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)
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)
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)
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)
This book explores the role of divine severity in the character and wisdom of God, and the flux and difficulties of human life in relation to divine salvation. Much has been written on problems of evil, but the matter of divine severity has received relatively little attention. Paul K. Moser discusses the function of philosophy, evidence and miracles in approaching God. He argues that if God's aim is to extend without coercion His lasting life to humans, then commitment to that (...) goal could manifest itself in making human life severe, for the sake of encouraging humans to enter into that cooperative good life. In this scenario, divine agapē is conferred as free gift, but the human reception of it includes stress and struggle in the face of conflicting powers and priorities. Moser's work will be of great interest to students of the philosophy of religion, and theology. (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.
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)
Are all moral truths relative or do certain moral truths hold for all cultures and people? In Moral Relativism: A Reader, this and related questions are addressed by twenty-one contemporary moral philosophers and thinkers. This engaging and nontechnical anthology, the only up-to-date collection devoted solely to the topic of moral relativism, is accessible to a wide range of readers including undergraduate students from various disciplines. The selections are organized under six main topics: (1) General Issues; (2) Relativism and Moral Diversity; (...) (3) On the Coherence of Moral Relativism; (4) Defense and Criticism; (5) Relativism, Realism, and Rationality; and (6) Case Study on Relativism. Contributors include Ruth Benedict, Richard Brandt, Thomas L. Carson, Philippa Foot, Gordon Graham, Gilbert Harman, Loretta M. Kopelman, David Lyons, J. L. Mackie, Michele Moody-Adams, Paul K. Moser, Thomas Nagel, Martha Nussbaum, Karl Popper, Betsy Postow, James Rachels, W. D. Ross, T. M. Scanlon, William Graham Sumner, and Carl Wellman. The volume concludes with a case study on female circumcision/genital mutilation that vividly brings into focus the practical aspects and implications of moral relativism. An ideal primary text for courses in moral relativism, Moral Relativism: A Reader can also be used as a supplementary text for introductory courses in ethics and for courses in various disciplines--anthropology, sociology, theology, political science, and cultural studies--that discuss relativism. The volume's pedagogical and research value is enhanced by a topical bibliography on moral relativism and a substantial general introduction that includes explanatory summaries of the twenty selections. (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)
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)
Some philosophers, such as N. R. Hanson, have suggested that one's perceiving an object entails one's having a particular perceptual belief, and not just some belief or other, about that object. This article constructs an argument showing that such a view generates an infinite regress of required perceptual beliefs.
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)
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)
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)
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)
This anthology is intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in such disciplines as philosophy, psychology, economics, and political science. It includes twenty-one selections falling under three main categories: individual decision theory; game theory and group decision-making; reasons, desires and intentionality. All the pieces have been published before in journals and have proven long term importance to theoretical work in rational action. The volume includes a general introduction on decision theory and a topical bibliography.
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 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.
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.
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)
It is argued that a pure coherence theory of epistemic empirical justification fails to avoid an isolation objection according to which empirical justification has been divorced from one's total empirical evidence. Also, it is shown that several recent efforts to meet this objection either are outright failures or are irrelevant inasmuch as they diverge from epistemic coherentism. The overall moral is that we should look beyond coherentism for an adequate theory of epistemic empirical justification.
This article explores the possibility of naturalized theory of action. It distinguishes ontological naturalism from conceptual naturalism, and asks whether a defensible theory of action can be either ontologically or conceptually naturalistic. The distinction between conditions for an ontology and conditions for a concept receives support from Donald Davidson's identification of two modes of explanation for action: rational and physical causal explanation. Davidson's action theory provides a naturalized ontology for action theory, but not a naturalized concept of intentional action. This (...) article raises doubts about Davidson's basis for such one-sided naturalism. It examines some conditions for a mode of explanation, in order to clarify whether an intentional mode of explanation might have ontological significance and thus raise problems for ontological naturalism. The article argues for the central role of certain instrumental factors in explanatory strategies, whether naturalistic or intentional; and it casts doubt on Jaegwon Kim's recent argument that intentional psychology and neuroscience are mutually exclusive as explanatory strategies. A key lesson is that variable end-dependent reasons are our only wherewithal in the evaluation of explanatory strategies. In this sense, our explanatory strategies are ultimately instrumental and perspectival. The article draws out the implications of this lesson for naturalized action theory and for psychological explanation. It opposes any suggested monopoly on explanation from the physical sciences. (shrink)