This is a response to Wesley J. Wildman’s “Behind, Between, and Beyond Anthropomorphic Models of Ultimate Reality.” While I agree with much of what Wildman writes, I raise questions concerning standards for evaluating models of ultimate reality and the plausibility of ranking such models. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.
In this paper I suggest that near-death experiences (NDEs) provide a rational basis for belief in life after death. My argument is a simple one and is modeled on the argument from religious experience for the existence of God. But unlike the proponents of the argument from religious experience, I stop short of claiming that NDEs prove the existence of life after death. Like the argument from religious experience, however, my argument turns on whether or not there is good reason (...) to believe that NDEs are authentic or veridical. I argue that there is good reason to believe that NDEs are veridical and that therefore it is reasonable to believe in the existence of what they seem to be experiences of, namely, a continued state of consciousness after the death of the body. I will then offer some comments on the philosophical import of NDEs, as well as reflections on the current state of contemporary philosophy in light of the neglect of this phenomenon. (shrink)
This essay considers recent criticism of the use of inclusive language within Christian discourse, particularly the reference to God as “Mother.” The author argues that these criticisms fail to establish that the supplemental usage of “God the Mother,” in addition to the traditional usage of “God the Father,” is inappropriate for Christian God-talk. Some positive reasons for referring to God as “Mother” are also offered, not the least of which is its helpfulness in overcoming overly restrictive conceptions of God.
As the perfect companion to introduction to ethics courses, Dell'Olio and Simon's reader includes the most influential ethical theories without overwhelming the beginning student. It contains a variety of readings encompassing contemporary and classic philosophers, male and female perspectives of both western and non-western ethical traditions, and readings in both theoretical and applied ethics as well as a section on 'living the good life.' Useful introduction with thought provoking study questions and suggestions for further readings accompany each chapter which make (...) it easier for students to understand and appreciate their reading. (shrink)
One motivation for the recent interest in virtue ethics in contemporary moral thought is the view that deontological or duty-based ethics requires the notion of God as absolute law giver. It has been claimed by Elizabeth Anscombe, for example, that there could be no coherent moral obligation, no moral ought, independent of divine command, and that, in the absence of belief in God, moral philosophy best pursue an ethic of character or virtue over an ethic of obligation or duty. The (...) underlying assumption here is that an ethics of virtue, unlike an ethics of duty, is best developed independently of a conception of God. In this paper I argue that this view is misleading and obscures the need of virtue ethics for the concept of God. In making my philosophical point, I look to the work of Charles Taylor and suggest that any contemporary ethics of virtue, in order to meet its own desired aim of retrieving a viable moral self, requires a “deep” conception of the good, and that the most viable source for this conception is the theistic notion of God. On this account, the ethics of virtue turns out to be no more independent of the concept of God than an ethics of duty or obligation. (shrink)
The twelfth-century Neo-Confucian philosopher, Zhu Xi, has often been compared to the thirteenth-century Christian philosopher, Thomas Aquinas. In this essay, I explore the similarities between these two thinkers, focusing on their respective accounts of the metaphysical foundations of moral self-cultivation. I suggestthat both philosophers play similar roles within their respective traditions and share similar aims. In general, both philosophers seek to appropriate ideas of rivalintellectual traditions in order to extend the moral vision of their home traditions, and both hope to (...) achieve their goals without denying the primary orientationsof those traditions. Zhu Xi and Aquinas are shown to employ similar strategies, and to make use of similar metaphysical principles, to unite the humanistic andspiritual dimensions of moral self-cultivation into one synthetic vision. I will conclude by offering some reflections on the following questions: (1) what can the Neo-Confucian and the Thomist ethical traditions learn from one another? And (2) what can those of us engaged in inter-cultural philosophical and religiousdialogue learn from the masters of these traditions? (shrink)
This paper addresses central issues in the debate about inclusive language for God by responding to Andrew Dell’Olio, who offered biblical, theological, linguistic, and ethical reasons for a “supplemental” use of feminine language for God. Since he leaves unclear whether “supplemental” means “secondary to” or “fully equal to” the masculine language of the biblical tradition, it is difficult to determine whether he makes his case. While a secondary role for feminine language for God is legitimate, I argue that giving (...) feminine language a status equal to the Bible’s masculine language for God is not warranted by the standard biblical and theological criteria of the Christian tradition. (shrink)
