Revelation, or the view that the essence of phenomenal properties is presented to us, is as intuitively attractive as it is controversial. It is notably at the core of defences of anti-physicalism. I propose in this paper a new argument against Revelation. It is usually accepted that low-level sensory phenomenal properties, like phenomenal red, loudness or brightness, stand in relation of similarity and quantity. Furthermore, these similarity and quantitative relations are taken to be internal, that is, to be (...) fixed by what their relata are. I argue that, under some plausible additional premises, no account of what grounds these relations in the essence of their relata is consistent with Revelation, at least if we take common phenomenological descriptions for granted. As a result, the plausibility of Revelation is undermined. One might however resist this conclusion by weakening the epistemic relation postulated between subjects and their phenomenal properties. (shrink)
According to naïve realist (or primitivist) theories of colour, colours are sui generis mind-independent properties. The question that I consider in this paper is the relationship of naïve realism to what Mark Johnston calls Revelation, the thesis that the essential nature of colour is fully revealed in a standard visual experience. In the first part of the paper, I argue that if naïve realism is true, then Revelation is false. In the second part of the paper, I defend (...) naïve realism against a number of objections. (shrink)
Revelation is the thesis that having an experience that instantiates some phenomenal property puts us in a position to know the nature or essence of that property. It is widely held that although Revelation is prima facie plausible, it is inconsistent with physicalism, and, in particular, with the claim that phenomenal properties are physical properties. I outline the standard argument for the incompatibility of Revelation and physicalism and compare it with the Knowledge Argument. By doing so, I (...) hope to show that on various plausible interpretations of Revelation it is in fact consistent with physicalism. Moreover, there is a robust reading of Revelation that a posteriori physicalists can, and should, accept. (shrink)
It is usually agreed that the Revelation Thesis about experience – the idea that the knowledge we gain by having an experience somehow “reveals” the essence, or nature, of this experience – only requires that we know the essence of the experience, not that we know, of this essence, that it is the essence of the experience. I contest this agreement. In the light of what I call the “Essentiality of Essence Principle”– the principle that whatever is in the (...) essence of something is also essentially so – I argue that the Revelation Thesis does require that we know, of the essence of an experience, that it is the essence of the experience, and draw some conclusions about the plausibility of that thesis. (shrink)
Revelation is roughly the thesis that we have introspective access to the essential nature of our conscious states. This thesis is appealed to in arguments against physicalism. Little attention has been given to the problem that Revelation is a source of pressure in the direction of epiphenomenalism, as introspection does not seem to reveal our conscious states as being essentially causal. I critique Hedda Hassel Mørch’s ‘phenomenal powers view’ response to this difficulty, before defending a form of the (...) ‘consciousness+’ response. (shrink)
The great religions often claim that their books or creeds contain truths revealed by God. How could we know that they do? In the second edition of Revelation, renowned philosopher of religion Richard Swinburne addresses this central question. But since the books of great religions often contain much poetry and parable, Swinburne begins by investigating how eternal truth can be conveyed in unfamiliar genres, by analogy and metaphor, within false presuppositions about science and history. In the final part of (...) the book, Swinburne then applies the results of Parts I and II to assessing the evidence that the teaching of the Christian Church constitutes a revelation from God. -/- In the course of his philosophical exploration, Swinburne considers how the church which Jesus founded is to be identified today and presents a sustained discussion of which passages in the Bible should be understood literally and which should be understood metaphorically. -/- This is a fuller and entirely rewritten second edition of Revelation, the most notable new feature of which is a long chapter examining whether traditional Christian claims about personal morality (divorce, homosexuality, abortion, etc.) can be regarded as revealed truths. A formal appendix shows how the structure of evidence supporting the Christian revelation can be articulated in terms of the probability calculus (and shows that Plantinga's well-known argument from 'dwindling probabilities' against probabilistic arguments of this kind is not cogent). (shrink)
This article examines Kant’s and Marx’s analysis of religion in its relation to human emancipation. It highlights some important affinities in their accounts of human nature and their critique of religious authority including: the emphasis on freedom as distinguishing human beings from other species, the relation between moral and political progress, the critique of revealed religion, the role of political community and the importance of ethical community to achieve moral emancipation.
