This paper defends Mereological Universalism(the thesis that, for any set S of disjoint objects, there is an object that the members of S compose. Universalism is unpalatable to many philosophers because it entails that if there are such things as my left tennis shoe, W. V. Quine, and the Taj Mahal, then there is another object that those three things compose. This paper presents and criticizes Peter van Inwagen's argument against Universalism and then presents a new argument in favor of (...) Universalism. It turns out that the most reasonable way to resist the argument for Universalism is to deny the existence of artifacts; thus, if we believe in artifacts, we have no real choice other than to embrace Universalism. (shrink)
Philosophical naturalism, according to which philosophy is continuous with the natural sciences, has dominated the Western academy for well over a century, but Michael Rea claims that it is without rational foundation. Rea argues compellingly to the surprising conclusion that naturalists are committed to rejecting realism about material objects, materialism, and perhaps realism about other minds.
A bronze statue is a lump of bronze – or so it might appear. But appearances are not always to be trusted, and this one is notoriously problematic. To see why, imagine a bronze statue (perhaps a statue of David) and ask yourself: Which lump of bronze is the statue? Presumably, it is the lump that makes up the statue (or, as we say, the lump that constitutes the statue). After all, why should the statue be any other lump of (...) bronze? But if that is right, if the statue is the lump of bronze that constitutes it, then why can the lump of bronze survive being melted down whereas the statue it constitutes cannot? It seems that in fact the bronze statue is not the lump of bronze that constitutes it, since the statue and the lump of bronze have different persistence conditions. But then is it some other lump of bronze? Is it a lump of bronze at all? These questions are troubling; they appear to have no easy answers. (shrink)
Some evidential arguments from evil rely on an inference of the following sort: 'If, after thinking hard, we can't think of any God-justifying reason for permitting some horrific evil then it is likely that there is no such reason'. Sceptical theists, us included, say that this inference is not a good one and that evidential arguments from evil that depend on it are, as a result, unsound. Michael Almeida and Graham Oppy have argued (in a previous issue of this journal) (...) that Michael Bergmann's way of developing the sceptical theist response to such arguments fails because it commits those who endorse it to a sort of scepticism that undermines ordinary moral practice. In this paper, we defend Bergmann's sceptical theist response against this charge. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to provide characterizations of matter, form and constituency in a way that avoids what I take to be the three main drawbacks of other hylomorphic theories: (i) commitment to the universal-particular distinction; (ii) commitment to a primitive or problematic notion of inherence or constituency; (iii) inability to identify viable candidates for matter and form in nature, or to characterize them in terms of primitives widely regarded to be intelligible.
We lay out the fatalist’s argument, making sure to clarify which dialectical moves are available to the libertarian. We then offer a more robust presentation of Ockhamism, responding to obvious objections and teasing out the implications of the view. At this point, we discuss presentism and eternalism in more detail. We then present our argument for the claim that the libertarian cannot take Ockham’s way out of the fatalism argument unless she rejects presentism. Finally, we consider and dispense with objections (...) to our argument. In the end, it ought to be clear that the libertarian must make a choice between Ockham’s way out and presentism. (shrink)
Drawing in part on recent work by Eleonore Stump and Sarah Coakley, I shall argue that even if NO HUMAN GOOD is true, divine hiddenness does not cast doubt on DIVINE CONCERN. My argument will turn on three central claims: (a) that ABSENCE OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE and INCONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE are better thought of as constituting divine silence rather than divine hiddenness, (b) that even if NO HUMAN GOOD is true, divine silence is compatible with DIVINE CONCERN so long as God (...) has provided a way for rational creatures to find him and to experience his presence despite the silence, and (c) that there is some reason to think that Biblical narratives and liturgical acts are vehicles by which we might find and experience the presence of God. Each of these claims will be defended, in turn, in the three sections that follow. (shrink)
In the present article, he explains why divine silence poses a serious intellectual obstacle to belief in God, and then goes on to consider ways of overcoming that obstacle. After considering several ways in which divine silence might actually be beneficial to human beings, he argues that perhaps silence is nothing more or less than God’s preferred mode of interaction with creatures like us. Perhaps God simply desires communion rather than overt communication with human beings, and perhaps God has provided (...) ways for us to experience God’s presence richly even amidst the silence. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Achille Varzi (2009) argues that mereological universalism (U) entails mereological extensionalism (E). The thesis that U entails E (call it ‘T’) has important implications. For example, as is well known, T plays a crucial role in Peter van Inwagen’s argument against universalism (1990: 74–79). In what follows, I show that Varzi’s arguments for T rely on a tendentious assumption about parthood.
