Since Aristotle, many writers have treated metaphors and similes as equals: any metaphor can be paraphrased as a simile, and vice-versa. This property of metaphors is the basis for psycholinguistic comparison theories of metaphor comprehension. However, if metaphors cannot always be paraphrased as similes, then comparison theories must be abandoned. The different forms of a metaphor—the comparison and categorical forms—have different referents. In comparison form, the metaphor vehicle refers to the literal concept, e.g. 'in my lawyer is like a shark', (...) the term 'shark' refers to the literal fish. In categorical form, 'my lawyer is a shark', 'shark' refers to an abstract (metaphorical) category of predatory creatures. This difference in reference makes it possible for a metaphor and its corresponding simile to differ (a) in interpretability and (b) in meaning. Because a metaphor cannot always be understood in terms of its corresponding simile, we conclude that comparison theories of metaphor are fundamentally flawed. (shrink)
Four experiments tested three competing theories of metaphor comprehension: comparison, categorization, and career-of-metaphor. The findings shed light on key mechanisms involved in metaphor processing and conceptual combination. They show that some novel tropes are privileged in metaphor over simile form, and others may express different interpretations in simile and in metaphor form. These results speak against the assumption that metaphors and similes are interchangeable, thus providing support for the categorization model. A unifying account of metaphor comprehension is proposed, along with (...) a discussion of implications for conceptual combination. (shrink)
Is nature all there is? John Haught examines this question and in doing so addresses a fundamental issue in the dialogue of science with religion. The belief that nature is all there is and that no overall purpose exists in the universe is known broadly as 'naturalism'. Naturalism, in this context, denies the existence of any realities distinct from the natural world and human culture. Since the rise of science in the modern world has had so much influence on (...) naturalism's intellectual acceptance, the author focuses on 'scientific' naturalism and the way in which its defenders are now attempting to put a distance between contemporary thought and humanity's religious traditions. Haught seeks to provide a reasonable, scientifically informed alternative to naturalism. His approach will provide the basis for lively discussion among students, scholars, scientists, theologians and intellectually curious people in general. (shrink)
This essay is based on a lecture delivered at the 2002 IRAS Star Island conference, the theme of which was “Is Nature Enough? The Thirst for Transcendence.” I had been asked to represent the position of those who would answer No to the question. I thought it would stimulate discussion if I presented my side of the debate in a somewhat provocative manner rather than use a more ponderous approach that would argue each point in a meticulous and protracted fashion. (...) Here I lay out a theological position that finds naturalism wanting in three ways: in terms of human spiritual needs, in terms of the mind's need for deep explanation, and in terms of the perennial human search for truth. Again, the style of presentation, like that of the original lecture, prohibits the kind of philosophical development that an adequate answer to each of the issues requires. The purpose is that of evoking discussion on a most important question. (shrink)
Environmental virtue ethics (EVE) can be applied to environmental justice. Environmental justice refers to the concern that many poor and nonwhite communities bear a disproportionate burden of risk of exposure to environmental hazards compared to white and/or economically higher-class communities. The most common applied ethical response to this concern—that is, to environmental injustice—is the call for an expanded application of human rights, such as requirements for clean air and water. The virtue-oriented approach can be made consistent with such calls, but (...) there are broader applications as well that generate unique strategies for moral responsiveness and for expanding the role of moral philosophers in civic affairs. (shrink)
Robert Russell's theological work has been a helpful stimulus to the task of understanding the meaning of divine action and providence in the age of science. He relates God's direct action "fundamentally" to the hidden domain of quantum events, and his theology of nature deserves careful attention. It is questionable, however, whether the term fundamental as applied to quantum events by physical science may be taken over by theology without more careful qualification than Russell offers.
