In a recent article in Religious Studies, Professor P. W. Gooch attempts to wean the orthodox Christian from anthropological materialism by consideration of the question of the nature of the post-mortem person in the resurrection. He argues that the view that the resurrected person is a psychophysical organism who is in some physical sense the same as the ante-mortem person is inconsistent with the Pauline view of the resurrected body; rather, according to him, Paul's view is most consistent with that (...) which affirms the disembodied survival of the person. ‘I want to argue’, he writes, ‘for the thesis that a Pauline resurrection body may well be ontologically the same as a disembodied person.’ I intend to show that Professor Gooch has failed to provide any support for this view and indeed that his own view falls prey to the criticisms which he has raised against other views. (shrink)
The book examines what advocates of the law of karma mean by the doctrine, various ways they interpret it, and how they see it operating. The study investigates and critically evaluates the law of karma's connections to significant philosophical concepts like causation, freedom, God, persons, the moral law, liberation, and immortality. For example, it explores in depth the implications of the doctrine for whether we are free or fatalistically determined, whether human suffering can be reconciled with cosmic justice, the nature (...) of the self, and the character of moral experience. (shrink)
In an attempt to make the idea of surviving one's own death in a disembodied state intelligible, H. H. Price has presented a possible description of what the afterlife might be like for a disembodied self or consciousness. Price suggests that the world of the disembodied self might be a kind of dream or image world. In it he would replace his present sense-perception by activating his image-producing powers, which are now inhibited by their continuous bombardment by sensory stimuli, to (...) produce mental images. Though he would be cut off from any new supply of sensory material, he might be able to draw upon his memory of his previous physical existence to create an entire environment of images. A nexus of perspectively inter-related images would constitute an object; this would serve as a substitute for the material objects which he perceived in his past life. The entire environment of the disembodied individual would be composed of such families of mental images and would serve to constitute his world. It need not, however, be a solipsistic world, for by means of telepathy the discarnate individual could communicate with other disembodied selves and in this way acquire new information. Price notes that since this world would be as real to the discarnate self as our present world is to our embodied self, in the afterlife the disembodied self in effect would create for itself a real world, though of course if it took it to be anything other than an image world it would be deceiving itself. (shrink)
The book adapts St. Thomas's Third Way of demonstrating the existence of God in light of contemporary issues in philosophy. Major topics in this study are causation, the principles of causation and sufficient reason, logical and real necessity, causation of the cosmos, and non-dependency of the cosmological on the ontological argument.
TWO QUESTIONS BASIC TO THE STUDY OF PERSONAL IMMORTALITY ARE EXPLORED. FIRST, WHAT MUST HUMAN PERSONS BE LIKE IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE POSSIBLE THAT THEY CAN LIVE SUBSEQUENT TO THEIR DEATH? BOTH PLURALISTIC AND MONISTIC ACCOUNTS OF THE HUMAN PERSON ARE PRESENTED, EVALUATED IN DETAIL, AND SHOWN TO BE COMPATIBLE WITH THE ASSERTION OF PERSONAL LIFE AFTER DEATH. IN ANSWERING THE SECOND QUESTION--WHAT GOOD REASONS CAN BE GIVEN FOR MAINTAINING A BELIEF IN LIFE AFTER DEATH--I EVALUATE BOTH PHILOSOPHICAL (...) AND THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRADITIONALLY PRESENTED TO ESTABLISH THE REALITY OF LIFE AFTER DEATH. (shrink)
This paper reports an analysis of the content of the codes of ethics of 15 professional business organizations in the United States, representing the broad range of disciplines found in business. The analysis was conducted to identify common ethical issues faced by business professionals. It was also structured to highlight ethical issues that are either unique to or of particular importance for business professionals. No attempt is made to make value judgments about either the codes of ethics studied or of (...) their content. General ethical values identified include honesty and integrity, general legal compliance, discreditable or harmful acts, and obligations related to social values. More business-specific issues include confidentiality, responsibilities to employers/clients, obligations to the profession, independence and objectivity, and business-specific legal and technical compliance issues. (shrink)
A great deal of interest in codes of ethics exists in both the business community and the academic community. Within the academic community, this interest has given rise to a number of studies of codes of ethics. Many of these studies have focused on the content of various codes.One important way the study of codes of ethics can be advanced is by applying formal tools of analysis to codes of ethics. An understanding of important dimensions that may differ across codes (...) of ethics, a common terminology to describe these dimensions, and a means to measure these dimensions will facilitate applying such tools. They will also facilitate discussion, enable comparisons, and advance our understanding of codes of ethics. The present paper describes a classification scheme to use in studying codes of ethics. This scheme uses six important dimensions to distinguish among codes of ethics: length, focus, level of detail, shape, thematic content, and tone. The paper also introduces metrics that can be used to measure the dimensions. (shrink)
I argue that the atheological claim that the existence of pain and suffering either contradicts or makes improbable God's existence or his possession of certain critical properties cannot be sustained. The construction of a theodicy for both moral and natural evils is the focus of the central part of the book. In the final chapters I analyze the concept of the best possible world and the properties of goodness and omnipotence insofar as they are predicated of God.
