RichardSwinburne is one of the most distinguished philosophers of religion of our day. In this volume, many notable British and American philosophers unite to honor him and to discuss various topics to which he has contributed significantly. These include general topics in the philosophy of religion such as revelation, and faith and reason, and the specifically Christian doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and atonement. In the spirit of the movement which Swinburne spearheaded, the essays use (...) analytic philosophical methods to examine doctrines in particular religious traditions, expanding upon traditional discussions of theism. As such, this volume represents a field-report on the interaction of philosophy and Christian thought in the English-speaking world. Swinburne has himself contributed an individual and personal Intellectual Autobiography. (shrink)
Plantinga defines S's belief as ‘privately rational if and only if it is probable on S's evidence’, and ‘publicly rational if and only if it is probable with respect to public evidence’, and he claims that ‘it is an immediate consequence of these definitions that all my basic beliefs are privately rational’. I made it explicitly clear in my review that on my account of a person's evidence (quoted and used by Plantinga) as ‘the content of his basic beliefs (weighted (...) by his degree of confidence in them)’, that is not the case. I emphasize ‘weighted by his degree of confidence in them’. I wrote explicitly: ‘for more or less any belief, however convinced you are of it initially, other evidence of which you are equally convinced could rend it overall improbable’. Put technically, in probabilistic terms, basic beliefs come to us with different degrees of prior probability varying with our degree of confidence in them, but a belief with a high prior probability can in the light of other beliefs of our current set have a lower posterior probability. If you continue to hold on to a basic belief when its probability on the total evidence is below half, that belief is not privately rational. Footnotes1 Note: This brief discussion arises out of RichardSwinburne's critical notice of Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief (New York NY: Oxford University Press, 2000) and Plantinga's reply in Religious Studies, 37 (2001), 203–214, 215–222. (shrink)
THE PAPER EXAMINES WHAT IS MEANT BY ’EVIDENCE’ WHEN IT IS SAID THAT A THEORY IS PROBABLE ON CERTAIN EVIDENCE. IT CONSIDERS WHAT IS THE RELATION BETWEEN A THEORY BEING PROBABLE ON CERTAIN EVIDENCE, A THEORY BEING BELIEVED, AND A THEORY BEING CREDIBLE. IT DISTINGUISHES VARIOUS SENSES OF ’ACCEPT’ IN WHICH SCIENTISTS ARE SAID TO ACCEPT THEORIES, ONLY ONE OF WHICH IS THE SENSE OF ’ACCEPT’ IN WHICH IT IS EQUATED WITH ’BELIEVE’. IT ANALYSES THE LOGICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN A THEORY (...) BEING PROBABLE ON THE EVIDENCE, AND A THEORY BEING ACCEPTED, AND A THEORY BEING ACCEPTABLE, IN THE DIFFERENT SENSES OF ’ACCEPT’. (shrink)
RichardSwinburne presents a substantially rewritten and updated edition of his most celebrated book. No other work has made a more powerful case for the probability of the existence of God. Swinburne gives a rigorous and penetrating analysis of the most important arguments for theism: the cosmological argument; arguments from the existence of laws of nature and the 'fine-tuning' of the universe; from the occurrence of consciousness and moral awareness; and from miracles and religious experience. He claims (...) that while none of these arguments are deductively valid, they do give inductive support to theism and that, even when the argument from evil is weighed against them, taken together they offer good grounds to support the probability that there is a God. The overall structure of the discussion and its conclusion have been retained for this new edition, but much has been changed in order to strengthen the argumentation and to take account of Swinburne's subsequent work on the nature of consciousness and the problem of evil, and of the latest philosophical and scientific writing, especially in respect of the laws of nature and the argument from fine-tuning. This is now the definitive version of a classic in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The first six articles in this issue of THINK have the theme . Here, RichardSwinburne argues that the existence of God is not a precondition of there being moral truths, but his existence does impact on what moral truths there are.
