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Profile: Rik Peels
  1. Rik Peels, A Conceptual Map of Scientism.
    I argue that scientism in general is best understood as the thesis that the boundaries of the natural sciences should be expanded in order to include academic disciplines or realms of life that are widely considered not to belong to the realm of science. However, every adherent and critic of scientism should make clear which of the many varieties of scientism she adheres to or criticizes. In doing so, she should specify whether she is talking about (a) academic or universal (...)
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  2. Rik Peels (forthcoming). A Modal Solution to the Problem of Moral Luck. American Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this article I provide and defend a solution to the problem of moral luck. The problem of moral luck is that there is a set of three theses about luck and moral blameworthiness each of which is at least prima facie plausible, but that, it seems, cannot all be true. The theses are that (1) one cannot be blamed for what happens beyond one’s control, (2) that which is due to luck is beyond one’s control, and (3) we rightly (...)
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  3. Rik Peels (forthcoming). Does God Repent? In Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Vol 7.
    Several passages in documents that have authority for religious believers, such as the Bible, suggest that God sometimes repents. Few philosophers and theologians, however, have embraced the thought that God repents. The primary reason for rejecting this idea seems to be that repenting conflicts with being perfectly good and being omniscient, properties that are characteristically ascribed to God. I suggest that the issue can well be approached in terms of a paradox: it seems simultaneously (i) that God repents (this is (...)
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  4. Rik Peels (forthcoming). What Kind of Ignorance Excuses? Two Neglected Issues. Philosophical Quarterly.
    The philosophical literature displays a lively debate on the conditions under which ignorance excuses. In this paper, I formulate and defend an answer to two questions that have not yet been discussed in the literature on exculpatory ignorance. First, which kinds of propositional attitudes that count as ignorance provide an excuse? I argue that we need to consider four options here: having a false belief, suspending judgement on a true proposition, being deeply ignorant of a truth, and having a true (...)
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  5. Rik Peels (2014). A Bodiless Spirit? Philo 16 (1).
    The main conclusion of Herman Philipse’s God in the Age of Science? is that we should all be atheists. Remarkably, however, the book contains no argument whatsoever for atheism. Philipse defends the argument from evil and the argument from divine hiddenness, but those arguments count only against an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God, not against just any god. He also defends the claim that there cannot be any bodiless spirits, but, of course, not all religions take their gods to be bodiless. (...)
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  6. Rik Peels (2014). Hume's Law Violated? Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (3):449-455.
    Introduction: Prinz’s SentimentalismMany ethicists claim that one cannot derive an ought from an is. In others words, they think that one cannot derive a statement that has prescriptive force from purely descriptive statements. This thesis plays a crucial role in many theoretical and practical ethical arguments. Since, according to many, David Hume advocated a view along these lines, this thesis has been called ‘Hume’s Law’. In this paper, I adopt this widespread terminology, whether or not Hume did indeed take this (...)
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  7. Rik Peels & Anthony Robert Booth (2014). Why Responsible Belief Is Permissible Belief. Analytic Philosophy 54 (4):75-88.
    This paper provides a defence of the thesis that responsible belief is permissible rather than obliged belief. On the Uniqueness Thesis (UT), our evidence is always such that there is a unique doxastic attitude that we are obliged to have given that evidence, whereas the Permissibility Thesis (PT) denies this. After distinguishing several varieties of UT and PT, we argue that the main arguments that have been levied against PT fail. Next, two arguments in favour of PT are provided. Finally, (...)
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  8. Nikolaj Nottelmann & Rik Peels (2013). Some Metaphysical Implications of a Credible Ethics of Belief. In , New Essays on Belief: Structure, Constitution, and Content. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Any plausible ethics of belief must respect that normal agents are doxastically blameworthy for their beliefs in a range of non-exotic cases. In this paper, we argue, first, that together with independently motivated principles this constraint leads us to reject occurrentism as a general theory of belief. Second, we must acknowledge not only dormant beliefs, but tacit beliefs as well. Third, a plausible ethics of belief leads us to acknowledge that a difference in propositional content cannot in all contexts count (...)
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  9. Rik Peels (2013). Against Doxastic Compatibilism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1).
    William Alston has argued that the so-called deontological conception of epistemic justification, on which epistemic justification is to be spelled out in terms of blame, responsibility, and obligations, is untenable. The basic idea of the argument is that this conception is untenable because we lack voluntary control over our beliefs and, therefore, cannot have any obligations to hold certain beliefs. If this is convincing, however, the argument threatens the very idea of doxastic responsibility. For, how can we ever be responsible (...)
