CONTRARY TO GOODMAN’S VIEW, A CLEAR DISTINCTION CAN BE MADE BETWEEN QUALITATIVE AND POSITIONAL PREDICATES. HENCE WE CAN EXPLAIN THAT WE OUGHT TO PROJECT ’GREEN’ RATHER THAN ’GRUE’ BECAUSE THE LATTER IS A POSITIONAL PREDICATE, RATHER THAN BECAUSE THE LATTER IS LESS WELL ENTRENCHED. A PREDICATE IS POSITIONAL IF, TO FIND OUT AS CERTAINLY AS WE CAN WHETHER IT APPLIES TO AN OBJECT, WE HAVE TO FIND OUT THE LATTER’S SPATIO-TEMPORAL LOCATION.
EMPIRICIST THEORIES OF PERSONAL IDENTITY STATE THAT THE IDENTITY OF A PERSON OVER TIME IS A MATTER OF BODILY CONTINUITY AND/OR SIMILARITY OF MEMORY AND CHARACTER. IN CONTRAST, THIS PAPER ARGUES THAT WHILE BODILY CONTINUITY AND SIMILARITY OF MEMORY AND CHARACTER ARE EVIDENCE OF PERSONAL IDENTITY, THEY DO NOT CONSTITUTE IT. IT IS SOMETHING UNDEFINABLE. THE DIFFICULTY OF KNOWING WHAT TO SAY IN PUZZLE CASES DOES NOT SHOW THAT PERSONAL IDENTITY EXISTS IN DIFFERENT DEGREES OR THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE (...) ARBITRARY JUDGMENTS ABOUT IT. IT SHOWS ONLY THAT SOMETIMES WE CANNOT KNOW WHO IS WHO. (shrink)
THIS ARTICLE CLARIFIES A DISTINCTION MADE BY ME ELSEWHERE BETWEEN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY TESTS FOR THE APPLICATION OF A CONCEPT. IF THE PRIMARY TESTS ARE SATISFIED, THEN OF LOGICAL NECESSITY THE CONCEPT APPLIES, BUT SATISFACTION OF THE SECONDARY TESTS IS ONLY GOOD EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE APPLICABILITY OF THE CONCEPT. THIS ARTICLE IS A REPLY TO ONE BY SLOTE (’A GENERAL SOLUTION TO GOODMAN’S RIDDLE?’ ANALYSIS, DECEMBER 1968) CHALLENGING MY EARLIER USE OF THIS DISTINCTION (’GRUE’ ANALYSIS, MARCH 1968) TO PROVIDE (...) A SOLUTION TO GOODMAN’S RIDDLE. (shrink)
ARGUMENTS FROM DESIGN TO THE EXISTENCE OF GOD MAY TAKE AS THEIR PREMISS EITHER THE EXISTENCE OF REGULARITIES OF COPRESENCE OR THE EXISTENCE OF REGULARITIES OF SUCCESSION. THERE ARE NO VALID FORMAL OBJECTIONS TO A CAREFULLY ARTICULATED ARGUMENT OF THE LATTER TYPE. AGAINST SUCH AN ARGUMENT NONE OF THE OBJECTIONS IN HUME’S "DIALOGUES" HAVE ANY WORTH. THE ARGUMENT MAY HOWEVER GIVE ONLY A SMALL DEGREE OF SUPPORT TO ITS CONCLUSION.
(I UNDERSTAND BY A MIRACLE, A VIOLATION OF A LAW OF NATURE BY A GOD.) A VIOLATION OF A LAW OF NATURE IS THE OCCURRENCE OF A NON-REPEATABLE COUNTER-INSTANCE TO IT. CONTRARY TO HUME’S VIEW, THERE COULD BE GOOD HISTORICAL EVIDENCE BOTH THAT A VIOLATION HAD OCCURRED AND THAT IT WAS DUE TO THE ACT OF A GOD.
