Philosophers might be misled by the title of this book, particularly philosophers of religion. Although the author argues that some religious ideas are natural, he does not try to vindicate "natural religion" or "natural theology." Instead, he argues that some religious concepts are natural in that they depend on "noncultural constraints" like genetics and the effects of evolution on human brain development, and that these ideas are considered to be "perfectly obvious" and "self-evident" to those who hold them. Boyer focuses (...) on a few religious concepts which, though not absolutely universal, are nevertheless very widespread in human cultures. He warns that his approach has no "philosophical relevance" to the truth or falsity of these ideas and little significance for systematized theology. Boyer pays little attention to major world religions and, aside from a few references to Catholicism, concentrates upon primitive religions like that of the Fang peoples of Cameroon or the Aguaruna of the Peruvian Amazon, including their religious practices and social categories or roles, as well as their religious ideas. (shrink)
Rather than eliminate the terms "mental health and illness" because of the grave moral consequences of psychiatric labeling, conservative definitions are proposed and defended. Mental health is rational autonomy, and mental illness is the sustained loss of such. Key terms are explained, advantages are explored, and alternative concepts are criticized. The value and descriptive components of all such definitions are consciously acknowledged. Where rational autonomy is intact, mental hospitals and psychotherapists should not think of themselves as treating an illness. Instead, (...) they are functioning as applied axiologists, moral educators, spiritual mentors, etc. They deal with what Szasz has called "personal, social, and ethical problems in living." But mental illness is real. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This book presents Robert S. Hartman’s formal theory of value and critically examines many other twentieth century value theorists in its light, including A.J. Ayer, Kurt Baier, Brand Blanshard, Paul Edwards, Albert Einstein, William K. Frankena, R.M. Hare, Nicolai Hartmann, Martin Heidegger, G.E. Moore, P.H. Nowell-Smith, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Charles Stevenson, Paul W. Taylor, Stephen E. Toulmin, and J.O. Urmson.
In this article I clarify the concepts of ‘pain’, ‘suffering’. ‘pains of body’, ‘pains of soul’. I explore the relevance of an ethic to the clinical setting which gives patients a strong prima facie right to freedom from unnecessary and unwanted pain and which places upon medical professionals two concomitant moral obligations to patients. First, there is the duty not to inflict pain and suffering beyond what is necessary for effective diagnosis. treatment and research. Next, there is the duty to (...) do all that can be done to relieve all the pain and suffering which can be alleviated. I develop in some detail that individuality of pain sensitivity must be taken into account in fulfihing these obligations. I explore the issue of the relevance of informed consent and the right to refuse treatment to the matter of pain relief. And I raise the question of what conditions, if anv, should override the right to refuse treatment where pain relief is of paramount concern. (shrink)
This book explains and advances formal axiology as originally developed by Robert S. Hartman. Formal axiology identifies the general or formal patterns involved in (1) the meaning of "good" and other value concepts, (2) WHAT we value (value-objects), and (3) HOW we value (evaluations). It explains the rational, practical, and affective aspects of evaluation, and it shows how to make value judgments more rationally and effectively. It distinguishes between intrinsic, extrinsic, and systemic values and evaluations, and it discusses how they (...) fall into a rational hierarchy of value. It argues for the intrinsic worth of unique conscious beings and develops an an axiological ethics in three value dimensions. It explores the search for a logical calculus of value, and it introduces applications of axiology to psychology, religion, aesthetics, and business. It is critical of Hartman's shortcomings,, builds upon his strengths, and extends his theory of value where it is incomplete. (shrink)
Most process theologians have rejected the creation of the world out of nothing, holding that our universe was created out of some antecedent universe. This article shows how on process grounds, and with faithfulness to much of what Whitehead had to say, process theologians can and should affirm the creation of our universe out of nothing. Standard process objections to this are refuted.