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity poses a serious philosophical problem. On the one hand, it seems to imply that there is exactly one divine being; on the other hand, it seems to imply that there are three. There is another well-known philosophical problem that presents us with a similar sort of tension: the problem of material constitution. We argue in this paper that a relatively neglected solution to the problem of material constitution can be developed into a novel solution (...) to the problem of the Trinity. (shrink)
The only anthology available on material constitution, this book collects important recent work on well known puzzles in metaphysics and philosophy of mind. The extensive, clearly written introduction helps to make the essays accessible to a wide audience.
In debate about the nature of persistence over time, the view that material objects endure has played the role of "champion" and the view that they perdure has played the role of the "challenger." It has fallen to the perdurantists rather than the endurantists to motivate their view, to provide reasons for accepting it that override whatever initial presumption there is against it. Perdurantists have sought to discharge their burden in several ways. For example, perdurantism has been recommend on the (...) grounds that: (i) it solves several of the puzzles that raise the problem of material constitution; (ii) it is (at least) suggested by the special theory of relativity (hereafter "SR"); (iii) it is the only view that makes sense out of the possibility of intrinsic change; (iv) it is the only view consistent with the doctrine of Humean supervenience; and (v) it makes better sense than its competitor out of the possibility of fission. There are primary and most powerful claims that have been made on behalf of perdurantism. They are individually persuasive and together they constitute a formidable assault upon the hegemony of endurantism. Endurantists of course, have not been without reply. However, since endurantists typically respond to these claims one at a time and in different ways, it is easy to get the impression that perdurantism offers a single, neat solution to a host of problems whereas endurantism requires a patchwork of different strategies. But this impression is an illusion. In Rea 1995, I argued that though perdurantism does solve some of the puzzles that raise the problem of material constitution, it does not solve the problem of material constitution itself. Thus, the problem of material constitution really has no bearing on the debate between endurantists and perdurantists. In his paper, I will show that the same is true with respect to SR, the problem of intrinsic change, the doctrine of Humean supervenience, and the possibility of fission. In short, I will argue that none of (ii-v) is true and that therefore the doctrine of temporal parts stands unmotivated. (shrink)
There are five individually plausible and jointly incompatible assumptions underlying four familiar puzzles about material constitution. The problem of material constitution just is the fact that these five assumptions are both plausible and incompatible. I will begin by providing a very general statement of the problem. I will present the five assumptions and provide a short argument showing how they conflict with one another. Then, in subsequent sections, I will go on to show how these assumptions underlie each of the (...) four puzzles. I will conclude by providing an exhaustive taxonomy of possible solutions to the problem. (shrink)
In this paper, I present an Aristotelian solution to the problem of material constitution. The problem of material constitution arises whenever it appears that an object a and an object b share all of the same parts and yet are essentially related to their parts in different ways. (A familiar example: A lump of bronze constitutes a statue of Athena. The lump and the statue share all of the same parts, but it appears that the lump can, whereas the statue (...) cannot, survive radical rearrangements of those parts.) I argue that if we are prepared to follow Aristotle in making a distinction between numerical sameness and identity, we can solve the problem of material constitution without recourse to co-location or contingent identity and without repudiating any of the familiar objects of common sense (such as lumps and statues) or denying that these objects have the essential properties we ordinarily think that they have. (shrink)
It is standard within the Christian tradition to characterize God in predominantly masculine terms. Let ‘traditionalism’ refer to the view that this pattern of characterization is theologically mandatory. In this article, I seek to undercut the main motivations for traditionalism by showing that it is not more accurate to characterize God as masculine rather than feminine (or vice versa). The novelty of my argument lies in the fact that it presupposes neither theological anti-realism nor a robust doctrine of divine transcendence, (...) but instead rests heavy theoretical weight on the imago Dei doctrine and the method of perfect-being theology. The article closes by examining the implications of the article's main argument for the moral and liturgical propriety of characterizing God in predominantly masculine terms. (shrink)
In this paper I defend two conclusions: that time travel journeys to the past are not undertaken freely and, more generally, that nobody is free between the earliest arrival time and the latest departure time of a time travel journey to the past. Time travel to the past destroys freedom on a global scale.
