This volume brings together eminent theologians, philosophers and political theorists to discuss such questions as how religious understandings have shaped the moral landscape of contemporary culture; the possible contributions of theology and theologically informed moral argument to contemporary public life; the problem of religious and moral discourse in a pluralistic society; and the proper relationship between religion and culture.
We investigate claims about the frequency of "know" made by philosophers. Our investigation has several overlapping aims. First, we aim to show what is required to confirm or disconfirm philosophers’ claims about the comparative frequency of different uses of philosophically interesting expressions. Second, we aim to show how using linguistic corpora as tools for investigating meaning is a productive methodology, in the sense that it yields discoveries about the use of language that philosophers would have overlooked if they remained in (...) their "armchairs of an afternoon", to use J.L. Austin’s phrase. Third, we discuss facts about the meaning of "know" that so far have been ignored in philosophy, with the aim of reorienting discussions of the relevance of ordinary language for philosophical theorizing. (shrink)
Au sortir de la Première Guerre mondiale, le Congo belge est gagné par une rhétorique de « crise du mariage » dont la multiplication des litiges conjugaux semble un symptôme. Ces litiges envahissent non seulement les tribunaux mais aussi les bureaux de poste de l’administration coloniale via des courriers de colonisés qui réclament le règlement de leurs contentieux matrimoniaux. Cet article propose des pistes d’analyse de cette production écrite qui révèle un certain désarroi masculin face au brouillage des repères matrimoniaux (...) et de genre ainsi que les ambiguïtés des politiques coloniales en la matière. Cette correspondance masculine témoigne du dynamisme des interactions entre les normes de genre proposées par le pouvoir colonial et les colonisés. (shrink)
This is a “bottom-up” paper in the sense that it draws lessons in defining disciplinary categories under study from a series of empirical studies of interdisciplinarity. In particular, we are in the process of studying the interchange of research-based knowledge between Cognitive Science and Educational Research. This has posed a set of design decisions that we believe warrant consideration as others study cross-disciplinary research processes.
Preparing the Next Generation of Oral Historians is an invaluable resource to educators seeking to bring history alive for students at all levels. Filled with insightful reflections on teaching oral history, it offers practical suggestions for educators seeking to create curricula, engage students, gather community support, and meet educational standards. By the close of the book, readers will be able to successfully incorporate oral history projects in their own classrooms.
Theological schools are well situated to create intentional cultures for the purpose of spiritual formation. Indeed, most schools of theology have this goal as an essential part of their mission as well as a requirement for continued accreditation. And yet, the measurement of spiritual formation over time is fraught with challenges. This article seeks to address some of these challenges by means of developing a meta-theory of positive change/growth which would eventually serve as a theoretical basis for the development of (...) a generalizable and reliable measurement tool. (shrink)
Chris Tucker's paper on the hiddenness argument seeks to turn aside a way of defending the latter which he calls the value argument. But the value argument can withstand Tucker's criticisms. In any case, an alternative argument capable of doing the same job is suggested by his own emphasis on free will.
Mark McCreary has argued that I cannot consistently advance both the hiddenness argument and certain arguments for religious scepticism found in my book The Wisdom to Doubt . This reaction was expected, and in WD I explained its shortsightedness in that context. First, I noted how in Part III of WD , where theism is addressed, my principal aim is not to prove atheism but to show theists that they are not immune from the scepticism defended in Parts I and (...) II. To the success of this aim, McCreary's arguments are not so much as relevant, for a thoroughgoing scepticism embracing even the hiddenness argument is quite compatible with its success. But I also explained how someone convinced that the hiddenness argument does prove atheism escapes the grip of religious scepticism because of that argument's reliance on apparent conceptual truths. McCreary's critique obscures this point but does not defuse it. (shrink)
William Alston's Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience is a most significant contribution to the philosophy of religion. The product of 50 years' reflection on its topic , this work provides a very thorough explication and defence of what Alston calls the ‘mystical perceptual practice’ – the practice of forming beliefs about the Ultimate on the basis of putative ‘direct experiential awareness’ thereof . Alston argues, in particular, for the rationality of engaging in the Christian form of MP . (...) On his view, those who participate in CMP are justified in forming beliefs as they do because their practice is ‘socially established’, has a ‘functioning overrider system’ and a ‘significant degree of self-support’; and because of the ‘lack of sufficient reasons to take the practice as unreliable’. (shrink)
Défini ici comme l’organisation délibérée d’agressions mortelles menées au nom d’une idéologie envers des personnes désarmées, le terrorisme est radicalement incompatible avec le respect de la dignité humaine. Il importe cependant d’en découvrir les racines pour tenter d’y porter remède.
