A common objection to sense-datum theories of perception is that they cannot give an adequate account of the fact that introspection indicates that our sensory experiences are directed on, or are about, the mind-independent entities in the world around us, that our sense experience is transparent to the world. In this paper I point out that the main force of this claim is to point out an explanatory challenge to sense-datum theories.
The disjunctive theory of perception claims that we should understand statements about how things appear to a perceiver to be equivalent to statements of a disjunction that either one is perceiving such and such or one is suffering an illusion (or hallucination); and that such statements are not to be viewed as introducing a report of a distinctive mental event or state common to these various disjoint situations. When Michael Hinton ﬁrst introduced the idea, he suggested that the burden of (...) proof or disproof lay with his opponent, that what was needed was to show that our talk of how things look or appear to one.. (shrink)
Disjunctivism about perceptual appearances, as I conceive of it, is a theory which seeks to preserve a naïve realist conception of veridical perception in the light of the challenge from the argument from hallucination. The naïve realist claims that some sensory experiences are relations to mind-independent objects. That is to say, taking experiences to be episodes or events, the naïve realist supposes that some such episodes have as constituents mind-independent objects. In turn, the disjunctivist claims that in a case of (...) veridical perception like this very kind of experience that you now have, the experiential episode you enjoy is of a kind which could not be occurring were you having an hallucination. The common strategy of arguments from hallucination set out to show that certain things are true of hallucinations, and hence must be true of perceptions. For example, it is argued that hallucinations must have non-physical objects of awareness, or that such states are not relations to anything at all, but are at best seeming relations to objects. In insisting that veridical perceptual experience is of a distinct kind from hallucination, the disjunctivist denies that any of these conceptions of hallucination challenges our conception of veridical perceptions as relations to mind-independent objects. More specifically, I assume that the disjunctivist advocates naïve realism because they think that this position best articulates how sensory experience seems to us to be just through reflection. If the disjunctivist is correct in this contention, then anyone who accepts the conclusion of the argument from hallucination must also accept that the nature of sensory experience is other than it seems to us to be. In turn, one may complain that any such error theory is liable to lead to sceptical consequences. A Humean scepticism about the senses launches a challenge about our knowledge of the world through questioning the conception we have of what sense experience is, and how it can provide knowledge of the world. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one that you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
Book description: The capacity to represent and think about time is one of the most fundamental and least understood aspects of human cognition and consciousness. This book throws new light on central issues in the study of the mind by uniting, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches dealing with the connection between temporal representation and memory. Fifteen specially written essays by leading psychologists and philosophers investigate the way in which time is represented in memory, and the role memory (...) plays in our ability to reason about time. They offer insights into current theories of memory processes and of the mechanisms and cognitive abilities underlying temporal judgements, and draw out fundamental issues concerning the phenomenology and epistemology of memory and our understanding of time. The chapters are arranged into four sections, each focused on one area of current research: Keeping Track of Time, and Temporal Representation; Memory, Awareness and the Past; Memory and Experience; Knowledge and the Past: The Epistemology and Metaphysics of Time. A general introduction gives an overview of the topics discussed and makes explicit central themes which unify the different philosophical and psychological approaches. (shrink)
Because every single one of us will die, most of us would like to know what—if anything—awaits us afterward, not to mention the fate of lost loved ones. Given the nearly universal vested interest we personally have in deciding this question in favor of an afterlife, it is no surprise that the vast majority of books on the topic affirm the reality of life after death without a backward glance. But the evidence of our senses and the ever-gaining strength of (...) scientific evidence strongly suggest otherwise. -/- In The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death, Michael Martin and Keith Augustine collect a series of contributions that redress this imbalance in the literature by providing a strong, comprehensive, and up-to-date casebook of the chief arguments against an afterlife all in one place. Divided into four separate sections, this essay collection opens the volume with a broad overview of the issues, as contributors consider the strongest available evidence as to whether or not we survive death—in particular the biological basis of all mental states and their grounding in brain activity that ceases to function at death. Next contributors consider a host of conceptual and empirical difficulties that confront the various ways of "surviving" death—from bodiless minds to bodily resurrection to any form of posthumous survival. Then essayists turn to internal inconsistencies between traditional theological conceptions of an afterlife—Heaven, Hell, karmic rebirth—and widely held ethical principles central to the belief systems undergirding those notions. In the final section, authors offer critical evaluations of the main types of evidence for an afterlife. -/- Fully interdisciplinary, The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death brings together a variety of fields of research to make that case, including cognitive neuroscience, philosophy of mind, personal identity, philosophy of religion, moral philosophy, psychical research, and anomalistic psychology. As the definitive casebook of arguments against life after death, this collection is required reading for any instructor, researcher, and student in philosophy, religious studies, and theology. It is sure to raise provocative issues new to readers, regardless of background, from those who believe fervently in the reality of an afterlife to those who do not or are undecided on the matter. (shrink)
