I advance a type of conceptualist argument for substance dualism based on the understandability of what it would be for something to be a spirit, e.g. what it would be for God to be a spirit. After presenting the argument formally, I clarify and defend its various premises with a special focus on what I take to be the most controversial one, namely, if thinking (i.e. conscious) matter is metaphysically possible, it is not the case that we have a distinct (...) positive concept of God's being a divine spirit. (shrink)
In this article I present and (modestly) defend a hybrid position which we may call a Platonist constituent ontology. More specifically, I present a version of exemplification which entails (1) a certain form of Platonism, (2) a constituent ontology of ordinary objects, (3) a view of exemplification as a “tiedto” nexus, and (4) a view of properties as abstract objects that are non-spatially “in” ordinary objects. I clarify two sets of preliminary issues, present my hybrid analysis of exemplification, raise and (...) seek to undercut an argument against my constituent realism, and surface some of the costs and benefits relevant to assessing the relative merits of relational versus constituent realism. (shrink)
Graham Oppy has launched the most effective criticism to date of an argument for God’s existence from the existence of irreducible mental states or theirregular correlation with physical states (AC). I seek to undercut Oppy’s central defeaters of AC. In particular, I argue, first, that Oppy has not provided successful defeaters against the use of a distinctive form of explanation—personal explanation—employed in premise (3) of AC; second, I expose a confusion on Oppy’s part with respect to AC’s premise (5), and (...) show that this confusion results in a failure to grasp adequately the dialectical force of (5). As a result, Oppy fails to offer adequate rejoinders to (5), or so I shall argue. (shrink)
Graham Oppy had criticized my argument for God from consciousness (AC) in my recent book ’Consciousness and the Existence of God’ (N.Y.: Routledge, 2008). In this article I offer a rejoinder to Oppy. Specifically, I respond to his criticisms of my presentation of three forms of AC, and interact with his claims about theism, consciousness and emergent chemical properties.
The mere exposure phenomenon (repeated exposure to a stimulus is sufficient to improve attitudes toward that stimulus) is one of the most inspiring phenomena associated with Robert Zajonc’s long and productive career in social psychology. In the first part of this article, Richard Moreland (who was trained by Zajonc in graduate school) describes his own work on exposure and learning, and on the relationships among familiarity, similarity, and attraction in person perception. In the second part, Sascha Topolinski (a recent graduate (...) who never met Zajonc, but found his ideas inspirational) describes his own work concerning embodiment and fluency in the mere exposure effect. Also, several avenues for future research on the mere exposure phenomenon are identified, further demonstrating its continuing relevance to the field. (shrink)
The epistemic backdrop for locating consciousness in a naturalist ontology -- The argument from consciousness -- John Searle and contingent correlation -- Timothy O'Connor and emergent necessitation -- Colin McGinn and mysterian ?naturalism? -- David Skrbina and panpsychism -- Philip Clayton and pluralistic emergentist monism -- Science and strong physicalism -- AC, dualism and the fear of god.
When there is a conflict between parents and the physician over appropriate care due to an infant whose decision prevails? What standard, if any, should guide such decisions?This article traces the varying standards articulated over the past three decades from the proposal in Duff and Campbell’s 1973 essay that these decisions are best left to the parents to the Baby Doe Regs of the 1980s which required every life that could be salvaged be continued. We conclude with support for the (...) policy articulated in the 2007 guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics on non-intervention or withdrawal of intensive care for high-risk newborns. (shrink)
The first premise of the Kalam cosmological argument has come under fire in the last few years. The premise states that the universe had a beginning, and one of two prominent arguments for it turns on the claim that an actual infinite collection of entities cannot exist. After stating the Kalam cosmological argument and the two approaches to defending its first premise, I respond to two objections against the notion that an actual infinite collection is impossible: a Platonistic objection from (...) abstract objects and a set-theoretic objection from an ambiguity in the definition of ‘=’ and ‘. (shrink)
The authors of this lively and thorough introduction to philosophy from a Christian perspective introduce you to the principal subdisciplines of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of science, ethics and philosophy ...
