Discussions of whistleblowing and employee loyalty usually assume either that the concept of loyalty is irrelevant to the issue or, more commonly, that whistleblowing involves a moral choice in which the loyalty that an employee owes an employer comes to be pitted against the employee''s responsibility to serve public interest. I argue that both these views are mistaken and propose a third view which sees whistleblowing as entirely compatible with employee loyalty.
The Legitimacy of Miracle defends the view that miracles, in the strong sense of being events produced by a supernatural agent overriding the usual course of nature, can take place without violating any laws of nature. This means that the evidence for miracles cannot be judged to be in conflict with the evidence for the laws of nature; the result being that Humean objections to the rationality of belief in miracles fail.
The first is that a miracle, understood as an event produced by a transcendent agent overriding the usual course of nature, involves a violation of the laws of nature. Larmer argues that events are explained by reference to both relevant laws and units of mass/energy in the sequences to be explained. He contends that a miracle need not be conceived as involving a violation of natural law, but rather as the creation or annihilation of mass/energy by a transcendent agent. In (...) reply to the objection that this account would violate the first law of thermo-dynamics, he distinguishes two forms of the principle -- one metaphysical, one scientific -- and aruges that a miracle would not violate the principle considered as a scientific law. The second assumption is that miracle testimony cannot serve as evidence for theism. Larmer demonstrates that the logical ties connecting the concept of miracle to theism need not imply that one must be a theist to evaluate miracle testimony properly. All that is required is that one is prepared to entertain theism as a hypothesis. Attacking these assumptions allows Larmer to show that Humean balance-of-probabilities arguments, based on a presumed conflict between evidence which establishes belief in the laws of nature and evidence in favour of miracles, miss the point if miracles need not be defined as violations of the laws of nature. He argues that, in the absence of a general argument demonstrating that the testimonial evidence in favour of miracles conflicts with the evidence for the laws of nature, it is up to the atheist to demonstrate, on a case-by-case basis, why the testimonial evidence is to be rejected. His conclusion is that, contrary to what is usually thought, the burden of proof lies not upon the shoulders of the theist, but upon the shoulders of the atheist. (shrink)
One of the major reasons underlying the widespread rejection of the theory that the mind is an immaterial substance distinct from the body, But which nevertheless acts on the body, Is that it is felt that such a theory commits one to denying the principle of the conservation of energy. My aim in this article is to assess the strength of this objection. My thesis is that the usual replies are inadequate, But--Strong as this objection appears--Some important logical distinctions have (...) been overlooked and when these are taken into account its force vanishes. (shrink)
Traditionally, special divine acts have been understood as involving intervention in the course of nature, so as to cause events that nature would not, or could not, otherwise produce. The concept of divine intervention has come under heavy fire in recent times, however. This has caused many philosophers and theologians either to abandon the possibility of special divine acts or to attempt to show how such acts need not be understood as interventions in natural processes. This paper argues that three (...) objections typically raised against special divine acts conceived as interventions in the natural order are pseudo-problems and pose no reason to abandon the traditional conception of such acts. Further, it argues that attempted noninterventionist accounts constitute a blind alley of investigation, inasmuch as they fail to provide a secure foundation for a robust account of the possibility of special divine acts. (shrink)
Questions of Miracle will be a valuable reference book and teaching tool for scholars and students of theology, religious studies, and philosophy. Contents The Logic of Probabilities in Hume's Argument against Miracles - Fred Wilson David Hume and the Miraculous - Robert Larmer Miracles and the Laws of Nature - Robert Larmer Against Miracles - John Collier Against "Against Miracles" - Robert Larmer Miracles and Conservation Laws - Neil MacGill Miracles and Conservation Laws: A Reply to Professor MacGill - Robert (...) Larmer Miracles and Criteria - Robert Larmer Miracles and Natural Explanations - David Basinger Miracles and Natural Explanations: A Rejoinder - Robert Larmer Miracles as Evidence for Theism: A Surrejoinder - David Basinger Miracles, Evidence, and Theism: A Further Apologia - Robert Larmer Authenticating Biblical Reports of Miracles - Phillip Wiebe Miracles and Testimony: A Reply to Wiebe - Robert Larmer Miracles as Evidence against the Existence of God - Christine Overall Miracles and the Existence of God: A Reply - Robert Larmer. (shrink)
In "Miracles as Evidence Against the Existence of God," (’Southern Journal of Philosophy’, 1985) Christine Overall argued that the occurrence of miracles would constitute evidence against the existence of God, on the grounds that miracles are violations of natural law or permanently inexplicable events and, as such, would be inconsistent with the supposed purposes of God. In ’Water Into Wine?’ (MacGill-Queen’s, 1988), I argued that her argument fails once a more adequate definition of miracle is adopted. In "Miracles and God: (...) A Reply to Robert A.H. Larmer" (’Dialogue’ 1997), Overall attempted to reply to my specific criticisms and to attack central theses of ’Water Into Wine?’. I argue that she is successful in neither endeavor. (shrink)
Christian Overall and I have been debating whether the occurrence of events traditionally viewed as miracles would constitute evidence for theism. In this article, I make some concluding comments regarding our exchanges. My goal in making these comments is twofold. First, I wish to sketch why I think miracles can function as evidence for God. Second, in the course of our discussion, Overall has ascribed to me claims that I do not make and criticized me on the basis of my (...) holding these views. I feel it is important to set the record straight on several issues. (shrink)
Contemporary Thomists, by and large, have been very critical of the intelligent design movement. Their criticism raises two important issues; the first being whether such criticism is well-founded, the second being whether it is consistent with the views of St. Thomas, from whom they claim to take their direction. I shall argue that their criticism typically misses the mark and that they are mistaken in their representation of Thomas’s views as regards intelligent design.
