Either from concrete examples such as tomatoes on a plate, an egg carton full of eggs and so on, or simply because of the braces notation, we come to have some intuitions about the sorts of things sets might be. (See Maddy 1990.) First we tend to think of a set of particulars as itself a particular thing.. Second, even after the distinction between settheory and mereology has been carefully explained we tend to think of the members of a set (...) as in some sense parts. And third we tend to think that there is something represented by the braces. Now if there were experts who got their intuitions from elsewhere then we could discard these rather crude ideas about egg cartons and so on. But I suspect the intuitions of experts are, just like those of the rest of us, based on notation and simple examples. (shrink)
Consider the things that exist—the entities—and let us suppose they are mereologically structured, that is, some are parts of others. The project of ontology within the bounds of bare mereology use this structure to say which of these entities belong to various ontological kinds, such as properties and particulars. My purpose in this paper is to defend the most radical section of the project, the mereological theory of the exemplification of universals. Along the way I help myself to several hypotheses: (...) the existence of merely possible worlds; that particulars have thisnesses; and that mereology is far from classical. Moreover, the way I characterize instantiation might be judged too complicated to be plausible. At the end of the paper, I reply to these objections based on complexity. (shrink)
William Rowe in his Can God be Free? (2004) argues that God, if there is a God, necessarily chooses the best. Combined with the premise that there is no best act of creation, this provides an a priori argument for atheism. Rowe assumes that necessarily God is a ‘morally unsurpassable’ being, and it is for that reason that God chooses the best. In this article I drop that assumption and I consider a successor to Rowe’s argument, the Argument from Arbitrariness, (...) based on the premise that God does not act arbitrarily. My chief conclusion will be that this argument fails because, for all we know, there can be non-arbitrary divine choices even if there is no best act of creation. (shrink)
Several authors, including Stephen Law in this journal, have argued that the case for an evil God is (about) as strong as for a good God. In this article I take up the challenge on behalf of theists who, like Richard Swinburne, argue for an agent of unrestricted power and knowledge as the ultimate explanation of all contingent truths. I shall argue that an evil God is much less probable than a good one. I do so by (1) distinguishing the (...) analogical predication of 'good' or 'evil' of God from the literal predication, (2) interpreting 'acting in a morally good way' to mean 'acting like a good consequentialist', and (3) relying on an axiarchist thesis about agency that is congenial to theists and perhaps even presupposed by theism. (shrink)
Truths about non-existent things Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9583-8 Authors Peter Forrest, Philosophy, School of Humanities, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
I reply to seven objections to anthropomorphic theism: (1) That anthropomorphic theism is idolatrous. In reply I rely on the concept/conception distinction. (2) That faith requires certainty. In reply I argue that full belief may be based on probable inference. (3) That the truly infinite is incomprehensible. In reply I distinguish two senses of knowing what you mean. (4) "You Kant say that!" In reply I distinguish shallow from deep Kantianism. (5) "Shall Old Aquinas be forgot?" In reply I discuss (...) the simplicity of God. (6) What those garrulous mystics say about the ineffable. In reply I argue that mystics should be anthropomorphites. (7) Antitheodicy. In reply I distinguish the community of all agents from the community of finite frail agents. (shrink)
Mereotopology is that branch of the theory of regions concerned with topological properties such as connectedness. It is usually developed by considering the parthood relation that characterizes the, perhaps non-classical, mereology of Space (or Spacetime, or a substance filling Space or Spacetime) and then considering an extra primitive relation. My preferred choice of mereotopological primitive is interior parthood . This choice will have the advantage that filters may be defined with respect to it, constructing “points”, as Peter Roeper has done (...) (“Region-based topology”, Journal of Philosophical Logic , 26 (1997), 25–309). This paper generalizes Roeper’s result, relying only on mereotopological axioms, not requiring an underlying classical mereology, and not assuming the Axiom of Choice. I call the resulting mathematical system an approximate lattice , because although meets and joins are not assumed they are approximated. Theorems are proven establishing the existence and uniqueness of representations of approximate lattices, in which their members, the regions, are represented by sets of “points” in a topological “space”. (shrink)
