[Alethic Realism] 1. The sense of ‘true’ and ‘false’ in which such items as beliefs, statements, and propositions can be evaluated as true or false. 2. It is important to determine the truth-value of such items in this sense.
Professor JeeLoo Liu § Metaphysical Realism ___ The view that large stretches of reality do not depend on our conceptual and theoretical choices for existing and being what they are. Or: ___ The view that vast stretches of reality are what they are absolutely, not in any way relative to certain conceptual-theoretical choices that have equally viable alternatives. ___ It is sensible because it recognizes that some stretches of reality do conform to the account anti-realism gives of the whole of (...) reality. (shrink)
I oppose the popular view that the phenomenal character of perceptual experience consists in the subject's representing the (putative) perceived object as being so-and-so. The account of perceptual experience I favor instead is a version of the "Theory of Appearing" that takes it to be a matter of the perceived object's appearing to one as so-and-so, where this does not mean that the subject takes or believes it to be so-and-so. This plays no part in my criticisms of Representationalism. I (...) mention it only to be up front as to where I stand. My criticism of the Representationalist position is in sections. (1) There is no sufficient reason for positing a representative function for perceptual experience. It doesn't seem on the face of it to be that, and nothing serves in place of such seeming. (2) Even if it did have such a function, it doesn't have the conceptual resources to represent a state of affairs. (3) Even if it did, it is not suited to represent, e.g., a physical property of color. (4) Finally, even if I am wrong about the first three points, it is still impossible for the phenomenal character of the perceptual experience to consist in it's representing what it does. My central argument for this central claim of the paper is that it is metaphysically, de re possible that one have a certain perceptual experience without it's presenting any state of affairs. And since all identities hold necessarily, this identity claim fails. (shrink)
Receptivity to Christian or other religious proclamations is powerfully influenced by one’s value orientations. I distinguish five contrasts in such orientations that illustrate this point. 1. Finding “worldly” values most deeply satisfying vs. a sense that something that transcends those would be most fulfilling. 2. Extreme stress on human autonomy vs. a positive evaluation of deference to God, if such there be. 3. A sense of thorough sinfulness vs. a thoroughly positive self image. 4. A willingness to accept outside help (...) to transform oneself vs. a sense of the unworthiness of such dependence. 5. A readiness to treat others’ well being as important as one’s own vs. an exclusive focus on looking out for number one. The above reflects the deeper fact that value commihnents are an essential part of Christian belief, treatments of which must take account of this. (shrink)
In what follows, I discuss the extent to which the epistemology of religious belief differs from the epistemology of other areas of our belief, as well as the extent to which it is similar. There will be important similarities: for example, the standards for the application of terms of epistemic assessment like ‘justified’, ‘warranted’,and ‘rational’. But in this essay, I concentrate on delineating some important differences between religious and non-religious epistemology.
This is a response to Hick’s comments on my approach to the problem of religious diversity in Perceiving God. Before unearthing the bones I have to pick with him, let me fully acknowledge that I have not provided a fully satisfactory solution to the problem. At most I have done the best that can be done given the constraints within which I was working. But this best, if such it be, is not as bad as Hick makes it appear. To (...) show this I need to make several corrections in Hick’s depiction of the situation. (shrink)
Theism is a metaphysical theory. But the typical adherent of a theistic religion does not hold theism as a theory, even though she is committed to various propositions that could enter into such a theory. Attention is given to the kind of theory theism is, when it is a theory. As far as religion is concerned, the main importance of the question as to whether theism is a theory concerns the issue as to whether the success of theism as a (...) theory is relevant to the justifiability of the beliefs of a theistic religion. I argue that there is such a relevance. But whether, more specifically, such beliefs are unjustified unless theism can provide an adequate explanation of evil depends on whether theism is responsible for providing such an explanation. I argue that it is not. (shrink)