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  10. Rik Peels (2013). Belief-Policies Cannot Ground Doxastic Responsibility. Erkenntnis 78 (3):561-569.
    William Alston has provided a by now well-known objection to the deontological conception of epistemic justification by arguing that since we lack control over our beliefs, we are not responsible for them. It is widely acknowledged that if Alston’s argument is convincing, then it seems that the very idea of doxastic responsibility is in trouble. In this article, I attempt to refute one line of response to Alston’s argument. On this approach, we are responsible for our beliefs in virtue of (...)
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  11. Rik Peels (2013). Does Doxastic Responsibility Entail the Ability to Believe Otherwise? Synthese 190 (17):3651-3669.
    Whether responsibility for actions and omissions requires the ability to do otherwise is an important issue in contemporary philosophy. However, a closely related but distinct issue, namely whether doxastic responsibility requires the ability to believe otherwise, has been largely neglected. This paper fills this remarkable lacuna by providing a defence of the thesis that doxastic responsibility entails the ability to believe otherwise. On the one hand, it is argued that the fact that unavoidability is normally an excuse counts in favour (...)
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  12. Rik Peels (2013). Is Omniscience Impossible? Religious Studies 49 (4):481-490.
    In a recent paper, Dennis Whitcomb argues that omniscience is impossible. But if there cannot be any omniscient beings, then God, at least as traditionally conceived, does not exist. The objection is, roughly, that the thesis that there is an omniscient being, in conjunction with some principles about grounding, such as its transitivity and irreflexivity, entails a contradiction. Since each of these principles is highly plausible, divine omniscience has to go. In this article, I argue that Whitcomb's argument, if sound, (...)
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  13. Rik Peels (2013). Are Naturalism and Moral Realism Incompatible? Religious Studies (1):1-10.
    In a recent paper, Alvin Plantinga has argued that there is good reason to think that naturalism and moral realism are incompatible. He has done so by arguing that the most important argument for the compatibility of these two theses, which has been provided by Frank Jackson, fails and that any other argument that serves the same purpose is likely to fail for the same reason. His argument against the compatibility of naturalism and moral realism, then, is indirect: he argues (...)
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  14. Rik Peels (2012). Rationeel religieus geloof zonder argumenten. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 104 (2):108-111.
    Volgens hoorn (d) van Philipse’s dilemma is de uitspraak dat God bestaat een feitelijke bewering en kan men die feitelijke bewering rationeel geloven zelfs als men er geen argumenten voor heeft. In deze korte reactie betoog ik dat de argumenten die Philipse tegen de keuze voor deze hoorn inbrengt niet kunnen overtuigen.
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  15. Rik Peels (2012). The New View on Ignorance Undefeated. Philosophia 40 (4):741-750.
    In this paper, I provide a defence of the New View, on which ignorance is lack of true belief rather than lack of knowledge. Pierre Le Morvan has argued that the New View is untenable, partly because it fails to take into account the distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. I argue that propositional ignorance is just a subspecies of factive ignorance and that all the work that needs to be done can be done by using the concept of factive (...)
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  16. Rik Peels (2011). Sin and Human Cognition of God. Scottish Journal of Theology 64 (4):390-409.
    In this paper I argue that the effects of sin for our cognition of God primarily consist in a lack of knowledge by acquaintance of God and the relevant ensuing propositional knowledge. In the course of my argument, I make several conceptual distinctions and offer analyses of 1Cor 13:9-12 and Rom 1:18-23. As it turns out, we have ample reason to think that sin has had and still has profound consequences for our cognition of God, but there is no reason (...)
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  17. Rik Peels (2011). Tracing Culpable Ignorance. Logos and Episteme 2 (4):575-582.
    In this paper, I respond to the following argument which several authors have presented. If we are culpable for some action, we act either from akrasia or from culpable ignorance. However, akrasia is highly exceptional and it turns out that tracing culpable ignorance leads to a vicious regress. Hence, we are hardly ever culpable for our actions. I argue that the argument fails. Cases of akrasia may not be that rare when it comes to epistemic activities such as evidence gathering (...)
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  18. Rik Peels (2011). Ignorance is Lack of True Belief: A Rejoinder to Le Morvan. Philosophia 39 (2):345-355.
    In this paper, I respond to Pierre Le Morvan’s critique of my thesis that ignorance is lack of true belief rather than absence of knowledge. I argue that the distinction between dispositional and non-dispositional accounts of belief, as I made it in a previous paper, is correct as it stands. Also, I criticize the viability and the importance of Le Morvan’s distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. Finally, I provide two arguments in favor of the thesis that ignorance is lack (...)