The literature on the Knowledge Argument exhibits considerable confusion about the precise nature of the argument. I contend that a clarification of the essence of self-presenting properties provides an explanation of this confusion such that the confusion itself is evidence for dualism. I also claim that Mary gains six different sorts of knowledge after gaining sight, and I show how this claim provides a response to a physicalist undercutting defeater for the Knowledge Argument. I try to show that this defeater (...) is inadequate due to its failure to capture the epistemic richness of what happens to Mary. Finally, I indicate how my enriched version of the Knowledge Argument provides grounds for rejecting those varieties of physicalism that eschew a depiction of phenomenal propertiesas intrinsic attributes a subject exemplifies in favor of a view that treats them as functional roles a subject realizes. (shrink)
Steve Cowan had criticized my defense of theistic science on four grounds: (1) my critique of compatibilism attacks a straw man; (2) libertarianism cannot meet some of the conditions for responsible action; (3) attributing libertarian agency to God has the unacceptable implication that God can do evil; and (4) we don’t need libertarianism to provide a model of divine actions sufficient to justify the scientific detectability of miracles. I clarify and respond to these points in the order listed and conclude (...) that Cowan’s critique fails. (shrink)
In a previous article, I argue that on the assumption that God exercises libertarian agency, a primary causal divine miracle could, in principle, leave a scientifically detectable gap in the natural world. In a subsequent publication, Evan Fales offered a critique of my argument and this article is my rejoinder. I justify my employment of Divine libertarian agency and respond to Fales’s two, closely-related questions: How much energy could one add to a room by making a lot of decisions? Would (...) the increase in energy be measurable? (shrink)
In an important paper, Clifford Williams advanced a Lockean-style argument to justify the parity thesis, viz., that there is no intellectual advantage to Christian physicalism or Christian dualism. In an article in Religious Studies I offered a critique of Williams's parity thesis and he has published a rejoinder to me in the same journal centring on my rejection of topic neutrality as an appropriate way to set up the mind–body debate. In this surrejoinder to Williams, I present his three main (...) arguments and respond to each: (1) The dualist rejection of topic neutrality is flawed because it expresses a conceptual approach to the mind–body problem instead of the preferable empirical approach. The latter favours physicalism and, in any case, clearly supports topic neutrality. (2) If the dualist rejects the first argument, then a second parity thesis can be advanced in which an essentialist view of soul and the brain are presented in which each is essentially a thinking and feeling entity. Thus, an essentialist parity thesis is preserved. (3) If the dualist rejects the second argument, a new topic neutrality emerges in the dialectic, so topic neutrality is unavoidable. Against the first argument, I claim that Williams makes two central confusions that undermine his case and that he fails to show how the mind–body debate can be settled empirically. Against the second argument, I claim that it leaves Williams vulnerable to a topic-neutral approach to God and it merely proffers a verbal shift with a new dualism between normal and ‘special’ matter. Against the third argument, I point out that it misrepresents the dualist viewpoint and leads to two counterintuitive features that follow from topic neutrality. (shrink)
Craig and Moreland present a rigorous analysis and critique of the major varieties of contemporary philosophical naturalism and advocate that it should be abandoned in light of the serious difficulties raised against it. The contributors draw on a wide range of topics including: epistemology, philosophy of science, value theory to basic analytic ontology, philosophy of mind and agency, and natural theology.
