We present a Reformed view on the relation between Christianity and non-Christian religions. We then explore what this view entails for the question whether Christians and non-Christian religious believers refer to, believe in, and worship the same God. We first analyze the concepts of worship, belief-in, and reference, as well as their interrelations. We then argue that adherents of the Abrahamic religions plausibly refer to the same God, whereas adherents of non-Abrahamic religions do not refer to this God. Nonetheless, it (...) would be wrong to say that adherents of all Abrahamic religions believe in and worship the same God. (shrink)
It has recently been argued that the following Rule should be part of any characterization of science: Claims concerning specific disputed facts should be endorsed only if they are sufficiently supported by the application of validated methods of research or discovery, and moreover that acceptance of this Rule should lead one to reject religious belief. This paper argues, first, that the Rule, as stated, should not be accepted as it suffers from a number of problems. And second, that even if (...) the Rule were to be acceptable, it should not lead one to reject religious belief. (shrink)
Degree-sentences, i.e. sentences that seem to refer to things that allow of degrees, are widely used both inside and outside of philosophy, even though the metaphysics of degrees is much of an untrodden field. This paper aims to fill this lacuna by addressing the following four questions: [A] Is there some one thing, such that it is degree sensitive? [B] Are there things x, y, and z that stand in a certain relation to each other, viz. the relation that x (...) has more y than z? [C] In those cases in which degree sentences do not refer to phenomena that are degree sensitive, what is responsible for their prima facie seeming to do so? [D] If there are degree sensitive things, to which ontological categories do they belong? We answer each of these questions by arguing that there are, metaphysically speaking, different phenomena that degree sentences refer to: some refer to determinates that emanate from a certain determinable, others to tokens that are instantiations of a certain type, and yet others to what we call ‘complex, resultant properties that are constituted by stereotypical properties’. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 69 - 90 It is often claimed that, as a result of scientific progress, we now _know_ that the natural world displays no design. Although we have no interest in defending design hypotheses, we will argue that establishing claims to the effect that we know the denials of design hypotheses is more difficult than it seems. We do so by issuing two skeptical challenges to design-deniers. The first challenge draws inspiration from radical skepticism (...) and shows how design claims are at least as compelling as radical skeptical scenarios in undermining knowledge claims, and in fact probably more so. The second challenge takes its cue from skeptical theism and shows how we are typically not in an epistemic position to rule out design. (shrink)
This paper argues that next to the now widely recognized ‘externalist’ elements, Reid’s thought about belief with positive epistemic status contains a number of so-far unrecognized ‘internalist’ features. This claim is substantiated by (1) identifying a number of conditions that Reid holds beliefs of various sorts must satisfy if they are to have positive epistemic status, and by (2) arguing that, for Reid, many of these conditions are internal conditions. The conclusion is that the externalist and internalist elements in Reid (...) form a coherent whole and that his position can, with some qualification, be classified as the conjunction of weak externalism and weak internalism. (shrink)
Contextualists explain certain intuitions regarding knowledge ascriptions by means of the thesis that 'knowledge' behaves like an indexical. This explanation denies what Peter Unger has called invariantism, i.e., the idea that knowledge ascriptions have truth value independent of the context in which they are issued. This paper aims to provide an invariantist explanation of the contextualist's intuitions, the core of which is that 'knowledge' has many different senses.
Contrastivism is the claim that the knowledge relation is ternary, it relates three relata: a subject, a proposition, and a class of contrastive propositions. The present paper is a discussion of Jonathan Schaffer's arguments in favour of contrastivism. The case is made that these are unconvincing: the traditional binary account of knowledge can handle the phenomena that ternarity is claimed to handle in a superior way.
At the same time new versions of foundationalism were crafted, that were claimed to be immune to the earlier criticisms. This volume contains 12 papers in which various aspects of this dialectic are covered.
