Results in Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion: 1,743
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International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-2; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09803-0
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-5; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09801-2
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 199-200; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09800-3
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-14; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09799-7
It has often been claimed, e.g. by William James or Aldous Huxley, that mystical experiences across times and cultures exhibit a striking similarity. Even though the words and images we use to describe them are different, underneath the surface we find a common experiential core. Others have rejected this claim and argued that all experiences are intrinsically shaped by the mystics’ pre-existing religious concepts. Against these constructivist objections, I defend the idea of a common core by arguing that even if all experience is interpreted through concepts, there could still be a common core. Those who reject the common core thesis usually argue that no distinction between experience and interpretation can be made since all experience is per se already interpreted. The notion of an uninterpreted experience is self-defeating. Drawing on current research on nonconceptual mental content, I argue (a) that experiences can have nonconceptual content; (b) that interpretation must be understood as conceptualization and (c) that conceptualization presupposes a raw mental content that is not conceptualized. This raw content is not experienced as nonconceptual. Rather, the nonconceptual, uninterpreted common core is an abstraction which shows itself only through reflection. Thus, the existence of a common core is compatible with the fact that all experiences are interpreted.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-17; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09798-8
A concept of merit is used for spiritual accounting in many religious traditions, seemingly a substantial point of connection between religion and ordinary morality. Teachings of “merit transfer” (as in Buddhism and Roman Catholicism) might make us doubt this connection since they violate the principle that merit must be earned. If we examine the structure of ordinary schemes of desert, however, we find that personal worth is posited for a variety of reasons; the basic requirement in this realm is not earning by individuals but rather a community’s program for cultivating desirable collaboration among its members. There are strong enough parallels between religiously envisioned merit transfer and socially normal conferrals and sharings of worth that we can conclude that the religious posits of transferred merit are indeed comprehensible as merit, whatever other problems of comprehensibility they pose.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 105-106; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09797-9
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 189-198; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09796-w
In this critical notice of Clifford Williams’ Religion and the meaning of life, I focus on his argumentation in favour of the moderate supernaturalist position that, while a meaningful life would be possible in a purely physical world, a much greater meaning would be possible only in a world with God and an eternal afterlife spent close to God. I begin by expounding and evaluating Williams’ views of the physical sources of meaning, providing reason to doubt both that he has captured all the central ones and that he has provided the right explanation of why we ought to care about them. Then I address Williams’ account of why God would greatly enhance the meaning of our lives, arguing that, if God could do so, then God could by the same token reduce their meaning as well, such that it is unclear that a world with God would offer a net gain in meaning. Finally, I take up Williams’ position that an eternal afterlife with God would greatly enhance the meaning of our lives, contending that, if it would do so, then it would to such an enormous degree as to make it hard to capture the intuition that a meaningful life would be possible in a purely physical world.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-33; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09795-x
A number of Christian theologians and philosophers have been critical of overly moralizing approaches to the doctrine of sin, but nearly all Christian thinkers maintain that moral fault is necessary or sufficient for sin to obtain. Call this the “Moral Consensus.” I begin by clarifying the relevance of impurities to the biblical cataloguing of sins. I then present four extensional problems for the Moral Consensus on sin, based on the biblical catalogue of sins: (1) moral over-demandingness, (2) agential unfairness, (3) moral repugnance, and (4) moral atrocity. Next, I survey several partial solutions to these problems, suggested by the recent philosophical literature. Then I evaluate two largely unexplored solutions: (a) genuine sin dilemmas and (b) defeasible sinfulness. I argue that (a) creates more problems than it solves and that, while (b) is well-motivated and solves or eases each of the above problems, (b) leaves many biblical ordinances about sin morally misleading, creating (5) a pedagogical problem of evil. I conclude by arguing that (5) places hefty explanatory burdens on those who would appeal to (b) to resolve the four extensional problems discussed in this paper. So Christian thinkers may need to consider a more radical separation of sin and moral fault.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-16; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09794-y
Unamuno believes that longing for immortality is what motivates nearly all of human behavior. Unfortunately, in a world in which many people despair of ever achieving true personal immortality, we increasingly turn to what he calls mere “shadows of immortality” for comforting ideas about how our names, energy, or basic material substance will carry on in our absence. Unamuno advocates fighting against such despair, staying out of the shadows, and longing for personal immortality even when it seems impossible. Unamuno’s approach to this issue resembles, in a few significant ways, Kierkegaard’s struggle for the cultivation of subjective selfhood. At the same time, it also runs afoul of Nietzsche’s derisive claims about immortality-seekers. Whereas Nietzsche sees longing for immortality as a sign of being too weak to make the most of mortal life, the more Kierkegaardian Unamuno counters that it is a sign of strong appreciation for life to demand, without surrender, that there be more of it. Given the proper understanding of Nietzsche’s claims about the eternal recurrence, I think he and Unamuno might not be quite as far apart as it initially seems. However, exploring the latter’s critique of the former suggests an intriguing way of seeing the contemporary analytic debate about the desirability of immortality. Building on Unamuno’s position, one could argue that pessimism about the value of immortality is actually indicative of a flawed character and an impoverished relationship with life.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-11; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09792-0
