Focusing on God's essential attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, being eternal and omnipresent, being a creator and sustainer, and being a person, I examine how far recent discussion has been able to provide for each of these divine attributes a consistent interpretation. I also consider briefly whether the attributes are compatible with each other.
Abstract: I examine virtue theory, especially as expressed by Rosalind Hursthouse. In its canonical form, the theory claims that living a life of virtue constitutes flourishing, although it also has a possible fall-back claim that a life of virtue is a means to the end of flourishing. I argue that in both interpretations, virtue theory is mistaken. It cannot give any convincing account of how the concepts of wanting, flourishing, and the virtues are connected, nor can it deal adequately with (...) the counter-examples of flourishing by the wicked, and torment for the virtuous. However, I allow that stripped of all its pretensions to universality, there are grounds for some people in some restricted sets circumstances, to follow the path of virtue solely because they will thereby flourish. (shrink)
The paper argues that given the defining features of the God of “perfect being” theology, God would not create any contingently existing things. To do so would introduce a kind of gratuitous metaphysical imperfection in an otherwise metaphysically perfect universe. Given that in fact there are contingent things, it follows that the God of perfect being theism does not exist.
Substance dualism, that most unpopular of current theories of mind, continues to find interesting and able defenders.1 I shall focus on one set of arguments supplied by one of the current defenders, and I shall argue that these arguments fail. That in itself is a matter of some interest, since it is always reassuring to be able to demonstrate that unpopular doctrines are rightly unpopular. But I hope that a further interest will attach to the refutation, in that it will (...) invoke some relatively unfamiliar thoughts about the nature of perception. (shrink)
Abstract I argue that the traditional problem of evil mislocates the problem which confronts the theist. The real problem arises not from the evil in the world, but from the non-perfection of the world. Given that a perfect God could create only a perfect world, and given that the world is not in fact perfect, I construct an argument for atheism. I show that the argument is not open to the objections which theists standardly bring against the traditional objection from (...) evil. (shrink)
A number of authors, including contributors to this journal, have argued that the only consistent interpretation of God's eternal existence attributes to God an atemporal existence. Their argument seeks to show that it would be self-contradictory to adopt the opposing interpretation that God exists in time, and has indeed existed for an infinite past time. This paper argues that their objections to infinite past existence all turn on a misunderstanding of what that concept involves. The theist is therefore not compelled (...) to adopt the atemporal interpretation, but can instead adopt the more intuitively intelligible thesis that God is in time. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the kind of idealism defended by Berkeley is a natural and almost unavoidable expression of his theism. Two main arguments are deployed, both starting from a theistic premise and having an idealist conclusion. The first likens the dependence of the physical world on the will of God to the dependence of mental states on a mind. The second likens divine omniscience to the kind of knowledge which it has often been supposed we have of (...) the contents of our own minds. After rebutting objections to these arguments, I conclude that both theists and non-idealists should be surprised and discomforted by my contentions. (shrink)
TAKING ONE STANDARD DEFINITION OF ’MIRACLES’ AS ’VIOLATIONS OF LAWS OF NATURE, BY A VOLITION OF GOD’, I ARGUE THAT NO REPORT ASSERTING THE OCCURRENCE OF A MIRACLE CAN BE TRUE. WHATEVER IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH A TRUTH MUST ITSELF BE FALSE, AND NO STATEMENT OF A GENUINE LAW OF NATURE CAN BE OTHER THAN TRUE. OBJECTIONS TO THE ARGUMENT, INCLUDING THOSE BY MACKIE AND SWINBURNE, ARE REBUTTED.