Edward Feser defends the ‘Neo-Platonic proof ’ for the existence of the God of classical theism. After articulating the argument and a number of preliminaries, I first argue that premise three of Feser’s argument—the causal principle that every composite object requires a sustaining efficient cause to combine its parts—is both unjustified and dialectically ill-situated. I then argue that the Neo-Platonic proof fails to deliver the mindedness of the absolutely simple being and instead militates against its mindedness. Finally, I uncover two (...) tensions between Trinitarianism and the Neo-Platonic proof. (shrink)
This book argues that the novelist JosephConrad's work speaks directly to us in a way that none of his contemporaries can. Conrad’s scepticism, pessimism, emphasis on the importance and fragility of community, and the difficulties of escaping our history are important tools for understanding the political world in which we live. He is prepared to face a future where progress is not inevitable, where actions have unintended consequences, and where we cannot know the contexts in which (...) we act. _Heart of Darkness_ uncovers the rotten core of the Eurocentric myth of imperialism as a way of bringing enlightenment to 'native peoples’ – lessons which are relevant once more as the Iraq debacle has undermined the claims of liberal democracy to universal significance. The result can hardly be called a political programme, but Conrad’s work is clearly suggestive of a sceptical conservatism of the sort described by the author in his 2005 book _After Blair: Conservatism Beyond Thatcher_. The difficult part of a Conradian philosophy is the profundity of his pessimism – far greater than Oakeshott, with whom Conrad does share some similarities. Conrad’s work poses the question of how far we as a society are prepared to face the consequences of our ignorance. (shrink)
In the decades since his death in 1924, Conrad has elicited analyses and commentaries from some of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, including T. S. Eliot, Henry James, George Orwell, and Virginia Woolf. George Panichas, a distinguished professor of comparative literature at the University of Maryland, is second to none in his appreciation of Conrad for both his prose and his moral vision. One cannot put this book down without wanting to reread Conrad’s greatest (...) novels or enjoy them firsthand if somehow they have escaped the reader’s attention. (shrink)
Under the sumptuous immensity of the sky, the snow covered the endless forests, the frozen rivers, the plains of an immense country, obliterating the landmarks, the accidents of the ground, levelling everything under its uniform whiteness, like a monstrous blank page awaiting the record of an inconceivable history.Increased interest in the experience of space in literature in recent decades has resulted in numerous commentaries on such topics as colonial space, geographical space, gendered space, liminal space, psychic space, and signifying space. (...) In fact, Con Coroneos suggests that Homi Bhabha’s “DissemiNation”1 considers as many as forty different types of space.2Conrad studies have not been silent during this... (shrink)
Modal collapse arguments are all the rage in certain philosophical circles as of late. The arguments purport to show that classical theism entails the absurdly fatalistic conclusion that everything exists necessarily. My first aim in this paper is bold: to put an end to action-based modal collapse arguments against classical theism. To accomplish this, I first articulate the ‘Simple Modal Collapse Argument’ and then characterize and defend Tomaszewski’s criticism thereof. Second, I critically examine Mullins’ new modal collapse argument formulated in (...) response to the aforementioned criticism. I argue that Mullins’ new argument does not succeed. Third, I critically examine a powers-based modal collapse argument against classical theism that has received much less attention in the literature. Fourth, I show why God’s being purely actual, as well God’s being identical to each of God’s acts, simply cannot entail modal collapse given indeterministic causation. This, I take it, signals the death of modal collapse arguments. But not all hope is lost for proponents of modal collapse arguments—for the death is a fruitful one insofar as it paves the way for new inquiry into at least two new potential problems for classical theism. Showing this is my paper’s second aim. (shrink)
JosephConrad’s ‘The secret sharer’ has often been associated with what can be called initiation stories. However, in this article I argue that Conrad’s text is more than that. It can, I suggest, be read as an allegory of the inaccessibility to reveal the essence of being in command, being in education, and also the inaccessibility of the essence of the meaning of the text itself. It keeps its secret by allegorically staging alternative readings. This inaccessibility gives (...) rise to a feeling of strangeness, of the uncanny, that must be faced in order to pass through the initiation into the unknown that all the possible allegorical meanings of the text produce. In other words, ‘The secret sharer’ has an educational value that goes beyond the act of merely using it to exemplify a certain type of initiation. In this way I connect Conrad’s text to the themes of strangeness and the stranger and show how they mutually can involve a reading of education and literature as two distinct discourses of learning. (shrink)
We argue that there is a conflict among classical theism's commitments to divine simplicity, divine creative freedom, and omniscience. We start by defining key terms for the debate related to classical theism. Then we articulate a new argument, the Aloneness Argument, aiming to establish a conflict among these attributes. In broad outline, the argument proceeds as follows. Under classical theism, it's possible that God exists without anything apart from Him. Any knowledge God has in such a world would be wholly (...) intrinsic. But there are contingent truths in every world, including the world in which God exists alone. So, it's possible that God contingently has wholly intrinsic knowledge. But whatever is contingent and wholly intrinsic is an accident. So, God possibly has an accident. This is incompatible with classical theism. Finally, we consider and rebut several objections. (shrink)
Rhythmus figuriert in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness als wirkmächtige Sinneserfahrung, die Körper affiziert und auf diese Weise Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen Menschen und Maschinen oder aber Europäern und »Barbaren« herstellt. Er wird somit zu einem zentralen Ort der Aushandlung von Ängsten vor der Ansteckung durch das Fremde, wie sie für die britische Literatur zur Zeit der Jahrhundertwende typisch waren.