Plagiarism strikes at the heart of academe, eroding the fundamental value of academic research. Recent evidence suggests that acts of plagiarism and awareness of these acts are on the rise in academia. To address this issue, a vein of research has emerged in recent years exploring plagiarism as an area of academic inquiry. In this new academic subject, case studies and analysis have been one of the most influential methodologies employed. Case studies provide a venue where acts of plagiarism can (...) be discussed and analyzed in a constructive manner, and that is the primary purpose of this article. Unlike previous studies, however, we focus on the role of the publisher, a key player in dealing with acts of plagiarism, but one who has received little attention in the academic literature. Specifically, we examine how an academic publisher addressed allegations of plagiarism and how the publisher’s decision-making affected the outcome. We analyze the case by applying the guidelines from different frameworks and ethical theory and develop recommendations from the lessons evidenced, the second main objective of our article. This analysis advances the dialog on academic plagiarism by exploring the role of the publisher from a deontological perspective of ethical absolutism. (shrink)
I argue that if deliberation is incompatible with (fore)knowing what one is going to do at the time of the deliberation, then God cannot deliberate. However, this thesis cannot be used to show either that God cannot act intentionally or that human persons cannot deliberate. Further, I have suggested that though omniscience is incompatible with deliberation, it is not incompatible with either some speculation or knowing something on the grounds of inference.
I ARGUE THAT THE NOTION OF THE BEST POSSIBLE WORLD IS MEANINGLESS AND THEREFORE A CHIMERA, BECAUSE FOR ANY WORLD WHICH MIGHT BE SO DESIGNATED, THERE COULD ALWAYS BE ANOTHER WHICH WAS BETTER, EITHER IN BEING POPULATED BY BEINGS WITH BETTER OR A GREATER QUANTITY OF GOOD CHARACTERISTICS, OR ELSE BY BEING MORE OPTIMIFIC.
The book's key questions concern whether we have a right to believe whatever we choose and whether we have significant control over our beliefs. After exploring four case studies in which the question of a right to believe arises and querying what epistemic obligations are, we consider how epistemic obligations might be grounded, whether in prudence, morality, or human virtues. Some argue that epistemic excellence is less concerned with our obligations to believe the truth and avoid falsehood than with seeing (...) that the beliefs we hold are justified. We argue that our epistemic responsibility is best fulfilled somewhere in between the strict objectivist and strict subjectivist views. We proceed to defend the thesis that we have not only indirect but direct control over our beliefs. We then examine the nature of belief, contending for belief as both disposition and an action. In the final chapter we discuss the relation between epistemic obligations and moral accountability. (shrink)
I argue that "obligation" is a referential notion, flowing from actual or potential relationships. Applied to future persons, our relationship with them is established by virtue of the significant effects that our acts will have on them, and this in turn provides the basis of our obligation to them. Referential problems arise particularly in the types of cases where alternative acts bring different people into existence, for here there is no clear referent of the obligation. In such cases a theistic (...) model has an advantage by delineating lines of obligation through God. (shrink)
First, I consider J.L. Mackie's deductive argument from evil, noting that required modifications to his premises, especially those dealing with what it is to be a good person and omnipotence, do not entail that God would be required to eliminate evil completely. Hence, no contradiction exists between God's existence, possession of certain properties, and the existence of evil. Second I evaluate McCloskey's arguments against reasons for evil often suggested by the theist: that evil is a means to achieving the good, (...) that evil is a by-product of securing the good, and that certain goods are logically dependent on the existence of certain evils. I argue that in none of these objections is McCloskey successful. (shrink)
Here is a contemporary social paradox: Modern liberal democracy rests upon a platform of a pluralistic civil society. Philanthropy, by providing vital resources, is an essential feature of that civil society. Yet philanthropy also plays an ambiguous role in democracy. Therefore philanthropy potentially both supports and detracts from democracy. This essay explores the nature of this paradox and its implications for the practice of contemporary philanthropy.Neither "civil society" nor "democracy" has a single, universally accepted meaning in the contemporary world. In (...) differing historical and philosophical contexts, civil society has been used to describe a broad spectrum of social phenomena—the realm of social .. (shrink)
Two objections have been raised against the re-creationist thesis that the individual human person can be re-created after death. The objection that the re-created person would not be the same person as the deceased because he would lack spatial-temporal continuity with that person I answer by showing that spatial-temporal continuity with that person is not a necessary condition for all cases of personal identity. To the objection that the decision to call the re-created individual the same as the deceased either (...) uses criteria like memory which themselves presuppose bodily continuity or is merely an unjustified convention, I show that these criteria do not presuppose continuity, and through a decision is called for, it is not an unjustifiable or arbitrary decision. (shrink)
I consider four recently suggested difference between killing and letting die as they apply to active and passive euthanasia : taking vs. taking no action; intending vs. not intending the death of the person; the certainty of the result vs. leaving the situation open to other possible alternative events; and dying from unnatural vs. natural causes. The first three fail to constitute clear differences between killing and letting die, and "ex posteriori" cannot constitute morally significant differences. The last constitutes a (...) difference but is not morally significant. (shrink)
