Russellian monism offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship between the physical and the phenomenal. For example, on one version of the view, phenomenal properties are the categorical bases of fundamental physical properties, such as mass and charge, which are dispositional. Russellian monism has prominent supporters, such as Bertrand Russell, Grover Maxwell, Michael Lockwood, and David Chalmers. But its strengths and shortcomings are often misunderstood. In this paper we try to eliminate confusions about the view and defend it from criticisms. (...) We present its core and distinguish different versions of it. We then compare these versions with traditional theories, such as physicalism, dualism, and idealism. We also argue that the knowledge argument and the conceivability argument are consistent with Russellian monism and that existing arguments against the view, such as the argument from weirdness, are not decisive. We conclude that Russellian monism is an attractive view that deserves serious consideration. (shrink)
A contemporary form of panpsychism says that phenomenality is prevalent because all physical ultimates instantiate phenomenal or protophenomenal properties. According to priority cosmopsychism, an alternative to panpsychism that we propose in this chapter, phenomenality is prevalent because the whole cosmos instantiates phenomenal or protophenomenal properties. It says, moreover, that the consciousness of the cosmos is ontologically prior to the consciousness of ordinary individuals like us. Since priority cosmopsychism is a highly speculative view our aim in this chapter remains modest and (...) limited. Instead of providing a full defense of priority cosmopsychism, we try to show only the theoretical advantage of the view over panpsychism. Tis, however, by no means entails that we develop the view in logical space merely for its own sake. We offer instead a blueprint for a new alternative to panpsychism and explain how such a view avoids some of the most persistent problems for panpsychism while maintaining several of its strengths. (shrink)
Consciousness in the Physical World collects historical selections, recent classics, and new pieces on Russellian monism, a unique alternative to the physicalist and dualist approaches to the problem of consciousness.
Yujin Nagasawa presents a new, stronger version of perfect being theism, the conception of God as the greatest possible being. Nagasawa argues that God should be understood, not as omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent, but rather as a being that has the maximal consistent set of knowledge, power, and benevolence.
Frank Jackson endorses epiphenomenalism because he thinks that his knowledge argument undermines physicalism. One of the most interesting criticisms of Jackson's position is what I call the 'inconsistency objection'. The inconsistency objection says that Jackson's position is untenable because epiphenomenalism undermines the knowledge argument. The inconsistency objection has been defended by various philosophers independently, including Michael Watkins, Fredrik Stjernberg, and Neil Campbell. Surprisingly enough, while Jackson himself admits explicitly that the inconsistency objection is 'the most powerful reply to the knowledge (...) argument' he knows of, it has never been discussed critically. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the objection and to identify and consider its implications. The objection is alleged to be based on a causal theory of knowledte. I argue that the objection fails by showing that any causal theory of knowledge is such that it is either false or does not support the inconsistency objection. In order to defend my argument, I offer a hypothesis concerning phenomenal knowledge. (shrink)
Consciousness in the Physical World collects historical selections, recent classics, and new pieces on Russellian monism, a unique alternative to the physicalist and dualist approaches to the problem of consciousness.
According to traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic theism, God is an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect agent. This volume shows that philosophy of religion needs to take seriously alternative concepts of the divine, and demonstrates the considerable philosophical interest that they hold.
Anselmian theists, for whom God is the being than which no greater can be thought, usually infer that he is an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being. Critics have attacked these claims by numerous distinct arguments, such as the paradox of the stone, the argument from God's inability to sin, and the argument from evil. Anselmian theists have responded to these arguments by constructing an independent response to each. This way of defending Anselmian theism is uneconomical. I seek to establish a (...) new defence which undercuts almost all the existing arguments against Anselmian theism at once. In developing this defence, I consider the possibility that the Anselmian God is not an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being. (shrink)
In this paper we address Bernard Williams' argument for the undesirability of immortality. Williams argues that unavoidable and pervasive boredom would characterise the immortal life of an individual with unchanging categorical desires. We resist this conclusion on the basis of the distinction between habitual and situational boredom and a psychologically realistic account of significant factors in the formation of boredom. We conclude that Williams has offered no persuasive argument for the necessity of boredom in the immortal life. 1.