IN "MIRACLES AND CRITERIA" I ARGUE THAT, CONTRARY TO VIEWS OF PHILOSOPHERS SUCH AS GUY ROBINSON, THERE EXIST CRITERIA BY WHICH TO DIFFERENTIATE EVENTS LEGITIMATELY TERMED MIRACLES AND EVENTS BEST INTERPRETED AS MERE INDICES OF AN INADEQUATE UNDERSTANDING OF NATURAL PROCESSES. WHETHER ONE VIEWS AN EXTRAORDINARY EVENT AS A MIRACLE OR AS THE RESULT OF SOME UNKNOWN OR POORLY UNDERSTOOD NATURAL PROCESSES IS NOT, THEREFORE, A MATTER OF WHIM.
Evan Fales has recently argued that, although I provide the most promising approach for those concerned to defend belief in divine intervention, I nevertheless fail to show that such belief can be rational. I argue that Fales’ objections are unsuccessful.
Many contemporary thinkers seeking to integrate theistic belief and scientific thought reject what they regard as two extremes. They disavow deism in which God is understood simply to uphold the existence of the physical universe, and they exclude any view of divine influence that suggests the performance of physical work through an immaterial cause. Deism is viewed as theologically inadequate, and acceptance of direct immaterial causation of physical events is viewed as scientifically illegitimate. This desire to avoid both deism and (...) any positing of God as directly intervening in the physical order has led to models of divine agency that seek to defend the reality of divine causal power yet affirm the causal closure of the physical. I argue, negatively, that such models are unsuccessful in their attempts to affirm both the reality of divine causal power acting in the created world and the causal closure of the physical and, positively, that the assumption that underlies these models, namely that any genuine integration of theistic and scientific belief must posit the causal closure of the physical on pain of violating well-established conservation principles, is mistaken. (shrink)
In a recent article, Neil MacGill criticizes my claim (See "Water Into Wine", MacGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988) that miracles, understood as a transcendent agent overriding the usual course of nature, can conceivably occur without violating or suspending any of the laws of nature. MacGill feels that my account of miracles implies the violation of at least one law of nature, the Principle of the Conservation of Energy. In my reply, I point out that he is mistaken and that my original (...) claim has not, therefore, been refuted. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal entitled "The Ethics of Investing", William Irvine argues that what he calls the 'Evil-Company Principle' is an inadequate guide to ethical investing. In its place, he proposes what he calls the 'Enablement Principle'. In reply, I argue that his rejection of the Evil-Company Principle is premature and that his Enablement Principle presupposes acceptance of the Evil-Company Principle.
I DEFEND THE VIEW THAT MIRACLES, CONSIDERED AS OBJECTIVE EVENTS SPECIALLY CAUSED BY GOD, CAN CONCEIVABLY OCCUR IN A WORLD WHICH BEHAVES, ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE, COMPLETELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF NATURE. GOD, BY CREATING OR ANNIHILATING UNITS OR MASS/ENERGY AND THUS ALTERING THE MATERIAL CONDITIONS TO WHICH THE LAWS APPLY, CAN PRODUCE A MIRACLE WITHOUT VIOLATING ANY OF THE LAWS OF NATURE.
In his paper "Miracles: Metaphysics, Physics, and Physicalism," Kirk McDermid appears to have two primary goals. The first is to demonstrate that my account of how God might produce a miracle without violating any laws of nature is radically flawed. The second is to suggest two alternative accounts, one suitable for a deterministic world, one suitable for an indeterministic world, which allow for the occurrence of a miracle without violation of the laws of nature, yet do not suffer from the (...) defects of what McDermid terms the ’Larmerian’ model. I briefly describe my model, reply to McDermid’s criticism of it, and evaluate his alternative accounts. (shrink)
A favoured argument of many of the eighteenth-century Deists was that the concept of miracle is inconsistent with the supposed perfection of God and thus the occurrence of miracles would constitute evidence against, rather than for, God. In the latter part of the twentieth century we meet very similar arguments in the writings of Christine Overall and James Keller who claim that the occurrence of miracles would imply an arbitrariness and caprice unworthy of a divine agent.
