For deliberations on the ethical and meta-ethical implications of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, here are abstracts and papers from the Ethics Section of the 6th International Whitehead Conference held at the University of Salzburg in Salzburg, Austria in July 2006. In accordance with the conference schedule, there are three subsections. The subsection on "Metaphysics of Morals and Moral Theory" includes contributions from Franklin I. Gamwell (Does Morality Presuppose God?), John W. Lango (abstract only), Duane Voskuil ("Ethics' Dipolar Necessities and (...) Theistic Implications), and TheodoreWalker Jr. ("Neoclassical Cosmology and Matthew 22:36-40). The subsection on "Evaluating Moral Practices" includes contributions from Frederick Ferrè (abstract only), Seung Gap Lee (Hope for the Earth: A Process Eschatological Eco-ethics for South Korea), Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore (Compassion, Creativity, and Form: The Ethics of Institutions), and George W. Shields (Ruse, Altruism, and Process Philosophy). The subsection on "Ethics and Aesthetic Values" includes contributions from Stephen T. Franklin (abstract only), Brian G. Henning (Is There an Ethics of Creativity?), Mihàly Tòth (Art of Life and the Ethics of Life Forming), and Guorong Yang (Problems and Perspectives in the Emerging of Global Society). (shrink)
This paper is a response to Theodore Kepes’s “Toward a Unified Vision: The Integration of Christian Theology and Evolution inKarl Rahner’s Understanding of Matter and Spirit.” Kepes employs a Rahnerian strategy of attempting to integrate supposedly competing narratives—in this case, Michael Dennett’s reductive materialism—into the Christian narrative of creation and the evolution of both matter and spirit. The response given here argues that this Rahnerian strategy overlooks the programmatic nature of contemporary secular materialism, which is self-conscious in its opposition (...) to any account of the world that invokes the transcendent or the divine. The paper presents an overview of Balthasar’s theological anthropology and argues that Balthasar’s emphasis on Gift, rather than Rahner’s emphasis on Mystery, makes it more personological and therefore more adequate to the task of understanding and responding to the current materialist, liberal, secular mythos. (shrink)
According to Eugenie Scott, methodological materialism---the view that science attempts to explain the world using material processes---does not imply philosophical materialism---the view that all that exists are material processes. Thus one can consistently be both a scientist and a theist. According to Phillip Johnson, however, methodological materialism presupposes philosophical materialism. Consequently, scientists are unable to see the cogency of supernatural explanations, like creationism. I argue that both Scott and Johnson are wrong: scientists are not limited to explaining tbe world using (...) material processes and science does not presuppose materialism. Thus scientists’ rejection of creationism is not irrational. (shrink)
Some believe that evidence for the big bang is evidence for the existence of god. Who else, they ask, could have caused such a thing? In this paper, I evaluate the big bang argument, compare it with the traditional first-cause argument, and consider the relative plausibility of various natural explanations of the big bang.
A number of physicists have recently been espousing what appears to be a strong form of subjective idealism. Clauser and Horne, professors of physics at Berkeley and Stonehill College, respectively, for example, report.
In this paper I argue that despite the philosophical, theological and cultural challenges, it is still possible to maintain, in a legitimate and critical way, a worldview that is coherent, unified, comprehensive and meaningful. I believe that the philosophical theology of KarlRahner offers just such a perspective. Hence, this paper explored the extent to which Karl Rahner’s understanding of the unity of matterand spirit, expressed in his integration of theology and evolution, can serve as the foundation for a more comprehensive (...) and integratedunderstanding of reality. I endeavored to provide a preliminary assessment of the adequacy of this integration by evaluating its abilityto respond to some of the important challenges to Christian theism raised by the American philosopher Daniel Dennett. By showingthat Rahner’s integration of theology and evolution can respond adequately to these challenges, the paper provides a promising firststep toward a more comprehensive investigation. (shrink)
In Kant’s Transcendental Idealism, Henry Allison argues that Kant’s theoretical treatment of the self presents both an incoherent “official view” and a coherent “alternative view.” In this paper, I argue that Kant’s genuine position on the self can be reconstructed as a coherent unity by examining the flaws in Allison’s analysis. It is shown that Allison’s objections to Kant’s official view are based on unwarranted metaphysical assumptions and unjustified conceptual identifications. Allison’s own dual-aspect view of the transcendental distinction between phenomena (...) and noumena is used to correct these misconceptions. Thus, the official view as described by Allison is not Kant’s genuine position. Rather, it is shown that Kant treats the noumenal self as the ground or support of the activity of thinking and the subject of apperception, and that this grounding function is essential to Kant’s view but overlooked by Allison’s analysis. (shrink)