Amongst Kant's lesser known early writings is a short treatise with the curious title Dreams of a Spirit-Seer Explained by Dreams of Metaphysics , in which, with considerable acumen and brilliance, and not a little irony, Kant exposes the empty pretensions of his contemporary, the Swedish visionary and Biblical exegete, Emanuel Swedenborg, to have access to a spirit world, denied other mortals. Despite his efforts, it must be feared, however, that Kant did not, alas, succeed in laying the spirit of (...) Swedenborg himself to rest once and for all, for there has arisen in our own day, and within philosophy itself, a movement of thought, if such it can be called, which, like that of Swedenborg, is founded upon an unbridled and unhealthy exercise of the imagination, and apparently believes that philosophical problems can be discussed and resolved by the elaboration of fantastical, and at times repulsive, examples; if we require a name for this contemporary pretence at philosophy, we could take as our model the Italian word for science fiction, fantascienza , and call it ‘fantaphilosophy’: it is my aim to show that this fantaphilosophy is a phantom philosophy. (shrink)
In many places and times, and for many people, God's existence has been rather less than a clear fact. According to the hiddenness argument, this is actually a reason to suppose that it is not a fact at all. The hiddenness argument is a new argument for atheism that has come to prominence in philosophy over the past two decades. J. L. Schellenberg first developed the argument in 1993, and this book offers a short and vigorous statement of its central (...) claims and ideas. Logically sharp but so clear that anyone can understand, the book addresses little-discussed issues such as why it took so long for hiddenness reasoning to emerge in philosophy, and how the hiddenness problem is distinct from the problem of evil. It concludes with the fascinating thought that retiring the last of the personal gods might leave us nearer the beginning of religion than the end. (shrink)
There are doubtless many with personal experience of suffering, or of comforting others in distress, who would agree with Milton thus far that philosophic argument is powerless to satisfy those who in their anguish ask the question ‘Why did it happen to me?’ Yet to think so is to underestimate both the necessity and the power of reason: clarity of mind and the disposition to argue are commonly enhanced rather than diminished by suffering; and if reason is an essential part (...) of man's nature, it should serve him, if anywhere, in the trials of life. We have every justification, therefore, despite common opinion, for seeking a rational answer to the question proposed. It must, however, be admitted at the outset that there is no direct answer to the question which can both withstand critical scrutiny and bring genuine comfort to the afflicted, an answer, that is, which accepts the question as it stands with its attendant presuppositions; but there is an indirect answer, which, precisely by rejecting one or more of these presuppositions and restating the question, can indeed satisfy these two requirements. Before such an answer can be outlined, however, the question in its traditional form must be examined and the traditional answers to it critically reviewed. (shrink)
Philip Quinn, John A. O’Brien Professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1985 until his death in 2004, was well known for his work in the philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and core areas of analytic philosophy. Although the breadth of his interests was so great that it would be virtually impossible to identify any subset of them as representative, the contributors to this volume provide an excellent introduction to, and advance the discussion of, some of the questions of (...) central importance to Quinn in the last years of his working life. Paul J. Weithman argues in his introduction that Quinn’s interest and analyses in many areas grew out of a distinctive and underlying sensibility that we might call “liberal faith.” It included belief in the value of a liberal education and in rigorous intellectual inquiry, the acceptance of enduring religious, cultural, and political pluralism, along with a keen awareness of problems posed by pluralism, and a deeply held but non-utopian faith in liberal democratic politics. These provocative essays, at the cutting edge of epistemology, the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and political philosophy, explore the tenets of liberal faith and invite continuing engagement with the philosophical issues. “Philip Quinn was admired enormously throughout the world of professional philosophy.... His reputation for rigor, his tireless service to the profession, and his essentially ‘non-dogmatic,’ but philosophically sophisticated faith is widely admired... The essays in this volume are first-rate contemporary philosophy along with an excellent introduction to Quinn’s