Belief in Heaven is an essential part of the great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Famous theologians have written about it, and ordinary theists hope to go there after death. However, the concept of Heaven is neither clear nor unproblematic. There are three serious problems with the notion of Heaven. First, the concept of Heaven lacks coherence. Second, it is doubtful that theists can reconcile the heavenly character of Heaven with standard defenses against the argument from evil, such (...) as the free will defense. Finally, Heaven is unfair and thus in conflict with the goodness of God. -/- 1. Introduction -- 2. The Traditional Doctrine -- 3. The Coherence of Heaven -- 4. The Problem of the Heavenly Character of Heaven -- 5. The Unfairness of Heaven -- 6. Objections - 6.1 Objection 1 - 6.2 Objection 2 - 6.3 Objection 3 - 6.4 Objection 4 -- 7. Conclusion. (shrink)
In this 2007 volume, eighteen of the world's leading scholars present original essays on various aspects of atheism: its history, both ancient and modern, defense and implications. The topic is examined in terms of its implications for a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, religion, feminism, postmodernism, sociology and psychology. In its defense, both classical and contemporary theistic arguments are criticized, and, the argument from evil, and impossibility arguments, along with a non religious basis for morality are defended. These essays (...) give a broad understanding of atheism and a lucid introduction to this controversial topic. (shrink)
Divided into four parts, this treatise begins with well-known criticisms of nonreligious ethics and then develops an atheistic metaethics. In Part 2, Martin criticizes the Christian foundation of ethics, specifically the ’divine command theory’ and the idea of imitating the life of Jesus as the basis of Christian morality. Part 3 demonstrates that life can be meaningful in the absence of religious belief. Part 4 criticizes the theistic point of view in general terms as well as the specific Christian doctrines (...) of the atonement, salvation, and the resurrection. (publisher, edited). (shrink)
Most people, believers and nonbelievers alike, are unfamiliar with the variety and force of arguments for the impossibility of God. Yet over recent years a growing number of scholars have been formulating and developing a series of increasingly powerful arguments that the concept of God, as variously understood by the world's major religions and leading theologians, is contradictory in many ways, and therefore God does not and cannot exist. This unique anthology brings together for the first time most of the (...) important arguments for the impossibility of God that have been published. The collection includes papers and book selections by J. L. Mackie, Quentin Smith, Theodore Drange, Michael Martin, and many other distinguished scholars. The editors provide a general introduction and brief summaries of the arguments to help the reader grasp the crucial issues involved. Both students and teachers of philosophy and the philosophy of religion will find this anthology to be an indispensable resource. (shrink)
The problems of perception feature centrally in work within what we now think of as different traditions of philosophy in the early part of the twentieth century, most notably in the sense-datum theories of early analytic philosophy together with the vigorous responses to them over the next forty years, but equally in the discussions of pre-reﬂective consciousness of the world characteristic of German and French phenomenologists. In the English-speaking world one might mark the beginning of the period with Russell’s The (...) Problems of Philosophy (Russell 1912) and its nemesis in Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia (Austin 1962 – published posthumously, but given originally as lectures at the end of our period in 1947). On the continent, a corresponding route takes us from Husserl’s Logical Investigations (Husserl 1900/1) to Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception.. (shrink)
I define ecosabotage and relate this definition to several well-known analyses of civil disobedience. I show that ecosabotage cannot be reduced to a form of civil disobedience unless the definition of civil disobedience is expanded. I suggest that ecosabotage and civil disobedience are special cases of the more general concept of conscientious wrongdoing. Although ecosabotage cannot be considered a form of civil disobedience on the basis of the standard analysis of this concept, the civil disobedience literature can provide important insights (...) into the justification of ecosabotage. First, traditional appeals to a higher law in justifying ecosabotage are no more successful than they are in justifying civil disobedience. Second, utilitarian justifications of ecosabotage are promising. At present there is no apriori reason tosuppose that some acts of ecosabotage could not be justified on utilitarian grounds, although such ecosaboteurs as Dave Foreman have not provided a full justification of its use in concrete cases. (shrink)
Sociologists tend to eschew biological explanations of human social behavior. Accordingly, when evolutionary biologists began to apply neo-Darwinian theory to the study of human social behavior, the reactions of sociologists typically ranged from indifference to overt hostility. Since the mid-1960s, however, neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory has stimulated a "second Darwinian revolution" in traditional social scientific conceptions of human nature and social behavior, even while most sociologists remain largely uninformed about neo-Darwinian theory and research. This article traces sociology's long-standing isolation from the (...) life sciences, especially evolutionary biology, to divergence in the metatheoretical assumptions that typify conventional sociological thought versus contemporary evolutionary biology. We conclude with a discussion of the recent emergence of a nascent "evolutionary sociology" that integrates sociobiological reasoning with contemporary sociological thought. (shrink)
Can Pascal's wager for the existence of God be turned against the religious believer and used as an argument for not believing in God? Although such an argument has been very briefly sketched by others its details have remained undeveloped. In this paper this argument is worked out in detail in the context of decision theory and is defended against objections. The result is a plausible argument for atheism.
