Evidential atheism, as espoused by various philosophical atheists, recommends belief that God does not exist on the basis of not just the evidence of which we are aware, but also our overall available evidence. This article identifies a widely neglected problem from potential surprise evidence that undermines an attempt to give a cogent justification of such evidential atheism. In addition, it contends that evidential agnosticism fares better than evidential atheism relative to this neglected problem, and that traditional monotheism has evidential (...) resources, unavailable to evidential atheism, which promise to save it from the fate of evidential atheism. (shrink)
The epistemology of monotheism offered by philosophers has given inadequate attention to the kind of foundational evidence to be expected of a personal God whose moral character is ’agapeic’, or perfectly loving, toward all other agents. This article counters this deficiency with the basis of a theistic epistemology that accommodates the distinctive moral character of a God worthy of worship. It captures the widely neglected ’agonic’, or struggle-oriented, character of a God who seeks, by way of personal witness and intentional (...) action, to realize and manifest ’agape’ among humans who suffer from selfishness. In doing so, the article identifies the overlooked role of personifying evidence of God in human moral character formation. In agreement with some prominent New Testament themes, the new perspective offered ties the epistemology of monotheism to robust ’agapeic’ morality in a way that makes such epistemology ethically challenging for inquirers about God’s existence. Accordingly, s. (shrink)
If God exists, where can we find adequate evidence for God's existence? In this book, Paul Moser offers a new perspective on the evidence for God that centers on a morally robust version of theism that is cognitively resilient. The resulting evidence for God is not speculative, abstract, or casual. Rather, it is morally and existentially challenging to humans, as they themselves responsively and willingly become evidence of God's reality in receiving and reflecting God's moral character for others. Moser calls (...) this 'personifying evidence of God,' because it requires the evidence to be personified in an intentional agent - such as a human - and thereby to be inherent evidence of an intentional agent. Contrasting this approach with skepticism, scientific naturalism, fideism, and natural theology, Moser also grapples with the potential problems of divine hiddenness, religious diversity, and vast evil. (shrink)
Philosophers have often misunderstood Kierkegaard's views on the nature and purposes of God due to a fascination with his earlier, pseudonymous works. We examine many of Kierkegaard's later works with the aim of setting forth an accurate view on this matter. The portrait of God that emerges is a personal and fiercely loving God with whom humans can and should enter into relationship. Far from advocating a fideistic faith or a cognitively unrestrained leap in the dark, we argue that Kierkegaard (...) connects this God-relationship to (a particular kind of) evidence and even knowledge. However, such evidence and knowledge – and hence God himself – may remain hidden from many individuals due to misconceptions of God and misuses of the human will. (shrink)
arguments in favor of, say, Jesus, as the final revelation of God will ultimately undermine that appeal to Jesus by making any arguments deployed the final norm of truth in theology. To use conventional rhetoric, reason will have ...
Three questions motivate this book's account of evidence for the existence of God. First, if God's existence is hidden, why suppose He exists at all? Second, if God exists, why is He hidden, particularly if God seeks to communicate with people? Third, what are the implications of divine hiddenness for philosophy, theology, and religion's supposed knowledge of God? This book answers these questions on the basis of a new account of evidence and knowledge of divine reality that challenges skepticism about (...) God's existence. The central thesis is that we should expect evidence of divine reality to be purposively available to humans, that is, available only in a manner suitable to divine purposes in self-revelation. This lesson generates a seismic shift in our understanding of evidence and knowledge of divine reality. The result is a needed reorienting of religious epistemology to accommodate the character and purposes of an authoritative, perfectly loving God. (shrink)
What, if anything, has Jesus to do with philosophy? Although widely neglected, this question calls for attention from anyone interested in philosophy,whether Christian or non-Christian. This paper clarifies how philosophy fares under the teaching of Jesus. In particular, it contends that Jesus’slove (agape) commands have important implications for how philosophy is to be done, specifically, for what questions may be pursued. The paper,accordingly, distinguishes two relevant modes of being human: a discussion mode and an obedience mode. Philosophy done under the (...) authority ofJesus’s love commands must transcend a discussion mode to realize an obedience mode of human conduct. So, under Jesus’s teachings, we no longer have business as usual in philosophy. The discipline of philosophy then takes on a purpose foreign to philosophy as we know it, even as practiced by Christian philosophers. Under the authority of Jesus, philosophy becomes agape-oriented ministry in the church of Jesus and thus reflective of Jesus himself. In this respect, Jesus is Lord of philosophy. (shrink)
This is a critical notice of Richard Swinburne's book, _The Resurrection of God Incarnate (Oxford University Press, 2003). It argues that Swinburne's epistemology fails to yield an adequate cognitive foundation for genuine knowledge that Jesus is the resurrected Lord of heaven and earth. It also indicates where to look for the needed cognitive foundation.
The Rationality of Theism is a controversial collection of brand new papers by thirteen outstanding philosophers and scholars. Its aim is to offer comprehensive theistic replies to the traditional arguments against the existence of God, offering a positive case for theism as well as rebuttals of recent influential criticisms of theism.
