Skeptical theists argue that no seemingly unjustified evil (SUE) could ever lower the probability of God's existence at all. Why? Because God might have justifying reasons for allowing such evils (JuffREs) that are undetectable. However, skeptical theists are unclear regarding whether or not God's existence is relevant to the existence of JuffREs, and whether or not God's existence is relevant to their detectability. But I will argue that, no matter how the skeptical theist answers these questions, it is undeniable that (...) the skeptical theist is wrong; SUEs lower the probability of God's existence. To establish this, I will consider the four scenarios regarding the relevance of God's existence to the existence and detectability of JuffREs, and show that in each—after we establish our initial probabilities, and then update them given the evidence of a SUE—the probability of God's existence drops. (shrink)
Drawing on 171 in-depth interviews with physicists at universities in the United States and the UK, this study examines the narratives of 48 physicists to explain the concept of ethical ambiguity: the border where legitimate and illegitimate conduct is blurred. Researchers generally assume that scientists agree on what constitutes both egregious and more routine forms of misconduct in science. The results of this study show that scientists perceive many scenarios as ethically gray, rather than black and white. Three orientations to (...) ethical ambiguity are considered—altruism, inconsequential outcomes, and preserving the status quo—that allow possibly questionable behavior to persist unchallenged. Each discursive strategy is rationalized as promoting the collective interest of science rather than addressing what is ethically correct or incorrect. The results of this study suggest that ethics training in science should focus not only on fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism and more routine forms of misconduct, but also on strategies for resolving ethically ambiguous scenarios where appropriate action may not be clear. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis essay critically develops Watsuji’s nondual ontology of the self through the lens of ‘topological’ thought. Through close description of the embeddedness of the self in, and its emergence from, an intersubjective space which, in turn, is rooted in a particular place, Watsuji shows that the self is constituted by its relational contact with others, on the one hand, and by its immersion in a wider geo-cultural environment, on the other. Yet Watsuji himself had difficulty in smoothly bringing together and (...) integrating these themes. By showing how these domains work together to constitute the self, we bring into view the unity at the ground of Watsuji’s thought. Foremost among the difficulties in this account of the self is the question of how transcendence, the distance and difference that makes possible freedom and individuation, can be convincingly accounted for if the self is so completely identified with its insertion into social and natural structures. Beyond problems such as these, however,... (shrink)
In, I suggested that, while the non-existence of the soul does threaten free will, the threat it possess is inconsequential. Free will faces so many other hurdles that, if those were overcome, the soul's non-existence would be a non-threat. In this paper, I establish this; and to do so, I define the common libertarian notion of free will, and show how neuroscience, determinism, indeterminism, theological belief, axioms in logic, and even Einstein's theory of relativity each entail that libertarian free will (...) does not exist. I conclude by demonstrating why some philosophers reject alternate understandings of free will, and so believe that the notion we are free is an illusion. (shrink)
The Empiricist or Lockean view says natural kinds do not exist objectively in nature but are practical categories reflecting use of words. The Modern, Ostensive view says they do exist, and one can refer to such a kind by ostention and recursion, assuming his designation of it is related causally to the kind itself. However, this leads to a problem: Kinds are abstract repeatables, and it seems impossible that abstractions could have causal force. In defence of the Modern view, I (...) suggest we can think of kinds as — or as like — ecological niches existing in nature, which are causally effective by virtue of the fact that they predictively determine (some) properties of the things that happen to occupy them. (shrink)
‘The soul hypothesis’ enjoys near unanimous support in the general population. Among philosophers and scientists, however, belief in the soul is far less common. The purpose of this essay to explain why many philosophers and scientists reject the soul hypothesis and to consider what the non-existence of the soul would entail.
The basic idea of the particular way of understanding mental phenomena that has inspired the "cognitive revolution" is that, as a result of certain relatively recent intellectual and technological innovations, informed theorists now possess a more powerfully insightful comparison or model for mind than was available to any thinkers in the past. The model in question is that of software, or the list of rules for input, output, and internal transformations by which we determine and control the workings of a (...) computing machine's hardware. Although this comparison and its many implications have dominated work in the philosophy, psychology, and neurobiology of mind since the end of the Second World War, it now shows increasing signs of losing its once virtually unquestioned preeminence. Thus we now face the question of whether it is possible to repair and save this model by means of relatively inessential "tinkering", or whether we must reconceive it fundamentally and replace it with something different. In this book, twenty-eight leading scholars from diverse fields of "cognitive science"-linguistics, psychology, neurophysiology, and philosophy- present their latest, carefully considered judgements about what they think will be the future course of this intellectual movement, that in many respects has been a watershed in our contemporary struggles to comprehend that which is crucially significant about human beings. Jerome Bruner, Noam Chomsky, Margaret Boden, Ulric Neisser, Rom Harre, Merlin Donald, among others, have all written chapters in a non-technical style that can be enjoyed and understood by an inter-disciplinary audience of psychologists, philosophers, anthropologists, linguists, and cognitive scientists alike. (shrink)
