Paul Moser's book defends what has been an unfashionable view in recent epistemology: the foundationalist account of knowledge and justification. Since the time of Plato philosophers have wondered what exactly knowledge is. This book develops a new account of perceptual knowledge which specifies the exact sense in which knowledge has foundations. The author argues that experiential foundations are indeed essential to perceptual knowledge, and he explains what knowledge requires beyond justified true beliefs. In challenging prominent sceptical claims that we have (...) no justified beliefs about the external world, the book outlines a theory of rational belief. (shrink)
We shall formulate an analysis of the ordinary notion of intentional action that clarifies a commonsense distinction between intentional and nonintentional action. Our analysis will build on some typically neglected considerations about relations between lucky action and intentional action. It will highlight the often- overlooked role of evidential considerations in intentional action, thus identifying the key role of certain epistemological considerations in action theory. We shall also explain why some vagueness is indispensable in a characterization of intentional action as ordinarily (...) understood. (shrink)
Three questions motivate this book's account of evidence for the existence of God. First, if God's existence is hidden, why suppose He exists at all? Second, if God exists, why is He hidden, particularly if God seeks to communicate with people? Third, what are the implications of divine hiddenness for philosophy, theology, and religion's supposed knowledge of God? This book answers these questions on the basis of a new account of evidence and knowledge of divine reality that challenges skepticism about (...) God's existence. The central thesis is that we should expect evidence of divine reality to be purposively available to humans, that is, available only in a manner suitable to divine purposes in self-revelation. This lesson generates a seismic shift in our understanding of evidence and knowledge of divine reality. The result is a needed reorienting of religious epistemology to accommodate the character and purposes of an authoritative, perfectly loving God. (shrink)
If God exists, where can we find adequate evidence for God's existence? In this book, Paul Moser offers a new perspective on the evidence for God that centers on a morally robust version of theism that is cognitively resilient. The resulting evidence for God is not speculative, abstract, or casual. Rather, it is morally and existentially challenging to humans, as they themselves responsively and willingly become evidence of God's reality in receiving and reflecting God's moral character for others. Moser calls (...) this 'personifying evidence of God,' because it requires the evidence to be personified in an intentional agent - such as a human - and thereby to be inherent evidence of an intentional agent. Contrasting this approach with skepticism, scientific naturalism, fideism, and natural theology, Moser also grapples with the potential problems of divine hiddenness, religious diversity, and vast evil. (shrink)
Since the beginning of philosophy, philosophers have sought objective knowledge: knowledge of things whose existence does not depend on one's conceiving of them. This book uses lessons from debates over objective knowledge to characterize the kinds of reasons pertinent to philosophical and other theoretical views. It argues that we cannot meet skeptics' typical demands for nonquestion-begging support for claims to objective truth, and that therefore we should not regard our supporting reasons as resistant to skeptical challenges. One key lesson is (...) that a constructive, explanatory approach to philosophy must change the subject from skeptic-resistant reasons to perspectival reasons arising from variable semantic commitments and instrumental, purpose-relative considerations. The book lays foundations for such a reorientation of philosophy, treating fundamental methodological issues in ontology, epistemology, the theory of meaning, the philosophy of mind, and the theory of practical rationality. It explains how certain perennial debates in philosophy rest not on genuine disagreement, but on conceptual diversity: talk about different matters. The book shows how acknowledgment of conceptual diversity can resolve a range of traditional disputes in philosophy. It also explains why philosophers need not anchor their discipline in the physicalism of the natural sciences. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology contains 19 previously unpublished chapters by today's leading figures in the field. These chapters function not only as a survey of key areas, but as original scholarship on a range of vital topics. Written accessibly for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and professional philosophers, the Handbook explains the main ideas and problems of contemporary epistemology while avoiding overly technical detail.
Contains nineteen newly commissioned articles by top philosophers on various aspects of the theory of knowledge. The articles survey the field as well as make original contributions to contemporary debates.