RichardSwinburne offers an original treatment of a question at the heart of epistemology: what makes a belief rational, or justified in holding? He maps the rival accounts of philosophers on epistemic justification ("internalist" and "externalist"), arguing that they are really accounts of different concepts. He distinguishes between synchronic justification (justification at a time) and diachronic justification (synchronic justification resulting from adequate investigation)--both internalist and externalist. He also argues that most kinds of justification are worth having because they (...) are indicative of truth; however, it is only justification of internalist kinds that can guide a believer's actions. Swinburne goes on to show the usefulness of the probability calculus in elucidating how empirical evidence makes beliefs probably true. (shrink)
At least since Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, it has increasingly become accepted that the existence of God is, intellectually, a lost cause, and that religious faith is an entirely non-rational matter--the province of those who willingly refuse to accept the dramatic advances of modern cosmology. Are belief in God and belief in science really mutually exclusive? Or, as noted philosopher of science and religion RichardSwinburne puts forth, can the very same criteria which scientists (...) use to reach theories about everything from DNA to the Big Bang be used to argue for the existence of God? In Is There a God? Swinburne presents a powerful and approachable case for the existence of God. Using the methods of scientific reasoning, Swinburne rigorously argues that science, far from replacing God, provides good grounds for belief in God. With each new discovery and advance, from black holes to quarks, superstrings to continuing evolution, science brings us closer to a complete understanding of how things work--but science can only go so far. Though it can explain much of how the universe works, science doesn't tell us why there is a universe at all. We can understand much of how life evolved, but why is there any life on earth? We can name and explicate scientific laws, but how is it that they operate in the universe? The Darwinian theory holds that the complex animal and human bodies that are here today exist because, ages ago, there were certain chemicals on earth, and given the laws of evolution, it was probable that complex organisms would emerge. But why those laws rather than any other? Why those chemicals? In Swinburne's view, the ultimate grand unifying theory is possible only by a belief in what he calls theism, acknowledging the existence of God: it was God who brought about the natural laws so that humans and animals would evolve. The watch may have been made, Swinburne asserts in reference to Richard Dawkins, with the aid of some blind screwdrivers (or even a blind watchmaking machine), but they were guided by a watchmaker with some very clear sight. At the heart of his argument is Swinburne's belief that the very success of science in showing us how deeply ordered the natural world is provides strong grounds for believing there is an even deeper cause of that order. By embracing a belief in God that acknowledges the truth in science, Swinburne's elegant argument supplies an essential spiritual element to our understanding of order and beauty, the structure beneath the chaos of the natural world. This informed and provocative volume will be essential reading for all readers of popular science, philosophy, and religion. (shrink)
According to how we treat others, we acquire merit or guilt, deserve praise or blame, and receive reward or punishment, looking in the end for atonement. In this study distinguished theological philosopher RichardSwinburne examines how these moral concepts apply to humans in their dealings with each other, and analyzes these findings, determining which versions of traditional Christian doctrines--sin and original sin, redemption, sanctification, and heaven and hell--are considered morally acceptable.
I am most grateful to Richard Gale for the detailed attention which he has paid to my detailed arguments, and for the kind remarks between which he sandwiches his hard-hitting criticisms. The first of the latter is that I (211) between different theses, Ss, Sw, and W. I hope not, but I agree that I may not have made the relation between these sufficiently clear. I am certainly committed to, and sought to argue for, the strong version of the (...) strong thesis. (shrink)
THE VOLUME CONTAINS PAPERS BY J L MACKIE, JON DORLING, ELIE ZAHAR, LAWRENCE SKLAR, RICHARDSwinburne, Richard A HEALEY, W H NEWTON-SMITH, NANCY CARTWRIGHT, JEREMY BUTTERFIELD, MICHAEL REDHEAD AND PETER GIBBONS. THEY CONCERN THE IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR UNDERSTANDING OF SPACE, TIME AND CAUSATION OF THE DEVELOPMENTS OF MODERN PHYSICS AND ESPECIALLY OF RELATIVITY THEORY AND QUANTUM THEORY.