I am not a pantheist and I don’t believe that pantheism is consistent with Christianity. My preferred speculation is what I call the Swiss Cheese theory: we and our artefacts are the holes in God, the only Godless parts of reality. In this paper, I begin by considering a world rather like ours but without any beings capable of sin. Ignoring extraterrestrials and angels we could consider the world, say, 5 million years ago. Pantheism was, I say, true at that (...) time. That is my qualified endorsement of pantheism. I then use the Sin premise, namely that we are capable of sinning, to argue that beings like us are not parts of God and I examine some consequences. (shrink)
In his recent paper in Sophia , ‘Theodicy: The Solution to the Problem of Evil, or Part of the Problem?’ Nick Trakakis endorses the position that theodicy, whether intellectually successful or not, is a morally obnoxious enterprise. My aim in this paper is to defend theodicy from this accusation. I concede that God the Creator is a moral monster by human standards and neither to be likened to a loving parent nor imitated. Nonetheless, God is morally perfect. What is abhorrent (...) is not tough-minded theodicy but the hubris of imitating God. I further claim that it is no accident that the same sort of objection is made to act utilitarianism as to tough-minded theodicy if the latter is misinterpreted as implying a guide for human action. (shrink)
I argue for the following four theses: (1) The Dread Thesis: human beings should fear having false religious beliefs concerning some religious doctrines; (2) The Radical Uncertainty Thesis: we, namely most human beings in our culture at our time, are in a situation where we have to commit ourselves on the truth or falsity of some propositions of ultimate importance; (3) The Radical Choice Thesis: considerations of expected loss or gain do not always provide guidance as to how to commit (...) ourselves on matters of religious doctrine that are both radically uncertain and of ultimate importance; (4) The Scandal Thesis: radical choice on matters of ultimate importance is neither good nor inevitable, but due to the collective failure of philosophers of religion. Then I consider some inadequate responses: playing the faith card; contra-Pascalian decision theory; spiritual chauvinism; that faith presupposes uncertainty; the older pachyderm; irony, subjectivity, relativism and non-cognitivism; tainted truth; and muddling through. Finally I submit that the way forward is quite simply to become better philosophers. (shrink)
Contemporary epistemology of religion may conveniently be treated as adebate over whether evidentialism applies to thebelief-component of religious faith, or whether we should insteadadopt a more permissive epistemology. Here evidentialism is theinitially plausible position that a belief is justified only if``it is proportioned to the evidence''. For example, supposea local weather forecaster has noticed that over the two hundred yearssince records began a wetter than average Winter is followed in 85% ofcases by a hotter than average Summer. Then, assuming for (...) simplicitythat the records are reliable, the forecaster is justified in believingwith less than full confidence that this Winter, which is wetter thanaverage, will be followed by a hotter than average Summer. Butevidentialism implies that it would not be justified to have fullbelief, that is belief with 100% confidence. Again, consider someonewho has a hunch that this Summer will be hotter than averagebut cannot justify that hunch further. Hunches are not consideredevidence, so the belief is not considered justified. If, however, thehuncher can cite a good track record of hunches about the weather thathave turned out correct then the belief would be consideredjustified. For although hunches are not considered evidence, memoriesabout past hunches are, as are the observations that corroborated thepast hunches. (shrink)
Introduction -- Overview -- Theism, simplicity, and properly anthropocentric metaphysics -- Materialism and dualism -- The power, knowledge, and motives of the primordial God -- The existence of the primordial God -- God changes -- Understanding evil -- The Trinity -- The Incarnation -- Concluding remarks.