One of the significant factors in the recent rehabilitation of medieval philosophy has been a renewed interest in virtue ethics, so-called, for which the credit must, in large part, go to Alasdair MacIntyre. However, some now working in the field of virtue ethics appear to be embarrassed by the metaphysical or theological context in which virtue ethics had its original expression, and attempts have been made to detach the ethics from the metaphysics and the theology. Two questions frame the structure (...) of Andrew Dell’Olio’s book: first, the historical and exegetical question of how St. Thomas manages to link up the secular and the religious orders of virtue without fragmenting the unity of the moral self; the second, the thematic question of the significance of St. Thomas’s account of the virtues to contemporary discussion. The early chapters of the book attempt to show that a de-theologized presentation of St. Thomas’s ethics fails to do justice to the rich vision of the good he presents in the Summa Theologiae. Dell’Olio, convincingly in my opinion, shows that Thomas succeeds in reconciling both a natural and a supernatural orientation of the will to the good, and thus that his ethics is more than a mere representation of Aristotle’s. The central chapters discuss the issues of God and the human good, and the connection of the virtues. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM - whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part I of this article will take up the first two questions. With the first question, invited commentators express a range of opinion regarding the nature of psychiatric disorders, loosely divided into a realist position that the diagnostic categories represent real diseases that we can accurately name and know with our perceptual abilities, a middle, nominalist position that psychiatric disorders do exist in the real world but that our diagnostic categories are constructs that may or may not accurately represent the disorders out there, and finally a purely constructivist position that the diagnostic categories are simply constructs with no evidence of psychiatric disorders in the real world. The second question again offers a range of opinion as to how we should define a mental or psychiatric disorder, including the possibility that we should not try to formulate a definition. The general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM – whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part 1 of this article took up the first two questions. Part 2 took up the second two questions. Part 3 now deals with Questions 5 & 6. Question 5 confronts the issue of utility, whether the manual design of DSM-III and IV favors clinicians or researchers, and what that means for DSM-5. Our final question, Question 6, takes up a concluding issue, whether the acknowledged problems with the earlier DSMs warrants a significant overhaul of DSM-5 and future manuals. As in Parts 1 & 2 of this article, the general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
In face of the multiple controversies surrounding the DSM process in general and the development of DSM-5 in particular, we have organized a discussion around what we consider six essential questions in further work on the DSM. The six questions involve: 1) the nature of a mental disorder; 2) the definition of mental disorder; 3) the issue of whether, in the current state of psychiatric science, DSM-5 should assume a cautious, conservative posture or an assertive, transformative posture; 4) the role (...) of pragmatic considerations in the construction of DSM-5; 5) the issue of utility of the DSM - whether DSM-III and IV have been designed more for clinicians or researchers, and how this conflict should be dealt with in the new manual; and 6) the possibility and advisability, given all the problems with DSM-III and IV, of designing a different diagnostic system. Part I of this article took up the first two questions. Part II will take up the second two questions. Question 3 deals with the question as to whether DSM-V should assume a conservative or assertive posture in making changes from DSM-IV. That question in turn breaks down into discussion of diagnoses that depend on, and aim toward, empirical, scientific validation, and diagnoses that are more value-laden and less amenable to scientific validation. Question 4 takes up the role of pragmatic consideration in a psychiatric nosology, whether the purely empirical considerations need to be tempered by considerations of practical consequence. As in Part 1 of this article, the general introduction, as well as the introductions and conclusions for the specific questions, are written by James Phillips, and the responses to commentaries are written by Allen Frances. (shrink)
The randomization of a complete first-order theory [Formula: see text] is the complete continuous theory [Formula: see text] with two sorts, a sort for random elements of models of [Formula: see text] and a sort for events in an underlying atomless probability space. We study independence relations and related ternary relations on the randomization of [Formula: see text]. We show that if [Formula: see text] has the exchange property and [Formula: see text], then [Formula: see text] has a strict independence (...) relation in the home sort, and hence is real rosy. In particular, if [Formula: see text] is o-minimal, then [Formula: see text] is real rosy. (shrink)
In the paper Randomizations of Scattered Sentences, Keisler showed that if Martin’s axiom for aleph one holds, then every scattered sentence has few separable randomizations, and asked whether the conclusion could be proved in ZFC alone. We show here that the answer is “yes”. It follows that the absolute Vaught conjecture holds if and only if every \-sentence with few separable randomizations has countably many countable models.