Through an examination of short stories spanning Conrad's entire writing career, Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan engages with the question of authorial subjectivity and ethics in Modernism in general, and in Conrad's short fiction in particular. Part One of the study, inspired by Derrida and the early philosophical writings of M. M. Bakhtin, establishes an original theoretical matrix, which turns on the principle of 'heterobiography'. Part Two applies this cultural-historicalperspective through close readings of ten short stories, linking Conrad's essentially Romantic (...) sensibility and his unique position on the threshold of Modernism with some of the philosophical issues that have emerged from the 'Postmodern turn'. (shrink)
Edward Feser defends the ‘Aristotelian proof’ for the existence of God, which reasons that the only adequate explanation of the existence of change is in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. His argument, however, relies on the falsity of the Existential Inertia Thesis, according to which concrete objects tend to persist in existence without requiring an existential sustaining cause. In this article, I first characterize the dialectical context of Feser’s Aristotelian proof, paying special attention to EIT and its rival (...) thesis—the Existential Expiration Thesis. Next, I provide a more precise characterization of EIT, after which I outline two metaphysical accounts of existential inertia. I then develop new lines of reasoning in favor of EIT that appeal to the theoretical virtues of explanatory power and simplicity. Finally, I address the predominant criticisms of EIT in the literature. (shrink)
I defend a new argument for causal finitism, the view that nothing can have an infinite causal history. I begin by defending a number of plausible metaphysical principles, after which I explore a host of novel variants of the Littlewood-Ross and Thomson’s Lamp paradoxes that violate such principles. I argue that causal finitism is the best solution to the paradoxes.
What explains change? Edward Feser argues in his ‘Aristotelian proof’ that the only adequate answer to these questions is ultimately in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. In this paper, I target the cogency of Feser’s reasoning to such an answer. In particular, I present novel paths of criticism—both undercutting and rebutting—against one of Feser’s central premises. I then argue that Feser’s inference that the unactualized actualizer lacks any potentialities contains a number of non-sequiturs.
Surely God, as a perfectly rational being, created the universe for some reason. But is God’s creating the universe for a reason compatible with divine impassibility? That is the question I investigate in this article. The prima facie tension between impassibility and God’s creating for a reason arises from impassibility’s commitment to God being uninfluenced by anything ad extra. If God is uninfluenced in this way, asks the detractor, how could he be moved to create anything at all? This prima (...) facie tension has recently been formalized and dubbed the ‘Problem of Arbitrary Creation’. In this article, I defend a new extension of this problem. I begin by characterizing classical theism, divine simplicity, and divine impassibility. I then spell out the Problem of Arbitrary Creation as developed by R. T. Mullins. I next raise a worry for Mullins’ version of the argument. Finally, I extend the argument and show how my extension avoids the aforementioned worry. (shrink)
"Bringing the concerns of different communities together in a single volume makes it possible to appreciate the mosaic of human issues more fully and forces us to anticipate the challenges that may arise -- and that will require our attention -- as the genetic revolution proceeds." -- JAMA "A cautious look at the effects of genetic discoveries on society... The issues raised by this book are valid, and all scientists should be aware of them. I often found myself nodding in (...) agreement." -- New England Journal of Medicine. (shrink)
The modal collapse objection to classical theism has received significant attention among philosophers as of late. My aim in this paper is to advance this blossoming debate. First, I briefly survey the modal collapse literature and argue that classical theists avoid modal collapse if and only if they embrace an indeterministic link between God and his effects. Second, I argue that this indeterminism poses two challenges to classical theism. The first challenge is that it collapses God’s status as an intentional (...) agent who knows and intends what he is bringing about in advance. The second challenge is that it collapses God’s providential control over which creation obtains. (shrink)
Enric F. Gel has recently argued that classical theism enjoys a significant advantage over Graham Oppy's naturalism. According to Gel, classical theism – unlike Oppy's naturalism – satisfactorily answers two questions: first, how many first causes are there, and second, why is it that number rather than another? In this article, I reply to Gel's argument for classical theism's advantage over Oppy's naturalism. I also draw out wider implications of my investigation for the gap problem and Christian doctrine along the (...) way. (shrink)