Widely acknowledged as the principal architect of Scottish common sense philosophy, Thomas Reid is increasingly recognized today as one of the finest philosophers of the eighteenth century. Combining a sophisticated response to the skeptical and idealist views of his day, Reid's thought stands as an important alternative to Humean skepticism, Kantian idealism and Cartesian rationalism. This volume is the first comprehensive overview of Reid's output and covers not only his philosophy in detail, but also his scientific work and his extensive (...) historical influence. (shrink)
Various tests have been proposed as helps to identify intrinsic properties. This paper compares three prominent tests and shows that they fail to pass adequate verdicts on a set of three properties. The paper examines whether improved versions of the tests can reduce or remove these negative outcomes. We reach the sceptical conclusion that whereas some of the tests must be discarded as inadequate because they don’t yield definite results, the remaining tests depend for their application on the details of (...) fundamental particle physics so much so that they cannot be relied upon. (shrink)
This paper deals with the manifold relations that exist between 'reason' and Christian belief. The plurality of relations is due to the fact that 'reason' can refer to a certain cognitive faculty, a norm, as well as to 'the scientific enterprise'. The author makes three claims in this paper. 1) Even though Christian belief is not, for the most part, a product of the faculty of reason, it does not conflict with the products of reason. 2) Christian belief does not (...) violate norms of reasonable belief. 3) There is no conflict between what science tells us about the history of the cosmos and the evolution of life on Earth, on the one hand, and the Christian doctrine of creation, on the other. (shrink)
This article is a discussion of Hume's maxim Nothing we imagine is absolutely impossible. First I explain this maxim and distinguish it from the principle Whatever cannot be imagined (conceived), is impossible. Next I argue that Thomas Reid's criticism of the maxim fails and that the arguments by Tamar Szábo Gendler and John Hawthorne for the claim that "it is uncontroversial that there are cases where we are misled" by the maxim are unconvincing. Finally I state the limited but real (...) value of the maxim: it does help us, in certain cases, reliably to make up our minds. Along the way I show that Reid, his criticism of the maxim notwithstanding, actually employs it, and I furthermore argue that the principle What is inconceivable, is impossible is spurious. (shrink)
This paper aims to throw light on what predicative expressions like "is a truth," where an adjective is inserted on the line, mean. It aims to do so by unearthing a framework that specifies various items that can be qualified by the adjectives, as well as various ways in which the adjectives perform their qualifying function. This framework forms the background against which, in the second half of this paper, the meaning of "is a relative truth" and "is an absolute (...) truth" are studied. This paper, then, studies what alethic adjectives mean and how they work. (shrink)
‘Modal aspect’ is a central notion in so-called ‘Calvinistic Philosophy’ . To be sure, this is true of only one of its versions, namely Dooyeweerd’s. For Vollenhoven’s systematic philosophy, which of course may also lay claim on the title CP, has no use for it. In his version pride of place is given to the notion of ‘function’. This paper is a meditation on the question what ‘aspects’ and ‘functions’, within the bounds of CP, are supposed to be. Doing so (...) will shed, I hope, at least some light on the question which, if any, of the two is the more intelligible and useful notion. Right at the beginning I should like to make it clear that this paper is narrowly focussed on the indicated questions. My aim is not to discuss any theory about modal aspects, such as Dooyeweerd’s theory that modal aspects are refractions in time of something supra temporal, or his theory that there is an Archimedian Point from which human beings can overlook the various modal aspects. Nor will I discuss any theory about functions. The indicated questions seek to establish what the phenomena are that such theories are about. This paper is also narrowly focussed in that whatever differences may turn out to exist in the course of this meditation between Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd, it will not discuss them in any depth. A serious discussion of these differences will have to take into account the theories that I propose presently not to deal with. Let me now turn to the first question. (shrink)
Ever since at least Aristotle, it has been widely recognized that a theory of responsibility must allow for the fact that in certain conditions agents are excused for not doing what they ought to do —and accordingly that they cannot be held responsible for what they did not, or did, do. In such conditions they are not appropriate candidates for one of what Strawson has called the "reactive attitudes" such as resentment, contempt, gratitude, and affection. Let us call such conditions (...) excusing conditions. The main aim of this paper is to show that the very same conditions that can excuse agents for not doing what they ought to do , also can excuse them for having false beliefs. As an afterthought it is suggested that this is a reason for thinking that humans can sometimes be held responsible for what they believe. (shrink)