This essay reexamines Holmes Rolston’s evocative notion of “storied residence” and evaluates it for its fitness for environmental virtue ethics. Environmental virtue ethics (or EVE) continues to garner attention among environmental philosophers, and recently Brian Treanor has argued for the indispensability of narrative approaches as part of that discourse. In this paper, I endorse this indispensability thesis generally, but I argue that narrative environmental virtue ethics must be supplemented either by “storied residence” or a similar environmentally, scientifically, culturally, and historically (...) rich concept of narrative. Rolston himself has criticized environmental virtue ethics for being too agent-centered. Fortunately, an adequate sense of storied-residence is precisely what is needed to avoid triggering the vicious anthropocentrism that concerns Rolston. More concretely, storied-residence makes place(s) central to environmental virtue ethics by giving expression to features of the more-than-human world that often become secondary considerations to agency in accounts of environmental virtue. (shrink)
Evolutionary biology contributes much to our present understanding of life, and it promises also to deepen our understanding of human intelligence, ethics, and even religion. For some scientific thinkers, however, Darwin's science seems so impressive that it now supplants theology altogether by providing the ultimate explanation of all manifestations of life, not only biologically but also metaphysically. By focusing on human intelligence as an emergent aspect of nature this essay examines the question of whether theology can still have an explanatory (...) role to play alongside biology in attempts to understand mind. (shrink)
Evolutionary biology has considerably altered our understanding of life, and it now promises to enhance our understanding of human existence by providing new insights into the meaning of intelligence, ethical aspiration and religious life. For some scientific thinkers, especially those who espouse a physicalist worldview, Darwin’s science seems so impressive that it now replaces theology by providing the deepest available explanation of all manifestations of life, including human intelligence. By focusing on human intelligence this essay asks whether a theological perspective (...) on the universe can still have an illuminating role to play alongside of biology (and other scientific perspectives) in contemporary attempts to understand human intelligence. (shrink)
In A Third Window Robert Ulanowicz exposes the explanatory weaknesses of both classical and statistical methods in scientific inquiry. His book, however, does much more than that. While being completely grounded in empirical science, it also outlines a worldview, or a metaphysics, that renders intelligible the fact of chance and emergent novelty. Ulanowicz establishes his position by comparing his third window onto nature with two others conventional scientific approaches. The purpose of this essay is to point out the value of (...) Ulanowicz’s approach for improving the quality of conversation between science and theology. (shrink)
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin challenged theology to reach for an understanding of God that would take into account the reality of evolution. Paul Tillich's notion of New Being goes a long way toward meeting this challenge, and a theology of evolution can gain a great deal from Tillich's religious thought. But Teilhard would still wonder whether the philosophical notion of being, even when qualified by the adjective new, is itself adequate to contextualize evolution theologically. To Teilhard a theology attuned to (...) a post–Darwinian world requires nothing less than a revolution in our understanding of what is ultimately real. It is doubtful that Tillich's rather classical theological system is radical enough to accommodate this requirement. For Teilhard, on the other hand, a metaphysics grounded in the biblical vision, wherein God is understood as the future on which the world rests as its sole support, can provide a more suitable setting for evolutionary theology. (shrink)
Hume’s projectivist theory of value suggests that (environmental) values are either individually or culturally relative and that intrinsic value ascriptions are incoherent. Previous attempts to avert these implications have typically relied on modified Humean accounts that either universalize human sensitivity to the value of the more-than-human world or that adapt the concept of intrinsic value to suit a world in which all values are projected. While there are merits to these approaches, there is another alternative. Hume’s own moral theory promises (...) to be an even richer source for environmental ethical discourse than previously thought, and this richness is owed in large part to the robustness of Hume’s theory of virtue. (shrink)
This essay offers a critical assessment of environmental virtue ethics (EVE). Finding an environmental ethical analogy with Hume’s critique of the sensible knave, I argue that EVE is limited in much the same way as morality is on the Humean view. Advocates of nonanthropocentrism will find it difficult to engage those whose virtues comport them to anthropocentrism. Nonetheless, EVE is able to ground confidence in nonanthropocentric virtues by explicating specific key virtues, thereby holding open the possibility of bridging the motivational (...) gap between anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism. (shrink)
Recent evolutionary interpretations of religion can be illuminating. However, by failing to take into account what Polanyi calls the “logic of achievement” they end up attributing to impersonal segments of DNA the personal striving that underlies religious existence.