This paper defends the view that philosophical propositions are merely relatively true, i.e. true relative to a doxastic perspective defined at least in part by a non-inferential belief-acquiring method. Here is the strategy: first, the primary way that contemporary philosophers defend their views is through the use of rational intuition, and this method delivers non-inferential, basic beliefs which are then systematized and brought into reflective equilibrium. Second, Christian theologians use exactly the same methodology, only replacing intuition with revelation. Third, (...) intuition and revelation yield frequently inconsistent output beliefs. Fourth, there is no defensible reason to prefer the dictates of intuition to those of Christian revelation. Fifth, the resulting dilemma means that there are true philosophical propositions, but we can't know them (scepticism), or there are no philosophical propositions and the naturalists are right (nihilism), or relativism is true. I suggest that relativism is the most palatable of these alternatives. (shrink)
Revelation and the God of Israel explores the concept of revelation as it emerges from the Hebrew Scriptures and is interpreted in Jewish philosophy and theology. The first part is a study in intellectual history that attempts to answer the question, what is the best possible understanding of revelation. The second part is a study in constructive theology and attempts to answer the question, is it reasonable to affirm belief in revelation. Here Norbert M. Samuelson focuses (...) on the challenges given from a variety of contemporary academic disciplines, including evolutionary psychology, political ethics, analytic philosophy of religion, and source critical studies of the Bible. This important book offers a unique approach to theological questions and fresh solutions to them and will appeal to those interested in the history of philosophy, religious thought, and Judaism. (shrink)
Divine revelation is a topical subject, given the many claims to revelation in the modern world. This article looks at recent discussion within the analytic tradition of philosophy which particularly relates to how to evaluate claims about divine revelation. The subjects covered are: defining divine revelation; direct cognition of God; evidence‐based approaches; divine testimony; conversion and faith; competing claims about divine revelation. Brief comments are then made on some related areas.
This article considers the concepts of revelation and inspiration. The two notions are distinct but closely connected in Christian theology; they come together preeminently in discussions of the Bible. The purpose of revelation is to bring it about that humans come into a personal relationship with God, one that involves freely chosen love as well as worship and obedience. Inspiration is that influence of the Holy Spirit on the writing of the Bible which ensures that the words of (...) its various texts are appropriate both for the role which they play in Scripture and for the overall salvific purpose of Scripture itself. In other words, working in conjunction with the human author, God ensures that the words written are revelatory and fit God's purposes. Because of inspiration, God speaks to us in the Bible. Scripture is not just a record of revelation; it in itself is revelatory. (shrink)
Russell and others have argued that the real nature of colour is transparentto us in colour vision. It's nature is fully revealed to us and no further knowledgeis theoretically possible. This is the doctrine of revelation. Two-dimensionalFourier analyses of coloured checkerboards have shown that apparently simple,monadic, colours can be based on quite different physical mechanisms. Experimentswith the McCollough effect on different types of checkerboards have shown thatidentical colours can have energy at the quite different orientations of Fourierharmonic components but (...) no energy at the edges of the checkerboards, thusrefuting revelation. It is concluded that this effect is not explained by a superveniencedispositional account of colour as proposed by McGinn . It was argued that theMcCollough effect in checkerboards was an example of a local mind/body reduction, by which the different characteristics of identical colours falsifies revelation. This reduction being based on both physical and neurological mechanisms led to a clear explanation of the perceive phenomenal effects and thus laid a small bridge over the explanatory gap. (shrink)
A traditional explanation that dates back to Aristotle is that we access color in one perceptual modality only, whereas shape we perceive via two different modalities: visual and tactile. Two independent modalities make possible a verification of our percepts which is not possible for qualities accessed in one modality only.
What distinguishes theology from the other uses of language? Is theology a specific language, or is it a specific situation of language, a specific way to consider language? I start with the issue of language’s inadequacy before divine revelation. By analyzing the variety of answers to this inopia verborum, I show that the theological inadequacy of language is not conceptual, but formal: it concerns the metalinguistic definition of inadequacy. Then, I formalize the relationship between metalanguage and object language, and (...) I argue that theology applies precisely to this formal relationship. From this, I deduce that the function of theology is to question the need for metalinguistic foundation and validation—given that this need characterizes human language, that is, what is not divine revelation. I end with two applications: on one hand, to the axiomatization of theology; on the other hand, to the methodology for inter-religious dialogue. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that much can be gained for the analysis and evaluation of arguing when fallacies are not, or not only, conceived of as flawed premiseâconclusion complexes but rather as argumentative moves which distort harmfully an interaction aiming at resolving communication problems argumentatively. Starting from Normative Pragmatics and the pragma-dialectical concept of fallacy, a case study is presented to illustrate a fallacy which is termed the 'revelation argument' because it is characterized by an interactor's revealing (...) her thoughts and/or emotions to the addressees and claiming that these would have justificatory or refutatory potential with respect to the problem discussed. Although the revelation argument may not be a paradigm case of resolution- hindering moves, it is an extreme case of flawed reasoning that illustrates plainly the advantages of a communicational perspective on arguing and fallacies. (shrink)