In his paper ‘Miracles: metaphysics, physics, and physicalism’, 1 Kirk McDermid appears to have two primary goals. The first is to demonstrate that my account of how God might produce a miracle without violating any laws of nature is radically flawed. The second is to suggest two alternative accounts, one suitable for a deterministic world, one suitable for an indeterministic world, which allow for the occurrence of a miracle without violation of the laws of nature, yet do not suffer from (...) the defects of what McDermid terms the ‘Larmerian’ model. I briefly describe my model, reply to McDermid's criticism of it, and evaluate his alternative accounts. (shrink)
IN HIS ARTICLE "MIRACLES AND NATURAL EXPLANATION" DAVID BASINGER TAKES ISSUE WITH THE CLAIM I ADVANCED IN MY EARLIER ARTICLE "MIRACLES AND CRITERIA" THAT ONLY A DOGMATIC AND UNCRITICAL ASSUMPTION THAT NATURE IS IN FACT AN ISOLATED SYSTEM CAN EXPLAIN THE INSISTENCE OF SOME PHILOSOPHERS THAT, NO MATTER WHAT THE EVENT AND NO MATTER WHAT THE CONTEXT IN WHICH IT OCCURS, IT IS ALWAYS MORE RATIONAL TO LIVE IN THE FAITH THAT SUCH AN EVENT HAS A NATURAL EXPLANATION RATHER THAN (...) BELIEVE IT A MIRACLE. BASINGER URGES THAT MY ARGUMENT CONTAINS TWO BASIC CONFUSIONS. IN REPLY, I ARGUE THAT BOTH HIS OBJECTIONS ARE MISTAKEN. (shrink)
IN HIS RECENT ARTICLE "AGAINST MIRACLES" ("DIALOGUE" 25, 349-352, SUMMER 1986) JOHN COLLIER CRITICIZES MY CLAIM THAT MIRACLES, I.E., OVERRIDINGS OF NATURE BY A TRANSCENDENT AGENT, CAN TAKE PLACE IN A WORLD WHICH BEHAVES COMPLETELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF NATURE ("MIRACLES AND THE LAWS OF NATURE," "DIALOGUE" 24, SUMMER 1985). THE TWO GROUNDS HE GIVES FOR REJECTING MY VIEW ARE (1) THAT I MISUNDERSTAND HUME, AND (2) THAT I MISUNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLE OF CONSERVATION OF ENERGY. IN REPLY, I (...) ARGUE THAT BOTH HIS OBJECTIONS ARE MISTAKEN AND HE HAS NOT, THEREFORE, REFUTED MY ORIGINAL CLAIM. (shrink)
In his article The Moral Responsibility of Corporate Executives for Disasters, John Bishop has argued that we are justified on moral considerations for holding corporate executives responsible for disasters resulting from corporate activities, even in circumstances where they could not reasonably have been expected to possess the information necessary to avert these disasters. I argue that he is mistaken in this claim.
In his article, “Breaking Laws of Nature,” Jeffrey Koperski considers various attempts to give an account of the laws of nature. Following early modern natural philosophers, he opts for an account he terms “decretalism,” namely the view that laws are not created entities or powers that act as intermediaries between God and nature, but rather are best understood as God’s decrees. Koperski argues there are good reason for accepting his account and that it does not commit him to occasionalism. In (...) response, I argue that the reasons he gives for accepting decretalism are unconvincing and that decretalism does in fact commit him to occasionalism. (shrink)
In his The Everlasting Check: Hume on Miracles, Alexander George claims to provide readers with a single unified interpretation of Hume’s ‘Of Miracles’ that demonstrates Hume’s actual argument is philosophically rich and far more robust than is generally thought. This response argues that George is unsuccessful, ignoring crucial passages and misinterpreting others.
Contemporary commentators on Hume’s essay, "Of Miracles" have increasingly tended to argue that Hume never intended to suggest that testimonial evidence must always be insufficient to justify belief in a miracle. This is in marked contrast to earlier commentators who interpreted Hume as intending to demonstrate that testimonial evidence is incapable in principle of ever establishing rational belief in a miracle. In this article I argue that this traditional interpretation is the correct one.
Contemporary commentators on Hume's essay, ‘Of miracles’ have increasingly tended to argue that Hume never intended to suggest that testimonial evidence must always be insufficient to justify belief in a miracle. This is in marked contrast to earlier commentators who interpreted Hume as intending to demonstrate that testimonial evidence is incapable in principle of ever establishing rational belief in a miracle. In this article I argue that this traditional interpretation is the correct one.
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In his recent paper, “Understanding David Hume’s Argument against Miracles,” Gregory Bock takes the increasingly popular position that Hume’s intent in “Of Miracles” was not to argue that testimony is in principle incapable of grounding a rational belief in miracles, but rather that it is in principle incapable of grounding a rational belief in miracles that could act as the foundation for a religion. I argue that this interpretation of the text does not withstand critical scrutiny.