Theological incompatibility arguments suggest God's comprehensive foreknowledge is incompatible with human free will. Logical incompatibility arguments suggest a complete set of truths about the future is logically incompatible with human free will. Of the two, most think theological incompatibility is the more severe problem; but hardly anyone thinks either kind of argument presents a real threat to free will. I will argue, however, that sound theological and logical incompatibility arguments exist and that, in fact, logical incompatibly is the more severe (...) problem. A deep analysis of the arguments will reveal that, to avoid a fatalist conclusion, we must reject bivalence and adopt a specific kind of temporal ontology (presentism), which also forces the theist to embrace open theism. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 386 - 411 “As If, As Such” reads Derrida’s understanding of the institution of literature as both the most interesting thing in the world and “perhaps” more interesting than the world in relation to his remark that the noema remains one of the most difficult and problematic concepts in Husserl’s phenomenological toolbox. By focusing on the noema as the objective side of consciousness and thus as what does not properly belong to consciousness, hence (...) as the site of the tension between form and matter, the following essay also explains why Derrida claimed that the “as” was always the target of deconstruction. Ultimately, “As If, As Such” seeks to elaborate what Derrida called the “power of literature” as that which is at work in the possibility of life. (shrink)
In two passages from Xenophon's Memorabilia, Socrates refutes Aristippus, first by a rather brutal brand of Realpolitik , then by refusing to answer Aristippus' questions about the good and the beautiful . This article argues that the nasty politics that emerge in Memorabilia 2.1 are not Socratic, but rather the natural consequence of Aristippean hedonism. Political considerations of another sort drive Socrates' tactics in Memorabilia 3.8, where his evasive manoeuvres are driven by his desire to avoid a direct confrontation with (...) hedonism. Socrates' own views are hedonistic in some sense, as revealed by his otherwise irrelevant discussion of pleasing home plans and altar sites at the end of 3.8, but Socrates does not wish to reveal as much to companions lacking his self-control. Socrates' treatment of Aristippus has as much to do with politics as with pleasure. (shrink)
We consider the use ofevolving algebra methods of specifying grammars for natural languages. We are especially interested in distributed evolving algebras. We provide the motivation for doing this, and we give a reconstruction of some classic grammar formalisms in directly dynamic terms. Finally, we consider some technical questions arising from the use of direct dynamism in grammar formalisms.
The multiverse hypothesis is growing in popularity among theistic philosophers because some view it as the preferable way to solve certain difficulties presented by theistic belief. In this paper, I am concerned specifically with its application to Rowe’s problem of no best world, which suggests that God’s existence is impossible given the fact that the world God actualizes must be unsurpassable, yet for any given possible world, there is one greater. I will argue that, as a solution to the problem (...) of no best world, the multiverse hypothesis fails. To defend my thesis, I will first define the multiverse hypothesis and articulate the problem of no best world and how the multiverse hypothesis is thought to solve it. I will then show that the solution fails by articulating two problems that have been mentioned, but not developed, in the literature—what I call the problem of no highest standard and the problem of multiverse cardinality. In each case, after articulating the problem, I will offer possible responses to the problem and show why those responses are inadequate. (shrink)
Television pictures of starvation and depredation are not the only way that famine and political instability in the horn of Africa have affected the United States. Many people from that region of the world are seeking political or economic refuge here, and they are exposing us to a culture that is in some ways — most notably, in the practice of female circumcision – so radically different from the prevailing American cultures that we have been stunned. They are also forcing (...) hospital ethics committees to face issues that cannot be resolved by the facile application of the settled principles that have guided those institutions for the past several years. Autonomy and multiculturalism, long the foundations of most ethics committee decision making, have started to give way to a list of formally articulated rights and wrongs – perhaps to a restatement and adoption of rules said to be based in natural law. Female circumcision, argues one newspaper letter writer, “is just a sickening display of male power disguised as legitimate dogma. (shrink)
Some theists maintain that they need not answer the threat posed to theistic belief by natural evil; they have reason enough to believe that God exists and it renders impotent any threat that natural evil poses to theism. Explicating how God and natural evil coexist is not necessary since they already know both exist. I will argue that, even granting theists the knowledge they claim, this does not leave them in an agreeable position. It commits the theist to a very (...) unpalatable position: our universe was not designed by God and is instead, most likely, a computer simulation. (shrink)
This paper is a response to a recent claim made by Norwegian philosopher Tarjei Larsen in the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology that Merleau-Ponty’s own theory of painting undermines the important distinction made in his thought between primordial perception and cultural construction because it requires that perception take different cultural and historical forms in order to account for perspectival painting. I try to show that this distinction is not so easily collapsed by arguing that Larsen has misconstrued Merleau-Ponty’s (...) account of painting as a phenomenological theory of painting and misinterpreted Merleau-Ponty’s concept of painterly style, and that therefore the conclusion that perception must be malleable is not warranted. What is at stake in this debate is whether Merleau-Ponty’s own account of painting threatens the basis for his phenomenological project as well as his attempt to accord substantial philosophical significance to painting. (shrink)
This dialogue discusses a proposal for the legalization of torture under specific circumstances and contrasts it with arguments for a total ban on torture. We consider three types of objection: first, that the difficulty of having adequate knowledge renders the stock “ticking bomb” scenario such a low-probability hypothetical as to present no realistic threat to a policy banning all torture; second, that empirically the information gleaned from torture is so unlikely to be reliable that it could not justify the moral (...) risk; and third, that sanctioning torture, even if only under the most extreme circumstances, would generate a ‘culture of torture,’ hence undermining fragile advances in international human rights rooted in unwavering commitment to human dignity. Compelling as these arguments appear, not all the conversants are wholly convinced by them; to this extent the dialogue ends aporetically. (shrink)