Tom Regan's seafaring dog that is justifiably thrown out of the lifeboat built for four to save the lives of four humans has been the topic of much discussion. Critics have argued in a variety of ways that this dog nips at Regan's Achilles heel. Without reviewing previous discussions, with much of which I certainly agree, this article develops an unexplored approach to exposing the vulnerability of the position that Regan takes on sacrificing the dog to save the humans. It (...) argues that when dealing with the seafaring dog, Regan abandons his own principles, and that this is exactly what he should do. Regan should abandon his view that all subjects-of-a-life have equal inherent worth. (shrink)
The book is written by members of the R.S. Hartman Institute for Formal and Applied Axiology to explain the significant advances which Hartman made in theoretical and applied axiology, to forge ahead where he left problems unsolved, and to develop applications of his theory of value in business, investments, psychology, education, ethics, cross cultural studies, and theology. Contents: Part I. Axiological Theory; Part II Applications of Axiology.
This book critically explores answers to the big question, What produced our universe around fifteen billion years ago in a Big Bang? It critiques contemporary atheistic cosmologies, including Steady State, Oscillationism, Big Fizz, Big Divide, and Big Accident, that affirm the eternity and self-sufficiency of the universe without God. This study defends and revises Process Theology and arguments for God's existence from the universe's life-supporting order and contingent existence.
This book features two old philosophical friends engaged in lively personal and intellectual conversations. Wary of any dogmatism, their dialogues explore the Big Bang and the joy of grandchildren, value theory and terrorism, God and art, metaphor and meaning, while assessing the thought of Robert S. Hartman, Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, H. Richard Niebuhr, and others.
Today's conflicts between religions are grounded largely in historical injustices and grievances but partly in serious conceptual disagreements. This essay agrees with Miroslav Volf that a nontritheistic Christian account of the Trinity is highly desirable. Three traditional models of the Trinity are examined. In their pure, unmixed form, two of them should logically be acceptable to Jews, Muslims, and strict monotheists who regard Christianity as inherently tritheistic, despite lip service to one God. In the social model, three distinct self-aware subjects (...) are unified by being in perfect harmony with each other. Despite Volf's best defense of this, to conceive of three gods, this is how one would go about it. In the psychological model, one divine subject has three psychological capacities—memory, understanding, and will. In the functional model, one subject relates to the world in three different ways—as creator, redeemer, and companion. These two are genuinely monotheistic. Finally, a monotheistic account of the unity of Jesus with God is proposed for consideration. (shrink)
Conservative opponents of abortion hold that from the moment of conception, developing fetuses have (or may have) full humanity or personhood that gives them a moral standing equal to that of postnatal human beings. To have moral standing is to be a recognized member of the human moral community, perhaps having moral duties to others or rights against them, at least as being the recipient of duties owed by others. Conservatives give neo-conceptuses full moral standing, including a right to life (...) that is equal to adults. They sincerely equate feticidal abortions with murder. This article presents both legal and philosophical considerations that count strongly against this conservative position. (shrink)
A typical dispute between a libertarian and a determinist will usually involve some reference to ‘self-determination’. The libertarian will perhaps claim that I am free when I am not determined in my choices by anything outside myself but instead determine my choices ‘myself’. To this the determinist is likely to reply that ‘self-determination’ is determination all the same and that he cannot see how the freedom of choice defended by the libertarian is an exception to determinism. This is where the (...) discussion usually ends in frustration. The belief may persist that something is being disputed, but no one is very sure what that thing is. From the frequency that the term ‘self-determination’ appears in discussions of freedom, it might be gathered that the notion is one of primary importance. Unfortunately, in spite of its centrality, the meaning of the term is often left extremely vague. Nevertheless, underlying every appearance of the term is a special theory of some kind about the nature of the self, and where there is no such theory the term is probably used without any meaning at all. (shrink)
This article argues that not all arguments from parts to wholes commit the informal logical fallacy of composition,and especially not the cosmological argument for God which moves from the contingent existence of all the parts of the cosmos to the contingent existence of the whole.
This article examines the process theodicies of David Ray Griffin and Philip Clayton. It explains their differences on such issues as God’s primordial power and voluntary self-limitation, creativity as an independent metaphysical principle that limits God, creation out of nothing or out of chaos, and God’s voluntary causal naturalism. Difficulties with their positions are discussed. The Clayton-Knapp “no-not-once” principle is explained, and a more comprehensive process theodicy is outlined.
