Timothy O’Connor presents a novel and powerful version of the cosmological argument from contingency. What distinguishes his argument is that it does not depend on the Principle of Sufficient Reason. This version thus avoids powerful objections facing the Principle. We present and develop the argument, strengthening it in various ways. We fill in big gaps in the argument and answer criticisms. These include the criticisms that O’Connor considers as well as new criticisms. We explain how his replies to a Kantian (...) criticism and to the demand for contrastive explanation fail, and properly answer the criticism and the demand. We develop two new criticisms, the objection from opaqueness and the objection from constitution, and explain how these objections can be answered. (shrink)
Idealism is the view that reality is fundamentally mental. Idealism has been influential historically, but it has been neglected in contemporary metaphysical debate. This volume of 17 essays by leading philosophers rectifies the situation.
This groundbreaking volume investigates the most fundamental question of all: Why is there something rather than nothing? The question is explored from diverse and radical perspectives: religious, naturalistic, platonistic and skeptical. Does science answer the question? Or does theology? Does everything need an explanation? Or can there be brute, inexplicable facts? Could there have been nothing whatsoever? Or is there any being that could not have failed to exist? Is the question meaningful after all? The volume advances cutting-edge debates in (...) metaphysics, philosophy of cosmology and philosophy of religion, and will intrigue and challenge readers interested in any of these subjects. (shrink)
The first part of the paper presents three little arguments from theism to idealism. The second part employs these arguments to make sense of a puzzling doctrine of Jewish mysticism: the doctrine of divine contraction (heb. tzimtzum).
This paper addresses the most fundamental question in metaphysics, Why is there something rather than nothing? The question is framed as a question about concrete entities, Why does a possible world containing concrete entities obtain rather than one containing no concrete entities? Traditional answers are in terms of there necessarily being some concrete entities, and include the possibility of a necessary being. But such answers are threatened by metaphysical nihilism, the thesis that there being nothing concrete is possible, and the (...) subtraction argument for this thesis, an argument that is the subject of considerable recent debate. I summarize and extend the debate about the argument, and answer the threat it poses, turning the tables on it to show how the subtraction argument supports a cosmological argument for a necessary being. (shrink)
This essay shows three things: first, that we cannot comply with a command from God to believe in God; second, that God cannot command us to believe in God; and, third, that the divine command theory is false. The third conclusion follows from the second, and the second follows from the first. The essay focuses on an argument from the medieval Jewish philosopher, Hasdai Crescas. It also draws from, and is something of a sequel to, an argument from Brown and (...) Nagasawa published previously in this journal. (shrink)
The doctrine of reincarnation is usually associated with Buddhism, Hinduism and other Eastern religions. But it has also been developed in Druzism and Judaism. The doctrine has been used by these traditions to explain the existence of evil within a moral order. Traversing the boundaries between East and West, we explore how Jewish mysticism has employed the doctrine to help answer the problem of evil. We explore the doctrine particularly as we respond to objections against employing it in a theodicy. (...) We show how it supplements traditional punishment, free will and soul-building theodicies, and helps these theodicies avoid various objections. (shrink)
This essay outlines answers to the problem of evil from Jewish perspectives. The essay uses traditional Jewish sources to illustrate theodicies familiar in other religious traditions, and introduces a few less familiar Jewish theodicies besides. Other responses to the problem of evil are also considered. Jewish responses are not usually framed in contemporary philosophical categories, and mine is an attempt at categorization. The traditional Jewish sources might show some promise of contributing to contemporary philosophical debate.
The papers in this volume are largely about research ethics and cover questions of consent, reproduction, pediatric research, ethical codes, and clinical relationships. Half the papers have this common aspect: they are conservative—in the sense of supporting the standard, prevailing, or popular view—but they shift the focus—supporting the standard views in terms of moral factors generally neglected by the literature. The volume provides a diverse set of papers for the reader: variously addressing abstract and concrete problems from within different philosophical (...) traditions. (shrink)
This book is devoted to applied ethics. We focus on six popular and controversial topics: abortion, the environment, animals, poverty, punishment, and disability. We cover three chapters per topic, and each chapter is devoted to a famous or influential argument on the topic. After we present an influential argument, we then consider objections to the argument, and replies to the objections. The book is impartial, and set up in order to equip the reader to make up her own mind about (...) the controversial topics covered. (shrink)
Berkeley's Principles: Expanded and Explained includes the entire classical text of the Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge in bold font, a running commentary blended seamlessly into the text in regular font and analytic summaries of each section. The commentary is like a professor on hand to guide the reader through every line of the daunting prose and every move in the intricate argumentation. The unique design helps students learn how to read and engage with one of modern philosophy's (...) most important and exciting classics. (shrink)
Proving the existence of God is a perennial philosophical ambition. An armchair proof would be the jackpot. Ontological arguments promise as much. This Element studies the most famous ontological arguments from Anselm, Descartes, Plantinga, and others besides. While the verdict is that ontological arguments don't work, they get us entangled in fun philosophical puzzles, from philosophy of religion to philosophy of language, from metaphysics to ethics, and beyond.
Cet ouvrage de Victor Goldschmidt, pour la première fois en édition de poche, est le seul consacré à une notion centrale de la philosophie platonicienne, le paradigme, à la fois exemple, comparaison et modèle.En prenant comme fil conducteur la définition donnée dans le Politique, l’auteur commence par étudier le rôle joué par « ce procédé privilégié » dans la méthode dialectique des derniers Dialogues. S’exercer sur une réalité banale permet de découvrir la structure d’un « grand sujet », plus (...) difficile à définir, comme le sophiste ou l’art politique. Cependant la réussite d’une démarche en saurait en fonder la légitimité. En s’interrogeant sur son fondement, Victor Goldschmidt montre que l’usage d’un paradigme « obéit à un mouvement profond de la pensée platonicienne, il nous mène du visible à l’invisible ». (shrink)
Raymond Van Arragon considers my my suggestion that most of those who never have the opportunity to accept Christ during their earthly lives suffer from transworld damnation, and he offers four different interpretations of that notion. He argues that at least three of these interpretations are such that on them the suggestion becomes implausible. I maintain that once my suggestion is properly understood, then, despite Van Arragon’s misgivings, it ought not to be thought implausible even on the first two, boldest (...) interpretations he offers. (shrink)
I. Two topics given prominence in the early sections of Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding are those of thought and belief. Of each Hume asks two questions. One, which we might call the constitutive question: what exactly is it to have a thought, or to hold a belief?—and another, which we may call the genetic question: how do we come by our thoughts, or our capacity to think them, and how do we come to believe that certain of these thoughts (...) are true? In this lecture I shall be considering the detail of Hume's answers to these questions; but first I want to say a little about why they should have loomed large for him at all. (shrink)
During the last several years, philosophers of religion have witnessed a long-drawn debate between Nelson Pike and John Fischer on the problems of theological fatalism, Fischer claiming in his most recent contribution to have proved that even if God's past beliefs are ‘nice soft facts’, still theological fatalism cannot be averted. Unfortunately, this debate has not – at least it seems to this observer – served substantially either to clarify the issues involved or to move toward a resolution of the (...) question, but has instead confused matters by its use of misleading terminology and diverted the discussion into unpromising side roads. (shrink)