Co-location is compatible with the doctrine of microphysical supervenience. Microphysical supervenience involves intrinsic qualitative properties that supervene on microphysical structures. Two different objects, such as Socrates and the lump of tissue of which he is constituted, can be co-located objects that supervene on different sets of properties. Some of the properties are shared, but others, such as the human-determining properties or the lump-determining properties, supervene only on one object or the other. Therefore, properties at the same location can be arranged (...) so as to constitute more than one object at the same time. (shrink)
There is a tradition according to which Parmenides of Elea endorsed the following set of counterintuitive doctrines: (a) There exists exactly one material thing. (b) What exists does not change. (g) Nothing is generated or destroyed. (d) What exists is undivided. For convenience, I will use the label ‘Eleatic monism’ to refer to the conjunction of a–d.
It is widely believed that presentism is compatible with both a libertarian view of human freedom and an unrestricted principle of bivalence. I argue that, in fact, presentists must choose between bivalence and libertarianism: if presentism is true, then either the future is open or no one is free in the way that libertarians understand freedom.
Philosophical theology is aimed primarily at theoretical understanding of the nature and attributes of God and of God's relationship to the world and its inhabitants. During the twentieth century, much of the philosophical community had grave doubts about our ability to attain any such understanding. In recent years the analytic tradition in particular has moved beyond the biases that placed obstacles in the way of the pursuing questions located on the interface of philosophy and religion. The result has been a (...) rebirth of serious, widely-discussed work in philosophical theology. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology attempts both to familiarize readers with the directions in which this scholarship has gone and to pursue the discussion into hitherto under-examined areas. Written by some of the leading scholars in the field, the essays in the Handbook are grouped in five sections. In the first, articles focus on the authority of scripture and tradition, on the nature and mechanisms of divine revelation, on the relation between religion and science, and on theology and mystery. The next section focuses on philosophical problems connected with the central divine attributes: aseity, omnipotence, omniscience, and the like. In Section Three, essays explore theories of divine action and divine providence, questions about petitionary prayer, problems about divine authority and God's relationship to morality and moral standards, and various formulations of and responses to the problem of evil. The fourth section examines philosophical problems that arise in connection with such central Christian doctrines as the trinity, the incarnation, the atonement, original sin, resurrection, and the Eucharist. Finally, Section Five introduces readers to work that is being done in Jewish, Islamic, and Chinese philosophical theology. (shrink)
This paper aims to provide a "real", as opposed to "merely stipulative", definition of "pornography". The paper first argues that no extant definition of "pornography" comes close to being a real definition, and then goes on to defend a novel definition by showing how it avoids objections that plague its rivals.
The doctrine of the Trinity poses a deep and difficult problem. On the one hand, it says that there are three distinct Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and that each of these Persons “is God”. On the other hand, it says that there is one and only one God. So it appears to involve a contradiction. It seems to say that there is exactly one divine being, and also that there is more than one. How are we to make sense of (...) this? (shrink)
In the first section, I characterize skeptical theism more fully. This is necessary in order to address some important misconceptions and mischaracterizations that appear in the essays by Maitzen, Wilks, and O’Connor. In the second section, I describe the most important objections they raise and group them into four “families” so as to facilitate an orderly series of responses. In the four sections that follow, I respond to the objections.
