The past forty years or so have witnessed a renaissance in the philosophy of religion. New tools (modal logic, probability theory, and so on) and new historical research have prompted many thinkers to take a fresh look at old topics (God’s existence, the problem of evil, faith and reason, and the like). Moreover, sophisticated examinations of contentious new issues, such as the problem of religious diversity or the role of emotions and other non-evidential factors in shaping rationally held religious beliefs, (...) have also emerged. Addressing the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of this rapidly growing and ever more complex corpus of scholarly literature, Philosophy of Religion is a new title in the Routledge Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Philosophy. Edited by a leading scholar, it is a four-volume collection which brings together key examples of the most important recent work, together with carefully selected historical pieces needed to understand them. Volume I focuses on concepts of the divine while Volume II explores arguments for and against the existence of a divine reality, with special attention to the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness, and the case for naturalism. Volume III and the first part of Volume IV are devoted to broadly epistemic issues: the cognitive value of religious experience; the proper role of evidence in the formation of religious belief; the nature of justified religious belief; and pragmatic arguments for religious belief. The remainder of Volume IV introduces some of the best recent work on religious diversity, tolerance, and the public role of religion in a pluralistic society. The Philosophy of Religion is fully indexed and has a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, which places the material in its historical and intellectual context. It is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars and students as a vital one-stop research resource. Available now at a special introductory price. This price is applicable until 3 months after publication. For more information, please contact us ( email@example.com ). (shrink)
In 2008 the United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) published the latest version of its code of conduct (The code: standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives). The new version marked a significant change of style in the Code compared with previous versions. There has been considerable controversy and the accrual of an extensive body of literature over the years in the UK and Europe criticizing nursing codes of ethics and questioning their ethical standing and their (...) usefulness. In this article we review the current NMC Code. We argue that the NMC has been misguided in labelling the Code as a code of ethics, and suggest that the new document falls short in many respects. (shrink)
A frequent feature of pharmaceutical research is the open label extension study, in which patients participating in double blind placebo controlled trials of new medications are invited, on completion of the initial trial, to take the study drug for some further period. Patients are openly given the active substance at this stage, regardless of their assignment in the initial trial. Investigators are typically reluctant to unblind the patients’ assignment at the point of entry into the open label phase, on the (...) grounds that this may introduce ascertainment bias in the main study.It is argued that patients invited to participate in open label extension studies cannot give a proper consent to such research unless they know to which arm of the main trial they were recruited. It is further argued that to recruit certain groups of patients from placebo controlled trials into open label extension studies may also be unethical for clinical reasons. (shrink)
This paper aims to make an empirically informed analytical contribution to the development of a more socially embedded bioethics. Drawing upon 10 interviews with cutting edge stem cell researchers (5 scientists and 5 clinicians) it explores and illustrates the ways in which the role positions of translational researchers are shaped by the ‘normative structures’ of science and medicine respectively and in combination. The empirical data is used to illuminate three overlapping themes of ethical relevance: what matters in stem cell research, (...) experimental treatment, and responsible claim making (as contrasted with ‘hype’. Finally, we suggest that this kind of ‘descriptive’ ethical analysis has potential relevance for understanding other substantive areas of stem cell ethics in practice, and we briefly consider the questions our analysis raises about role positions and ethical agency, and the implications for bioethics as a field of scholarship. (shrink)
Eric Wielenberg and I agree that basic moral truths are necessarily true. But Wielenberg thinks that, because these truths are necessary, they require no explanation, and I do not: some basic moral truths are not self-explanatory. I argue that Wielenberg’s reasons for thinking that my justification of that claim is inadequate are ultimately unconvincing.
The object of attitudes valorized in the major religious traditions is typically regarded as maximally great. Conceptions of maximal greatness differ but theists believe that a maximally great reality must be a maximally great person or God. Theists largely agree that a maximally great person would be omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and all good. They do not agree on a number of God's other attributes, however. We will illustrate this by examining the debate over God's impassibility in western theism and a (...) dispute over God's relation to the space time world in Indian theism. The entry concludes by examining some concepts of limited deities. (shrink)
This paper offers a realist critique of socialresearch on health inequalities. A conspectus of thefield of health inequalities research identifies twomain research approaches: the positivist quantitativesurvey and the interpretivist qualitative `casestudy'. We argue that both approaches suffer fromserious philosophical limitations. We suggest that aturn to realism offers a productive `third way' bothfor the development of health inequality research inparticular and for the social scientific understandingof the complexities of the social world in general.
Although philosophical theologians have sometimes claimed that human beings are necessarily dependent on God, few have developed the idea with any precision. Jonathan Edwards is a notable exception, providing a detailed and often novel account of humanity’s essential ontological, moral, and soteriological dependence on God.