What knowledge of the colors does perception of the colors provide? My first aim in this essay is to characterize the way in which color experience seems to provide knowledge of colors. This in turn tells us something about what it takes for there to be colors. Color experience provides knowledge of the aspect of the world that is being acted on when we, or some external force, act on the color of an object and thus make a difference to (...) the experiences of people looking at it. It is in this sense that the nature of the colors is transparent to us. For there to be colors is for there to be the qualitative categorical properties that we encounter in perception, action on which affects the color experiences of observers. This line of thought contrasts with the idea that color experience reveals the colors to us, in the sense that it provides knowledge of a number of necessary truths about the colors. In a recent paper, Alex Byrne and David Hilbert provide a careful exposition and critique of this way of developing the idea of color experience as revelatory of the colors. In this paper my main aim is simply to contrast the idea that experience makes the colors transparent to us, with the idea that color experience provides us with knowledge of truths relating to the essences of the colors. (shrink)
There is a strong claim that the world’s createdness, if true, cannot be known but through revelation. In this paper we try to dismiss this claim by arguing that creation cannot be merely a revealed truth (revelabile tantum), since it is on the contrary the very preamble to any genuine revelation. Ontologically, no revelation can happen in a self-existent world. No creation, no revelation. Epistemically, no revelation is to be admitted but on the assumption that (...) the world depends, for its existence and operation, on a supernatural agent. No admittance of creative power, no justified identification of any revelatory activity. (shrink)
In the philosophy of mind, revelation is the claim that the nature of qualia is revealed in phenomenal experience. In the literature, revelation is often thought of as intuitive but in tension with physicalism. While mentions of revelation are frequent, there is room for further discussion of how precisely to formulate the thesis of revelation and what it exactly amounts to. Drawing on the work of David Lewis, this paper provides a detailed discussion on how the (...) thesis of revelation, as well as its incompatibility with physicalism, is to be understood. (shrink)
"This is an excellent work that will lay just claim to being a major treatment of the most significant themes in the work of Leo Strauss. Sorensen's persuasive and original linking of Strauss's critical study of Machiavelli with Strauss on reason/revelation illuminates a new dimension of the philosopher's thought." —Walter Nicgorski, University of Notre Dame Leo Strauss has perhaps been more cited—and alternately vilified or revered—in the last ten years than during the productive years of his scholarly life. He (...) has been blamed for providing the intellectual underpinnings of a generation of neoconservatives in political philosophy and foreign policy. But though he may be cast as a conservative thinker who critiques modernity, to interpret him exclusively in this light is to reduce him in ways that his self-definition, as a political theorist open to both religion and philosophy, does not justify. Kim A. Sorensen clearly lays out the debate surrounding Strauss by reviewing his published work and legacy since his death in 1973. He then turns to a key distinction in Strauss's thought—between revelation and reason, or religion and philosophy—and maintains that Strauss used their mutual opposition to modernity as a central theme in his _oeuvre._ For Sorensen, Strauss considered revelation and reason both as fundamentally different worldviews and as alternate ways of understanding the good life. Sorensen explores Strauss's views on the revelation/reason distinction through a close examination of the final chapter in Strauss's _Thoughts on Machiavelli._ Here Strauss weighs Machiavelli's critique of religion in general and Christianity in particular, and Machiavelli's departure from the classical tradition of political philosophy dating from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. For Strauss, the "crisis of our time" has its point of origin in Machiavelli's rejection of both biblical and classical morality as guides to the efficacy of political virtue. For Strauss, Sorensen claims, a recovery of the ancient virtues of classical political philosophy is essential. Sorensen also shows that while Strauss is accepting of reason, he is also open to revelation. In the end, he is a philosopher both of Athens and of Jerusalem. (shrink)
This article aims at a constructive and argumentative engagement between the cognitive science of religion (CSR) and philosophical and theological reflection on the imago Dei. The Swiss theologian Emil Brunner argued that the theological notion that humans were created in the image of God entails that there is a “point of contact” for revelation to occur. This article argues that Brunner's notion resonates quite strongly with the findings of the CSR. The first part will give a short overview of (...) the CSR. The second part deals with Brunner's idea of the imago Dei and the “point of contact.” The third and final part of the article outlines a model of revelation that is in line with Brunner's thought and the CSR. The aim of this article is to show how the naturalistic methodology of the CSR provides a fertile new perspective on several theological issues and thereby enriches theological reflection. (shrink)
This paper explores the significance of authority for Kant’s understanding of the relationship between reason and revelation. Beginning with the separation of the faculties of Theology and Philosophy in Conflict, it will be shown that Kant sees a clear distinction between the authority of reason and that of revelation. However, when one turns to Religion, it is also clear that Kant sees an important, perhaps necessary, relationship between the two. Drawing on a variety of texts, in particular those (...) concerning the public and private use of reason, this paper then explores the relationship between the authority of reason and that of revelation. From this discussion, several conclusions will be drawn regarding Kant’s understanding of the relationship between reason and revelation, namely that while distinct, the two are not necessarily in conflict and that, ultimately, the proper functioning of public reason must include some reference to revelation. (shrink)
In this paper, the author argues that the revelatory form Parmenides gives his poem poses considerable problems for the account of being contained therein. The poem moves through a series of problems, each building on the last: the problem of particularity, the cause of human wandering that the goddess would have us ascend beyond ; the problem of speech, whose heterogeneity evinces its tie to experience’s particularity ; the problem of justice, which motivates man’s ascent from his “insecure” place in (...) being, only ultimately to undermine it ; and finally the question of the good, the necessary consequence of man’s place in being as being out-of-place in being. What emerges is a Socratic reading of Parmenides’s poem, a view that Plato appears to have shared by using Parmenides and his Eleatic stranger to frame the bulk of Socrates’s philosophic activity. (shrink)
Revelation, the thesis that the full intrinsic nature of colors is revealed to us by color experiences, is false in Byrne & Hilbert's (B&H's) view, but in an interesting and nonobvious way. I show what would make Revelation true, given B&H's account of colors, and then show why that situation fails to obtain, and why that is interesting.