work.” —_Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College_ "The papers that form _Liberal Faith_ give insightful treatments of three types of questions: first, how can we conscientiously believe something when there are many people we admire who do not believe it, and what is the underlying relation here between justification and rationality; second, what does it mean to desire union with God, and can Christians properly believe in the possibility of eternal self-annihilation; third, how should liberal democracy accommodate the religious convictions of its members, whether some comprehensive doctrine such as a religion is required to justify a commitment to human equality, and whether there is an absolute moral prohibition on the state use of torture. The volume has an unusually good introduction putting the papers into dialog with each other and with the work of Philip Quinn. The papers are cohesive because the central themes of Philip Quinn's work hold together into a picture of how Christianity and Liberal Democracy fit together." —_John Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale Divinity School _ “This is a collection of high quality essays dealing with various topics related to Philip Quinn’s work. The book makes an original contribution by virtue of its individual papers, each of which is new. These essays will be of interest to scholars and students who followed Quinn’s work, especially in philosophy of religion and political philosophy.“ —_John Greco, The Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy, Saint Louis University _. (shrink)
When people speak of ‘the law of the jungle’, they usually mean unions restrained and ruthless competition, with everyone out solely for his own advantage. But the phrase was coined by Rudyard Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book , and he meant something very different. His law of the jungle is a law that wolves in a pack are supposed to obey. His poem says that ‘the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is (...) the Pack’, and it states the basic principles of social co-operation. Its provisions are a judicious mixture of individualism and collectivism, prescribing graduated and qualified rights for fathers of families, mothers with cubs, and young wolves, which constitute an elementary system of welfare services. Of course, Kipling meant his poem to give moral instruction to human children, but he probably thought it was at least roughly correct as a description of the social behaviour of wolves and other wild animals. Was he right, or is the natural world the scene of unrestrained competition, of an individualistic struggle for existence? (shrink)
Ultimism and the aims of human immaturity -- Faith without details, or how to practice skeptical religion -- Simple faith and the complexities of tradition -- The structure of faith justification -- How skeptical faith is true to reason -- Anselm's idea -- Leibniz's ambition -- Paley's wonder -- Pascal's wager -- Kant's postulate -- James's will -- Faith is positively justified : the many modes of religious vision.
What if human joy went on endlessly? Suppose, for example, that each human generation were followed by another, or that the Western religions are right when they teach that each human being lives eternally after death. If any such possibility is true in the actual world, then an agent might sometimes be so situated that more than one course of action would produce an infinite amount of utility. Deciding whether to have a child born this year rather than next is (...) a situation wherein an agent may face several alternatives whose effects could well ramify endlessly on such suppositions, for the child born this year would be a different person—one who preferred different things, performed different actions, and had different descendants—from a child born next year. It has recently been suggested that traditional utilitarianism stumbles on such cases of infinite utility. Specifically, utilitarianism seems to require, for its application, that all experience of pleasure and pain cease at some time in the future or asymptotically approach zero.2 If neither of these conditions holds, then the utility produced by each of two alternative actions may turn out to be infinite, and utilitarianism thus loses its ability to discriminate morally between them. (shrink)
Prologue: Deep Time Religion -- Half a Revolution -- First Among Unequals? -- Evolutionary Skepticism -- The New Pessimism -- The New Optimism 6. Imagination is Key -- The "Chief Objections" -- Religion for Pioneers -- Epilogue: Darwin's Door and Hegel's Hinge.
More than a few philosophers have sought to answer the atheistic argument from reasonable non-belief presented in my 1993 book Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason. In this first of two essays in response, I focus on objections sharing the defect – sometimes well-hidden – of irrelevance, using their shortcomings to highlight important features of the argument that are commonly overlooked.