I reply to Houston Craighead, who presents two arguments against my version of the cosmological argument. First, he argues that my arguments in defense of the causal principle in terms of the existence being accidental to an essence is fallacious because it begs the question. I respond that the objection itself is circular, and that it invokes the questionable contention that what is conceivable is possible. Against my contention that the causal principle might be intuitively known, I reply to his (...) contention that again I have begged the question. Begging the question is not applicable in that I have not argued that a denial of the principle it possible, only that if it be denied, other endeavors likewise become impossible. Second, against my contention that the causal principle is really necessary, he asserts that the necessity predicated of propositions is solely logical necessity. I reject his contention that a really necessary proposition must either be logically necessary or else a plain contingent factuality. (shrink)
Although it is suggested that an important role for codes of ethics is to influence decision making, the little research into the impact of codes of ethics on decisions finds little impact. Insights from information economics help to explain this. If an individual will select the action that a code of ethics indicates to be ethical in the absence of a code, then expressing that position in a code of ethics will have no impact on the action chosen. Even if (...) the individual will select the action that a code of ethics indicates to be unethical in the absence of a code, the presence of a statement in the code of ethics must cause the individual's beliefs to change enough so that he or she changes actions. This can be a fairly high obstacle. Enforcement provisions can increase the likelihood that an individual will select the action that a code of ethics indicates to be ethical. There are limits, however, as to how effective enforcement provisions can be. Therefore, although there may be other important goals for a code of ethics, having an impact on decision making is one that is often difficult to achieve. (shrink)
In an earlier issue of "Philosophical Studies" George Mavrodes provided a general definition of omnipotence. I argue that his general definition is inadequate because it fails to exclude from being omnipotent beings who have finite abilities but who possess their limited abilities necessarily.
First I employ Bayes's Theorem to give some precision to the atheologian's thesis that it is improbable that God exists given the amount of evil in the world (E). Two arguments result from this: (1) E disconfirms God's existence, and (2) E tends to disconfirm God's existence. Secondly, I evaluate these inductive arguments, suggesting against (1) that the atheologian has abstracted from and hence failed to consider the total evidence, and against (2) that the atheologian's evidence adduced to support his (...) thesis regarding the relevant probabilities is inadequate. (shrink)
I reply to criticisms of the divine command theory with an eye to noting the relation of ethics to an ontological ground. The criticisms include: the theory makes the standard of right and wrong arbitrary, it traps the defender of the theory in a vicious circle, it violates moral autonomy, it is a relic of our early deontological state of moral development. I then suggest how Henry Veatch's view of good as an ontological feature of the world provides a context (...) in which the divine command theory can be reasonably justified. (shrink)
This text uses the educational objectives of Benjamin Bloom as six steps to critical thinking (namely: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). The book starts with the absolute basics (for example, how to find the topic, issue, and thesis) vs. the usual "explaining and evaluating arguments" and fine distinctions that easily can lose students.
I review two contrasting books. Whereas Hasker constructs what he takes to be a successful theodicy, invoking an eschatology where there will be a world of fulfilled human lives engulfed in intimacy with God, Keller undertakes a critique not only of the free-will/soul-making theodicy, but of a more broadly conceived problem of evil, including issues of divine hiddenness and miracles.
I explore various ways in which the karma we create is believed to affect our environment, which in turn is instrumental in rewarding or punishing us according to our just deserts. I argue that the problem of explaining naturalistically the causal operation of the law of karma and of accounting for the precise moral calculation it requires point to the necessity of a theistic administrator. But this option faces a serious dilemma when attempting to specify the relation of God to (...) the law of karma. (shrink)
William Alston proposed an understanding of religious experience modeled after the triadic structure of sense perception. However, a perceptual model falters because of the unobservability of God as the object of religious experience. To reshape Alston’s model of religious experience as an observational practice we utilize Dudley Shapere’s distinction between the philosophical use of ‘observe’ in terms of sensory perception and scientists’ epistemic use of ‘observe’ as being evidential by providing information or justification leading to knowledge. This distinction helps us (...) to understand how religious experience of an unobservable God can be an epistemic practice that satisfies our epistemic obligations and justifies religious belief. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne claims that Christ’s death has no efficacy unless people appropriate it. According to religious inclusivists, God can be encountered and his grace manifested in various ways through diverse religions. Salvation is available for everyone, regardless of whether they have heard about Christ’s sacrifice. This poses the question whether Swinburne’s view of atonement is available to the inclusivist. I develop an inclusivist interpretation of the atonement that incorporates his four features of atonement, along with a subjective dimension that need (...) not include specific knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice. (shrink)