What we call “the evidential argument from evil” is not one argument but a family of them, originating (perhaps) in the 1979 formulation of William Rowe. Wykstra’s early versions of skeptical theism emerged in response to Rowe’s evidential arguments. But what sufficed as a response to Rowe may not suffice against later more sophisticated versions of the problem of evil—in particular, those along the lines pioneered by Paul Draper. Our chief aim here is to make an earlier version of (...) skeptical theism more responsive to the type abductive atheology pioneered by Draper. In particular, we suggest a moderate form of skeptical theism may be able to resist Draper’s abductive atheology. (shrink)
Some skeptical theists use Wykstra’s CORNEA constraint to undercut Rowe-style inductive arguments from evil. Many critics of skeptical theism accept CORNEA, but argue that Rowe-style arguments meet its constraint. But Justin McBrayer argues that CORNEA is itself mistaken. It is, he claims, akin to “sensitivity” or “truth-tracking” constraints like those of Robert Nozick; but counterexamples show that inductive evidence is often insensitive. We here defend CORNEA against McBrayer’s chief counterexample. We first clarify CORNEA, distinguishing it from a deeper underlying (...) principle that we dub “CORE.” We then give both principles a probabilistic construal, and show how, on this construal, the counterexample fails. (shrink)
Graham and Maitzen think my CORNEA principle is in trouble because it entails “intolerable violations of closure under known entailment.” I argue that the trouble arises from current befuddlement about closure itself, and that a distinction drawn by Rudolph Carnap, suitably extended, shows how closure, when properly understood, works in tandem with CORNEA. CORNEA does not obey Closure because it shouldn’t: it applies to “dynamic” epistemic operators, whereas closure principles hold only for “static” ones. What the authors see as an (...) intolerable vice of CORNEA is actually a virtue, helping us see what closure principles should—and shouldn’t—themselves be about. (shrink)
Schellenberg’s Wisdom to Doubt uses a “meta-evidential condition constraining assent” that I dub MECCA. On MECCA, my total current evidence E may be good evidence for H, yet not justify my believing H, due to meta-evidential considerations giving me reason to doubt whether E is “representative” of the total evidence E* that exists. I argue that considerations of representativeness are implicit in judging that E is good evidence, rendering this description incoherent, and that Schellenberg’s specific meta-evidence has less trumping power (...) than he thinks. (shrink)
How can the philosopher use history of science to assess normative methodologies? This paper distinguishes the "intuitionist" meta-methodologies from the "rationability" meta-methodology. The rationability approach is defended by showing that it does not lead to anarchistic conclusions drawn by Feyerabend, Lakatos, and Kuhn; rather, these conclusions are the result of auxiliary assumptions about the nature of rational norms. By freeing the rationability meta-method from these assumptions, the specter of anarchism can be exorcised from it.
Using Currie's critique as a foil, this paper reconstructs Lakatos's thesis that historiography of science is laden with normative assumptions about scientific rationality. It is argued that this thesis comprises both a heuristic claim and a constitutive claim. The Received Critique of Lakatos fails to see that "internal history" and "rational reconstruction" receive a special meaning (by which they designate "rational preconstructions") when used in the context of the heuristic claim. Currie avoids this mistake, but attributes to Lakatos an "investigation-surrogate (...) claim" which misrepresents the heuristic claim, oversimplifying the relation Lakatos envisions between hard cores and the solutions they generate. (shrink)
In his new book, Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History, Steve Fuller returns to core themes of his program of social epistemology that he first outlined in his 1988 book, Social Epistemology. He develops a new, unorthodox theology and philosophy building upon his testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in defense of intelligent design, leading to a call for maximal human experimentation. Beginning from the theological premise rooted in the Abrahamic religious tradition that we are created in (...) the image of God, Fuller argues that the spark of the divine within us distinguishes us from animals. I argue that Fuller’s recent work takes us away from key insights of his original work. In contrast, I advocate for a program of social epistemology rooted in evolutionary science rather than intelligent design, emphasize a precautionary and ecological approach rather than a proactionary approach that favors risky human experimentation, and attend to our material and sociological embeddedness rather than a transhumanist repudiation of the body. (shrink)
Does postulating skeptical theism undermine the claim that evil strongly confirms atheism over theism? According to Perrine and Wykstra, it does undermine the claim, because evil is no more likely on atheism than on skeptical theism. According to Draper, it does not undermine the claim, because evil is much more likely on atheism than on theism in general. I show that the probability facts alone do not resolve their disagreement, which ultimately rests on which updating procedure – conditionalizing or (...) updating on a conditional – fits both the evidence and how we ought to take that evidence into account. (shrink)
Wykstra’s paper defends two objections to my reasoning in The Wisdom to Doubt. One says that we in fact do take evidence to be representative of all the relevant evidence that exists when forming the judgment that it makes some proposition probable, the other that our judgments as to the representativeness of evidence are often justified, and can be justified even in matters of religion. Both objections are instructive but ultimately unsuccessful, as I show here.
