Work in philosophy of religion exhibits at least four symptoms of poor health: it is too partisan, too polemical, too narrow in its focus, and too often evaluated using criteria that are theological or religious instead of philosophical. Our diagnosis is that, because of the emotional and psychosocial aspects of religion, many philosophers of religion suffer from cognitive biases and group influence. We support this diagnosis in two ways. First, we examine work in psychology on cognitive biases and their affective (...) triggers. This work supports the view that, while cognitive biases are no doubt a problem in all inquiry and in all areas ofphilosophy, they are particularly damaging to inquiry in philosophy of religion. Second, we examine work in social and evolutionary psychology on religious sociality and its attendant emotions. This work establishes that the coalitional features of religion are correlated with group bias, and we contend that this bias is also harmful to inquiry in philosophy of religion. We close by offering both a prognosis and recommendations for treatment. (shrink)
The project is to traverse with quite novel questions, and as though with new eyes, the enormous, distant, and so well hidden land of morality—of morality that has actually existed, actually been lived.This essay offers a contribution to the consilience of the humanities, social sciences, and life sciences in accord with naturalism (in a spirit closer to Slingerland 2008 than Wilson 1998). Human beings have a shared nature produced by evolutionary history and modified by culture, where 'culture' refers to "information (...) capable of affecting individuals' behavior that they acquire from other members of their species through teaching, imitation, and other forms of social transmission" (Richerson and Boyd 2005, p. 5). .. (shrink)
The role of epistemology in philosophy of religion has transformed the discipline by diverting questions away from traditional metaphysical issues and toward concerns about justification and warrant. Leaders responsible for these changes, including Plantinga, Alston and Draper, use methods and arguments from Scottish Enlightenment figures. In general theists use and cite techniques pioneered by Reid and non-theists use and cite techniques pioneered by Hume, a split reduplicated among cognitive scientists of religion, with Justin Barrett and Scott Atran respectively framing their (...) results in ReidÃs and in HumeÃs language and argument. This state of affairs sets our agenda. First we identify ReidÃs use in the epistemology of religion and in the cognitive science of religion. Then we turn to ReidÃs texts in an effort to assess the interpretations and extrapolations of Reid given by participants in these debates. The answers to our research questions shed light on what Reid would believe today, were he apprised of the latest research in epistemology of and cognitive science of religion. (shrink)
Philosophy Through Science Fiction offers a fun, challenging, and accessible way in to the issues of philosophy through the genre of science fiction. Tackling problems such as the possibility of time travel, or what makes someone the same person over time, the authors take a four-pronged approach to each issue, providing a clear and concise introduction to each subject amd a science fiction story that exemplifies a feature of the philosophical discussion ú historical and contemporary philosophical texts that investigate the (...) issue with rigor, and ú glossary, plot profiles of pertinent science fiction stories and films, and questions for further reflection. Philosophy Through Science Fiction includes stories from contemporary science fiction writers including Greg Egan and Mike Resnick, as well as from classic authors like Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. Philosophy readings include historical pieces Rene Descartes and David Hume, and include contemporary pieces by John Searle and Mary Midgley. (shrink)
Nichols offers the first comprehensive interpretation of the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid's theory of perception - by far the most important feature of his philosophical system. Nichols's consummate knowledge of Reid's texts, lively examples, and plainspoken style make this book especially readable. It will be the definitive analysis for a long time to come.
Assume for the sake of argument that doing philosophy is intrinsically valuable, where ‘doing philosophy’ refers to the practice of forging arguments for and against the truth of theses in the domains of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc. The practice of the history of philosophy is devoted instead to discovering arguments for and against the truth of ‘authorial’ propositions, i.e. propositions that state the belief of some historical figure about a philosophical proposition. I explore arguments to think that doing history of (...) philosophy is valuable, specifically, valuable in such a way that its value does not reduce to the value of doing philosophy. Most such arguments proffered by historians of philosophy fail egregiously, as I show. I then offer a proposal about what makes doing history of philosophy uniquely valuable, but it is one that many historians will not find agreeable. (shrink)
John Hare’s central objections to secular theories of motivation arise via his ‘hateful nephew’ example, which, I argue, obscures important issues of scope:Who must be motivated (some/all)?How frequently must they be motivated (most/all of the time)?What is the extent of their motivation (act/tend to act)?Hare must adopt the stronger readings of these questions if his case against secular accounts of motivation is to succeed. But holding any account of motivationto such standards is misguided. Furthermore, Hare’s own theistic account of motivation (...) cannot meet the standards he applies to his primary secular interlocutor. This study opens into wider terrain as I (i) identify which of myriad moral gaps an account of motivation is alleged to bridge; (ii) explain how the dialectic between Hare and Shelly Kagan depends upon unarticulated assumptions about judgment externalism and judgment internalism; and (iii) criticize appeals to motivational versions of ‘ought implies can’ principles. (shrink)
I argue that Reid adopts a form of Meinongianism about fictional objects because of, not in spite of, his common sense philosophy. According to 'the way of ideas', thoughts take representational states as their immediate intentional objects. In contrast, Reid endorses a direct theory of conception and a heady thesis of first-person privileged access to the contents of our thoughts. He claims that thoughts about centaurs are thoughts of non-existent objects, not thoughts about mental intermediaries, adverbial states or general concepts. (...) In part this is because of the common sense semantics he adopts for fictional-object terms. I show that it is reasonable for Reid to endorse Meinongianism, given his epistemological priorities, for he took the way of ideas to imply that his view about first-person privileged access to our mental contents was false. (shrink)