Offering a unique and wide-ranging examination of the theory of knowledge, the new edition of this comprehensive collection deftly blends readings from the foremost classical sources with the work of important contemporary philosophical thinkers. Human Knowledge: Classical and Contemporary Approaches, 3/e, offers philosophical examinations of epistemology from ancient Greek and Roman philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Sextus Empiricus); medieval philosophy (Augustine, Aquinas); early modern philosophy (Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, Kant); classical pragmatism and Anglo-American empiricism (James, Russell, Ayer, Lewis, Carnap, Quine, (...) Rorty); and other influential Anglo-American philosophers (Chisholm, Kripke, Moore, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Putnam). Organized chronologically and thematically, Human Knowledge, 3/e, features exceptionally broad coverage and nontechnical selections that are easily accessible to students. An ideal text for both undergraduate and graduate courses in epistemology, it is enhanced by the editors' substantial general introduction, section overviews, and up-to-date bibliographies. The third edition offers expanded selections on contemporary epistemology and adds selections by Thomas Reid, Richard Rorty, David B. Annis, Richard Feldman and Earl Conee, Ernest Sosa, Barry Stroud, and Louise M. Antony. Human Knowledge, 3/e, offers an unparalleled introduction to our ancient struggle to understand our own intellectual experience. (shrink)
For many people the existence of God is by no means a sufficiently clear feature of reality. This problem, the fact of divine hiddenness, has been a source of existential concern and has sometimes been taken as a rationale for support of atheism or agnosticism. In this new collection of essays, a distinguished group of philosophers of religion explore the question of divine hiddenness in considerable detail. The issue is approached from several perspectives including Jewish, Christian, atheist and agnostic. There (...) is coverage of the historical treatment of divine hiddenness as found in the work of Maimonides, St. John of the Cross, Jonathan Edwards, Kierkegaard, and various Biblical writers. A substantial introduction clarifies the main problems of and leading solutions to divine hiddenness. Primarily directed at philosophers of religion, theologians, and scholars of religious studies, this collection could also serve as a textbook for upper-level courses in philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology contains 19 previously unpublished chapters by today's leading figures in the field. These chapters function not only as a survey of key areas, but as original scholarship on a range of vital topics. Written accessibly for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and professional philosophers, the Handbook explains the main ideas and problems of contemporary epistemology while avoiding overly technical detail.
Are all moral truths relative or do certain moral truths hold for all cultures and people? In Moral Relativism: A Reader, this and related questions are addressed by twenty-one contemporary moral philosophers and thinkers. This engaging and nontechnical anthology, the only up-to-date collection devoted solely to the topic of moral relativism, is accessible to a wide range of readers including undergraduate students from various disciplines. The selections are organized under six main topics: (1) General Issues; (2) Relativism and Moral Diversity; (...) (3) On the Coherence of Moral Relativism; (4) Defense and Criticism; (5) Relativism, Realism, and Rationality; and (6) Case Study on Relativism. Contributors include Ruth Benedict, Richard Brandt, Thomas L. Carson, Philippa Foot, Gordon Graham, Gilbert Harman, Loretta M. Kopelman, David Lyons, J. L. Mackie, Michele Moody-Adams, Paul K. Moser, Thomas Nagel, Martha Nussbaum, Karl Popper, Betsy Postow, James Rachels, W. D. Ross, T. M. Scanlon, William Graham Sumner, and Carl Wellman. The volume concludes with a case study on female circumcision/genital mutilation that vividly brings into focus the practical aspects and implications of moral relativism. An ideal primary text for courses in moral relativism, Moral Relativism: A Reader can also be used as a supplementary text for introductory courses in ethics and for courses in various disciplines--anthropology, sociology, theology, political science, and cultural studies--that discuss relativism. The volume's pedagogical and research value is enhanced by a topical bibliography on moral relativism and a substantial general introduction that includes explanatory summaries of the twenty selections. (shrink)
The most powerful skeptical challenge to knowledge and justification is Pyrrhonian. It challenges nonskeptics to identify non-question begging warrant for their beliefs whereby they will not simply assume a point needing support in light of skeptical questions. The skeptical challenge is comprehensive, bearing on warranting conditions in general. Any answer given to such a comprehensive challenge apparently relies on a warranting condition being questioned. From this two questions emerge. First, is the skeptical challenge itself question begging in a way that (...) undermines its epistemic significance? Second, is question begging necessarily an epistemic defect? This paper answers no to the first question, and identifies the problem facing skeptics who presuppose an affirmative answer to the second question. The problem stems from the availability of certain conceptions of epistemic rationality that do not prohibit question begging unqualifiedly. (shrink)
Normative nonrealism denies, first, that some things are good or bad independently of facts about the attitudes of moral agents and, second, that attitude-independent moral facts determine what is rational. This implies that facts about what is rational are logically prior to what is moral. Nonrealism commonly assumes (a) that moral realism is false or unjustifiable, (b) that there is a conceptual connection between morality and rationality and (c) that the particular theory of rationality is the correct account of rationality. (...) Facing the threat of relativism when abandoning (c) it is argued that (c) is at least dubious. Semantic considerations concerning the meaning of "rationality" are sketched and the full-information approach of decision making, intemalism and extemalism are discussed in the light of "Why care?"-questions with the resuh that these questions do serious damage to nonrealist approaches to rationality and reason-based morality. (shrink)
This book is an accessible introduction to contemporary epistemology, the theory of knowledge. It introduces traditional topics in epistemology within the context of contemporary debates about the definition, sources, and limits of human knowledge. Rich in examples and written in an engaging style, it explains the field while avoiding technical detail. It relates epistemology to work in cognitive science and defends a plausible version of explanationism regarding epistemological method.