De apostel Paulus spreekt in één van zijn brieven over ‘de verduistering van het verstand’ — een verduistering die het gevolg is van zonde.1 In het werk van een groot aantal filosofen uit de westerse filosofische traditie heeft dit woord van Paulus op een of andere wijze weerklank gevonden. Bij Augustinus, Anselmus, Thomas van Aquino, Jonathan Edwards, Kierkegaard, John Henry Newman en Franz von Baader bijvoorbeeld, en in ons land bij Abraham Kuyper en Herman Dooyeweerd, vindt men reflecties over de (...) noëtische gevolgen van de zonde.2 Deze denkers hebben de noëtische doorwerking van de zonde onder meer aangewezen in de volgende verschijnselen: dat mensen allerlei onware gedachten hebben dat onze kenvermogens lang niet altijd naar behoren functioneren, zoals onder andere blijkt uit geheugenzwakte, misperceptie en foutief redeneren dat mensen het vaak onderling oneens zijn. (shrink)
Een van de meest opwindende ontwikkelingen in de Engelstalig filosofische wereld van de laatste decennia is vermoedelijk wel de herleving van de godsdienstfilosofie. Deze leek begraven omdat de godsdienst zelf, m.n. het Christendom, begraven leek onder een vracht van beschuldigingen, zoals de neopositivistische negatie van de zinnigheid van godsdienstige taal; of Sartre’s stelling dat de godsdienst de mens van zijn authenticiteit berooft; of de Freudiaanse gedachte dat godsdienst een neurose is; of de Marxistische mening dat de godsdienst de mens vervreemdt (...) van de maatschappelijke erkelijkheid. Voorzover godsdienstfilosofie — laten we zeggen tot in de zestiger jaren — mogelijk leek en werkelijkheid was, dan voornamelijk als godsdienstkritiek. (shrink)
This paper argues for the claim that belief is involuntary. Evidence in favour of it comes from various thought experiments. However, other thought experiments might be taken to indicate that belief is not involuntary (thought experiments regarding such policies as the policy to consider only evidence in favour of a claim and to neglect contrary evidence, or the policy to join a group of believers in a claim, or the policy to apply some form of self-suggestion). It is argued that (...) none of these thought experiments should lead one to reject the main claim of this paper. Some evidence from empirical psychology, viz. the evidence in favour of the phenomenon of “motivated reasoning”, may be thought to undermine some of my arguments in favour of the claim that belief is involuntary. It is argued that this is not the case. Some other type of evidence from psychology, viz. the evidence related to the unconscious, by contrast, may be thought to support the claim that belief is involuntary. It is argued that this is only partially so. (shrink)
It is part and parcel of the traditional understanding of the christian faith that without the obtaining of some facts, especially the facts consisting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation. This paper seeks to defend the traditional understanding of these facts against various criticisms. The first section is a discussion of the notion of ‘facts’; it is argued that there are different kinds of facts, historical facts, geographical facts, but also moral and mathematical (...) facts. It is furthermore argued that the facts that indicate and constitute salvation are of the historical variety. The second section criticizes the idea that what the gospels tell us, is ‘true but did not really happen’. The main point is that such an approach, wrongly, implies that the reading of biblical texts as such has salvivic power, and underestimates the problem of sin. Many facts that indicate and/or constitute salvation, are miracles. The third section seeks to show that the arguments against miracles are by no means as powerful as many think they are. The most important evidence for the occurrence of miracles is the biblical records. Many biblical scholars, however, have argued that the bible is an all but reliable source of historical information. The final section addresses the question what weight the lay person should attach to critical biblical scholarship. It is argued that, given the fact that those who are supposed to be ‘experts’ in this field vehemently disagree among themselves as to the results of their scholarship, it should have very little. (shrink)
This paper discusses some arguments against some traditional 'proofs of God's existence'. First it is argued that it is not obvious that these arguments are fallacious. Secondly, I try to articulate why so many Protestant thinkers maintained a hostile attitude toward the traditional proofs. I argue that their attitude was shaped by the conviction that belief in God is epistemically justified even when it is not based on argument or proof. I reconstruct Bavinck's treatment of the traditional proofs as a (...) rejection of what has come to be called 'classical foundationalism'. Lastly I try to show that even though Protestant thinkers were right in claiming that one does not need any of the traditional arguments in order to be epistemically justified in believing that God exists, this does not imply that such arguments are without any value. (shrink)