ZUSAMMENFASSUNGIm Diskurs zum Theodizeeproblem beschäftigen sich die einzelnen Autoren mit sehr unterschiedlichen Ausgangsfragen, und zwar meist ohne diese Tatsache zu reflektieren. Wenn man jedoch ernst nimmt, dass »das Theodizeeproblem« einen Sammelbegriff für sehr unterschiedliche Fragen darstellt, setzt eine sinnvolle Bearbeitung des Theodizeeproblems eine bewusste Benennung der genauen Ausgangsfrage und idealerweise eine sachliche Begründung für die Wahl eben dieser Frage voraus. Davon, ob die Ausgangsfrage im Horizont des Glaubens formuliert wird oder nicht, in existenzieller oder in abstrahierender Perspektive, mit Gott (...) als Adressat oder nicht, anhand eines schöpfungstheologischen, kreuzestheologischen oder eschatologischen Zugangs, unter Zugrundelegung eines traditionell-theistischen oder eines nicht traditionell-theistischen Gottesbegriffs, agnostisch oder atheistisch, logisch oder empirisch, hängt es ab, ob es eine Antwort gibt, welche Antwortmöglichkeiten in den Blick kommen können und welche nicht, welche Bedürfnisse des Fragenden befriedigt werden und welche nicht, kurz: was von der weiteren Problembearbeitung erwartet werden kann und was nicht.SUMMARYIn the discourse on theodicy, individual authors deal with very different initial questions and for the most part fail to reflect upon this very fact. However, if one does recognize the importance of understanding THE problem of evil as an umbrella term for quite distinct issues, a proper treatment of theodicy implies precisely specifying the initial question and, ideally, a factual justification for the choice of this question. Whether the initial question is phrased in the horizon of faith, in an existential or abstract perspective, whether it directly adresses God, whether it is approached by means of creation theology, a theology of the cross or eschatological theology, whether it is based on a traditional theistical idea of god, agnostic or atheistic, logical or empirical, ultimately determines the actual existence of an answer, which possible answers can be brought to the questioner's attention and which of his or her needs can be satisfied in this regard; in short, what can be expected from the treatment of the problem and what cannot. (shrink)
Near-death experiences offer a glimpse not only into the nature of death but also into the meaning of life. They are not only useful tools to aid in the human quest to understand death but are also deeply meaningful, transformative experiences for the people who have them. In a unique contribution to the growing and popular literature on the subject, philosophers John Martin Fischer and Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin examine prominent near-death experiences, such as those of Pam Reynolds, EbenAlexander (...) and Colton Burpo. They combine their investigations with critiques of the narratives' analysis by those who take them to show that our minds are immaterial and heaven is for real. In contrast, the authors provide a blueprint for a science-based explanation. Focusing on the question of whether near-death experiences provide evidence that consciousness is separable from our brains and bodies, Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin give a naturalistic account of the profound meaning and transformative effects that these experiences engender in many. This book takes the reality of near-death experiences seriously. But it also shows that understanding them through the tools of science is completely compatible with acknowledging their profound meaning. (shrink)
This volume contains the Arabic translations of a lost treatise by Alexander of Aphrodisias (c. AD 200) "On the Principles of the Universe" with English translation, introduction and commentary. It also includes an Arabic and Syriac glossary. The introduction and commentary deal in detail with the manuscripts, the translators and the exegetical tendencies of the text, as well as with its reception in Arabic philosophy. The main theme of the work is the motion of the heavenly bodies and their (...) influence on the physical world. (shrink)
The Principle of Sufficient Reason says that all contingent facts must have explanation. In this 2006 volume, which was the first on the topic in the English language in nearly half a century, Alexander Pruss examines the substantive philosophical issues raised by the Principle Reason. Discussing various forms of the PSR and selected historical episodes, from Parmenides, Leibnez, and Hume, Pruss defends the claim that every true contingent proposition must have an explanation against major objections, including Hume's imaginability argument (...) and Peter van Inwagen's argument that the PSR entails modal fatalism. Pruss also provides a number of positive arguments for the PSR, based on considerations as different as the metaphysics of existence, counterfactuals and modality, negative explanations, and the everyday applicability of the PSR. Moreover, Pruss shows how the PSR would advance the discussion in a number of disparate fields, including meta-ethics and the philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom has it that truth is always evaluated using our actual linguistic conventions, even when considering counterfactual scenarios in which different conventions are adopted. This principle has been invoked in a number of philosophical arguments, including Kripke’s defense of the necessity of identity and Lewy’s objection to modal conventionalism. But it is false. It fails in the presence of what Einheuser (2006) calls c-monsters, or convention-shifting expressions (on analogy with Kaplan’s monsters, or context-shifting expressions). We show that c-monsters naturally (...) arise in contexts, such as metalinguistic negotiations, where speakers entertain alternative conventions. We develop an expressivist theory—inspired by Barker (2002) and MacFarlane (2016) on vague predications and Einheuser (2006) on counterconventionals—to model these shifts in convention. Using this framework, we reassess the philosophical arguments that invoked the conventional wisdom. (shrink)