These two remarkable books, both published in 2010, share many themes but differ in significant ways, and each is very much worth reading and pondering. Oord’s The Nature of Love concentrates primarily on conceptual and theological themes relating to the very nature of love itself and what influential theologians have had to say about love. His Defining Love focuses on how the social and physical sciences impact our understanding of human and divine love. Both books presuppose and express many themes (...) that are prominent in process theology such as: freedom is universally present (by degrees) in all creatures, especially us; predestination is abhorrent and untenable; God exists necessarily and everlastingly but not .. (shrink)
Formal Axiology and Its Critics consists of two parts, both of which present criticisms of the formal theory of values developed by Robert S. Hartman, replies to these criticisms, plus a short introduction to formal axiology.Part I consists of articles published or made public during the lifetime of Hartman to which he personally replied. It contains previously published replies to Hector Neri Castañeda, William Eckhardt, and Robert S. Brumbaugh, and previously unpublished replies to Charles Hartshorne, Rem B. Edwards, Robert E. (...) Carter, G.R. Grice, Nicholas Rescher, Robert W. Mueller, Gordon Welty, Pete Gunter, and George K. Plochmann in an unfinished but now completed article on which Hartman was working at the time of his death in 1973.Part II consists of articles presented at recent annual meetings of the R.S. Hartman Institute for Formal and Applied Axiology that continue to criticize and further develop Hartman's formal axiology. An article by Rem B. Edwards raises serious unanswered questions about formal axiology and ethics. Another by Frank G. Forrest shows how the formal value calculus based on set theory might answer these questions, and an article by Mark A. Moore points out weaknesses in the Hartman/Forrest value calculus and develops an alternative calculus based upon the mathematics of quantum mechanics. While recognizing that unsolved problems remain, the book intends to make the theoretical foundations and future promise of formal axiology much more secure. (shrink)
This article defends Marjorie Suchocki’s position against two main objections raised by David E. Conner. Conner objects that God as a single actual entity must be temporal because there is succession in God’s experience ofthe world. The reply is that time involves at least two successive occasions separated by perishing, but in God nothing ever perishes. Conner also objects that Suchocki’s personalistic process theism is not experiential but is instead theoretical and not definitive. The reply is that his dismissal of (...) Part V of PR is arbitrary, the interpretation of all experience is theoretical, and no metaphysical interpretations are absolutely definitive, including PR as a whole. Also, Conner ignores religious experience. (shrink)
This article argues that actual entities come first; the statistical laws of nature are their effects, not their causes. Statistical laws are mentally abstracted from their habits and are only formal, not efficient, causes. They do not make anything happen or prevent anything from happening. They evolve or change as the habits of novel creatures evolve or change. They do not control or inform us about what any individual entity is doing, only about what masses of individuals on average are (...) doing. Thus, there is no way that traditional divine miracles could “violate” them. God has sufficient efficient-causal power to create our world ex nihilo, as in the Big Bang, and to prevent evils, which God does not do from love, justice, and moral goodness. Seven elements of a viable theodicy are outlined, the most important of which is divine justice. It would be unjust for God to prevent harms in some cases but not in all. In a universe in which God prevents all evils and thus directly controls everything, no creatures would take any responsibility for what they do. A loving and just God voluntarily and consistently limits the exercise of divine power so we can be free, responsible, and creative. (shrink)
This article explores a form of ethics and spirituality based on the nearly universal but often undeveloped human capacity for identifying self with others and with non-personal values. It begins with commonplace non-moral identification experiences, then describes identification with others in ethical and spiritual unions. Freud’s psychological emphasis on identification is linked with ethics and spirituality, though Freud would have objected. Robert S. Hartman’s three kinds of goodness—systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic—are applied to abundant ethical and spiritual living through identification. Intrinsic (...) identification with intrinsic values is the highest moral ideal; intrinsic identification with ultimate reality and with goodness in all its forms is the highest spiritual ideal. (shrink)