Hume’s criticisms against the possibility of having sufficient evidence to confirm a miracle. The key idea behind Sobel’s approach is to employ infinitesimal probabilities to neutralize the cumulative effects of positive evidence for any miracle. This paper aims to undermine Sobel’s use of infinitesimal probabilities (...) to block a Bayesian approach to confirming a miracle. (shrink)
Matthew’s account of the journey of the magi to Jesus has been employed in historical theology to articulate the relation between reason and faith in four different ways: i) reason and faith forming a unity; ii) reason cooperating with faith; iii) reason being the tool of faith; iv) reason being superseded by faith. The paper considers each of these categories in turn, and thus progressively separates the two terms. It demonstrates that “faith” and “reason” are equivocal concepts, and that (...) their relationship is itself a key determinant of their nature. A plurality of forms of reasoning enables the journey to be completed, with each form providing a distinct contribution to a shared faith. (shrink)