I remain entirely unconvinced that anyone who claims to “just know” that the dead walk among us, or that God exists, knows any such thing. Not only do I think the rest of us have good grounds for doubting their experience, I don’t believe it’s reasonable for them to take their own experience at face value either.
This is an article that explores the question "what is the meaning of life?" particularly with respect to humanism and theism. It defends a humanist position, and refutes a number of arguments for the conclusion that a meaningful human existence requires the existence of God.
Playing the mystery card -- "But it fits!" -- Going nuclear -- Moving the semantic goalposts -- "But I just know!" -- Pseudo-profundity -- Piling up the anecdotes -- Pressing your buttons -- Conclusion -- The Tapescrew letters.
The vast majority of Biblical historians believe there is evidence sufficient to place Jesus’ existence beyond reasonable doubt. Many believe the New Testamentdocuments alone suffice firmly to establish Jesus as an actual, historical figure. I question these views. In particular, I argue (i) that the three most popular criteria by which various non-miraculous New Testament claims made about Jesus are supposedly corroborated are not sufficient, either singly or jointly, to place his existence beyond reasonable doubt, and (ii) that a prima (...) facie plausible principle concerning how evidence should be assessed—a principle I call the contamination principle—entails that, given the large proportion of uncorroborated miracle claims made about Jesus in the New Testament documents, we should, in the absence of good independent evidence for an historical Jesus, remain sceptical about his existence. (shrink)
Philosophy for AS and A2 is the definitive textbook for students of Advanced Subsidiary or Advanced Level courses, structured directly around the specification of the AQA - the only exam board to offer these courses. Following a lively foreword by Nigel Warburton, author of Philosophy: The Basics , a team of experienced teachers devote a chapter each to the six themes covered by the syllabus: AS * Theory of Knowledge * Moral Philosophy * Philosophy of Religion A2 * Philosophy of (...) Mind * Political Philosophy * Philosophy of Science Each of the six themed chapters includes: * A list of key concepts, to introduce students to the topic * Bite-size sections corresponding exactly to the syllabus topics * Actual past exam questions from previous years * Suggested discussion questions to promote debate * Text-boxes with helpful summaries, case-studies and examples * An annotated further reading list directing students towards the best articles, books and websites * A comprehensive glossary, providing a handy reference point There is a final chapter on essay writing and exam preparation, designed to help students get to grips with the examination board requirements. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes five key interpretations of the argument presented by Wittgenstein in Philosophical Investigations I, §258. I also argue that on none of these five interpretations is the argument cogent. The paper is primarily concerned with the most popular interpretation of the argument: that which that makes it rest upon the principle that one can be said to follow a rule only if there exists a 'useable criterion of successful performance' (Pears) or 'operational standard of correctness' (Glock) for its (...) correct application. This principle, I suggest, is untrue. The private language argument upon which it rests therefore fails. (shrink)
Brian Loar believes he has refuted all those antiphysicalist arguments that take as their point of departure observations about what is or isn't conceivable. I argue that there remains an important, popular and plausible-looking form of conceivability argument that Loar has entirely overlooked. Though he may not have realized it, Saul Kripke presents, or comes close to presenting, two fundamentally different forms of conceivability argument. I distinguish the two arguments and point out that while Loar has succeeded in refuting one (...) of Kripke's arguments he has not refuted the other. Loar is mistaken: physicalism still faces an apparently insurmountable conceptual obstacle. (shrink)
From Descartes to designer babies, The Philosophy Gym poses questions about some of history's most important philosophical issues, ranging in difficulty from pretty easy to very challenging. He brings new perspectives to age-old conundrums while also tackling modern-day dilemmas -- some for the first time. Begin your warm up by contemplating whether a pickled sheep can truly be considered art, or dive right in and tackle the existence of God. In this radically new way of looking at philosophy, Stephen Law (...) illustrates the problem with a story, then lets the argument battle it out in clear, easily digestible and intelligent prose. This perfect little mental health club is sure to give each reader's mind a great workout. (shrink)