Mr Olding's recent attack on my exposition of the argument from design gives me an opportunity to defend the central theses of my original article. My article pointed out that there were arguments from design of two types—those which take as their premisses regularities of copresence and those which take as their premisses regularities of succession. I sought to defend an argument of the second type. One merit of such an argument is that there is no doubt about the truth (...) of its premisses. Almost all objects in the world behave in a highly regular way describable by scientific laws. Further, any scientific explanation of such a regularity must invoke some more general regularity. The most general regularities of all are, as such, scientifically inexplicable. The question arises whether there is a possible explanation of another kind which can be provided for them, and whether their occurrence gives any or much support to that explanation. I urged that we do explain some phenomena by explanation of an entirely different kind from the scientific. We explain states of affairs by the action of agents who bring them about intentionally of their own choice. Regularities of succession, as well as other phenomena may be explained in this way. Explanation of this kind I will term intentional explanation. Intentional explanation of some phenomenon E consists in adducing an agent A who brought E about of his own choice and a further end G which, he believed, would be forwarded by the production of E. (shrink)
If I say “we are now living in England” or “grass is green in summer’ or ‘the cat is on the mat’ what I say will normally be true or false—the statements are true if they correctly report how things are, or correspond to the facts; and if they do not do these things, they are false. Such a statement will only fail to have a truth-value if its referring expressions fail to refer ; or if the statement lies on (...) the border between truth and falsity so that it is as true to say that the statement is true as to say that it is false. Are moral judgments normally true or false in the way in which the above statements are true or false? I will term the view that they are objectivism and the view that they are not subjectivism. The objectivist maintains that it is as much a fact about an action that it is right or wrong as that it causes pain or takes a long time to perform. The subjectivist maintains that saying than an action is right or wrong is not stating a fact about it but merely expressing approval of it or commending it or doing some such similar thing. I wish in this paper, first, to show that all arguments for subjectivism manifestly fail, and secondly to produce a strong argument for objectivism. But, to start with, some preliminaries. (shrink)
THE PAPER BEGINS BY CONSIDERING THREE ALTERNATIVE DEFINITIONS OF "ANALYTIC," ONE IN TERMS OF LOGICAL TRUTH, ONE IN TERMS OF THE MEANINGS OF WORDS, AND ONE IN TERMS OF SELF-CONTRADICTION OR INCOHERENCE. NEXT, FIVE DEFINITIONS OF "NECESSARY" ARE CONSIDERED, ONE IN TERMS OF ANALYTICITY, AND ONE PICKING OUT THE BROADER KIND OF LOGICAL NECESSITY DISCUSSED BY KRIPKE AND PLANTINGA. FINALLY, THREE DEFINITIONS OF "A PRIORI" ARE CONSIDERED. ONLY ON A FEW OF THESE DEFINITIONS DO THE CATEGORIES OF ANALYTIC, NECESSARY, AND (...) A PRIORI COINCIDE. (shrink)
For a theist, a man's duty is to conform to the announced will of God. Yet a theist who makes this claim about duty is faced with a traditional dilemma first stated in Plato's Euthyphro—are actions which are obligatory, obligatory because God makes them so, or does God urge us to do them because they are obligatory anyway? To take the first horn of this dilemma is to claim that God can of his free choice make any action obligatory or (...) non-obligatory. The critic claims that the theist cannot take this horn, for God cannot make bad actions good. (shrink)
IN THE COURSE OF "CONFIRMABILITY AND FACTUAL MEANINGFULNESS" ("ANALYSIS" VOL. 33) I ARGUED THAT THE CONFIRMATIONIST PRINCIPLE IS FALSE. THIS IS THE PRINCIPLE THAT A STATEMENT IS FACTUALLY MEANINGFUL IF AND ONLY IF IT IS AN OBSERVATION STATEMENT OR CONFIRMABLE BY OBSERVATION STATEMENTS. MY ARGUMENT CONSISTED IN PRODUCING EXAMPLES OF FACTUALLY MEANINGFUL STATEMENTS WHICH FAIL TO SATISFY THE PRINCIPLE. IN "CONFIRMABILITY AND MEANINGFULNESS" ("ANALYSIS" VOL. 34) R I SIKORA ARGUED THAT MY EXAMPLES DO NOT SUPPORT MY CONCLUSION. HERE I REPHRASE (...) THE EXAMPLES SO AS TO MEET SIKORA’S OBJECTIONS. THEY ARE EXAMPLES OF STATEMENTS WHICH ASSERT THE TRUTH OF STATEMENTS WHICH HAVE A CERTAIN FIXED PROBABILITY ON THE BEST EVIDENCE WHICH WILL EVER BE OBTAINED. (shrink)
The object of this paper is to show that there are no valid formal objections to the argument from design, so long as the argument is articulated with sufficient care. In particular I wish to analyse Hume's attack on the argument in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and to show that none of the formal objections made therein by Philo have any validity against a carefully articulated version of the argument.