Many philosophers are again examining the traditional topic of a priori knowledge, or knowledge that does not depend on sensory experience. This volume collects the most important recent essays on the subject by well-known thinkers such as A.J. Ayer, W.V. Quine, Barry Stroud, C.I. Lewis, Hilary Putnam, Roderick M. Chisholm, Saul A. Kripke, Albert Casullo, R.G. Swinburne, and Philip Kitcher. Including an introduction by the editor and an extensive bibliography, this book provides philosophers and students with an in-depth look at (...) contemporary investigations into the nature of a priori knowledge. (shrink)
Diversity and disagreement in the religious beliefs among many religious people seem here to stay, however much they bother some inquirers. Even so, the latter inquirers appear not to be similarly bothered by diversity and disagreement in the scientific beliefs among many scientists. They sometimes propose that we should take religious beliefs to be noncognitive and perhaps even nonontological and noncausal regarding their apparent referents, but they do not propose the same for scientific beliefs. Perhaps they would account for this (...) difference in terms of more extensive diversity and disagreement among religious beliefs than scientific beliefs. We shall attend to the alleged significance of diversity and disagreement among religious beliefs, with an eye toward its bearing on epistemic and ontological matters in religion. In particular, we shall ask whether the significance recommends a retreat from first-order to “second-order” religion, as suggested by Branden Thornhill-Miller and Peter Millican. (shrink)
This article identifies intellectualism as the view that if we simply think hard enough about our evidence, we get an adequate answer to the question of whether God exists. The article argues against intellectualism, and offers a better alternative involving a kind of volitional evidentialism. If God is redemptive in virtue of seeking divine -human reconciliation, we should expect the evidence for God to be likewise redemptive. In that case, according to the article, the evidence for God would aim to (...) draw the human will toward cooperation with God’s will. Accordingly, the available evidence for God would be volitionally sensitive in that one’s coming to possess it would depend on one’s volitional stance toward its source. The article identifies some implications for divine hiddenness, traditional natural theology, and the view that the evidence for God’s existence is akin to evidence for a scientific hypothesis. (shrink)
Contemporary Materialism brings together the best recent work on materialism from many of our leading contemporary philosophers. This is the first comprehensive reader on the subject. The majority of philosophers and scientists today hold the view that all phenomena are physical, as a result materialism or 'physicalism' is now the dominant ontology in a wide range of fields. Surprisingly no single book, until now, has collected the key investigations into materialism, to reflect the impact it has had on current thinking (...) in metaphysics, philosophy of mind and the theory of value. The classic papers in this collection chart contemporary problems, positions and themes in materialism. At the invitation of the editors, many of the papers have been specially up-dated for this collection: follow-on pieces written by the contributors enable them to appraise the original paper and assess developments since the work was first published. The book's selections are largely non-technical and accessible to advanced undergraduates. The editors have provided a useful general introduction, outlining and contextualising this central system of thought, as well as a topical bibliography. Contemporary Materialism will be vital reading for anyone concerned to discover the ideas underlying contemporary philosophy. David Armstrong, University of Sydney; Jerry Fodor, Rutgers University, New Jersey; Tim Crane, University College, London; D. H. Mellor, Univeristy of Cambridge; J.J.C. (shrink)
Evidential atheism, as espoused by various philosophical atheists, recommends belief that God does not exist on the basis of not just the evidence of which we are aware, but also our overall available evidence. This article identifies a widely neglected problem from potential surprise evidence that undermines an attempt to give a cogent justification of such evidential atheism. In addition, it contends that evidential agnosticism fares better than evidential atheism relative to this neglected problem, and that traditional monotheism has evidential (...) resources, unavailable to evidential atheism, which promise to save it from the fate of evidential atheism. (shrink)
The topic of “reason and faith in God” has challenged philosophers and theologians since the beginning of their disciplines, and it has left many inquirers confused. The key notions of faith and reason are often left unclear, and this complicates inquiry about faith in God. Many inquirers end up puzzled about the significance of the distinction between reason and faith. This paper outlines an approach to reason and faith in God that explains how faith in God can be well-grounded in (...) reason as evidence, even if reason as an argument does not apply in a case. It identifies distinctive roles for experience and defense in an account of faith in God. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of contemporary work on moral relativism. The selections are divided topically under the following headings: General Issues Concerning Moral Relativism; Relativism and Moral Diversity; the Coherence of Moral Relativism; Defense and Criticism of Moral Relativism; and Relativism, Realism and Rationality. The volume includes a comprehensive topical bibliography and a large introduction with explanatory summaries of all the entries.
