Many philosophers have appealed to the PSR in arguments for a being that exists a se, a being whose explanation is in itself. But what does it mean, exactly, for something to have its explanation ‘in itself’? Contemporary philosophers have said next to nothing about this, relying instead on phrases plucked from the accounts of various historical figures. In this article, I analyse five such accounts – those of Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz – and argue that none are (...) satisfactory. Should we abandon or restrict the PSR, then? I think that would be hasty, for many reasons. I therefore consider the prospects of explaining everything, including God, given the constraints of certain features of good explanations, and conclude with several observations about future approaches. (shrink)
I explore the view that the imago Dei is essential to us as humans but accidental to us as persons. To image God is to resemble God, and resemblance comes in degrees. This has the straightforward—and perhaps disturbing—implication that we can be more or less human, and possibly cease to be human entirely. Hence, I call it the spectrum view. I argue that the spectrum view is complementary to the Biblical data, helps explain the empirical reality of horrendous evil, and (...) offers an elegant rapprochement between the traditional view of hell and its rivals. (shrink)
I argue that beliefs about what appears possible are justified in much the same way as beliefs about what appears actual. I do so by chisholming, and then modalizing, the epistemic principle associated with phenomenal conservatism. The principle is tested against a number of examples, and it gives the intuitively correct results. I conclude by considering how it can be used to defend two controversial modal arguments, a Cartesian argument for dualism and an ontological argument for the existence of God.
I argue that Social Trinitarians can and should conceive of God as a group person. They can by drawing on recent theories of group agency realism that show how groups can be not just agents but persons distinct from their members – albeit, I argue, persons of a different kind. They should because the resultant novel view of the Trinity – that God is three ‘intrinsicist’ persons in one ‘functional’ person – is theologically sound, effectively counters the most trenchant criticisms (...) of Social Trinitarianism, and enjoys independent theological support from the biblical notion of ‘corporate personality’. (shrink)
Would the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life conflict in any way with Christian belief? We identify six areas of potential conflict. If there be no conflict in any of these areas—and we argue ultimately there is not—we are confident in declaring that there is no conflict, period. This conclusion underwrites the integrity of theological explorations into the existence of ETI, which has become a topic of increasing interest among theologians in recent years.
The question I wish to explore is this: Does idealism conflict with common sense? Unfortunately, the answer I give may seem like a rather banal one: It depends. What do we mean by ‘idealism’ and ‘common sense?’ I distinguish three main varieties of idealism: absolute idealism, Berkeleyan idealism, and dualistic idealism. After clarifying what is meant by common sense, I consider whether our three idealisms run afoul of it. The first does, but the latter two don’t. I conclude that while (...) Moore’s famous common sense critique is sound against external world skepticism, against Berkeleyan idealism and dualist idealism it is unavailing. (shrink)
Nearly all Disney movies represent to people mere possibilities. One can conceive of scenarios with genies, wooden puppets coming to life, flying elephants, and mermaids. And there certainly seems to be no special problem in conceiving of a scenario where all the author's experiences are a mere dream induced by a Maleficent‐like evil genius. The problem in the present context is that the possibility of a dream‐inducing Maleficent‐like evil genius guarantees that how things appear would be no different, whether she (...) is dreaming or not. But maybe there is a difference: does it not appear to her that there is a difference between dreaming and wakefulness? The very fact that she is aware of such a distinction at all suggests the distinction is real. People prefer a real life over an experientially identical dream life, or even a more pleasurable dream life, because there is more to life than just experience. (shrink)