Although worship has a pivotal place in religious thought and practice, philosophers of religion have had remarkably little to say about it. In this paper we examine some of the many questions surrounding the notion of worship, focusing on the claim that human beings have obligations to worship God. We explore a number of attempts to ground our supposed duty to worship God, and argue that each is problematic. We conclude by examining the implications of this result, and suggest that (...) it might be taken to provide an argument against God's existence, since theists generally regard it is a necessary truth that we ought to worship God. (shrink)
In God and Phenomenal Consciousness, Yujin Nagasawa bridges debates in two distinct areas of philosophy: the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of religion. First, he introduces some of the most powerful arguments against the existence of God and provides objections to them. He then presents a parallel structure between these arguments and influential arguments offered by Thomas Nagel and Frank Jackson against the physicalist approach to phenomenal consciousness. By appealing to this structure, Nagasawa constructs novel objections to Jackson's and (...) Nagel's arguments. Finally, he derives, from the failure of these arguments, a unique metaphysical thesis, which he calls 'non-theoretical physicalism'. Through this thesis, he shows that although this world is entirely physical, there are physical facts that cannot be captured even by complete theories of the physical sciences. (shrink)
Peter Millican (2004) provides a novel and elaborate objection to Anselm's ontological argument. Millican thinks that his objection is more powerful than any other because it does not dispute contentious 'deep philosophical theories' that underlie the argument. Instead, it tries to reveal the 'fatal flaw' of the argument by considering its 'shallow logical details'. Millican's objection is based on his interpretation of the argument, according to which Anselm relies on what I call the 'principle of the superiority of existence' (PSE). (...) I argue that (i) the textual evidence Millican cites does not provide a convincing case that Anselm relies on PSE and that, moreover, (ii) Anselm does not even need PSE for the ontological argument. I introduce a plausible interpretation of the ontological argument that is not vulnerable to Millican's objection and conclude that even if the ontological argument fails, it does not fail in the way Millican thinks it does. (shrink)
Does God exist? What are the various arguments that seek to prove the existence of God? Can atheists refute these arguments? The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction assesses classical and contemporary arguments concerning the existence of God: the ontological argument, introducing the nature of existence, possible worlds, parody objections, and the evolutionary origin of the concept of God the cosmological argument, discussing metaphysical paradoxes of infinity, scientific models of the universe, and philosophers’ discussions about ultimate reality and the meaning (...) of life the design argument, addressing Aquinas’s Fifth Way, Darwin’s theory of evolution, the concept of irreducible complexity, and the current controversy over intelligent design and school education. Bringing the subject fully up to date, Yujin Nagasawa explains these arguments in relation to recent research in cognitive science, the mathematics of infinity, big bang cosmology, and debates about ethics and morality in light of contemporary political and social events. The book also includes fascinating insights into the passions, beliefs and struggles of the philosophers and scientists who have tackled the challenge of proving the existence of God, including Thomas Aquinas, and Kurt Gödel - who at the end of his career as a famous mathematician worked on a secret project to prove the existence of God. The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction is an ideal gateway to the philosophy of religion and an excellent starting point for anyone interested in arguments about the existence of God. (shrink)
Skeptical theists purport to undermine evidential arguments from evil by appealing to the fact that our knowledge of goods, evils, and their interconnections is significantly limited. Michael J. Almeida and Graham Oppy have recently argued that skeptical theism is unacceptable because it results in a form of moral skepticism which rejects inferences that play an important role in our ordinary moral reasoning. In this reply to Almeida and Oppy's argument we offer some reasons for thinking that skeptical theism need not (...) lead to any such objectionable form of moral skepticism. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the difficulties that belief in a paradisiacal afterlife creates for orthodox theists. In particular, we consider the difficulties that arise when one asks whether there is freedom in Heaven, i.e. whether the denizens of Heaven have libertarian freedom in action. Our main contention is that this 'Problem of Heaven' makes serious difficulties for proponents of free will theodicies and for proponents of free will defences.