What is it for there to be a God, and what reason is there for supposing him to conform to the claims of Christian doctrine? In this pivotal volume of his tetralogy, RichardSwinburne builds a rigorous metaphysical system for describing the world, and applies this to assessing the worth of the Christian tenets of the Trinity and the Incarnation. Part I is dedicated to analyzing the categories needed to address accounts of the divine nature--substance, cause, time, and (...) necessity. Part II begins by setting out, in terms of these categories, the fundamental doctrine of Western religions--that there is a God. After pointing out some of the different ways in which this doctrine can be developed, Swinburne spells out the simplest possible account of divine nature. He then goes on to clarify the implications of this account for the specifically Christian doctrines of the Trinity (that God is "three persons in one substance") and of the Incarnation (that God became incarnate in Jesus Christ). Swinburne finds that there are good reasons to believe the Christian additions to the core Western idea of God. The Christian God builds upon Swinburne's acclaimed previous work to form a self-contained text which will no doubt become a classic in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Do humans have a free choice of which actions to perform? Three recent developments of modern science can help us to answer this question. First, new investigative tools have enabled us to study the processes in our brains which accompanying our decisions. The pioneer work of Benjamin Libet has led many neuroscientists to hold the view that our conscious intentions do not cause our bodily movements but merely accompany them. Then, Quantum Theory suggests that not all physical events are fully (...) determined by their causes, and so opens the possibility that not all brain events may be fully determined by their causes, and so maybe - if neuroscience does not rule this out - there is a role for intentions after all. Finally, a theorem of mathematics, Godel's theory, has been interpreted to suggest that the initial conditions and laws of development of a mathematician's brain could not fully determine which mathematical conjectures he sees to be true. Papers by Patrick Haggard, Tim Bayne, Harald Atmanspacher and Stefan Rotter, Solomon Feferman, and John Lucas investigate these issues. The extent to which human behaviour is determined by brain events may well depend on whether conscious events, such as intentions, are themselves merely brain events, or whether they are separate events which interact with brain events (perhaps in the radical form that intentions are events in our soul, and not in our body). The papers of Frank Jackson, RichardSwinburne, and Howard Robinson investigate these issues. The remaining papers, of Galen Strawson, Helen Steward, and R.A. Duff, consider what kind of free will we need in order to be morally responsible for our actions or to be held guilty in a court of law. Is it sufficient merely that our actions are uncaused by brain events, or what? (shrink)
The great religions often claim that their books or creeds contain truths revealed by God. How could we know that they do? In the second edition of Revelation, renowned philosopher of religion RichardSwinburne addresses this central question. But since the books of great religions often contain much poetry and parable, Swinburne begins by investigating how eternal truth can be conveyed in unfamiliar genres, by analogy and metaphor, within false presuppositions about science and history. In the final (...) part of the book, Swinburne then applies the results of Parts I and II to assessing the evidence that the teaching of the Christian Church constitutes a revelation from God. -/- In the course of his philosophical exploration, Swinburne considers how the church which Jesus founded is to be identified today and presents a sustained discussion of which passages in the Bible should be understood literally and which should be understood metaphorically. -/- This is a fuller and entirely rewritten second edition of Revelation, the most notable new feature of which is a long chapter examining whether traditional Christian claims about personal morality (divorce, homosexuality, abortion, etc.) can be regarded as revealed truths. A formal appendix shows how the structure of evidence supporting the Christian revelation can be articulated in terms of the probability calculus (and shows that Plantinga's well-known argument from 'dwindling probabilities' against probabilistic arguments of this kind is not cogent). (shrink)