Students in two classes in the fall of 2004 making extensive use of online courseware were logged as they visited over 500 different “learning pages” which varied in length and in difficulty. We computed the time spent on each page by each student during each session they were logged in. We then modeled the time spent for a particular visit as a function of the page itself, the session, and the student. Surprisingly, the average time a student spent on learning (...) pages was of almost no value in predicting how long they would spend on a given page, even controlling for the session and page difficulty. The page itself was highly predictive, but so was the average time spent on learning pages in a given session. This indicates that local considerations, e.g., mood, deadline proximity, etc., play a much greater role in determining student pace and attention than do intrinsic student traits. We also consider the average time spent on learning pages as a function of the time of semester. Students spent less time on pages later in the semester, even for more demanding material. (shrink)
In the conclusion to this multi-part article I first review the discussions carried out around the six essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis – the position taken by Allen Frances on each question, the commentaries on the respective question along with Frances’ responses to the commentaries, and my own view of the multiple discussions. In this review I emphasize that the core question is the first – what is the nature of psychiatric illness – and that in some manner all further (...) questions follow from the first. Following this review I attempt to move the discussion forward, addressing the first question from the perspectives of natural kind analysis and complexity analysis. This reflection leads toward a view of psychiatric disorders – and future nosologies – as far more complex and uncertain than we have imagined. (shrink)
During the Late Roman Empire Terence was the most revered and the most quoted classical Latin poet after Virgil. Among authors both pagan and Christian, none made as frequent or as creative literary use of his comedies as Jerome, one of the most accomplished polymaths in all of Latin antiquity. In his estimation Terence ranked, alongside Homer, Menander and Virgil, as one of the greatest of all poets. Jerome had an encyclopedic knowledge of Terence's dramatic corpus and quoted (...) or appropriated phraseology from all six of his comedies. A significant number of these reminiscences have already been identified, but others await discovery. The purpose of the present study is to make a further contribution to this particular branch of HieronymianQuellenforschungby adducing and analysing two hitherto unrecognized allusions in Jerome's correspondence to Terence'sEunuchus, apparently one of the biggest blockbusters in the history of the Roman stage. (shrink)
This book's thirty essays explore philosophically the nature and morality of sexual perversion, cybersex, masturbation, homosexuality, contraception, same-sex marriage, promiscuity, pedophilia, date rape, sexual objectification, teacher-student relationships, pornography, and prostitution. Authors include Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Nagel, Alan Goldman, John Finnis, Sallie Tisdale, Robin West, Alan Wertheimer, John Corvino, Cheshire Calhoun, Jerome Neu, and Alan Soble, among others. A valuable resource for sex researchers as well as undergraduate courses in the philosophy of sex.
Andrews et al.'s analysis suffers from a series of conceptual confusions they inherit from Gould's work. Their proposal that adaptations can be distinguished from exaptations essentially by specific design criteria fails because exaptations are often maintained and secondarily adapted by natural selection and therefore, over evolutionary time, can come to have similar levels of design specificity to adaptations.