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  19. Anthony Robert Booth & Rik Peels (2010). Why Responsible Belief is Blameless Belief. Journal of Philosophy 107 (5):257-265.
    What, according to proponents of doxastic deontologism, is responsible belief? In this paper, we examine two proposals. Firstly, that responsible belief is blameless belief (a position we call DDB) and, secondly, that responsible belief is praiseworthy belief (a position we call DDP). We consider whether recent arguments in favor of DDP, mostly those recently offered by Brian Weatherson, stand up to scrutiny and argue that they do not. Given other considerations in favor of DDP, we conclude that the deontologist should (...)
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  20. Rik Peels (2010). Epistemic Desiderata and Epistemic Pluralism. Journal of Philosophical Research 35 (1):193-207.
    In this article I argue that Alston’s recent meta-epistemological approach in terms of epistemic desiderata is not as epistemically plural as he claims it to be. After some preliminary remarks, I briefly recapitulate Alston’s epistemic desiderata approach. Next, I distinguish two ways in which one might consider truth to be an epistemic desideratum. Subsequently, I argue that only one truth-conducive desideratum can count as an epistemic desideratum. After this, I attempt to show that none of the higher-order desiderata that are (...)
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  21. Rik Peels (2010). The Ethics of Belief and Christian Faith as Commitment to Assumptions. Religious Studies 46 (1):97-107.
    In this paper I evaluate Zamulinski’s recent attempt to rebut an argument to the conclusion that having any kind of religious faith violates a moral duty. I agree with Zamulinski that the argument is unsound, but I disagree on where it goes wrong. I criticize Zamulinski’s alternative construal of Christian faith as existential commitment to fundamental assumptions. It does not follow that we should accept the moral argument against religious faith, for at least two reasons. First, Zamulinski’s Cliffordian ethics of (...)
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  22. Rik Peels (2010). The Effects of Sin Upon Human Moral Cognition. Journal of Reformed Theology 4 (1):42-69.
    This article provides an elaborate defense of the thesis that we have no reason to think that sin has any direct effects upon our moral cognition. After a few methodological comments and conceptual distinctions, the author treats certain biblical passages on humans' evil hearts, the function of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 2 and 3, Paul's comments on the moral situation of the Gentiles in Romans 2, and Paul's ideas on the Gentiles' futility of (...)
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  23. Rik Peels (2010). What is Ignorance? Philosophia 38 (1):57-67.
    This article offers an analysis of ignorance. After a couple of preliminary remarks, I endeavor to show that, contrary to what one might expect and to what nearly all philosophers assume, being ignorant is not equivalent to failing to know, at least not on one of the stronger senses of knowledge. Subsequently, I offer two definitions of ignorance and argue that one’s definition of ignorance crucially depends on one’s account of belief. Finally, I illustrate the relevance of my analysis by (...)
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  24. Rik Peels (2008). De waarde van kennis. Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 100 (2):148-150.
    Na een decennia lange discussie over de afzonderlijk noodzakelijke en tezamen voldoende condities voor kennis is gedurende de afgelopen jaren onder epistemologen een debat ontstaan over de waarde van kennis. Een goede theorie van wat kennis inhoudt, zo is bij velen de gedachte, zal moeten kunnen uitleggen waarom wij waarde(n) hechten aan kennis. Iets nauwkeuriger geformuleerd: een goede kennistheorie zal duidelijk moeten kunnen maken waarom wij meer epistemische waarde hechten aan kennis dan aan waar geloof. Dit probleem wordt wel het (...)
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  25. Rik Peels (2007). Doxastic Doubt, Fiducial Doubt, and Christian Faith. A Response to Gunter Zimmermann. Neue Zeitschrift Für Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 49 (2):183-198.
    In this paper I respond to Gunter Zimmermann's article on doubt and faith in God that was published in this journal last year, by offering some criticisms of his views and elaborating on certain issues that Zimmermann leaves nearly or entirely untouched. First, I argue that Zimmermann's analysis of doxastic doubt is incomplete. Next, I defend the thesis that whether some specific doxastic doubt is compatible with someone's faith depends in at least four regards on the person who has that (...)
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  26. Rik Peels (2006). Divine Foreknowledge and Eternal Damnation: The Theory of Middle Knowledge as Solution to the Soteriological Problem of Evil. Neue Zeitschrift Für Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 48 (2):160-75.
    Traditionally, Christians have hold the two following beliefs: the belief that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good on the one hand and the belief that God has actualized a possible world in which some people freely reject Christ and are damned eternally, while others freely accept Him and are saved on the other. The combination of these two beliefs seems to result in a contradiction. This serious and well-known problem is called the soteriological problem of evil. In this article (...)
     
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