We consider questions related to the rigidity of the structure R, the PTIME-Turing degrees of recursive sets of strings together with PTIME-Turing reducibility, pT, and related structures; do these structures have nontrivial automorphisms? We prove that there is a nontrivial automorphism of an ideal of R. This can be rephrased in terms of partial relativizations. We consider the sets which are PTIME-Turing computable from a set A, and call this class PTIMEA. Our result can be stated as follows: There is (...) an oracle, A, relative to which the PTIME-Turing degrees are not rigid . Furthermore, the automorphism can be made to preserve the complexity classes DTIMEA for all k 1, or to move any DTIMEA for n 2. From the existence of such an automorphism we conclude as a corollary that there is an oracle A relative to which the classes DTIME are not definable over R. We carry out the corresponding partial relativization for the many-one degrees to construct an oracle, A, relative to which the PTIMA-many-one degrees relative to A have a nontrivial automorphism, and one relative to which the lattice of sets in PTIMEA under inclusion have a nontrivial automorphism. The proof is phrased as a forcing argument; we construct the set A to meet a particular collection of dense sets in our notion of forcing. Roughly, the dense sets will guarantee that if A meets these sets and we split A into two pieces, A0 and A1, in a simple way, and then switching the roles of A0 and A1 in all computations from A will produce an automorphism of the ideal of PTIMA-degrees below A. We force A0 and A1 to have different PTIME-Turing degree; this will then make the automorphism nontrivial. An appropriately generic set A is constructed using a priority argument. (shrink)
Gur general vision of the world will undoubtedly affect our environmental ethics. Scientific materialism is the “general vision” that undergirds many scholarly and popular presentations of science today. It is questionable whether this materialist metaphysics can consistently sustain an environmental concern. If scientists influenced by the materialistic outlook, nonetheless, happen to be environmentalists, itis in spite of and not because of their materialist philosophies of nature. What we need, therefore, is a cosmological vision that is nlore consistently supportive of an (...) environmental ethic. Religious visions are often ambiguous in their attitude toward the natural environment. Alfred North Whitehead and his followers weave modem science, philosophical sophistication and religious cosmology into a metaphysical vision fully and consistently supportive of a vigorous environmental ethic. (shrink)
In this response, I unpack the implications of Kasperbauer’s focus on the passenger pigeon in his critique of de-extinction. While I accept his sentientist objections to de-extinction, I consider how a case for de-extinction can be developed using Ronald Sandler’s concept of integral value. In this vein, justification for bringing back the passenger pigeon is comparable to that supporting a recovery effort of an endangered species. However, as with a recovery plan, and possibly more so, de-extinction must reflect a sincere (...) commitment to accommodate the resurrected species and provide the habitat in which it can thrive. In this vein, de-extinction should not proceed without environmental virtues of hospitality and neighborliness. (shrink)
Le cosmos a-t-il un sens? Cette question ne peut être abandonnée aux seuls scientifiques, même s’il importe d’enregistrer leurs avancées dans la formulation de propositions. La vision scientifique de l’univers a mis à mal le modèle hiérarchique traditionnel porté par les religions, en imposant l’idée d’une continuité entre les êtres. Il en résulte un «pessimisme cosmique» où la vie est expliquée à partir de l’inerte et le tout est dénué de finalité. Contre ce réductionnisme, le présent article avance des considérations (...) susceptibles de réenchanter le monde post-darwinien. (shrink)
The construction of a distinctively Christian “theology of evolution” or “theistic evolution” requires the incorporation of the science of evolutionary biology while building a more comprehensive worldview within which all things are understood in relation to our creating and redeeming God. In the form of theses, this article brings four support pillars to the constructive work: (1) orienting evolutionary history to the God of grace; (2) affirming purpose for nature even if we cannot see purpose in nature; (3) employing the (...) theology of the cross to discern divine compassion in the natural world; and (4) relying on the divine promise of new creation. Among other things, John Haught's blueprint has located the pedestals on which these pillars will stand. For this groundwork, Haught deserves thanks. (shrink)
John Haught has awarded the debates between religion (Christianity in particular) and science a central place in his ongoing corpus of work. Seeking to encourage and enhance the conversation, Haught both critiques current positions and offers his own perspective as a potential ground for continuing the discussion in a fruitful manner. This essay considers Haught's primary criticisms of the voices on both sides of the debate which his work connotes as polarizing or conflating the debate. It also (...) extrudes from Haught's work themes that provide alternative visions. The essay concludes with two questions for further consideration. (shrink)
The theology of God in the scholarship of John Haught exemplifies rigor, resourcefulness, and creativity in response to ever-evolving worldviews. Haught presents insightful and plausible ways in which to speak about the mystery of God in a variety of contexts while remaining steadfastly grounded in the Christian tradition. This essay explores Haught's proposals through three of his selected lenses—human experience, the informed universe, and evolutionary cosmology—and highlights two areas for further theological development.
John Haught offers a “critical intelligence” argument against naturalism. In this article, I outline Haught’s version of theistic evolution. Then I discuss the case he makes against naturalism with his critical intelligence argument. He uses two versions of the argument to make his case: a trustworthiness of critical intelligence argument and an ineffectiveness of naturalistic theories of the mind argument. I evaluate both versions of his critical intelligence argument against naturalism and find that they contain false premises. They (...) thus come up short in making a strong case against naturalism. (shrink)
This article engages with John Haught's views on original sin. It offers a brief orientation to discourse on sin in the context of theological debates on human evolution. This is followed by a thick description of Haught's so-called note on original sin. A series of five observations and questions regarding Haught's position is offered. It is observed that Haught's way of telling the story of sin and salvation follows a classic Roman Catholic plot, namely one based (...) on grace elevating nature. This is contrasted with the more typically reformed plot of restoration. (shrink)