In a recent article, Trenton Mericks argues that psychological continuity analyses of personal identity over time are incompatible with endurantism. We contend that if Merricks’s argument is valid, a parallel argument establishes that PC-analyses of personal identity are incompatible with perdurantism; hence, the correct conclusion to draw is simply that such analyses are all necessarily false. However, we also show that there is good reason to doubt that Merricks’s argument is valid.
Over the past sixty years, within the analytic tradition of philosophy, there has been a significant revival of interest in the philosophy of religion. More recently, philosophers of religion have turned in a more self-consciously interdisciplinary direction, with special focus on topics that have traditionally been the provenance of systematic theologians in the Christian tradition. The present volumes Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology, volumes 1 and 2 aim to bring together some of the most important essays on six central topics (...) in recent philosophical theology. Volume 1 collects essays on three distinctively Christian doctrines: trinity, incarnation, and atonement. Volume 2 focuses on three topics that arise in all of the major theistic religions: providence, resurrection, and scripture. (shrink)
Since the 1960s, metaphysics has flourished in Anglo-American philosophy. Far from wanting to avoid metaphysics, philosophers have embraced it in droves. There have been critics, to be sure; but the criticisms have received answers and the enterprise has carried on.
Many of the most well-known Protestant systematic theologies, particularly in the Reformed tradition, display (more or less) a common thematic division. There are prolegomena: questions about the nature of theology, the relationship between faith and reason, and (sometimes treated separately) the attributes of scripture and its role in faith and practice. There is the doctrine of God: divine attributes, Godʼs relationship to creation, etc. There is the doctrine of humanity: the nature and post-mortem survival of human persons, and the human (...) condition, including the Fall and human sinfulness. There are parts devoted to the person and work of Christ: most especially, the incarnation and atonement. There is discussion of questions in practical theology: the organization and function of the church, morality and politics. Other matters get discussed along the way as well. Most of these topics are ones which we contributors to this volume have been asked to address in our position statements. So I take my assignment to be, in effect, the production of a miniature sketch of a partial systematic theology. Even in miniature, this is a monumental task for a mere essay, and a daunting one for someone whose formal training lies outside of theology. The remarks that follow represent my best effort to articulate such views on these topics as I currently hold—albeit briefly and incompletely. I hope that the views hang together in a reasonably systematic way; but, as this is but a first effort at accomplishing a task of this sort, I wish to emphasize the programmatic nature of what I shall be saying. Since I am writing specifically as a representative of Protestantism (in all of its wide diversity), it seems fitting for me to structure my essay in accord with the thematic divisions just described. I begin with prolegomena, focusing primarily on faith and reason, and doctrines about scripture. The next three sections are devoted, respectively, to the doctrine of God, doctrine of humanity (in which I include doctrines about the person and work of Christ), and practical theology. (shrink)
The question raised by this volume is “How successful is naturalism?” The question presupposes that we already know what naturalism is and what counts as success. But, as anyone familiar with the literature on naturalism knows, both suppositions are suspect. To answer the question, then, we must first say what we mean in this context by both ‘naturalism’ and ‘success’. I’ll start with ‘success’. I will then argue that, by the standard of measurement that I shall identify here, naturalism is (...) an utter failure. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is no straightforward conflict between the traditional Christian doctrine of original sin and the thesis that a person P is morally responsible for the obtaining of a state of affairs S only if S obtains (or obtained) and P could have prevented S from obtaining.