In this paper we respond to Benjamin Crowe's criticisms in this issue of our discussion of the grounds of worship. We clarify our previous position, and examine Crowe's account of what it is about God's nature that might ground our obligation to worship Him. We find Crowe's proposals no more persuasive than the accounts that we examined in our previous paper, and conclude that theists still owe us an account of what it is in virtue of which we have obligations (...) to worship God. (shrink)
List of Contributors vi Introduction vii 1 A New Definition of ”Omnipotence’ in Terms of Sets 1 Daniel J. Hill 2 Can God Choose a World at Random? 22 Klaas J. Kraay 3 Why is There Anything at All? 36 T. J. Mawson 4 Programs, Bugs, DNA and a Design Argument 55 Alexander R. Pruss 5 The ”Why Design?’ Question 68 Neil A. Manson 6 Divine Command Theory and the Semantics of Quantified Modal Logic 91 David Efird 7 Divine Desire (...) Theory and Obligation 105 Christian B. Miller 8 The Puzzle of Prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise 125 Daniel Howard-Snyder 9 A Participatory Model of the Atonement 150 Tim Bayne and Greg Restall 10 Basic Human Worth: Religious and Secular Perspectives 167 Christopher J. Eberle 11 Imperfection as Sufficient for a Meaningful Life: How Much is Enough? 192 Thaddeus Metz Index 215. (shrink)
The so-called Anselmian thesis says that God is that than which no greater can be thought. This thesis has been widely accepted among traditional theists and it has for several hundred years been a central notion whenever philosophers debate the existence and nature of God. Proponents of the thesis are often silent, however, about exactly what it means to say that God is that than which no greater can be thought. The aim of this paper is to offer an answer (...) to this question by providing rigorous, systematic models of the Anselmian thesis. The most straightforward model, which I call the “Linear Model,” says that God is that than which no greater can be thought by virtue of occupying the top link in the “great chain of being,” a universal linear ranking of all possible beings. Most contemporary philosophers believe, however, that the Linear Model does not succeed because the notion of the great chain of being is untenable. I therefore explore alternatives to the Linear Model. I argue that what I call the “Extended Radial Model” characterizes the Anselmian thesis correctly, even though the model faces a powerful objection. I argue further that the Linear Model should be taken seriously as a backup option for Anselmian theists because (i) it is not vulnerable to the objection that the Extended Radial Model faces and (ii) what is widely regarded as a knock-down objection to the Linear Model is not as compelling as some have claimed. (shrink)
Skeptical theists purport to undermine evidential arguments from evil by appealing to the fact that our knowledge of goods, evils, and their interconnections is significantly limited. Michael J. Almeida and Graham Oppy have recently argued that skeptical theism is unacceptable because it results in a form of moral skepticism which rejects inferences that play an important role in our ordinary moral reasoning. In this reply to Almeida and Oppy’s argument we offer some reasons for thinking that skeptical theism need not (...) lead to any such objectionable form of moral skepticism. (shrink)
The 'parody objection' to the ontological argument for the existence of God advances parallel arguments apparently proving the existence of various absurd entities. I discuss recent versions of the parody objection concerning the existence of 'AntiGod' and the devil, as introduced by Peter Millican and Timothy Chambers. I argue that the parody objection always fails, because any parody is either (i) not structurally parallel to the ontological argument, or (ii) not dialectically parallel to the ontological argument. Moreover, once a parody (...) argument is modified in such a way that it avoids (i) and (ii), it is, ironically, no longer a parody – it is the ontological argument itself. (shrink)
When patients are in vegetative states and their lives are maintained by medical devices, their surrogates might offer proxy consents on their behalf in order to terminate the use of the devices. The so-called ’substituted judgment thesis’ has been adopted by the courts regularly in order to determine the validity of such proxy consents. The thesis purports to evaluate proxy consents by appealing to putative counterfactual truths about what the patients would choose, were they to be competent. The aim of (...) this paper is to reveal a significant limitation of the thesis, which has hitherto been recognised only vaguely and intuitively. By appealing to the metaphysics of counterfactuals I explain how the thesis fails to determine the validity of proxy consents in a number of actual cases. (shrink)
Patrick Grim argues that God cannot beomniscient because no one other than me canacquire knowledge de se of myself. Inparticular, according to Grim, God cannot knowwhat I know in knowing that I am making amess. I argue, however, that given twoplausible principles regarding divineattributes there is no reason to accept Grim'sconclusion that God cannot be omniscient. Inthis paper I focus on the relationship betweendivine omniscience and necessaryimpossibilities, in contrast to the generaltrend of research since Aquinas, which hasconcentrated on the relationship (...) between divineomnipotence and necessary impossibilities. (shrink)
According to one antitheist argument, the necessarily omniscient, necessarily omnipotent, and necessarily omnibenevolent Anselmian God does not exist, because if God is necessarily omnipotent it is impossible for Him to comprehend fully certain concepts, such as fear, frustration and despair, that an omniscient being needs to possess. Torin Alter examines this argument and provides three elaborate objections to it. I argue that theists would not accept any of them because they con ict with traditional Judaeo-Christian doctrines concerning divine attributes.
Pa ul Boghos s i a n’ s ‘ Me mor y Ar gume nt ’ a l l ege dl y s hows , us i ng t he f ami l i a r s l ow-switching scenario, that externalism and authoritative self-knowledge are incompatible. The aim of this paper is to undermine the argument by examining..
I argue that Gregg Rosenberg’s panexperientialism is either extremely implausible or irrelevant to the mystery of consciousness by introducing metaphysical and conceptual objections to his appeal to the notion of ‘protoconsciousness’.