This essay offers a critical introduction to the intellectual issues involved in the Kitzmiller case relating to intelligent design, and to Steve Fuller’s involvement in it. It offers a brief appraisal of the intelligent design movement stemming from the work of Phillip E. Johnson, and of Steve Fuller’s case for intelligent design in a rather different sense.
Stephen T. Casper and Steve Fuller’s commentaries on my paper “Completing Circle of the Social Sciences? William Beveridge and Social Biology at the London School of Economics during the 1930s” raises important questions about the historical entanglement of the political left, welfarism, biology, and social science. In this response, I clarify questions about my analysis of events at the London School of Economics in the early twentieth century and identify ways in which they are important in the present. I (...) suggest that there is much to be learned from the school’s failed experiment with social biology, not least when it comes to thinking about the historical contingency of relationships between progressive politics and biology. (shrink)
Key to Steve Fuller’s recent defense of intelligent design is the claim that it alone can explain why science is even possible. By contrast, Fuller argues that Darwinian evolutionary theory posits a purposeless universe leaving humans with no motivation to study science and no basis for modifying an underlying reality. I argue that this view represents a retreat from insights about knowledge within Fuller’s own program of social epistemology. I argue for a Darwinian picture of science as a product (...) of cultural evolution building upon biological capabilities and liabilities bequeathed to us by biological evolution. Dual Inheritance or Gene-Culture Coevolution Theory can help us understand how complex social institutions emerged out of distinct, if connected, processes of biological and cultural evolution. Only by understanding how the unnatural nature of modern science emerged through cultural evolution can we consider where modern science functions well or poorly. (shrink)
The second International Knowledge and Discourse Conference, held at the University of Hong Kong in June 2002, was the forum for the long-awaited debate between Bruno Latour and Steve Fuller. Bruno Latour counts beyond two. He places the blame for the emphasis in academia on the subject-object distinction on Kant. Latour wants academics to acknowledge that things act, and suggests we look at other traditions, e.g. the Chinese, for alternatives to the subject-object dichotomy. Steve Fuller concentrated on the (...) moral project of science, which is to draw a distinction between the human and the non-human and, to highlight the fact that, as the culmination of the sciences, social science has a particular responsibility to make this distinction. He accused Bruno Latour of evading the moral issue. The debate can be read as a reiteration of the postions of Bruno Latour and Steve Fuller on the question of heterogeneity at the theoretical level, but it did not address the topic at the practical or research level. (shrink)
(2003). Rethinking Kuhn's legacy without paradigms: some remarks on Steve Fuller's Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times. Social Epistemology: Vol. 17, No. 2-3, pp. 153-156. doi: 10.1080/0269172032000144108.