My goal in this paper is to show that naturalists cannot reasonably endorse moral realism. My argument will come in two parts. The first part aims to show that any plausible and naturalistically acceptable argument in favor of belief in objective moral properties will appeal in part to simplicity considerations (broadly construed)—and this regardless of whether moral properties are reducible to non-moral properties. The second part argues for the conclusion that appeals to simplicity justify belief in moral properties only if (...) either those properties are not objective or something like theism is true. Thus, if my argument is sound, naturalists can reasonably accept moral realism only if they are prepared to accept something like theism. But, as will become clear, naturalists can reasonably accept theism or something like it only if belief in some such doctrine is justified by the methods of science. For present purposes, I’ll assume (what I think virtually every naturalist will grant) that belief in theism and relevantly similar doctrines is not justified by the methods of science. Thus, I will conclude that naturalists cannot reasonably accept moral realism. (shrink)
In "Persons and Bodies," Lynne Baker defends what she calls the "Constitution View" of human persons, according to which (a) human persons are constituted by their bodies, and (b) constitution is an asymmetric, nontransitive relation that is somehow "intermediate between identity and separate existence". (Baker 2000: 29) Thesis (a), or something like it, is precisely what we would expect from someone who believes that persons and bodies both are material objects. But thesis (b) is distinctive. Materialists who treat constitution as (...) identity arrive at the view that human persons are identical with their bodies, their brains, or some other material object in the vicinity of their heads. At the other extreme, materialists who treat constitution as nothing more than complete overlap without identity arrive at a simple coincidence theory of the relation between persons and bodies (or brains, or whatever). Baker's view is supposed to stake out a novel account of the nature of constitution. (shrink)
The doctrine of the Trinity maintains that there are exactly three divine Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) but only one God. The philosophical problem raised by this doctrine is well known. On the one hand, the doctrine seems clearly to imply that the divine Persons are numerically distinct. How else could they be ’three’ rather than one? On the other hand, it seems to imply that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are identical. If each Person is divine, how else (...) could there be exactly ’one’ God? But the divine Persons can’t be both distinct and identical. Thus, the doctrine appears to be incoherent. Some try to solve this problem by appeal to the view that identity is sortal-relative. In this paper, I argue that this strategy is unsuccessful as a stand-alone solution to the problem of the Trinity. (shrink)
Mereological Universalism is the thesis that, for any disjoint Xs, the Xs automatically compose something. In his book, Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen provides an argument against Universalism that relies on the following crucial premiss: (F) If Universalism is true, then the Xs cannot ever compose two objects, either simultaneously or successively.1 I have argued elsewhere (Rea 1998) that van Inwagen’s defence of (F) fails because it relies on the false assumption that Universalism is incompatible with the view that, for (...) some Xs, what the Xs compose depends upon how the Xs are arranged. However, Matthew McGrath (1998) has recently provided a new – and in his opinion, better – formulation of van Inwagen’s argument for (F). Furthermore, he claims (contrary to what van Inwagen himself apparently thinks) that four of the ten assumptions listed at the outset of Material Beings are ‘jointly sufﬁcient for the falsity of Universalism’. (1998: 121) Those assumptions, as they appear on page 121 of McGrath 1998, are as follows. (shrink)
Philosophy in the English-speaking world is dominated by analytic approaches to its problems and projects; but theology has been dominated by alternative approaches. Many would say that the current state in theology is not mere historical accident, but is, rather, how things ought to be. On the other hand, many others would say precisely the opposite: that theology as a discipline has been beguiled and taken captive by 'continental' approaches, and that the effects on the discipline have been largely deleterious. (...) The methodological divide between systematic theologians and analytic philosophers of religion is ripe for exploration. The present volume represents an attempt to begin a much-needed interdisciplinary conversation about the value of analytic philosophical approaches to theological topics. Most of the essays herein are sympathetic toward the enterprise the editors are calling analytic theology; but, with an eye toward balance, the volume also includes essays and an introduction that try to offer more critical perspectives on analytic theology. (shrink)