This book presents a comprehensive overview of what the criminal law would look like if organised around the principle that those who deserve punishment should receive punishment commensurate with, but no greater than, that which they deserve. Larry Alexander and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan argue that desert is a function of the actor's culpability, and that culpability is a function of the risks of harm to protected interests that the actor believes he is imposing and his reasons for acting in (...) the face of those risks. The authors deny that resultant harms, as well as unperceived risks, affect the actor's desert. They thus reject punishment for inadvertent negligence as well as for intentions or preparatory acts that are not risky. Alexander and Ferzan discuss the reasons for imposing risks that negate or mitigate culpability, the individuation of crimes, and omissions. (shrink)
Some of the greatest writers on moral philosophy have claimed that their theories about morality do not run counter to the moral views of ordinary men, but on the contrary are an elucidation of such views, or provide them with a sound philosophical underpinning. Aristotle, for example, made it quite clear that he could not take seriously a moral view that was at odds with the heritage of moral wisdom deeply imbedded in his society. His doctrine of the mean was (...) based on a philosophical consideration of such wisdom. And Immanuel Kant thought that his moral philosophy articulated the moral views of ordinary men. (shrink)
Assuming S5, the main controversial premise in modal ontological arguments is the possibility premise, such as that possibly a maximally great being exists. I shall offer a new way of arguing that the possibility premise is probably true.
There is a social or collective sense of ‘knowledge’, as used, for example, in the phrase ‘the growth of scientific knowledge’. In this paper I show that social knowledge does not supervene on facts about what individuals know, nor even what they believe or intend, or any combination of these or other mental states. Instead I develop the idea that social knowing is an analogue to individual knowing, where the analogy focuses on the functional role of social and individual knowing.
Social and behavioral scientists — that is, students of human nature — nowadays hardly ever use the term ‘human nature’. This reticence reflects both a becoming modesty about the aims of their disciplines and a healthy skepticism about whether there is any one thing really worthy of the label ‘human nature’. For some feature of humankind to be identified as accounting for our ‘nature’, it would have to reflect some property both distinctive of our species and systematically influential enough to (...) explain some very important aspect of our behavior. Compare: molecular structure gives the essence or the nature of water just because it explains most of its salient properties. Few students of the human sciences currently hold that there is just one or a small number of such features that can explain our actions and/or our institutions. And even among those who do, there is reluctance to label their theories as claims about ‘human nature’. Among anthropologists and sociologists, the label seems too universal and indiscriminant to be useful. The idea that there is a single underlying character that might explain similarities threatens the differences among people and cultures that these social scientists seek to uncover. Even economists, who have explicitly attempted to parlay rational choice theory into an account of all human behavior, do not claim that the maximization of transitive preferences is ‘human nature’. I think part of the reason that social scientists are reluctant to use ‘human nature’ is that the term has traditionally labeled a theory with normative implications as well as descriptive ones. (shrink)
This paper sketches a dispositionalist conception of laws and shows how the dispositionalist should respond to certain objections. The view that properties are essentially dispositional is able to provide an account of laws that avoids the problems that face the two views of laws (the regularity and the contingent nomic necessitation views) that regard properties as categorical and laws as contingent. I discuss and reject the objections that (i) this view makes laws necessary whereas they are contingent; (ii) this view (...) cannot account for certain kinds of laws of nature and their properties. (shrink)
The willful ignorance doctrine says defendants should sometimes be treated as if they know what they don't. This book provides a careful defense of this method of imputing mental states. Though the doctrine is only partly justified and requires reform, it also demonstrates that the criminal law needs more legal fictions of this kind. The resulting theory of when and why the criminal law can pretend we know what we don't has far-reaching implications for legal practice and reveals a pressing (...) need for change. (shrink)
Building on Nozick's invariantism about objectivity, I propose to define scientific objectivity in terms of counterfactual independence. I will argue that such a counterfactual independence account is (a) able to overcome the decisive shortcomings of Nozick's original invariantism and (b) applicable to three paradigmatic kinds of scientific objectivity (that is, objectivity as replication, objectivity as robustness, and objectivity as Mertonian universalism).