THIS ARTICLE EXAMINES THE CONFIRMATIONIST PRINCIPLE, THAT A STATEMENT IS FACTUALLY MEANINGFUL IF AND ONLY IF IT IS AN OBSERVATION-STATEMENT, OR THERE ARE OBSERVATION STATEMENTS WHICH WOULD CONFIRM OR DISCONFIRM IT. THIS PRINCIPLE IS THE FINAL WEAK CLAIM OF VERIFICATIONISM. EVEN IF TRUE, IT WOULD NOT BE OF GREAT USE IN SORTING OUT THE MEANINGFUL FROM THE MEANINGFULNESS, BUT IT IS SHOWN CONCLUSIVELY TO BE FALSE. A CLAIM THAT THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE BEST EVIDENCE THAT MEN WILL EVER (...) HAVE ABOUT WHETHER SOME STATE OF AFFAIRS HOLDS AND WHETHER IT DOES HOLD IS FACTUALLY MEANINGFUL BUT NEITHER CONFIRMABLE NOR DISCONFIRMABLE. (shrink)
On what grounds will the rational man become a Christian? It is often assumed by many, especially non-Christians, that he will become a Christian if and only if he judges that the evidence available to him shows that it is more likely than not that the Christian theological system is true, that, in mathematical terms, on the evidence available to him, the probability of its truth is greater than half. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate whether or (...) not this is a necessary and sufficient condition for the rational man to adopt Christianity. (shrink)
IF "ALL A’S ARE B" AND "ALL A’S ARE C" ARE BOTH EQUALLY WELL SUPPORTED BY OBSERVATIONS SO FAR, YET YIELD CONFLICTING PREDICTIONS, WHICH OUGHT WE TO ADOPT? GOODMAN’S CONFLICT BETWEEN "ALL EMERALDS ARE GREEN" AND "ALL EMERALDS ARE GRUE" IS A SPECIAL CASE OF SUCH CONFLICT, WHICH MAY BE DEALT WITH BY A RULE STATING THAT WE OUGHT NOT TO PROJECT POSITIONAL IN PREFERENCE TO QUALITATIVE PREDICATES. THIS PAPER ATTEMPTS TO ELUCIDATE THE RULES GOVERNING A LARGER CLASS OF SUCH (...) CONFLICTS, IN CASES WHERE ONE PREDICATE B IS "EPISTEMOLOGICALLY PRIOR" TO ANOTHER ONE C. (shrink)
ACCORDING TO POPPER, SCIENTIFIC THEORIES ARE TO BE ACCEPTED IN SO FAR AS THEY ARE FALSIFIABLE AND IN SO FAR AS THEY HAVE BEEN CORROBORATED. THE CONCEPTS OF FALSIFIABILITY AND CORROBORATION ARE SUBMITTED TO DETAILED ANALYSIS. THE POINT OF ACCEPTING THEORIES, ACCORDING TO POPPER, IS TO OBTAIN THEORIES OF HIGH VERISIMILITUDE. HOWEVER THE BEST WE CAN DO IS TO OBTAIN THEORIES OF HIGH PROBABLE VERISIMILITUDE. POPPER’S CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTING THEORIES WILL ONLY LEAD TO THEORIES OF HIGH PROBABLE VERISIMILITUDE ON NON-POPPERIAN (...) ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT INDUCTION. (shrink)
ON WHAT GROUNDS OUGHT WE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN COMPETING CONFIRMATION THEORIES? THE ARTICLE BEGINS BY DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN CONFIRMATION THEORIES AND OTHER THEORIES WHICH MIGHT BE CONFUSED WITH THEM, SUCH AS THEORIES OF ACCEPTABILITY. IT THEN ARGUES THAT A CONFIRMATION THEORY OUGHT TO ANALYSE RATHER THAN EXPLICATE OUR ORDINARY STANDARDS OF CONFIRMATION. IT WILL DO THIS IN SO FAR AS IT IS COHERENT AND DOES NOT YIELD COUNTERINTUITIVE JUDGMENTS.