This essay replies to the responses of Harold Netland, Charles Taliaferro, and Kate Waidler to my symposium paper, “Gethsemane Epistemology.” It contends that a God worthy of worship would not need the arguments of traditional natural theology, and that such arguments would not lead to such a God in the way desired by God. In addition, it explains why Paul’s position in Romans 1 offers no support to the arguments of traditional natural theology.
Philosophers have often misunderstood Kierkegaard's views on the nature and purposes of God due to a fascination with his earlier, pseudonymous works. We examine many of Kierkegaard's later works with the aim of setting forth an accurate view on this matter. The portrait of God that emerges is a personal and fiercely loving God with whom humans can and should enter into relationship. Far from advocating a fideistic faith or a cognitively unrestrained leap in the dark, we argue that Kierkegaard (...) connects this God-relationship to (a particular kind of) evidence and even knowledge. However, such evidence and knowledge – and hence God himself – may remain hidden from many individuals due to misconceptions of God and misuses of the human will. (shrink)
This book is an accessible introduction to contemporary epistemology, the theory of knowledge. It introduces traditional topics in epistemology within the context of contemporary debates about the definition, sources, and limits of human knowledge. Rich in examples and written in an engaging style, it explains the field while avoiding technical detail. It relates epistemology to work in cognitive science and defends a plausible version of explanationism regarding epistemological method.
Offering a unique and wide-ranging examination of the theory of knowledge, the new edition of this comprehensive collection deftly blends readings from the foremost classical sources with the work of important contemporary philosophical thinkers. Human Knowledge: Classical and Contemporary Approaches, 3/e, offers philosophical examinations of epistemology from ancient Greek and Roman philosophy (Plato, Aristotle, Sextus Empiricus); medieval philosophy (Augustine, Aquinas); early modern philosophy (Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, Kant); classical pragmatism and Anglo-American empiricism (James, Russell, Ayer, Lewis, Carnap, Quine, (...) Rorty); and other influential Anglo-American philosophers (Chisholm, Kripke, Moore, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Putnam). Organized chronologically and thematically, Human Knowledge, 3/e, features exceptionally broad coverage and nontechnical selections that are easily accessible to students. An ideal text for both undergraduate and graduate courses in epistemology, it is enhanced by the editors' substantial general introduction, section overviews, and up-to-date bibliographies. The third edition offers expanded selections on contemporary epistemology and adds selections by Thomas Reid, Richard Rorty, David B. Annis, Richard Feldman and Earl Conee, Ernest Sosa, Barry Stroud, and Louise M. Antony. Human Knowledge, 3/e, offers an unparalleled introduction to our ancient struggle to understand our own intellectual experience. (shrink)
This paper examines a nonreductive supervenience relation central to a philosophically popular version of nonreductive physicalism inspired by Donald Davidson. The paper argues that this global supervenience relation faces a serious epistemological problem that blocks its being superior to weaker, less general supervenience relations.