Some, notably Peter van Inwagen, in order to avoid problems with free will and omniscience, replace the condition that an omniscient being knows all true propositions with a version of the apparently weaker condition that an omniscient being knows all knowable true propositions. I shall show that the apparently weaker condition, when conjoined with uncontroversial claims and the logical closure of an omniscient being's knowledge, still yields the claim that an omniscient being knows all true propositions.
The free-will defence holds that the value of significant free will is so great that God is justified in creating significantly free creatures even if there is a risk or certainty that these creatures will sin. A difficulty for the FWD, developed carefully by Quentin Smith, is that God is unable to do evil, and yet surely lacks no genuinely valuable kind of freedom. Smith argues that the kind of freedom that God has can be had by creatures, without a (...) risk of creatures doing evil. I shall show that Smith's argument fails – the case of God is disanalogous to the case of creatures precisely because creatures are creatures. (shrink)
Rational agents face choices, even when taking seriously the possibility of determinism. Rational agents also follow the advice of Causal Decision Theory (CDT). Although many take these claims to be well-motivated, there is growing pressure to reject one of them, as CDT seems to go badly wrong in some deterministic cases. We argue that deterministic cases do not undermine a counterfactual model of rational deliberation, which is characteristic of CDT. Rather, they force us to distinguish between counterfactuals that are relevant (...) and ones that are irrelevant for the purposes of deliberation. We incorporate this distinction into decision theory to develop ‘Selective Causal Decision Theory’, which delivers the correct recommendations in deterministic cases while respecting the key motivations behind CDT. (shrink)
This study presents a substantial and often radical reinterpretation of some of the central themes of Locke's thought. Professor Alexander concentrates on the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and aims to restore that to its proper historical context. In Part I he gives a clear exposition of some of the scientific theories of Robert Boyle, which, he argues, heavily influenced Locke in employing similar concepts and terminology. Against this background, he goes on in Part II to provide an account of (...) Locke's views on the external world and our knowledge of it. He shows those views to be more consistent and plausible than is generally allowed, demonstrating how they make sense and enable scientific explanations of nature. In examining the views of Locke and Boyle together, the book throws light both on the development of philosophy and the beginnings of modern science, and in particular it makes a considerable and original contribution to our understanding of Locke's philosophy. (shrink)
When doing metaphysics, it is frequently convenient and sometimes essential to rely upon various notions of fundamentality when articulating the problems, positions, and arguments at issue. But what it is, exactly, the relevant notions are supposed to track remains obscure. The goal of this dissertation is to develop and defend a theory about the metaphysics of fundamentality; by doing so, I clarify and vindicate the roles that notions of fundamentality play in metaphysics. At the theory’s core are two notions particularly (...) prevalent in metaphysical inquiry: something’s being ‘derived’ from or holding ‘wholly in virtue of’ something else (the notion of grounding), and something’s being ‘reducible’ to or ‘non-circularly definable’ in terms of something else (the notion of reductive analysis). -/- I begin by arguing that the notion of grounding ought to serve as a foundation for understanding the metaphysics of fundamentality more generally (“Grounding the Metaphysics of Fundamentality”). I then propose a novel account of reductive analysis that retains the traditional insight that a reductive analysis purports to describe the constituents of a property or fact and depict how they are structured together (“On What Consists in What”). I then argue that even though the two notions are distinct, facts about grounding can be understood wholly and without circularity in terms of a certain pattern of facts about reductive analysis (“Getting Grounded”). I conclude the dissertation by challenging a widespread assumption in both the literature on the metaphysics of fundamentality and in first-order disputes about what grounds what, according to which a fact is necessitated by the facts that ground it (“Against Grounding Necessitarianism”). (shrink)
Despite wide acceptance that the attributes of living creatures have appeared through a cumulative evolutionary process guided chiefly by natural selection, many human activities have seemed analytically inaccessible through such an approach. Prominent evolutionary biologists, for example, have described morality as contrary to the direction of biological evolution, and moral philosophers rarely regard evolution as relevant to their discussions. -/- The Biology of Moral Systems adopts the position that moral questions arise out of conflicts of interest, and that moral systems (...) are ways of using confluences of interest at lower levels of social organiation to deal with conflicts of interest at higher levels. Moral systems are described as systems of indirect reciprocity: humans gain and lose socially and reproductively not only by direct transactions, but also by the reputations they gain from the everyday flow of social interactions. -/- The author develops a general theory of human interests, using senescence and effort theory from biology, to help analye the patterning of human lifetimes. He argues that the ultimate interests of humans are reproductive, and that the concept of morality has arisen within groups because of its contribution to unity in the context, ultimately, of success in intergroup competition. He contends that morality is not easily relatable to universals, and he carries this argument into a discussion of what he calls the greatest of all moral problems, the nuclear arms race. (shrink)