This essay seeks to articulate the many implications which Giorgio Agamben's work holds for theology. It aims, therefore, to examine his conceptualizations of language in light of particular historical glosses on the “name of God” and the nature of the “mystical,” as well as to highlight the political task of profanation, one of his most central concepts, in relation to the logos said to embody humanity's “religious” quest to find its Voice. As such, we see how he challenges those standard (...) notions of transcendence which have been consistently aligned with various historical forms of sovereignty. In addition, I intend to present his redefinition of revelation as solely the unveiling of the “name of God” as the fact of our linguistic being, a movement from the transcendent divine realm to the merely human world before us. By proceeding in this manner, this essay tries to close in on one of the largest theological implications contained within Agamben's work: the establishment of an ontology that could only be described as a form of “absolute” immanence, an espousal of some form of pantheism yet to be more fully pronounced within his writings. (shrink)
Tradition and revelation are often seen as opposites: tradition is viewed as being secondary and reactionary to revelation which is a one-off gift from God. Drawing on examples from Christian history, Judaism, Islam, and the classical world, this book challenges these definitions and presents a controversial examination of the effect history and cultural development has on religious belief: its narratives and art. David Brown pays close attention to the nature of the relationship between historical and imaginative truth, and (...) focuses on the way stories from the Bible have not stood still but are subject to imaginative 'rewriting'. This rewriting is explained as a natural consequence of the interaction between religion and history: God speaks to humanity through the imagination, and human imagination is influenced by historical context. It is the imagination that ensures that religion continues to develop in new and challenging ways. (shrink)
There has been a shift from teaching to learning, the so-called process of ‘learnification’, which promotes the idea that teaching should be primarily concerned with the creation of rich learning environments and scaffolding student learning. In doing so, this process of ‘learnification’ has also attacked the idea that teachers have something to teach and that students have something to learn from their teachers. The influence of constructivism, and thinkers like Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner in this paradigm shift is quite evident; (...) however, this gives rise to a tension in what a teacher is and what teaching entails, because the teacher, by definition, is someone who has something to teach students, and not merely a facilitator of the learning process. Moreover, because of constructivism and ‘learnification’, current educational practices and policies seem to pay little attention to the importance of ‘relations’ and ‘the encounter with the Other’, which become merely desirable by-products. In this article I criticise constructivism and ‘learnification’ by proposing that the teacher is a community ‘builder’ and teaching a ‘situational revelation’, while also emphasising the importance of ‘relations’ in the educational process. The starting point for my discussion is a much neglected passage of I and Thou where Martin Buber discusses the importance of the ‘living centre’ [lebendigen Mitte] for ‘true community’ [Die wahre Gemeinde] formation. (shrink)
In Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation,1 William Abraham offers a rich, subtle defense of an epistemology of divine revelation. While I believe there is much about Abraham’s work that is commendable, my remarks in this paper will be primarily critical. But the fact that Abraham’s work is worthy of critical comment should be evidence enough of the importance of Abraham’s book. My focus here will be on a cluster of metaepistemological claims made by Abraham. Specifically, I will (...) argue that Abraham’s remarks about epistemic fit and the epistemic standards we bring to bear in making evaluations of divine revelation claims commit him to a species of epistemic relativism. This may not be a problem. I am not interested in offering an argument against epistemic relativism.2 I suspect, however, that Abraham does not think of himself as an epistemic relativist.3 If this is the case, then I believe Abraham needs to rethink his metaepistemological commitments that imply epistemic relativism. (shrink)