Contemporary moral philosophers have produced an enormous amount of rich and varied published work on virtually all the issues falling within the scope of ethics and moral philosophy. Morality and the Good Life is a comprehensive survey of contemporary ethical theory that collects thirty-four selections on morality and the theory of value. Emphasizing value theory, metaethics, and normative ethics, it is non-technical and accessible to a wide range of readers. Selections are organized under six main topics: Concepts of Goodness What (...) Things are Good? Virtues and Ethics Realism vs. Anti-Realism Value and Obligation The Value and Meaning of Life The text includes both a substantial general introduction featuring explanatory summaries of all the selections and an extensive topical bibliography, which enhance the volume's research and pedagogical utility. The most up-to-date and wide-ranging survey of its kind, Morality and the Good Life is ideal for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in contemporary ethical theory, moral philosophy, and theory of value. (shrink)
Connectionism: Debates on Psychological Explanation, Volume Two Edited by Cynthia Macdonald and Graham Macdonald Blackwell, 1995. Pp. xvii + 424. ISBN 0-631-19744-3. 50.00 (hbk). ISBN 0-631-19745-1 16.99 (pbk). New books on the philosophy of religion Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason By J.L. Schellenberg, Cornell University Press, 1993. Pp. 217. ISBN 0-8014-2792-4. $36.50 (hbk). Reason and the Heart By William J. Wainwright, Cornell University Press, 1995. Pp. 160. ISBN 0-8014-3139-5. $28.50 (hbk). The Rationality of Belief and the Plurality of Faith Edited (...) by Thomas D. Senor, Cornell University Press, 1995. Pp. 291. ISBN 0-8014-3127-1. $39.95 (hbk). (shrink)
Contemporary Materialism presents an important collection of recent work on materialism in connection with metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and theories of value. This anthology charts the contemporary problems, positions and themes on the topic of materialism. It illuminates materialism's complex intersection with related subjects such as cognition and psychology. By gathering a wide-range of philosophical interventions around the subject of materialism, this anthology provides a valuable discussion of how materialism can effectively serve the purposes of philosophical assessment. (...) To further assist the reader, it also contains an extensive bibliography on contemporary materialism. (shrink)
We shall formulate an analysis of the ordinary notion of intentional action that clarifies a commonsense distinction between intentional and nonintentional action. Our analysis will build on some typically neglected considerations about relations between lucky action and intentional action. It will highlight the often- overlooked role of evidential considerations in intentional action, thus identifying the key role of certain epistemological considerations in action theory. We shall also explain why some vagueness is indispensable in a characterization of intentional action as ordinarily (...) understood. (shrink)
Debates between realists and idealists have raged since the beginning of philosophy. Richard Rorty has recently claimed that his pragmatism enables philosophers to move beyond realism and idealism. This paper shows that Rorty's pragmatism fails to move us beyond debates involving realism and idealism. It also sketches a more promising strategy for handling the perennial dispute over realism and idealism.
This article explores the possibility of naturalized theory of action. It distinguishes ontological naturalism from conceptual naturalism, and asks whether a defensible theory of action can be either ontologically or conceptually naturalistic. The distinction between conditions for an ontology and conditions for a concept receives support from Donald Davidson's identification of two modes of explanation for action: rational and physical causal explanation. Davidson's action theory provides a naturalized ontology for action theory, but not a naturalized concept of intentional action. This (...) article raises doubts about Davidson's basis for such one-sided naturalism. It examines some conditions for a mode of explanation, in order to clarify whether an intentional mode of explanation might have ontological significance and thus raise problems for ontological naturalism. The article argues for the central role of certain instrumental factors in explanatory strategies, whether naturalistic or intentional; and it casts doubt on Jaegwon Kim's recent argument that intentional psychology and neuroscience are mutually exclusive as explanatory strategies. A key lesson is that variable end-dependent reasons are our only wherewithal in the evaluation of explanatory strategies. In this sense, our explanatory strategies are ultimately instrumental and perspectival. The article draws out the implications of this lesson for naturalized action theory and for psychological explanation. It opposes any suggested monopoly on explanation from the physical sciences. (shrink)