Is a government required or permitted to redistribute the gains and losses that differences in biological endowments generate? In particular, does the fact that individuals possess different biological endowments lead to unfair advantages within a market economy? These are questions on which some people are apt to have strong intuitions and ready arguments. Egalitarians may say yes and argue that as unearned, undeserved advantages and disadvantages, biological endowments are never fair, and that the market simply exacerbates these inequities. Libertarians may (...) say no, holding that the possession of such endowments deprives no one of an entitlement and that any system but a market would deprive agents of the rights to their endowments. Biological endowments may well lead to advantages or disadvantages on their view, but not to unfair ones. I do not have strong intuitions about answers to these questions, in part because I believe that they are questions of great difficulty. To begin, alternative answers rest on substantial assumptions in moral philosophy that seem insufficiently grounded. Moreover, the questions involve several problematical assumptions about the nature of biological endowments. Finally, I find the questions to be academic, in the pejorative sense of this term. For aside from a number of highly debilitating endowments, the overall moral significance of differences between people seems so small, so I interdependent and so hard to measure, that these differences really will 1 not enter into practical redistributive calculations, even if it is theoretically i permissible that they do so. Before turning to a detailed discussion of biological endowments and their moral significance, I sketch my doubts about the fundamental moral theories that dictate either the impermissibility or the obligation to compensate for different biological endowments. (shrink)
In the Museum of Science and Technology in San Jose, California, there is a display dedicated to advances in biotechnology. Most prominent in the display is a double helix of telephone books stacked in two staggered spirals from the floor to the ceiling twenty-five feet above. The books are said to represent the current state of our knowledge of the eukaryotic genome: the primary sequences of DNA polynucleotides for the gene products which have been discovered so far in the twenty (...) years since cloning and sequencing the genome became possible. (shrink)
Internalism about a person's good is roughly the view that in order for something to intrinsically enhance a person's well-being, that person must be capable of caring about that thing. I argue in this paper that internalism about a person's good should not be believed. Though many philosophers accept the view, Connie Rosati provides the most comprehensive case in favor of it. Her defense of the view consists mainly in offering five independent arguments to think that at least some form (...) of internalism about one's good is true. But I argue that, on closer inspection, not one of these arguments succeeds. The problems don't end there, however. While Rosati offers good reasons to think that what she calls 'two-tier internalism' would be the best way to formulate the intuition behind internalism about one's good, I argue that two-tier internalism is actually false. In particular, the problem is that no substantive theory of well-being is consistent with two-tier internalism. Accordingly, there is reason to think that even the best version of internalism about one's good is in fact false. Thus, I conclude, the prospects for internalism about a person's good do not look promising. (shrink)
It is widely accepted that divine creation of human beings is compatible with evolutionary theory, except perhaps in regard of the human soul, and that neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory provides an explanation of speciation and of complex features of organisms that undercuts Paley-style teleological arguments, whether or not the evolutionary mechanisms are truly random or deterministic. I will argue that a plausible understanding of the doctrine of creation of human beings is either logically or rationally incompatible with full evolutionary theory, even (...) if one does not take souls into account. Consequently, a theist needs to move to a weaker version either of the creation doctrine or of evolutionary theory, or both. (shrink)
This book presents some of the most recent trends and developments in Presocratic scholarship. A wide range of topics are covered - from the metaphysical to the moral to the methodological - as well as a broad a range of authors: from recognized figures such as Heraclitus and Parmenides to Sophistic thinkers whose place has traditionally been marginalized, such as Gorgias and the author of the Dissoi Logoi. Several of the pieces are concerned with the later reception and influence of (...) the Presocratics on ancient philosophy, an area of study important both for the light it sheds on our evidence for Presocratic thought and for understanding the philosophical power of their ideas. Drawing together contributions from distinguished authorities and internationally acclaimed scholars of ancient philosophy, this book offers new challenges to traditional interpretations in some areas of Presocratic philosophy and finds new support for traditional interpretations in other areas. (shrink)
Can there be grounding without necessitation? Can a fact obtain wholly in virtue of metaphysically more fundamental facts, even though there are possible worlds at which the latter facts obtain but not the former? It is an orthodoxy in recent literature about the nature of grounding, and in first-order philosophical disputes about what grounds what, that the answer is no. I will argue that the correct answer is yes. I present two novel arguments against grounding necessitarianism, and show that grounding (...) contingentism is fully compatible with the various explanatory roles that grounding is widely thought to play. (shrink)
While standard first-order modal logic is quite powerful, it cannot express even very simple sentences like “I could have been taller than I actually am” or “Everyone could have been smarter than they actually are”. These are examples of cross-world predication, whereby objects in one world are related to objects in another world. Extending first-order modal logic to allow for cross-world predication in a motivated way has proven to be notoriously difficult. In this paper, I argue that the standard accounts (...) of cross-world predication all leave something to be desired. I then propose an account of cross-world predication based on quantified hybrid logic and show how it overcomes the limitations of these previous accounts. I will conclude by discussing various philosophical consequences and applications of such an account. (shrink)
The paper aims to develop a resemblance theory of properties that technically improves on past versions. The theory is based on a comparative resemblance predicate. In combination with other resources, it solves the various technical problems besetting resemblance nominalism. The paper’s second main aim is to indicate that previously proposed resemblance theories that solve the technical problems, including the comparative theory, are nominalistically unacceptable and have controversial philosophical commitments.