Armstrong holds the Supervenience Theory of instantiation, namely that the instantiation of universals by particulars supervenes upon what particulars and what universals there are, where supervenience is stipulated to be explanatory or dependent supervenience. I begin by rejecting the Supervenience Theory of instantiation. Having done so it is then tempting to take instantiation as primitive. This has, however, an awkward consequence, undermining one of the main advantages universals have over tropes. So I examine another account hinted at by Armstrong. This (...) is the Operator Theory of instantiation, by which I mean the theory that universals are operators, and that a particular instantiates a monadic universal because the universal operates on the particular, resulting in the state of affairs. On this theory the state of affairs supervenes on the instantiation rather than vice versa. In the second part of the paper I develop this theory of universals as operators, including an account of structural universals, which are useful for accounts of modality and of mathematics. (shrink)
This paper concerns the structure of appearances. I argue that to be appeared to in a certain way is to be aware of one or more universals. Universals therefore function like the sense-data, once highly favoured but now out of fashion. For instance, to be appeared to treely, in a visual way, is to be aware of the complex relation, being treeshaped and tree-coloured and being in front of, a relation of a kind which could be instantiated by a material (...) object and a perceiver, which is thus instantiated in the veridical case but not in the non-veridical. (shrink)
In "How Do We Know It Is Now Now?" David Braddon-Mitchell (Analysis 2004) develops an objection to the thesis that the past is real but the future is not. He notes my response to this, namely that the past, although real, is lifeless and (a fortiori?) lacking in sentience. He argues, however, that this response, which I call 'the past is dead hypothesis', is not tenable if combined with 'special relativity'. My purpose in this reply is to argue that, on (...) the contrary, 'special relativity' supports the thesis that the future is unreal. (shrink)
Part One of this paper is a case against classical mereology and for Heyting mereology. This case proceeds by first undermining the appeal of classical mereology and then showing how it fails to cohere with our intuitions about a measure of quantity. Part Two shows how Heyting mereology provides an account of sets and classes without resort to any nonmereological primitive.
Conceivability is, I say, prima facie evidence for possibility. Hence, we may count the cost of theories about possibility by listing the ways in which, according to the theory in question, something conceivable is said nonetheless to be impossible. More succinctly we may state a principle, Hume's razor to put alongside Ockham's. Hume's razor says that necessities are not to be multiplied more than necessary. In this paper I count the cost of David Lewis's modal realism, showing that many of (...) the objections are replied to by Lewis only at the cost of multiplying necessities. (shrink)
As a preliminary, I shall clarify the kenotic position by arguing that a position which is often called kenotic is actually a quasi-kenotic version of the classical account, according to which Jesus had normal divine powers but chose not to exercise them. After this preliminary, I discuss three problems with the strict kenotic account. The first is that kenosis conflicts with the standard list of attributes considered essential to God. The second problem is posed by the Exaltation, namely the resumption (...) by Jesus of normal divine powers after his life on Earth. Finally there is the problem of how it was possible for Jesus to be the same person as the pre-incarnate Word. My solutions to these problems constitute my defence of a strict kenotic account of the Incarnation. (shrink)
While the Phase Space formulation of quantum mechanics has received considerable attention it has seldom been defended as a viable interpretation. In this paper I expound the Phase Space Picture, use it to provide a quasi-classical ‘hidden variables’ interpretation of quantum mechanics and offer a defence of it against various objections.
Starting from the acceptance of the Egalitarian Principle I exhibited a version which I considered too lax (BEP) and one I considered too strict (NEP), arriving at a version (MEP) which allows that there can be tolerance-limiting reasons for adhering to traditions but only if they are based on unreasoned knowledge claims. In fact, I hold that the situation most of us find ourselves in restricts such claims on religious topics to very general ones. Hence the choice between NEP and (...) MEP is not significant.It follows that we should take up one of two positions concerning religious traditions: either we argue from the shared assumptions of a variety of traditions without genuine participation in any of them; or we justify participation in one of them by noting various marks of reliability, such as serendipitous understanding. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the Direct Actualisation of Conditional Situations as a way of explaining how God answers prayers without assuming that God acts on the world after the prayer is made. My hypothesis states that God, in creating, brings about conditionals without either preventing the antecedent or bringing about the consequent. I compare this hypothesis with some rivals, notably the appeals to foreknowledge and to middle knowledge.
This paper is a contribution to the programme of moderating Social Trinitarianism to achieve a fairly orthodox result. I follow Swinburne in relying heavily on divine thisnessless and in the important speculation that the Trinity arose from a primordial 'unitarian' God. In this paper I explain why I disagree with Swinburnes's account of how the Trinity came into being and I propose an alternative in which the primordial God fissions into three divine persons for the sake of a loving community.