In a series of influential articles published in the 1980s, Thomas Morris argued that the most promising approach to many issues in the philosophy of religion is “perfect being theology.” A philosopher who adopts it begins by construing God as a maximally perfect being and then fills the conception in by using his or her modal intuitions and intuitions concerning what properties are and are not perfections. While I am sympathetic with Morris’s program, two aspects seem problematic. More justification is (...) needed for construing God as a maximally perfect being, and the appeal to intuitions needs more support than Morris provides for it. I will comment on both difficulties. (shrink)
There has been an increase in recent years in the use of empirical methods in healthcare ethics. Appeals to empirical data cannot answer moral questions, but insights into the knowledge, attitudes, experience, preferences and practice of interested parties can play an important part in the development of healthcare ethics. In particular, while we may establish a general ethical principle to provide explanatory and normative guidance for healthcare professionals, the interpretation and application of such general principles to actual practice still requires (...) interpretation and judgement. And many situations in healthcare practice are complex and may involve a variety of principles, each of which may conflict with the others. Simple surveys or interview studies may not be sufficient if we wish to develop a nuanced approach to ethical practice that can be set out in guidelines, codes or directives. We do not resolve moral questions by plebiscite. In this paper, the authors argue for the use of consensus methods to develop shared understanding of ethical practice, and they argue further for the combination of the Delphi method with the use of vignettes to illustrate the kind of situations that may occur in practice. They develop their argument in part by reference to their experience of using this approach in their recent research. (shrink)
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian. His work as a whole is an expression of two themes — the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God's holiness. The first is articulated in Edwards' defense of theological determinism, in a doctrine of occasionalism, and in his insistence that physical objects are only collections of sensible “ideas” while finite minds are mere assemblages of “thoughts” or “perceptions.” As the only real cause (...) or substance underlying physical and mental phenomena, God is “being in general,” the “sum of all being.” -/- Edwards' second theme is articulated in accounts of God's end in creation, and of the nature of true virtue and true beauty. God creates in order to manifest a holiness which consists in a benevolence which alone is truly beautiful. Genuine human virtue is an imitation of divine benevolence and all finite beauty is an image of divine loveliness. True virtue is needed to discern this beauty, however, and to reason rightly about “divine things.”. (shrink)
Rowe argues that if for every good world there is a better, then God is not morally perfect since no matter what world God were to create he could have done better than he did. I contend that Rowe’s argument doesn’t do justice to the role grace plays in the theist’s doctrine of creation, and respond to five new criticisms of my position that Rowe offers in Can God be Free?
Section I argues that theistic religions incorporate metaphysical systems and that these systems are explanatory. Section II defends these claims against D. Z. Phillips ''s objections to the epistemic realism and correspondence theory of truth which they imply. I conclude by raising questions about the status of Phillips ''s own project.
I distinguish between a causeless being, An essentially causeless being, And a logically necessary being, And argue that only a logically necessary being can provide an adequate answer to the question, "why do contingent and dependent beings exist?" I also argue that recent attempts to show that if a being is essentially causeless, It is logically necessary, Are unsound.
It is fortunate for the community in which she lives that one of the things about which Elinor Dashwood cares a great deal is the social duty of “general civility”—the practice, in Hume’s words, of “gentle usage.” The heroine of Sense and Sensibility is respectful and considerate toward others, whether or not these are dearly loved family members or comparative strangers. According to Karen Stohr, throughout the novel, “Elinor is the exemplar of moderation, propriety and moral rectitude,” and the reader’s (...) assessment is seemingly quite straightforward: we can rest assured that although others may be unscrupulous, self-aggrandizing, and/or self-deceiving, Elinor Dashwood is virtuous from beginning to end.1.. (shrink)
In the struggle over traditional trinitarian doctrine, criticism from feminist, deistic, and religionist quarters can stimulate the churches in their revival of this soteriologically vital pattern of the Christian faith.
Richard Gale has mounted the most effective attack on religious experience’s cognitive credentials in recent decades. This article explains why I am nonetheless not persuaded by it. I argue that: Contrary to Gale, mystical experiences do take an objective accusative, and are therefore presumptively cognitive. The tests for the veridicality of religious experience are more like those for sense experiences than Gale allows. Gale’s “big” or “deep” disanalogy is not as devastating as he thinks. Gale’s critique of my and Alston’s (...) attempt to defuse attacks on the cognitively of religious experience by appealing to categoreal differences between the apparent objects of religious experience and sense experience is unsuccessful. (shrink)
Theism maintains that God is a moralagent. Classical Christian theism also maintains that God is unable tosin. The latter claim is entailed by the proposition that the being whois God is essentially God, and this proposition is one which would beendorsed by all or most classical theologians. It would thus appearthat the claim that God is unable to sin is an important, if notfundamental, part of classical Christian theism. It follows that, at acrucial point, classical Christian theism is incompatible with (...) theassumption that moral agency logically involves the ability to sin -an assumption which is an essential part of the free will defense asthat defense is normally presented. Since (as I suggested earlier) theuse of the free will defense also plays a very important role in clas-sical Christian theism, classical Christian theism would appear toexhibit a major incoherance. While the difficulty can be overcome byemploying a modified version of the free will defense, the modifiedversion is not as attractive as the original. (shrink)
In this paper I propose to examine the cognitive status of mystical experience. There are, I think, three distinct but overlapping sorts of religious experience. In the first place, there are two kinds of mystical experience. The extrovertive or nature mystic identifies himself with a world which is both transfigured and one. The introvertive mystic withdraws from the world and, after stripping the mind of concepts and images, experiences union with something which can be described as an undifferentiated unity. Introvertive (...) mysticism is a more important phenomenon than extrovertive mysticism. Numinous experiences are complex experiences involving dread, awe, wonder, and fascination. One finds oneself confronted with something which is radically unlike ordinary objects. Before its overwhelming majesty and power, one is nothing but dust and ashes. In contrasting oneself with its uncanny beauty and goodness, one experiences one's own uncleanness and ugliness. The experiences bound up with the devotional life of the ordinary believer are also religious in character. Nevertheless these more ordinary experiences should, I think, be distinguished both from numinous experiences and from mystical experiences, for they do not appear to involve the sense of immediate presence which characterises the latter. (shrink)