The orderliness of the universe and the existence of human beings already provides some reason for believing that there is a God - as argued in RichardSwinburne's earlier book Is There a God ? Swinburne now claims that it is probable that the main Christian doctrines about the nature of God and his actions in the world are true. In virtue of his omnipotence and perfect goodness, God must be a Trinity, live a human life in (...) order to share our suffering, and found a church which would enable him to tell all humans about this. It is also quite probable that he would provide his human life as an atonement for our wrongdoing, teach us how we should live and tell us his plans for our future after death. Among founders of religions, Jesus satisfies uniquely well the requirement of living the sort of human life which God would need to have lived. But to give us adequate reason to believe that Jesus was God, God would need to put his 'signature' on the life of Jesus by an act which he alone could do, for example raise him from the dead. There is adequate historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. The church which he founded gave plausible interpretations of his basic message. Therefore Christian doctrines are probably true. (shrink)
Jeremy Gwiazda made two criticisms of my formulation in terms of Bayes’s theorem of my probabilistic argument for the existence of God. The first criticism depends on his assumption that I claim that the intrinsic probabilities of all propositions depend almost entirely on their simplicity; however, my claim is that that holds only insofar as those propositions are explanatory hypotheses. The second criticism depends on a claim that the intrinsic probabilities of exclusive and exhaustive explanatory hypotheses of a phenomenon must (...) sum to 1; however it is only those probabilities plus the intrinsic probability of the non-occurrence of the phenomenon which must sum to 1. (shrink)
This is a revised and updated version of Swinburne's controversial treatment of the eternal philosophical problem of the relation between mind and body. He argues that we can only make sense of the interaction between the mental and the physical in terms of the soul, and that there is no scientific explanation of the evolution of the soul.
Theodicy needs to show, for all actual evils e, that 1) in allowing e, a God would bring about a necessary condition of a good g not achievable in any other morally permissible way, 2) if e occurs, g occurs, 3) it is morally permissible for God to allow e, and 4) g is at least as good as e is bad. This article contributes to a full-scale theodicy by showing that A being of use (e.g., by suffering) to B (...) is a great good for A, and that in consequence, if 1) and 2) are satisfied, 3) and 4) are also likely to be satisfied. (shrink)
Empiricists have sought to follow Hume in claiming that causality is a relation between events reducible to something more basic, e.g., regularities or counterfactuals. But all such attempts fail through their inability to distinguish cause from effect. The alternative is that causation is irreducible. Regularities are evidence of causation but do not constitute it. We understand what causation is through performing intentional actions which necessarily involve trying, which in turn just is exercising causal power.
I defend the A Theory of Time that there are tensed (and other indexical) facts, e.g., about what has happened, as well as tenseless facts, e.g., about what happened in the nineteenth century. I reject arguments of McTaggart and Grunbaum, but concentrate on Mellor’s argument that tenseless truth-conditions can be given for the truth of every tensed sentence. My rebuttal of this argument depends on a distinction between the ’proposition’ and the ’statement’ expressed by a sentence. Statements have changeless truth-value, (...) while propositions may change truth-value; but there is more to be known than knowledge of true statements can capture. (shrink)
THE PARADOXES OF CONFIRMATION ARE CONSTITUTED BY THE CONTRADICTIONS ARISING FROM THE CONJUNCTION OF THREE PRINCIPLES OF CONFIRMATION - NICOD’S CRITERION, THE EQUIVALENCE CONDITION, AND WHAT THE PAPER CALLS THE SCIENTIFIC LAWS CONDITION. THE PAPER DISCUSSES IN DETAIL THE VARIOUS SOLUTIONS PROVIDED BY ABANDONING ONE OF THE PRINCIPLES. IN THE END IT FINDS NICOD’S CRITERION FALSE, BUT FINDS THE EXPLANATIONS GIVEN BY H.G. ALEXANDER AND OTHERS OF WHY NICOD’S CRITERION IS FALSE THEMSELVES UNSATISFACTORY. IT THEN PROVIDES A MORE ADEQUATE ACCOUNT (...) OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH "RA.BA" CONFIRMS "ALL R’S ARE B". (shrink)
The paper investigates what are the proper procedures for calculating the probability on certain evidence of a particular object e having a property, Q, e.g. of Eclipse winning the Derby. Let `α ' denote the conjunction of properties known to be possessed by e, and P(Q)/α the probability of an object which is α being Q. One view is that the probability of e being Q is given by the best confirmed value of P(Q)/α . This view is shown not (...) to be generally true, but to provide a useful approximation in many cases. Then given that we have information about the observed frequencies of Q among objects having one or more of the properties whose conjunction forms α , the paper shows how to establish which value of P(Q)/α is the best confirmed one. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga Warranted Christian Belief (New York NY: Oxford University Press, 2000). In the two previous volumes of his trilogy on ‘warrant’, Alvin Plantinga developed his general theory of warrant, defined as that characteristic enough of which terms a true belief into knowledge. A belief B has warrant if and only if: (1) it is produced by cognitive faculties functioning properly, (2) in a cognitive environment sufficiently similar to that for which the faculties were designed, (3) according to a design (...) plan aimed at the production of true beliefs, when (4) there is a high statistical probability of such beliefs being true. Thus my belief that there is a table in front of me has warrant if in the first place, in producing it, my cognitive faculties were functioning properly, the way they were meant to function. Plantinga holds that just as our heart or liver may function properly or not, so may our cognitive faculties. And he also holds that if God made us, our faculties function properly if they function in the way God designed them to function; whereas if evolution (uncaused by God) made us, then our faculties function properly if they function in the way that (in some sense) evolution designed them to function. (shrink)
(I UNDERSTAND BY A MIRACLE, A VIOLATION OF A LAW OF NATURE BY A GOD.) A VIOLATION OF A LAW OF NATURE IS THE OCCURRENCE OF A NON-REPEATABLE COUNTER-INSTANCE TO IT. CONTRARY TO HUME’S VIEW, THERE COULD BE GOOD HISTORICAL EVIDENCE BOTH THAT A VIOLATION HAD OCCURRED AND THAT IT WAS DUE TO THE ACT OF A GOD.
Theism is a far simpler hypothesis, and so a priori more probably true, than naturalism, understood as the hypothesis that the existence of this law-governed universe has no explanation. Theism postulates only one entity (God) with very simple properties, whereas naturalism has to postulate either innumerable entities all having the same properties, or one very complicated entity with the power to produce the former. If theism is true, it is moderately probable that God would create humanoid beings and so humanoid (...) bodies; but laws of nature would have to have very special properties if they are to bring about the existence of humanoid bodies. Given laws of the present form, the constants of the laws and variables of the boundary conditions of the universe would need to be extremely fine-tuned. So the evidence of the existence of humanoid bodies adds further to the probability of theism as against naturalism. (edited). (shrink)
THE PAPER BEGINS BY CONSIDERING THREE ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS OF "ANALYTIC," ONE IN TERMS OF LOGICAL TRUTH, ONE IN TERMS OF THE MEANINGS OF WORDS, AND ONE IN TERMS OF SELF-CONTRADICTION OR INCOHERENCE. NEXT, FIVE DEFINITIONS OF "NECESSARY" ARE CONSIDERED, ONE IN TERMS OF ANALYTICITY, AND ONE PICKING OUT THE BROADER KIND OF LOGICAL NECESSITY DISCUSSED BY KRIPKE AND PLANTINGA. FINALLY, THREE DEFINITIONS OF "A PRIORI" ARE CONSIDERED. ONLY ON A FEW OF THESE DEFINITIONS DO THE CATEGORIES OF ANALYTIC, NECESSARY, AND (...) A PRIORI COINCIDE. (shrink)
The principle of the identity of indiscernibles holds that two individuals are the same individual if they have all the same properties. There are different forms of the principle, varying with what is allowed to count as a property. An individual has thisness if the weakest form of the principle does not apply to it. Abstract objects, places and times do not have thisness. Inanimate material objects probably do not. Animate beings, and the conscious events which involve them do have (...) thisness, and probably other events do as well. (shrink)
Armstrong's theory of laws of nature as relations between universals gives an initially plausible account of why the causal powers of substances are bound together only in certain ways, so that the world is a very regular place. But its resulting theory of causation cannot account for intentional causation, since this involves an agent trying to do something, and trying is causing. This kind of causation is thus a state of an agent and does not involve the operation of a (...) law. It is simpler to suppose that non-intentional causing is also causing by substances (and not events) in virtue of their powers to act. That raises again the question of why their powers are bound together only in certain ways. The most probable answer is that God, the simplest kind of person there could be, brings this about because it is necessary for the existence of finite rational creatures such as ourselves. (shrink)
Given four modest verificationist theses, tying the meaning of talk about instants and periods to the events which (physically) could occur during, before or after them, the only content to the claim the Universe had a beginning (applicable equally to chaotic or orderly universes) is in terms of it being preceded by empty time. It follows that time cannot have a beginning. The Universe, however, could have a beginning--even if it has lasted for an infinite time.