In The Existence of God Richard Swinburne argues that certain religious experiences support the hypothesis that God exists. Indeed, the argument from religious experience is of crucial importance in Swinburne's philosophical theology. For, according to Swinburne, without the argument from religious experience the combined weight of the other arguments he considers, e.g. the teleological, the cosmological, or the argument from miracles, does not render the theistic hypothesis very probable. However, the argument from religious experience combined with these other arguments makes (...) theism more probable than its rivals. (shrink)
Abstract Science education and moral education are mutually relevant. An education in science provides the factual information necessary to apply and revise ethical principles. In addition, science education aims to achieve certain propensities, e.g. impartiality, that are identical to some of the goals of moral education. Moral education, in turn, gives potential scientists the necessary principles and propensities to make certain decisions in the context of discovery, in the acceptance of hypotheses and in the conduct of inquiry. Science education and (...) moral education can be combined in various ways although some recent theories of moral education, e.g. the values clarification approach, and Matthew Lipman's philosophy for children approach, have neglected the potential of science education for moral education. (shrink)
Bill Brewer contends that we should embrace a principle he calls : perceptual experiences provide reasons for empirical beliefs. He rejects traditional foundationalist and coherentist pictures of perception and perceptual justification and argues for a view on which perceptual experiences themselves intrinsically give reason for empirical beliefs. Brewer sees perceptual experience as conceptual; imbued with a content which gives a subject a perspective on the elements of his or her immediate environment. This ‘epistemic openness’ to the environment provided by perceptual (...) content grounds the reason-giving role of experience. (shrink)
A growing number of powerful arguments have been formulated by philosophers and logicians in recent years demonstrating that the existence of God is improbable. These arguments assume that God's existence is possible but argue that the weight of the empirical evidence is against God's actual existence. This unique anthology collects most of the important arguments for the improbability of God that have been published since the mid-1900s. The editors make each argument clear and accessible by providing a helpful summary. In (...) addition, they arrange this diverse collection of arguments for the improbability of God into four thematic groups: Part 1 contains cosmological arguments based on the weight of the evidence relative to the origin of the universe; Part 2 presents teleological arguments based on the weight of the evidence relative to the order in the universe; Part 3 deals with inductive evil arguments based on the weight of the evidence relative to the widespread and horrendous evil in the world; and Part 4 contains nonbelief arguments based on the weight of the evidence relative to the widespread nonbelief or the reasonable nonbelief in the world. The list of distinguished authors includes William Rowe, Theodore Drange, Quentin Smith, Victor Stenger, J. L. Schellenberg, and Michael Martin, among others. With this new anthology as a companion to their earlier anthology, The Impossibility of God (2003), Martin and Monnier have created an indispensable resource in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
In Evil and a Good God Bruce Reichenbach presents a theodicy for natural evil. According to Reichenbach, natural evil consists in suffering and pain and ‘states of affairs significantly disadvantageous to sentient beings’ which have either nonhuman causes or human causes for which no human being can be held morally responsible. He attempts to provide a morally sufficient reason why natural evil exists. In this paper I will evaluate this reason.