I have been told that for some twenty minutes after reading this paper Kripke believed I had shown that proper names could be non-rigid designators. (Then, apparently, he found a crucial error in the set-up.) I take great pride in this (alleged) fact.
Roughly speaking, Augustine claims that ‘Immutable Truth’ is superior to the human mind and, consequently a legitimate candidate for the role of God. Clearly there is such a thing as Immutable Truth. So either that is God, or there is something superior to Immutable Truth, and that superior thing is God. I spell out this argument, and offer some objections to it.
Nussbaum seems to have had a spell during which she made villains heroes (and sometimes visa versa). Thus she has argued, in effect, that Steerforth is the hero of David Copperfield, and Heathcliff the most admirable character in Wuthering Heights. Here I discuss her more or less explicit claim that Alcibiades is the hero, (and Socrates the villain) in Plato’s Symposium. -/- .
In Laws book X Plato tries to give us conclusive evidence that there are at least two gods (one good and the other bad). The reasoning depends crucially on the idea of ‘self moving motion.’ In this paper I try to show that the ‘evidence’ is not persuasive. (Nevertheless, the idea of ‘self – moving motion is interesting.).
This was an attempt to show what is wrong with Anselm’s ‘Ontological Argument’ for the existence of God. My present view is that Peter Millican has given us a similar, but much better line of attack in his “The One Fatal Flaw….” Paper.
In Analysis, Vol. 45, June 1984, George Rea published a paper attacking my claim that there could be ‘indeterminate minds'. This paper is a reply to his attack. I claim, again, that such ‘minds’ are possible – entities such that it is indeterminate whether or not these entities are people with minds. -/- .
This was an early chapter of what was later turned out to be a very different book. It sketches Aristippus’ theory of ethics and some of the arguments offered by others (e.g. Plato and Aristotle) in opposition to that theory.
Paley’s ‘proof’ of the existence of God, or some supposed version of it, is well known. In this paper I offer the real thing and two objections to it. One objection is my own, and the other is provided by Darwin.
Alvin Plantinga says that according to classical Muslim, Jewish, and Christian belief, God is a person. (He spells out some of the characteristics of people as such.) In this rather messy little note I try to show that some of the best, most influential, Christian theologians, prior to the Reformation, did not think that God is literally a person (in Plantinga’s sense). In particular I focus on Anselm.
In 1974 Putnam was a ‘realist’ in regard to the physical world. By 1981 he had become a 'non-realist' in this regard. (I don’t know where he stands today.) In this paper I argue that his realism was more plausible than his non-realism. The physical world is what it is independently of any rational being’s interpretation of it.
It seems clear that second order fuzziness (indeterminacy) is possible. There can be borderline cases of borderline cases. But how about third order cases? Is there no end of degrees of borderlinehood? I offer a somewhat strange little 'language game' that seems to suggest that the ascension ends with second order cases. (The 'game' is intended to be somewhat like a simplified version of color perception.).
Parfit’s well known book, Reasons and Persons, argues, among other things, that ‘what matters’ in regard to ‘survival’ is not personal identity but something he calls ‘relation R.’ On this basis, plus other considerations, he rejects the ‘Self-interest’ theory as to what should be our aim in life. Here I show, or try to show, that his over-all argument is seriously defective. In particular, he fails to prove that personal identity is not what matters for survival.
In the first two chapters of the Monologion Anselm shows, or tries to show that “Of all the things that exist, there is one that is the best, greatest and supreme.” In this paper I examine his argument.
Ethical dualists hold that we have good reason to pursue our own happiness and good reason to pursue moral goodness. It would seem that there is a potential conflict here. On the other hand there have been those who deny even the possibility of conflict, whether or not there is a God and an afterlife. Rawls seems to say, or hint, that this was Butlers’ view, and Kant, according to at least one person, argued that there cannot be conflict here. (...) I think the conflict is sometimes real, and that ‘practical reason’ does not resolve it. (shrink)
Here are a few remarks in regard to the first section of Alison Hills’s The Beloved Self. The topic is various forms of ‘Egoism.’ These are taken to be theories of practical reason – alternative answers to the question ‘what have I reason to do?’.
Here is the paper that was attacked by George Rea in his “How many minds…?” paper. Has this issue been resolved? Can there be entities such that there is no definite answer to the question “Are there 13 minds at work here, or 14?” -/- .
-/- Very few (if any) people believe that the world was created, and is maintained, by a thoroughly contemptible and malicious being. Do we have good reason for our disbelief? In the first part of this paper I offer an argument for the non-existence of such a being. According to this argument there is just too much good - too may good things - in the world for the ‘malicious being’ theory to be plausible. In the second part of the (...) paper I briefly consider the applicability of similar arguments to three other possible beings. (shrink)
Wittgenstein probably did not believe in Christ's Resurrection (as an historical event), but he may well have believed that if he had achieved a higher level of devoutness he would believe it. His view seems to have been that devout Christians are right in holding onto this belief tenaciously even though, in fact, it's false. It's historical falsity, is compatible with its religious validity, so to speak. So far as I can see, he did not think that devout Christians should (...) believe that it doesn't really matter whether or not that alleged historical event occurred. (shrink)
Philo, a Jewish philosopher, is interesting for various reasons. For one thing, he was a contemporary of Jesus who was deeply interested in all things related to religion but apparently never heard of Jesus. For another his view of God presumably shows one (radical, but possible) set of ideas about God available at that time.