This paper defends (especially in response to Brian Leftow’s recent attack) logical nominalism, the thesis that logically necessary truth belongs primarily to sentences and depends solely on the conventions of human language. A sentence is logically necessary (that is, a priori metaphysically necessary) iff its negation entails a contradiction. A sentence is a posteriori metaphysically necessary iff it reduces to a logical necessity when we substitute for rigid designators of objects or properties canonical descriptions of the essential properties of those (...) objects or properties. The truth-conditions of necessary sentences are not to be found in any transcendent reality, such as God’s thoughts. "There is a God" is neither a priori nor a posteriori metaphysically necessary; God is necessary in the sense that His existence is not causally contingent on anything else. (shrink)
Inanimate explanation is to be analysed in terms of substances having powers and liabilities to exercise their powers under certain conditions; while personal explanation is to be analysed in terms of persons, their beliefs, powers, and purposes. A crucial criterion for an explanation being probably true is that it is (among explanations leading us to expect the data) the simplest one. Simplicity is a matter of few substances, few kinds of substances, few properties (including powers and liabilities), few kinds of (...) properties, and mathematically simple relations between properties. Explanation of the existence of the universe by the agency of God provides the simplest kind of personal explanation there can be, and one simpler than any inanimate explanation. I defend this view more thoroughly than previously in light of recent challenges. (shrink)
AN OCCURRENT THOUGHT IS DISTINGUISHED FROM BELIEF, INTELLIGENT BEHAVIOR, AND THE ACTIVE PROCESS OF THINKING. THE OCCURRENCE OF THOUGHTS IS NOT TO BE ANALYZED IN TERMS OF THE OCCURRENCE OF IMAGES OF WORDS OF SENTENCES WHICH EXPRESS THEM AND OFTEN ACCOMPANY THEM. THOUGHTS HAVE INBUILT INTENTIONALITY.
ARGUMENTS FROM DESIGN TO THE EXISTENCE OF GOD MAY TAKE AS THEIR PREMISS EITHER THE EXISTENCE OF REGULARITIES OF COPRESENCE OR THE EXISTENCE OF REGULARITIES OF SUCCESSION. THERE ARE NO VALID FORMAL OBJECTIONS TO A CAREFULLY ARTICULATED ARGUMENT OF THE LATTER TYPE. AGAINST SUCH AN ARGUMENT NONE OF THE OBJECTIONS IN HUME’S "DIALOGUES" HAVE ANY WORTH. THE ARGUMENT MAY HOWEVER GIVE ONLY A SMALL DEGREE OF SUPPORT TO ITS CONCLUSION.
