I have long admired Richard Swinburne's work, not only for the way it has raised the level of discussion in the philosophy of religion by the introduction of technical sophistication and rigour, but even more for its courageous honesty in espousing and defending to the hilt his deepest beliefs and convictions, regardless of whether they are currently in vogue. He is a true professor whose concern is not to look good but to seek the truth, and for this he deserves (...) our deepest respect as a philosopher. (shrink)
God -- On the cognitivity of mystical experiences -- The problem of evil -- God eternal and Paul helm -- A new cosmological argument, co-authored with Alexander Pruss -- A response to oppy and to Davey and Clifton -- Co-authored with Alexander Pruss -- The ecumenicalism of William James -- Time -- Is it now now? -- McTaggart's analysis of time -- The egocentric particular and token-reflexive analyses of tense -- The impossibility of backward causation -- An identity theory of (...) the A- and B-series -- Co-authored with Michelle Beer -- Disanalogies between space and time -- Nonbeing -- Negative statements -- On what there isn't -- Nonbeing and the receptacle -- Could logical space be empty? (shrink)
Introduction -- Part I: Growth, inquiry, and unity -- Problems with inquiry -- Aesthetic inquiry -- Inquiry, inquiry, inquiry -- Why unification? -- Part II: The metaphysics of unity -- The quest for being QUA being -- Time and individuality -- The Humpty-Dumpty intuition -- The mystical.
Kasher and Nishi interpret James as holding an expressivist theory about epistemic duties, as well as other normative sentences. On this interpretation, James's claim that we have a will-to-believe type option to believe an epistemic duty winds up being inconsistent. For one can believe only that which is either true or false; but, for the expressivist, normative claims are neither. It is argued that Feldman's essay is not only a wildly anachronistic account of Clifford and James but also is of (...) no philosophical merit in its own right. (shrink)
A Deweyan inquiry begins with an indeterminate situation and terminates, when successful, with a determinate situation, both of which Dewey holds to be unique and therefore ineffable. This ineffability requirement has the disastrous consequences that Dewey’s beloved collective inquiry is impossible and that there are no objective criteria for the success of inquiry. It is found that Dewey’s ineffability requirement results from his misbegotten attempt to aestheticize inquiry so that it is an act of artistic creation. It is suggested that (...) things would go better if he dropped the ineffability requirement. (shrink)
This is an accessible introduction to the full range of the philosophy of William James. It portrays that philosophy as containing a deep division between a Promethean type of pragmatism and a passive mysticism. The pragmatist James conceives of truth and meaning as a means to control nature and make it do our bidding. The mystic James eschews the use of concepts in order to penetrate to the inner conscious core of all being, including nature at large. Richard Gale attempts (...) to harmonize these pragmatic and mystical perspectives. This introduction is drawn from and complements the author's much more comprehensive and systematic study The Divided Self of William James, a volume that has received the highest critical praise. With its briefer compass and non-technical style this new introduction should help to disseminate the key elements of one of the great modern philosophies to an even wider readership. (shrink)
Our paper ‘A new cosmological argument’ gave an argument for the existence of God making use of the weak Principle of Sufficient Reason (W-PSR) which states that for every proposition p, if p is true, then it is possible that there is an explanation for p. Recently, Graham Oppy, as well as Kevin Davey and Rob Clifton, have criticized the argument. We reply to these criticisms. The most interesting kind of criticism in both papers alleges that the W-PSR can be (...) justifiably denied by the atheist, and constitutes no improvement on the strong Principle of Sufficient Reason (S-PSR) which claims that every true proposition in fact has an explanation. The criticism is predicated on the fact that it can be shown that the W-PSR entails the S-PSR. We argue that the W-PSR's plausibility remains despite the criticisms. From this it can be seen to follow that the entailment relation between the W-PSR and the S-PSR gives one reason to believe the S-PSR. (shrink)
In Warranted Christian Belief, Alvin Plantinga makes use of his earlier two books, Warrant: the Current Debate and Warrant and Proper Function, to show how it is possible for someone to have a warranted belief that God exists and that all of the great things of the Christian Gospel are true even if the believer is unable to give any argument to support these beliefs. Three objections are lodged against Plantinga’s position. First, the alleged sensus divinitatis and the internal instigation (...) of the Holy Spirit are crucially disanalogous to the cognitive faculties, such as memory and perception, in the standard package, thereby destroying his argument based on an analogy between the former and the latter. Second, in order to defeat defeaters for these beliefs one must give arguments, thus merely relocating the point at which the believer must produce argumentative support for her belief. Third, there are moral defeaters for exclusivist basic theistic and Christian beliefs based on the undesirable consequences of such beliefs. (shrink)
My review of Swinburne's elaborate and ingenious higher-good type theodicy will begin with an examination of his argument for why the theist needs a theodicy in the first place. After a preliminary sketch of his theodicy and its crucial free-will plank, its rational-choice theoretic arguments will be critically scrutinized.
It was important to James's philosophy, especially his doctrine of the will to believe, that we could believe at will. Toward this end he argues in The Principles of Psychology that attending to an idea is identical with believing it, which, in turn, is identical with willing that it be realized. Since willing is identical with believing and willing is an intentional action, it follows by Leibniz's Law that believing also is an intentional action. This paper explores the problems with (...) James's thesis that attending=will=belief. An attempt is made to show that it has a salvageable core that is of considerable philosophical interest and importance. (shrink)
We will give a new cosmological argument for the existence of a being who, although not proved to be the absolutely perfect God of the great Medieval theists, also is capable of playing the role in the lives of working theists of a being that is a suitable object of worship, adoration, love, respect, and obedience. Unlike the absolutely perfect God, the God whose necessary existence is established by our argument will not be shown to essentially have the divine perfections (...) of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and sovereignty. Furthermore, it is not even shown that he is contingently omnipotent and omniscient, just powerful and intelligent enough to be the supernatural designer-creator of the exceedingly complex and wondrous cosmos that in fact.. (shrink)
R. M. Adams’s essay, “Must God Create the Best?” can be interpreted as offering a theodicy for God’s creating morally less perfect beings than he could have created. By creating these morally less perfect beings, God is bestowing grace upon them, which is an unmerited or undeserved benefit. He does so, however, in advance of the free moral misdeeds that render them undeserving. This requires that God have middle knowledge, pace Adams’s version of the Free Will Theodicy, of what would (...) result from his actualization of possible free persons. It is argued that God’s possession of such middle knowledge negates the freedom of created beings, since God completely determines every action of every created person. And since they are not free, they cannot qualify as morally unmeritorious or undeserving. And, with that, Adams’s theodicy of grace-in-advance collapses. (shrink)
According to William James's casuistic rule we are always morally obligated to act in a way that maximizes desire satisfaction over desire dissatisfaction. This maximizing rule sharply clashes with James's strong deontological intuitions, which he expresses in other writings. A key problem for an interpreter is that sometimes James expresses his casuistic rule in terms of maximizing demand (or claim) satisfaction. An effort is made to relate these two different versions of the casuistic rule in a harmonious fashion.
James's most original and important contribution was his moralizing of epistemology, in particular belief-acceptance and truth. We are always to believe in a way that maximizes desire-satisfaction, with a proposition counting as true when a belief in it maximizes desire-satisfaction. The theory of truth that falls out of James's pragmatic theory of meaning must be downgraded to a theory of when a proposition is epistemology warranted, thus the reason for the scare-quotation marks around "Truth" in the title of the paper.