This essay examines the anti-producing human body in its limit case of public self-induced starvation, as figured in Franz Kafka's short story ‘A Hunger Artist’ and Steve McQueen's film Hunger. Both works represent the fasting body as hollowed out, a resistance to capitalist-spectator capture that spatialises itself as a smoothing, a relative reconfiguration of parts to whole through the evacuation of flows. In both works the human body becomes a local body without organs, paradoxically disarticulated from the more complex (...) assemblages that constitute it while recording potential circuits of disturbance or resonance predicated upon the porousness of bodily boundaries. (shrink)
Stuart Kauffman: Steve is extremely bright, inventive. He thoroughly understands paleontology; he thoroughly understands evolutionary biology. He has performed an enormous service in getting people to think about punctuated equilibrium, because you see the process of stasis/sudden change, which is a puzzle. It's the cessation of change for long periods of time. Since you always have mutations, why don't things continue changing? You either have to say that the particular form is highly adapted, optimal, and exists in a stable (...) environment, or you have to be very puzzled. Steve has been enormously important in that sense. (shrink)
Historian and philosopher of science Steve Fuller has long embraced his role as a public intellectual. As part of that mission, he testified in the 2005 Dover school board trials, arguing that intelligent design could legitimately claim scientific status. He has since written two books on the intelligent design controversy. Science, his latest effort, is part of The Art of Living series. It is ostensibly an exploration of what it means to “live scientifically,” but is more accurately described as (...) an argument for the necessary connection between science and theology. Fuller’s central argument should be no surprise to those familiar with his previous commentary on intelligent design. It is a two-pronged pragmatic argument. On the one hand, Darwinism is dispensable: most work in biology does not rely on Darwin’s theory of evolution (think molecular biology). On the other hand, religion is indispensable for scientific progress: without believing that the universe has been designed to be intelligible to humans, there is no motivation for scientists to attempt to comprehend it. However, in Science Fuller goes further than this. He also claims that a designer with intelligence resembling our own is the best explanation for the success of science. (shrink)
In his book on The Mathematics of Great Amateurs Coolidge starts the chapter on Bolzano saying that he included Bolzano because it seemed interesting to him ‘that a man who was a remarkable pulpit orator, only removed from his chair for his political opinions, should have thought so far into the deepest problems of a science which he never taught in a professional capacity’ [Coolidge, 1990, p. 195]. In fact, considering Bolzano's poor health and his enormous productivity in his ‘professional (...) areas’, the results, the breadth and the extent of this ‘great amateur's’ thoughts on mathematics, and its proper scientific presentation are simply astonishing. Even this new selection of more than 650 printed pages of text, well edited and translated by Steve Russ, represents only a part of Bolzano's legacy on mathematical topics: the complete German edition of Bolzano's writings, the Bernard Bolzano-Gesamtausgabe edited by J. Berg, E. Morscher, B. van Rootselaar, and others is projected to include over 120 volumes of which more than 36 volumes will contain his mathematical works. About 25 volumes have been published so far in this mathematical subseries including Bolzano's extensive Miscellanea Mathematica .To most readers of this journal, Bolzano will be well-known for his contributions to logic—his ‘logic of variation’ is viewed as a precursor of the modern semantic conception of logical consequence—and his contributions to the foundations of calculus, especially his ‘purely analytic proof’ of the intermediate-value theorem and the Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem, or his early discovery of a counterintuitive function which is continuous in its domain, but nowhere-differentiable.Despite his lifelong interest in the foundations of mathematics, Bolzano studied theology and taught philosophy of religion in his native city, Prague, from 1805 until his dismissal in 1820. Part of Bolzano's duties …. (shrink)
In this discussion, Steve Fuller’s book Dissent over Descent is criticized mainly because he draws conclusions from wishful thinking and uses ancient and medieval scientists as well as theologians in his efforts to invalidate the theory of evolution. He is also criticized for drawing universal conclusions from a Eurocentric version of history. If science and technology studies is to regain its reputation, its representatives have to use relevant statements and argue more rationally.
Sociology professor Steve Fuller’s latest book deals with contemporary treatments of the notion of ‘the human’, with an eye set on its future developments, anchored on disruptively pervasive technologies that are already being felt. A contextual account of its historical unfolding is provided, so that the reader can locate the evolution of the notion within the bigger setting of the evolving philosophical landscape in the West.
The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate has two chief aims. These aims are to help readers understand the existing debate and to move the debate forward. The book consists of an introductory chapter by Alberto Giubilini and Sagar Sanyal (which lays out some prominent bioconservative objections to enhancement), eight essays grouped under the theme of "Understanding the Debate" (Section I), and eight devoted to "Advancing the Debate" (Section II). In this review, we offer brief summaries of each essay (...) and ask whether the book successfully advances the debate. (shrink)