In this article, I discuss Anselmian theism, which is arguably the most widely accepted form of monotheism. First, I introduce the core theses of Anselmian theism and consider its historical and developmental origins. I contend that, despite its name, Anselmian theism might well be older than Anselm. I also claim, supporting my argument by reference to research in the cognitive science of religion, that, contrary to what many think, Anselmian theism might be a natural result of human cognitive development rather (...) than a mere philosophical artefact. Second, in the course of explaining the merits of Anselmian theism, I argue that this doctrine seems to benefit from at least three virtues. Third, I discuss existing arguments against Anselmian theism and maintain that most of them can be classified into three types. Finally, I suggest a novel strategy on the basis of which it is possible to defend Anselmian theism from these arguments. (shrink)
i l l ustrat es t he di ffi cul t y of providing a purely physical characterisation of phenomenal experi ence wi t ha vi vi d exampl e about a bat ’ s sensory apparatus. Whi l e a number of obj ect i ons have al ready been made to Nagel.
Mary is confined to a black-and-white room, is educated through black-and-white books and through lectures relayed on black-and white television. In this way she learns everything there is to know about the physical nature of the world. She knows all the physical facts about us and our environment, in a wide sense of 'physical' which includes everything in completed physics, chemistry, and neurophysiology, and all there is to know about the causal and relational facts consequent upon all this, including of (...) course functional roles. If physicalism is true, she knows all there is to know. For to suppose otherwise is to suppose that there is more to know than every physical fact, and that is just what physicalis. (shrink)
In ‘Anthropocentrism and the Problem of Evil’ Timothy Chappell argues that one cannot advance the following two criticisms of Christianity at the same time: (1) Christianity is an implausibly anthropocentric religion, and (2) Christianity has no convincing answer to the problem of natural evil. I demonstrate that Chappell’s argument is unsuccessful by providing three possible, and consistent, interpretations of (1) and (2).
Kim Atkins argues that Thomas Nagel’s argument regarding a bat’s phenomenal experience is important for understanding the value placed on patient autonomy in medical ethics. In this paper I demonstrate that Atkins’s argument (a) is based on her misinterpretations of Nagel’s argument, and (b) can be established without appealing to such a controversial assumption as that which she makes.
According to one antitheist argument, God cannot know what it is like to be me because He, who is necessarily unlimited and necessarily incorporeal, cannot have my point of view. In his recent article, William J. Mander tries to demonstrate that God can indeed have His own point of view and my point of view at the same time by providing examples that seem to motivate his claim. I argue that none of his examples succeeds in this task. I introduce (...) a different objection to the antitheist argument that appeals to the Thomistic principle regarding divine attributes. (shrink)
Paul Boghossian's‘Memory Argument’allegedly shows, using the familiar slow‐switching scenario, that externalism and authoritative self‐knowledge are incompatible. The aim of this paper is to undermine the argument by examining two distinct externalist responses. I demonstrate that the Memory Argument equivocates on the notion of forgetting.
The gift of life argument, the claim that suicide is immoral because our lives are not ours to dispose of as we are their guardians or stewards, is a persistent theme in debates about the morality of suicide, assisted-suicide, and euthanasia. I argue that this argument suffers from a fatal internal incoherence. The gift can either be interpreted literally or analogically. If it is interpreted literally there are serious problems in understanding who receives the gift. If it is understood analogically (...) the question arises whether the gift is understood to be a finite or everlasting existence. If it is finite then it is hard to see how one can be punished for bringing that existence to an end for one will not be around to be punished. If the existence is infinite it is impossible to see how one can be punished for ending one’s life because one cannot end it. However, there is still ethical mileage to be gained from the description of life as a gift and in the concluding section I indicate one way in which this is so. (shrink)
It is widely recognised that Australia has produced a number of prominent physicalists, such as D. M. Armstrong, U. T. Place and J. J. C. Smart. It is sometimes forgotten, however, that Australia has also produced a number of prominent dualists. This entry introduces the views of three Australian dualists: Keith Campbell, Frank Jackson and David Chalmers. Their positions differ uniquely from those of traditional dualists because their endorsement of dualism is based on their sympathy with a naturalistic, materialistic worldview (...) rather than with a supernaturalistic, spiritual worldview. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to evaluate the claim that the disclosure of surgeons' performance data could lead to the practice of defensive medicine. I argue that disclosure could actually encourage surgeons to practice a new form of defensive medicine, one that has not hitherto been noted. I explore a possible way of avoiding this problem.