Arguments move from premises to conclusions. The premises state things taken temporally for granted; if the argument works, the premises provide grounds for affirming the conclusion. A valid deductive argument is one in which the premises necessitate, that is, entail, the conclusion. What I shall call a ‘correct’ inductive argument is one in which the premises in some degree probabilify the conclusion, but do not necessitate it. More precisely, in what I shall call a correct P -inductive argument the premises (...) make the conclusion probable ; in what I shall call a correct C -inductive argument, the premises add to the probability of the conclusion . Arguments only show their conclusions to be true if they start from true premises; arguments of the above types which work and do start from such premises I will call sound arguments. Arguments are only of use to show to an individual that the conclusion is true if he already knows the premises to be true. Most of what I shall have to say today concerns arguments with respect to which there is no doubt that the premises are true. (shrink)
In an inductive argument data increase the probability of a hypothesis insofar as the hypothesis makes probable the data, the data are otherwise not likely to occur, and the hypothesis is simple. The Cosmological argument from the existence of the universe, the Teleological argument from its conformity to natural law, and other arguments from more detailed features of the universe each increase the probability that there is a God. I thus summarize in simple form the main points of my book (...) ’The Existence of God’. (shrink)
HORIZONS ARE FRONTIERS BETWEEN THINGS OBSERVABLE AND THINGS UNOBSERVABLE. EVEN IS SUCH HORIZONS EXIST WE MAY LEARN ABOUT UNOBSERVABLE REGIONS OF THE UNIVERSE BY, (A) USING THE LAWS OF PHYSICS WHICH TELL US HOW A PRESENTLY OBSERVABLE GALAXY WILL EVOLVE WHEN NO LONGER OBSERVABLE OR, (B) USING THE COSMOLOGICAL PRINCIPLE.
THERE IS OFTEN UNCERTAINTY ABOUT WHETHER SOME PREDICATE APPLIES TO SOME PHYSICAL OBJECT OR STATE. THIS UNCERTAINTY MAY HAVE ANY OF THREE SOURCES - VAGUENESS OF A TERM, INEXACTNESS OF A CONCEPT, OR PRACTICAL DIFFICULTY IN DETERMINING ITS APPLICABILITY. VARIOUS WAYS IN WHICH CONCEPTUAL INEXACTNESS OR PRACTICAL DIFFICULTY MAY PRODUCE UNCERTAINTY ARE DISTINGUISHED. NEITHER TERMINOLOGICAL VAGUENESS, NOR PRACTICAL DIFFICULTY IN DETERMINING THE APPLICABILITY OF A CONCEPT ARE NECESSARY FEATURES OF EVERY LANGUAGE IN EVERY PHYSICAL WORLD, BUT CONCEPTUAL INEXACTNESS IS A (...) NECESSARY FEATURE OF EMPIRICAL CONCEPTS. THESE RESULTS ARE UTILIZED TO DETERMINE THE SOURCES AND NECESSITY OF IMPRECISION IN MEASUREMENT. (shrink)
In an inductive argument data increase the probability of a hypothesis insofar as the hypothesis makes probable the data, the data are otherwise not likely to occur, and the hypothesis is simple. The cosmological argument from the existence of the universe, the teleological argument from its conformity to natural law, and other arguments from more detailed features of the universe each increase the probability that there is a God. I thus summarize in a simple form the main points of my (...) book The Existence of God. (shrink)
The paper investigates what are the proper procedures for calculating the probability on certain evidence of a particular object e having a property, Q, e.g. of Eclipse winning the Derby. Let `α ' denote the conjunction of properties known to be possessed by e, and P(Q)/α the probability of an object which is α being Q. One view is that the probability of e being Q is given by the best confirmed value of P(Q)/α . This view is shown not (...) to be generally true, but to provide a useful approximation in many cases. Then given that we have information about the observed frequencies of Q among objects having one or more of the properties whose conjunction forms α , the paper shows how to establish which value of P(Q)/α is the best confirmed one. (shrink)