Weintraub is not really interested in whether economics is “science” or not. “Economists are not so unsophisticated as to think that calling economics a ‘science’ says anything about what economists do or should do”. But can it really be a matter of indifference to him whether the subject has the character of chemistry as opposed to literary criticism?
The classical principle of double effect offers permissibility conditions for actions foreseen to lead to evil outcomes. I shall argue that certain kinds of closeness cases, as well as general heuristic considerations about the order of explanation, lead us to replace the intensional concept of intention with the extensional concept of accomplishment in double effect.
In ‘Finkish Dispositions’1 David Lewis proposes an analysis of dispositions which improves on the simple conditional analysis. In this paper I show that Lewis’ analysis still fails. I also argue that repairs are of no avail, and suggest why this is so.
In this paper I defend epistemic circularity by arguing that the “No Self-Support” principle (NSS) is false. This principle, ultimately due to Fumerton ( 1995 ), states that one cannot acquire a justified belief in the reliability of a source of belief by trusting that very source. I argue that NSS has the skeptical consequence that the trustworthiness of all of our sources ultimately depends upon the trustworthiness of certain fundamental sources – sources that we cannot justifiably believe to be (...) reliable. This is a problem, I claim, because if the trustworthiness of all of our sources depends upon sources that we should not believe to be reliable, then a reflective individual should not trust any of his sources at all. The hidden cost of rejecting epistemic circularity is thus the unacceptable skeptical thesis that reflective individuals like you and I have no justified beliefs whatsoever. (shrink)
There is much debate on how to understand Kant’s transcendental idealism in the context of the Critique of Pure Reason. Heidegger’s Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics offers an innovative reading of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, but is often overlooked due to the violence it allegedly does in its interpretation. This paper offers a Heideggerian-inspired phenomenological or ontological interpretation of transcendental idealism by drawing on Heidegger’s interpretation of the Critique. First, I draw a connection between the two uses of (...) noumena in the Critique and, in doing so, draw attention to how the noumena relies on a concept of the proper which gains its meaning from outside the system. I then bring together Kant and Heidegger on the question of the place of truth and the role of the noumena. I claim not only that the ‘noumena’ reveals a ‘shrinking back’ from the ontological release of aletheia; but also, and as a consequence, that the ‘noumena’ does not represent ‘another world,’ but rather is the grounds of the constitution of the phenomenal world itself. Thus, I argue that the noumena is the being of the phenomena, and I do so through looking at objects, faculties, and ethics in the Critique. Finally, I claim that the understanding and reason must both be receptive: even the self-given is ultimately being given. (shrink)
The timeline of the Anthropocene – a geological epoch that Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer say began in the late 18th century with the invention of the steam engine – seems like a brief and inconsequential blip, against the time scales embodied by the microbial communities. Wolbachia bacteria predate Anthropos by some 150 million years, and will likely outlast us. Wolbachia bacteria are worthy of their own geological epoch because they offer a fresh vantage point on one of the most (...) pressing ethical questions of our time: ‘How should we love in a time of extinction?’ Narratives about the Wolbachiacene have the potential to disrupt the overwhelming stories of tragedy orbiting around Anthropos, with disquieting and generative accounts of interspecies romance. Wolbachia often perform queer tricks inside their invertebrate hosts. In some host species these bacteria induce parthenogenesis – completely eliminating males from the population. Wolbachia can also transform genetic males into reproductively viable females. (shrink)
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