In "Evil and the Justice of God", N.T. Wright presses the point that attempting to solve the philosophical problem of evil is an immature response to the existence of evil--a response that belittles the real problem of evil, which is just the fact that evil is bad and needs to be dealt with. As you might expect, I am not inclined to endorse this sort of sweeping indictment of the entire field of research on the philosophical problem of evil. (I (...) sort of doubt that Wright really meant to either.) But I do think that there is a kernel of truth in what I take to be Wright's fundamental objection to attempts to solve the philosophical problem of evil. In the first section of what follows, I will try briefly to explain why. I will then go on to argue that, despite this fact, certain efforts at solving the problem of evil avoid Wright's objection. Indeed, drawing on recent work by Elenore Stump, I will argue that one perfectly legitimate way to try to solve the philosophical problem of evil is to follow precisely what seems to be the main piece of advice in "Evil and the Justice of God": namely, to look more seriously than we have at the attitudes taken toward evil by human authors of and characters in the Bible, and to attend more carefully to what the Bible says about how God deals with evil. (shrink)
Christian philosophers and theologians have long been concerned with the question of how to reconcile their belief in three fully divine Persons with their commitment to monotheism. The most popular strategy for doing this—the Social Trinitarian strategy—argues that, though the divine Persons are in no sense the same God, monotheism is secured by certain relations that obtain among them. It is argued that if the Social Trinitarian understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity is correct, then Christianity is not interestingly (...) different from the polytheistic Amun-Re theology of Egypt’s New Kingdom period. Thus, Social Trinitarianism should be classified as a version of polytheism rather than monotheism. (shrink)
This paper defends the conclusion that every epistemic truth equivalence entails "near theism"--the view that (i) there exists a necessarily existent rational community and (ii) necessarily, there exists an omnisicent community.
The paper will have three sections. In section one I briefly present and respond to Byrne’s argument against theological realism. In section two, I present van Fraassen’s argument against analytic metaphysics and I show how, if sound, it constitutes a reason to reject both metaphysical and theological realism. In section three, I show how van Fraassen can be answered. Obviously what I am doing here falls far short of a full-blown defense of realism in either metaphysics or theology. But the (...) objections raised by van Fraassen and Byrne are tokens of a type of objection that I think is rather widely endorsed among those who are suspicious of these two brands of realism. Thus, responding to those objections constitutes an important first step in the direction of a defense. (shrink)
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion provides a broad overview of the topics which are at the forefront of discussion in contemporary philosophy of religion. Prominent views and arguments from both historical and contemporary authors are discussed and analyzed. The book treats all of the central topics in the field, including the coherence of the divine attributes, theistic and atheistic arguments, faith and reason, religion and ethics, miracles, human freedom and divine providence, science and religion, and immortality. In addition (...) it addresses topics of significant importance that similar books often ignore, including the argument for atheism from hiddenness, the coherence of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, and the relationship between religion and politics. It will be a valuable accompaniment to undergraduate and introductory graduate-level courses. (shrink)
In World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism, I argued that there is an important sense in which naturalism’s current status as methodological orthodoxy is without rational foundation, and I argued that naturalists must give up two views that many of them are inclined to hold dear—realism about material objects and materialism. In a review recently published in Faith and Philosophy, Dale Jacquette alleges that my arguments in World Without Design are directed mainly against strawmen and that I have (...) neglected to discuss at least one formulation of naturalism that straightforwardly addresses my main objections. In this reply, I show that these and other objections raised by Jacquette are unsound and, in fact, rest on egregious misrepresentations of the book. (shrink)
In World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism, I argued that there is an important sense in which philosophilosophical naturalism’s current status as methodological orthodoxy is without rational foundation, and I argued that naturalists must give up two views that many of them are inclined to hold dear-realism about material objects and materialism. In the present article, I respond to objections raised by W. R. Carter, Austin Dacey, Paul Draper, and Andrew Melnyk in a symposium on World Without Design (...) sponsored in part by this journal. The objections I address fall into two main categories: objections against my characterization of naturalism, and objections against the main argument of the book, the argument for the conclusion that naturalists cannot justifiably accept realism about material objects. (shrink)