Monsters lurk within mathematical as well as literary haunts. I propose to trace some pathways between these two monstrous habitats. I start from Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s influential account of monster culture and explore how well mathematical monsters fit each of his seven theses. The mathematical monsters I discuss are drawn primarily from three distinct but overlapping domains. Firstly, late nineteenth-century mathematicians made numerous unsettling discoveries that threatened their understanding of their own discipline and challenged their intuitions. The great French (...) mathematician Henri Poincaré characterised these anomalies as ‘monsters’, a name that stuck. Secondly, the twentieth-century philosopher Imre Lakatos composed a seminal work on the nature of mathematical proof, in which monsters play a conspicuous role. Lakatos coined such terms as ‘monster-barring’ and ‘monster-adjusting’ to describe strategies for dealing with entities whose properties seem to falsify a conjecture. Thirdly, and most recently, mathematicians dubbed the largest of the sporadic groups ‘the Monster’, because of its vast size and uncanny properties, and because its existence was suspected long before it could be confirmed. (shrink)
Jerome Gellman argues in Experience of God that there is “some” reasonable application of the canons of rationality to the facts concerning apparent experiences of God “on which it is reasonable to believe that God exists and not reasonable to believe that God does not exist”. The book is divided into seven chapters. The first chapter sets the conceptual groundwork, discussing the meaning and reference of “God,” what is meant by “experience of God,” and the like. Gellman’s treatment of (...) “God” as a proper name in terms of reference is especially interesting, and resurfaces at crucial turns later in the book. The main argument, appealing to a modified and extended version of Richard Swinburne’s Principle of Credulity, is given in the second chapter. The remaining chapters attempt, with varying success, to answer the major objections facing this sort of argument from religious experience, including the claim that the experiential evidence for theism is outweighed or vitiated by others’ failures to experience God; the problems posed by the diversity of religious experience in different religions; the claim that the best explanations of religious experience are nonreligious; the claim that the alleged object of theistic experience is conceptually incoherent; and the relevance of the problem of evil. (shrink)
One of the earliest Italian printed references to John Dee’s Monas hieroglyphica is generally considered to be in Giulio Cesare Capaccio’s Delle imprese, published in Naples in 1592. In the same year, however, another work was published, this time in Cosenza, in which the Monas featured prominently. Paolo Antonio Foscarini’s Scientiarum et artium omnium ferme anacephalaeosis theoretica, a previously unknown work, is a booklet containing 344 theses that the Carmelite friar and theologian Foscarini prepared for a disputation in honour of (...) the new head of his order. Foscarini devoted eleven of those theses to hieroglyphs, taking several of them almost verbatim from the Monas. This essay examines each of the eleven theses in turn to explore Foscarini’s use of the Monas and his attempt to integrate Dee’s work with material from other sources, such as Johann Trithemius’s De septem secundeis. It then briefly looks at Foscarini’s interest in hieroglyphs after the Anacephalaeosis. (shrink)
The project of this paper is part of a larger attempt to develop a philosophy of art. Integral to that project is the distinction between aesthetics and a philosophy of art. It is always possible to consider affect as an end in itself if what is at stake involves a series of psychological claims. Equally, it is possible to engage with such claims philosophically. However, there is no clear connection between either possibility and a philosophy of art. In the latter (...) the presentation of affect is always located within images. Images are produced by the work of materials. Images have to be understood in terms of that production. They have a material presence. If there is a failure to insist on the complex materiality of art’s work as comprising a locus of philosophical inquiry, then any subsequent theory of the image is unable to contribute to the development of a genuine philosophy of art. Moreover, within the history of art images are informed form. The informing of form has two elements. Form is informed firstly by the history in which those images are located, and secondly by their capacity to be reworked. The latter can be understood as a futural coming-into-relation and thus the possibility that images and the elements from which they are comprised are able to have an afterlife. The afterlife is forms’ capacity to continue to be informed. It is this latter possibility which necessitates that hermeneutic concerns supplant aesthetic ones in the creation of a philosophy of art. (shrink)
The paper both connects and disassociates the work of Walter Benjamin and Aby Warburg. There are two interrelated undertakings. The first involves the relationship between philosophy and art history and thus how art history figures within the philosophical. The second pertains to the status of the image. Part of the argument to be advanced is that an engagement with philosophical approach to art history yields a concern with the image in which it is the image's material presence that proves decisive. (...) Indeed, it is by insisting on the object's materiality that it then becomes possible to locate the effective presence of the gesture as integral to the work of art. The contention is that gesture is the intersection of art's material presence and the concerns of meaning. The paper us develop via an engagement with works by Edgar Degas and Luca Signorelli. (shrink)