In recent years there has been a bold revival in the field of natural theology, where “natural theology” can be understood as the attempt to demonstrate that God exists by way of reason, evidence, and argument without the appeal to divine revelation. Today's practitioners of natural theology have not only revived and recast all of the traditional arguments in the field, but, by drawing upon the findings of contemporary cosmology, chemistry, and biology, have also developed a range of fascinating new (...) ones. -/- Contemporary Arguments in Natural Theology brings together twenty experts working in the field today. Together, they practice natural theology from a wide range of perspectives, and show how the field of natural theology is practiced today with a degree of diversity and confidence not seen since the Middle Ages. Aimed primarily at advanced undergraduates and graduate students, the volume will also be of interest to researchers in philosophy, theology, biblical studies, and religious studies, as an indispensable resource on contemporary theistic proofs. (shrink)
According to Stephen Law’s “X-claim argument,” the theist’s acquiring (what I call) an “x-claim defeater” automatically provides the theist with a reason to give up her x-claim belief. Contrary to Law, I argue that, even if the theist acquires such a defeater, it does not follow that the theist ought to give up her x-claim belief. This is because the degree of justification possessed by the theist’s belief may be sufficient to epistemically insulate itself against the x-claim defeater that was (...) initially brought against it. Hence, the theist may be justified in maintaining her x-claim belief. (shrink)
In his Epistemic Justification , Swinburne offers a sophisticated and intuitively plausible causal-doxastic analysis of the basing relation that has escaped the attention of those working on this relation, where the basing relation can be understood as the relation that holds between a reason and one’s belief when the belief is held for that reason. In this paper, I aim to fill this lacuna in the literature by arguing that, despite its initial plausibility, Swinburne’s analysis of the basing relation is (...) subject to a simple counterexample and so must be rejected. (shrink)
In the second chapter of his Modality, Probability and Rationality, James Sennett argues that Plantinga’s famed S5 Modal Argument (hereafter “MA”) for the existence of an unsurpassably great being is objectionably circular since it’s impossible for one to understand the premises of Plantinga’s MA without understanding these premises to logically entail its conclusion. That is to say, Sennett’s charge is that Plantinga’s MA is circular since there is no understanding of the premises of Plantinga’s MA that is independent of its (...) conclusion. In this paper I argue that Sennett has shown no such thing and that, contrary to strong prima facie appearances, there is an understanding of the premises of Plantinga’s MA that is independent of its conclusion. Consequently, Plantinga’s MA is not circular inthe way that Sennett alleges. (shrink)
Epistemic Internalism (EI) is the claim that an agent S is justified in believing that p at a time t iff S has either an actual or potential direct awareness of the grounds or properties that confer justification on p at t . In this paper I argue that EI does not provide the proponent of EI with an intuitively clear analysis of epistemic justification. More exactly, after identifying two different versions of EI – a weak version and a strong (...) version – I offer some general considerations for thinking that neither the weak version nor the strong version provides the proponent of EI with a plausible analysis of epistemic justification and conclude, therefore, that EI itself cannot be considered a plausible analysis of epistemic justification. (shrink)
Keith DeRose believes that it is a strength of his contextualist analysis that it explains why the recently much-discussed skeptical Argument from Ignorance (AI) is so persuasive. Not only that, however; DeRose also believes that he is able to explain the underlying dynamics of AI by utilizing solely the epistemological and linguistic resources contained within his contextualist analysis. DeRose believes, in other words, that his contextualist analysis functions as a genuinely self-contained explanation of skepticism. But does it? In this paper (...) I argue that DeRose’s analysis does not function as a self-contained explanation of skepticism since, as it turns out, DeRose’s analysis is simply irrelevant to the main concerns of the skeptic. To the extent that DeRose’s analysis is irrelevant in this way, I conclude that such an analysis cannot be considered a satisfactory treatment of AI. (shrink)
Anderson and Welty have recently advanced an argument for the claim that the laws of logic are ontologically dependent upon a necessarily existent mind, i.e. God. In this paper I argue that a key premise of Anderson and Welty’s argument—viz., a premise which asserts that \(x\) is intrinsically intentional only if \(x\) is mind-dependent—is false, for on a broadly Fregean account of propositions, propositions are intrinsically intentional but not mind-dependent.
A number of counterexamples have recently been leveled against Alvin Plantinga's Proper Functionalism, counterexamples aimed at showing that Plantinga's theory fads to provide sufficient conditions for warrant — that elusive epistemic property which together with true belief yields knowledge Among these counterexamples, Laurence Bonjour s is perhaps the most formidable and, if successful, shows that Proper Functionalism is simply too weak to serve as an acceptable theory of warrant In this paper, I argue that, contrary to initial appearances, BonJour's counterexample (...) is not successful More exactly, I argue that, once it is recognized that a defeasibility constraint is deeply embedded within Plantinga's proper function condition for warrant — a constraint which says, in effect, that a belief B is warranted for an agent S only of S does not possess any defeaters against B — BonJour's counterexample to Proper Functionalism can be handled quite straightforwardly. (shrink)