For over two decades, the philosophical literature on divine hiddenness has been concerned with just one problem about divine hiddenness that arises out of one very particular concept of God. The problem - I'll call it the Schellenberg problem - has J. L. Schellenberg as both its inventor and its most prominent defender. The concept of God in question construes God as a perfect heavenly parent, and seems to be the product of perfect being theology deployed within the constraints imposed (...) by modern ideals of parenthood. In this paper, I argue that the Schellenberg problem is an attack on a straw deity. More specifically, I argue that Schellenberg's argument against the existence of God depends on certain theological claims that are not commitments of traditional Christian theology and that would, furthermore, be repudiated by many of the most important and influential theologians in the Christian tradition. I close with some very brief remarks about the implications of this conclusion for what I take to be the real import of the Schellenberg problem. (shrink)
Philosophy of religion comprises philosophical reflection on a wide range of religious and religiously significant phenomena: religious belief, doctrine and practice in general; the phenomenology and cognitive significance of religious experience; the authority and reliability of religious testimony; the significance of religious diversity and disagreement; the relationship between religion (or God, or the gods) and morality; the doctrines, practices and modes of cognition distinctive to particular religious traditions; and so on. It is as old as philosophy itself and has been (...) a standard part of Western philosophy in every period (see Religion, history of philosophy of). Since the latter half of the twentieth century, there has been a great growth of interest in it, and the range of topics that philosophers of religion have considered has expanded considerably. (shrink)
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were married on July 29, 2000 and divorced on October 2, 2005. If I correctly understand the position defended in Thomas Sattig’s The Language and Reality of Time, this fact implies that every instantaneous region of space occupied by Brad between those dates is married to some instantaneous region occupied by Jen. Yes, the regions are married, and they are distinct from Brad and Jen. Moreover, some of them are cheating on the regions to which (...) they are married. To their discredit, they are having affairs with regions occupied by Angelina Jolie. (Shame on those regions.). (shrink)
The essay is divided into three parts. In the first part, I try to get clear about what we might mean in calling a text authoritative. In the second part, I draw distinctions between different things that we might mean by saying that a text is truthful. My goal in both of these parts is to arrive at some general conclusions about texts, rather than specific conclusions about the Bible. Consequently, I try to refrain from making assumptions about (e.g.) biblical (...) interpretation or about the truth of particular biblical texts. Indeed, for much of the discussion, the Bible is not even directly in view. In the third part I draw out some of the implications of the discussions in the first two parts for the question of how textual authority and textual truth are connected to one another. I also comment on the significance of these conclusions for discussions about the relation between biblical authority and biblical inerrancy. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a metaphysical account of the incarnation that starts from substantive assumptions about the nature of natures and about the metaphysics of the Trinity and develops in light of these a story about the relations among the elements involved in the incarnation. Central to the view I will describe are two features of Aristotle's metaphysics, though I do not claim that my own development of these ideas is anything of which Aristotle himself would have approved: (i) (...) a hylomorphic understanding of material objects; (ii) a doctrine of numerical sameness without identity; and (iii) the view that the nature of a thing can appropriately be identified with its form. These ideas, along with other important aspects of the metaphysical framework with which I shall be working, are laid out in the first five sections below, followed in the sixth section by a brief sketch of the account of the Trinity that Jeff Brower and I have presented in detail elsewhere. In the final section, I present my account of the incarnation. (shrink)
The chapter has four parts. In the first, I argue that we can be justified in believing that there are mind-independent material objects only if we can be justified in believing that modal properties are exemplified in at least some of the regions of space-time that we take to be occupied by material objects. In the second, I argue that we can be justified in believing that modal properties are exemplified in a region only if we can be justified in (...) classificatory judgments--judgments like 'this region contains an F', where 'F' is a name for a natural kind and furthermore constitutes a metaphysically better answer to the question, "What kind of object is in that region?" than any name for any other kind. In the third part, I dismiss as failures three views about how naturalists might be able to be justified in classificatory judgments. I consider a fourth which presupposes that, if there are material objects, then we are justified in believing that science reveals some of them to have proper functions; and I note that if this fourth proposal fails, there is good reason to think that any other proposal will as well. In the final section I argue that this fourth proposal does indeed fail by showing that there are material objects, science does not reveal any of them to have proper functions. If I am right, and if (as seems plausible) we are justified in believing that there exist mind-independent material objects (e.g. people), then we ought to reject naturalism. (shrink)