Construed metaphysically, the problem of individuation is the problem of offering an ontological assay of two entities that share all their pure properties in common so as to offer an account of what makes them distinct particulars. This article provides a survey of the major contemporary attempts to answer this problem. To accomplish this goal, the most important contemporary advocates of each solution is analyzed: the trope nominalism of Keith Campbell, the realism of D. M. Armstrong, the Leibnizian essence view (...) of Alvin Plantinga, and the bare particular position of Gustav Bergmann. As a secondary purpose, the article provides a brief critique of the first three solutions and a brief defense of the fourth. (shrink)
Recently, Clifford Williams has attempted to argue for the plausibility of a Christian form of physicalism. To make his case, Williams appropriates certain claims by John Locke regarding the possibility of thinking matter to argue for what Williams calls the parity theses: (1) God can make matter and nonmatter either to think or not to think. Given God's omnipotence, the justification for (1) is: (2) there is no contradiction in asserting either that matter or nonmatter thinks or that they do (...) not think. If we expand thinking to include other morally and religiously relevant operations of the mind, then we get: (3) God can make either a purely material being or a nonmaterial entity to have moral and religious characteristics. From this, Williams infers that: (4) there is an equal amount of mystery in thinking matter as there is in non-thinking matter. In response to Williams, I argue that his main arguments for the parity theses fail and his Lockean style argument must be judged a failure. To show this I, first, state Williams' Lockean parity argument and, second, criticize the three arguments he offers for its most important premise. (shrink)
In recent years, Robert Adams and Richard Swinburne have developed an argument for God’s existence from the reality of mental phenomena. Call this the argument from consciousness (AC). My purpose is to develop and defend AC and to use it as a rival paradigm to critique John Searle’s biological naturalism. The article is developed in three steps. First, two issues relevant to the epistemic task of adjudicating between rival scientific paradigms (basicality and naturalness) are clarified and illustrated. Second, I present (...) a general version of AC and identify the premises most likely to come under attack by philosophical naturalists. Third, I use the insights gained in steps one and two to criticize Searle’s claim that he has developed an adequate naturalistic theory of the emergence of mental entities. I conclude that AC is superior to Searle’s biological naturalism. (shrink)
While most philosophers agree that libertarian agency and naturalism are incompatible, few attempts have been offered to spell out in some detail just why this is the case. My purpose in this article is to fill this gap in the literature by expanding on and clarifying the connection between naturalism as it is widely understood today and the rejection of libertarian agency. To accomplish this end I begin by clarifying different forms of libertarian agency and identity the key philosophical components (...) that constitute libertarian agency per se. Second, three different aspects of contemporary scientific naturalism are analyzed and the relations among them clarified: the naturalist epistemic attitude, etiology, and ontology. This is followed by a presentation of six arguments for the claim that libertarian agency should be rejected by advocates of scientific naturalism. Finally, I criticize a recent attempt by Randolf Clarke to reconcile libertarian agency and scientific naturalism. (shrink)
In this article I offer a taxonomy of the major issues and options about qualities, quality-instances, and exemplification. So far as I know, this has not been done for some time and the task of offering such a taxonomy is a worthy one in its own right. But such a classification will also show that arguments such as the one above by Grossmann fail to make their case because of the tremendous vari? ety of positions about quality-instances. The mere fact (...) that a philosopher does not accept the identity of the referent of "the F of A" and "the F of B" does not entail that the philosopher is a nominalist. (shrink)
A widely adopted approach to end-of-life ethical questions fails to make explicit certain crucial metaphysical ideas entailed by it and when those ideas are clarified, then it can be shown to be inadequate. These metaphysical themes cluster around the notions of personal identity, personhood and humanness, and the metaphysics of substance. In order to clarify and critique the approach just mentioned, I focus on the writings of Robert N. Wennberg as a paradigm case by, first, stating his views of personal (...) identity, humanness, personhood, and the relations among them; second, offering a comparison of a view of humans as substances (understood in the classic interpretation of Aristotle and Aquinas) vs. a view of humans as property-things; third, applying the metaphysical distinctions surfaced in the second section towards a critique of Wennberg. (shrink)
After comparing three main views regarding the existing and nature of qualities and quality-Instances - extreme nominalism (qualities do not exist), nominalism (qualities exist and are abstract particulars), and realism (qualities exist and are multiply exemplifiable entities in their instances) - an attempt is made to clarify the real difference between nominalism and realism to show the superiority of the latter. This is done by criticizing two alledged realist positions offered by Nicholas Wolterstorff and Michael Loux. Their views are shown (...) to be versions of nominalism, not realism, and they are compared to the advantages offered by a true, realist account of predication. (shrink)