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Profile: Rico Vitz (Azusa Pacific University)
  1. Rico Vitz, Courses.
    question that concerns the way in which religious belief is grounded in human nature. David Hume is one of the seminal figures in philosophy who developed critiques of religious belief that address each of these compelling questions. In this seminar, we will focus on Hume’s writings on religion, examining themes both in epistemology and in cognitive psychology, and examine the merits of Hume’s arguments and the way in which they have helped shape the contemporary debate about the reasons and the (...)
     
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  2. Rico Vitz (forthcoming). The Nature and Functions of Sympathy in Hume's Philosophy. In Paul Russell (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of David Hume. Oxford University Press.
    My aim, in this chapter, is to outline the key details of this particularly interesting aspect of Hume's philosophical system. My presentation will be threefold. In the first section of the paper, I will elucidate the nature of sympathy, drawing upon some of the more recent ways in which Hume's commentators have attempted to resolve the interpretive puzzles Hume's works present. In the second section, I will explicate some of the functions sympathy has in Hume's philosophy, including not only three (...)
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  3. Rico Vitz (forthcoming). Reforming the Art of Living: Nature, Virtue, and Religion in Descartes's Philosophy. Springer.
  4. Rico Vitz (ed.) (2012). Turning East: Contemporary Philosophers and the Ancient Christian Faith. St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.
    The Orthodox Church is one of the largest religious groups in the world. Yet, it remains an enigma in the West, especially among those who mistake it either for a Greek version of Roman Catholicism or for an exotic mixture of Christianity and eastern religion. Many, however, are coming to recognize the Orthodox Church for what it is: a worldwide community of Christian disciples that has been faithful to the apostolic command, “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were (...)
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  5. Rico Vitz (2011). Ana Smith Iltis and Mark J. Cherry: At the Roots of Christian Bioethics: Critical Essays on the Thought of H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. [REVIEW] HEC Forum 23 (1):63-69.
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  6. Rico Vitz (2011). Thomas More and the Christian 'Superstition': A Puzzle for Hume's Psychology of Religious Belief. Modern Schoolman 88 (3-4):223-244.
    In this paper, I examine one particular element of Hume’s psychology of religious belief. More specifically, I attempt to elucidate his account of what I call the sustaining causes of religious belief—that is, those causes that keep religious beliefs alive in modern human societies. In attempting to make some progress at clarifying this element of Hume’s psychology, I examine one particular ‘experiment’—namely, the case of Thomas More, a man who is, by Hume’s own admission, a person of remarkable virtue. I (...)
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  7. Rico Vitz (2010). Breaking the Spell. [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 27 (1):91-94.
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  8. Rico Vitz (2010). Descartes and the Question of Direct Doxastic Voluntarism. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:107-21.
    In this paper, I clarify Descartes’s account of belief, in general, and of judgment, in particular. Then, drawing upon this clarification, I explain the type of direct doxastic voluntarism that he endorses. In particular, I attempt to demonstrate two claims. First, I argue that there is strong textual evidence that, on Descartes’s account, people have the ability to suspend, or to withhold, judgment directly by an act will. Second, I argue that there is weak and inconclusive textual evidence that, on (...)
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  9. Rico Vitz (2010). Thomas Holden, Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (10).
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  10. Rico Vitz (2009). Doxastic Virtues in Hume's Epistemology. Hume Studies 35 (1/2):211-29.
    In this paper, I elucidate Hume's account of doxastic virtues and offer three reasons that contemporary epistemologists ought to consider it as an alternative to one of the broadly Aristotelian models currently offered. Specifically, I suggest that Hume's account of doxastic virtues obviates (1) the much-debated question about whether such virtues are intellectual, "moral," or some combination thereof, (2) the much-debated question about whether people have voluntary control of their belief formation, and (3) the need to make the kind of (...)
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  11. Rico Vitz, Doxastic Voluntarism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Doxastic voluntarism is the philosophical doctrine according to which people have voluntary control over their beliefs. Philosophers in the debate about doxastic voluntarism distinguish between two kinds of voluntary control. The first is known as direct voluntary control and refers to acts which are such that if a person chooses to perform them, they happen immediately. For instance, a person has direct voluntary control over whether he or she is thinking about his or her favorite song at a given moment. (...)
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  12. Rico Vitz (2008). Review of Paul Russell, The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (7).
  13. Rico Vitz (2004). Sympathy and Benevolence in Hume's Moral Psychology. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (3):261-275.
    In this paper, I argue that Hume’s account of sympathy is substantially unchanged from the Treatise to the second Enquiry. I show that Hume uses the term ‘sympathy’ to refer to three different mental phenomena (a psychological mechanism or principle, a sentiment, and a conversion process) and that he consistently refers to sympathy as a cause of benevolent motivation. I attempt to resolve an apparent difficulty regarding sympathy and humanity by explaining how each is an ‘original principle’ in Hume’s sense. (...)
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  14. Rico Vitz (2002). Hume and the Limits of Benevolence. Hume Studies 28 (2):271-296.
    The purpose of this paper is to explain Hume’s account of the way both the scope and the degree of benevolent motivation is limited. I argue (i) that Hume consistently affirms, both in the Treatise and in the second Enquiry, that the scope of benevolent motivation is very broad, such that it includes any creature that is conscious and capable of thought, and (ii) that the degree of benevolent motivation is limited, such that a person is naturally inclined to feel (...)
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