This is my response to the critical commentaries by Hasker, McNaughton and Schellenberg on my tetralogy on Christian doctrine. I dispute the moral principles invoked by McNaughton and Schellenberg in criticism of my theodicy and theory of atonement. I claim, contrary to Hasker, that I have taken proper account of the ‘existential dimension' of Christianity. I agree that whether it is rational to pursue the Christian way depends not only on how probable it is that the Christian creed is true (...) and so that the way leads to the Christian goals, but (in part) on how strongly one wants those goals. Hasker is correct to say that I need to give arguments in favour of the historical claims of Christianity, and I outline how I hope to do that. (shrink)
Jeremy Gwiazda has criticized my claim that God, understood as an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly free person is a person ’of the simplest possible kind’ on the grounds that omnipotence, etc., as spelled out by me are omnipotence, etc., of restricted kinds, and so less simple forms of these properties than maximal forms would be. However, the account which I gave of these properties in ’The Christian God’ (although not in ’The Coherence of Theism’) shows that, when they are defined (...) in certain ways, they all follow from one property of ’pure, limitless, intentional power’. I argue here that a person who has these properties so defined is a person ’of the simplest possible kind’. (shrink)
THE FREEWILL DEFENCE IS DESIGNED TO SHOW THAT THE EXISTENCE OF MORAL EVIL (I.E., EVIL PRODUCED BY MEN) IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. TO DO THIS IT MUST CLAIM THAT IT IS GOOD THAT MEN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRING ABOUT EITHER GOOD OR EVIL. TO HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY, THEY MUST KNOW HOW TO BRING ABOUT EVIL. GOD COULD TELL THEM, BUT THAT WOULD MAKE HIS PRESENCE SO MANIFEST AS TO IMPAIR THEIR FREEDOM. THE ONLY OTHER WAY IN (...) WHICH THEY COULD ACQUIRE THAT KNOWLEDGE IS BY SEEING THAT CERTAIN NATURAL PROCESSES BRING ABOUT EVIL EFFECTS. BUT THAT MEANS THAT THERE MUST BE NATURAL EVIL IF MEN ARE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRING ABOUT MORAL EVIL. (shrink)
Events are the instantiations of properties in substances at times. A full history of the world must include, as well as physical events, mental events (ones to which the substance involved has privileged access) and mental substances (ones to the existence of which the substance has privileged access), and, among the latter, pure mental substances (ones which do not include a physical substance as an essential part). Humans are pure mental substances. An argument for this is that it seems conceivable (...) that I could exist without my body. An objection to this argument is that ’I’ refers to my body, and so what seems conceivable is not metaphysically possible. My response to this objection is that ’I’ is an informative designator and so necessarily we know to what it refers, and it does not refer to my body. (shrink)
EMPIRICIST THEORIES OF PERSONAL IDENTITY STATE THAT THE IDENTITY OF A PERSON OVER TIME IS A MATTER OF BODILY CONTINUITY AND/OR SIMILARITY OF MEMORY AND CHARACTER. IN CONTRAST, THIS PAPER ARGUES THAT WHILE BODILY CONTINUITY AND SIMILARITY OF MEMORY AND CHARACTER ARE EVIDENCE OF PERSONAL IDENTITY, THEY DO NOT CONSTITUTE IT. IT IS SOMETHING UNDEFINABLE. THE DIFFICULTY OF KNOWING WHAT TO SAY IN PUZZLE CASES DOES NOT SHOW THAT PERSONAL IDENTITY EXISTS IN DIFFERENT DEGREES OR THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE (...) ARBITRARY JUDGMENTS ABOUT IT. IT SHOWS ONLY THAT SOMETIMES WE CANNOT KNOW WHO IS WHO. (shrink)
I have argued in many places that a carefully articulated version of Descartes’s argument to show that he is essentially an immaterial soul is sound. It is conceivable that I who am currently conscious continue to exist without my body, and that can only be if there is currently a nonbodily part of me which alone is essential for me. Recent counterarguments of Alston and Smythe, Moser and van der Nat, Zimmerman, and Shoemaker are rejected.
In response to Michael Bradley, I summarize my account of the criteria by which the various data of natural theology increase the probability of theism and together make it probable. I explain the sense in which a simpler theory leaves less to be explained, justify my claim that God’s perfect goodness is entailed by his other divine properties, and show that not merely is theism simpler than Bradley’s ’Epicurean hypothesis’, but that the ’mixed’ data of natural theology are more to (...) be expected given theism than given the ’Epicurean hypothesis’. (shrink)