According to popular opinion, thought experiments are limited in scope, since no novel empirical results could be expected to be produced by thought alone. Yet consider the spectacular 16th century experiment by Stevin. leading to the discovery of the principles of the resolution and combination of forces. He conducted no experiments, for he derived his novel and highly important conclusions by several steps of ingenious reasoning alone. To understand why mental experiments may serve as very effective scientific tools. we need (...) to explicate carefully their underlying mechanism. Thought experiments invariably involve the widely debated notion of “counterfactual conditionals.” A variety of historical examples are offered designed to illustrate the nature of thought experiments, their associated counterfactual conditionals. as well a the nature of the vital link between the two. (shrink)
Die Welt ist voller Leid. Gott ist entweder unfähig, es zu verhindern – dann ist Er nicht allmächtig –, oder Er will es nicht verhindern – dann ist Er nicht vollkommen gut. Seit Generationen wird dies als das schlagendste Argument gegen den Glauben angesehen, daß ein allmächtiges und allgütiges Wesen existiert. Natürlich haben Theisten sich die größte Mühe gegeben, eine angemessene Erwiderung vorzubringen. ... Selbst wenn nur ein einziges Individuum unnötigerweise für einen kurzen Moment eine leichte Unannehmlichkeit zu ertragen hätte, (...) wäre das Problem logisch ebenso real – obwohl es nicht so schmerzhaft wäre oder möglicherweise sogar unbemerkt bliebe. (shrink)
This book explores recently opened avenues in logic and philosophical analysis to offer new perspectives on time-honored religious beliefs. Topics covered include the nature of divine attributes, the implications of divine benevolence and divine justice, arguments in support of theism and atheism, and religion and morality.
Anselm begins his famous ontological argument by describing God as the being greater than which none is conceivable. His description seems coherent and intelligible. Consequently a divine being thus described may be spoken of as existing in the understanding. But if so, He must actually exist as well, otherwise a being greater than Him could possibly exist, namely, one of whom the additional great-making-term ‘actual existence’ may also be predicated. The result would be a contradiction, for we would now have (...) to concede, that contrary to our initial claim, the being harbored in our understanding is inferior to the greatest since another being who had actual existence would be greater. To avoid the contradiction we must concede actual existence to the absolutely perfect being. (shrink)
Plantinga's attempts generally to undermine inductive-Analogical arguments for the other minds are criticized, And an attempt is made to present a sound analogical argument for other minds that can withstand plantinga's and other sceptical criticisms. It is then argued that a similar demonstration of the reasonableness of believing in objects when we are not observing them is also possible.
In recent years a number of arguments have been advanced to show that there are conceptual difficulties with a variety of divine attributes. Some have claimed that there is an inherent inconsistency in the notion of omnipotence, others that omnipotence was logically incompatible with omniscience or omnibenevolence, and yet others that omniscience is irreconcilable with immutuability.