This paper contends that although many religious views are exclusive of each other, a morally perfect God worthy of worship would seek to include all willing people in lasting life with God. The paper distinguishes some different variations on religious exclusivism and inclusivism, and proposes an inclusive version of Christian exclusivism. The account implies that one can yield volitionally to God’s unselfish love and thereby to God de re, without any corresponding acknowledgment de dicto and thus without one’s knowing that (...) God exists. The paper finds the basis for this approach in the teachings of Jesus himself. In addition, the paper recruits a notion of kardiatheology to emphasize that a God worthy of worship would seek to transform the heart of a wayward person even if this person does not believe that God exists. (shrink)
The epistemology of monotheism offered by philosophers has given inadequate attention to the kind of foundational evidence to be expected of a personal God whose moral character is ’agapeic’, or perfectly loving, toward all other agents. This article counters this deficiency with the basis of a theistic epistemology that accommodates the distinctive moral character of a God worthy of worship. It captures the widely neglected ’agonic’, or struggle-oriented, character of a God who seeks, by way of personal witness and intentional (...) action, to realize and manifest ’agape’ among humans who suffer from selfishness. In doing so, the article identifies the overlooked role of personifying evidence of God in human moral character formation. In agreement with some prominent New Testament themes, the new perspective offered ties the epistemology of monotheism to robust ’agapeic’ morality in a way that makes such epistemology ethically challenging for inquirers about God’s existence. Accordingly, s. (shrink)
Epistemological probability is the kind of probability relative to a body of evidence. Many philosophers, including Henry Kyburg and Roderick Chisholm, hold that all epistemological probabilities reflect a relation between an evidential body of propositions and other propositions. But this article argues that some epistemological probabilities for empirical propositions must be relative to non-propositional evidence, specifically the contents of non-propositional perceptual states. In doing so, the article distinguishes between internalism and externalism regarding epistemological probability, and argues for a version of (...) awareness internalism. The article draws three main concluding lessons. First, epistemological probability is not to be identified with the sort of objective, experience-independent probability that is familiar from statistical and propensity interpretations of probability. Second, it is doubtful that epistemological probability is measurable, in any useful way, by real numbers, even if it admits of comparative assessments. Third, contrary to the familiar claim of C. I. Lewis, epistemological probability should not be viewed as requiring a basis of certainty. (shrink)
What, if anything, has Jesus to do with philosophy? Although widely neglected, this question calls for attention from anyone interested in philosophy,whether Christian or non-Christian. This paper clarifies how philosophy fares under the teaching of Jesus. In particular, it contends that Jesus’slove (agape) commands have important implications for how philosophy is to be done, specifically, for what questions may be pursued. The paper,accordingly, distinguishes two relevant modes of being human: a discussion mode and an obedience mode. Philosophy done under the (...) authority ofJesus’s love commands must transcend a discussion mode to realize an obedience mode of human conduct. So, under Jesus’s teachings, we no longer have business as usual in philosophy. The discipline of philosophy then takes on a purpose foreign to philosophy as we know it, even as practiced by Christian philosophers. Under the authority of Jesus, philosophy becomes agape-oriented ministry in the church of Jesus and thus reflective of Jesus himself. In this respect, Jesus is Lord of philosophy. (shrink)
What, if anything, does Jesus of Nazareth have to do with philosophy? This question motivates this collection of essays from leading theologians, philosophers, and biblical scholars. Part I portrays Jesus in his first-century intellectual and historical context, attending to intellectual influences and contributions and contemporaneous similar patterns of thought. Part II examines how Jesus influenced two of the most prominent medieval philosophers. It considers the seeming conceptual shift from Hebraic categories of thought to distinctively Greco-Roman ones in later Christian philosophers. (...) Part III considers the significance of Jesus for some prominent contemporary philosophical topics, including epistemology and the meaning of life. The focus is not so much on how 'Christianity' figures in such topics as on how Jesus makes distinctive contributions to them. (shrink)
This paper outIines an account of rational action. It distinguishes three species of reasons: motivating reasons, evidential reasons, and normative reasons. It also contends that there is a univocal notion of reason common to the notions of motivating reasons, evidential reasons, and normative reasons. Given this thesis, the paper explains how we can have a unified theory of reasons for action. It also explains the role of values in rational action. It sketches an affective approach to value that contrasts with (...) prominent desire-satisfaction approaches. (shrink)
The most powerful skeptical challenge to knowledge and justification is Pyrrhonian. It challenges nonskeptics to identify non-question begging warrant for their beliefs whereby they will not simply assume a point needing support in light of skeptical questions. The skeptical challenge is comprehensive, bearing on warranting conditions in general. Any answer given to such a comprehensive challenge apparently relies on a warranting condition being questioned. From this two questions emerge. First, is the skeptical challenge itself question begging in a way that (...) undermines its epistemic significance? Second, is question begging necessarily an epistemic defect? This paper answers no to the first question, and identifies the problem facing skeptics who presuppose an affirmative answer to the second question. The problem stems from the availability of certain conceptions of epistemic rationality that do not prohibit question begging unqualifiedly. (shrink)