It is debated among open theists whether propositions about the contingent future should be regarded as straightforwardly true or false, as all false without exception, or as lacking truth-values. This article discusses some recent work on this topic and proposes a solution different than the one I have previously endorsed.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-11; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09793-z
As a matter of fact, few, if any, theists have been expressivists about morality. This is probably because expressivism is thought to have unacceptable theological implications. That is, it is thought to imply (1) that God’s goodness depends on our desire-like states, (2) that God’s goodness is not a real property, (3) that it is not true that God is good, and (4) that God’s moral thoughts have no explanation. I argue that expressivism has no such implications and conclude that expressivism is theologically acceptable.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 90, pp 61-78; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09790-2
In Pascal’s famous wager, he claims that the seeking non-believer can induce genuine religious belief in herself by joining a religious community and taking part in its rituals. This form of belief regulation is epistemologically puzzling: can we form beliefs in this way, and could such beliefs be rationally held? In the first half of the paper, we explain how the regimen could allow the seeking non-believer to regulate her religious beliefs by intervening on her evidence and epistemic standards. In the second half of the paper, we argue that regulated religious beliefs can be rationally held.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-15; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09791-1
A family of objections to theism aims to show that certain key theological doctrines, when held in conjunction, are incompatible. The longstanding problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom represents one such objection. In this essay, we provide the theist an epistemic approach to the problem that allows for the rational affirmation of both divine foreknowledge and human freedom (understood as the ability to do otherwise) despite their prima facie incompatibility. Specifically, we apply James Anderson’s Rational Affirmation of Paradox Theology model to the problem, arguing that the theist can stave off defeat that arises from a belief in the conjunction of both doctrines by appealing to paradox. In order to establish this thesis, we first define key terms as well as lay out the theological fatalist argument. Next, we explicate Anderson’s model and apply it to the foreknowledge and freedom problem. We conclude by addressing the objection that an appeal to paradox is simply special pleading for the theist, arguing that the naturalist can be found in a similar epistemic position.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-18; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09789-9
Although the doctrine of divine simplicity has faced substantial criticism in recent years, Jeffrey Brower has recently offered a novel defense of the view by appealing to contemporary truthmaker theory. In this paper, I will argue that Brower’s defense of divine simplicity requires an implausible account of how truthmaking works for essential intrinsic predications. I will first argue that, unless Brower is willing to make an ad hoc exception for how truthmaking works in God’s case, he is committed to saying that essential intrinsic predications about any object are made true by that object alone, not by its having essential properties. I will then argue that reflecting on cases where distinct essential intrinsic predications about an object have different causal explanations behind them shows that this general view of truthmaking is implausible.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 90, pp 3-17; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09784-6
I present three versions of the argument from divine hiddenness that are grounded in moral considerations regarding how a just deity would act and auxiliary commitments that theists often have. First, I argue that the problem of hiddenness is made worse if one also holds that many will suffer in the afterlife due to not achieving a proper orientation towards God and the demands of morality in this life. Second, I argue that if any version of the moral argument for theism is successful, then God has a very good reason to not remain hidden. Third, I argue that a just God would not allow people to do evil in her name.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 91-97; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09788-w
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 1-2; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09787-x
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 99-103; doi:10.1007/s11153-021-09786-y
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-23; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09785-5
In Christ the Heart of Creation, Rowan Williams argues that Christology as expounded by the classical tradition in Western theology holds a bounty for thinking in Christian ontology about the God-world relation. In particular, he uses the work of Søren Kierkegaard throughout to show that the relation between finite and infinite, immanent and transcendent, is not competitive, and thus there need be no metaphysical problem when holding that the incarnate God-man is both fully human and divine. This essay argues, however, that Kierkegaard’s own pseudonymous work cited by Williams holds the incarnation to be far more paradoxical and intellectually offensive than Williams allows. However, such priority of offense does not put an end to Christ’s central ontological position but rather shifts it to new directions in our thinking about theological ontology. Rather than Williams’ own conception of a cosmos in which the divine and non-divine are compatible and harmonious, Kierkegaard presents a doctrine of existence in which God and the human are in constant, dynamic engagement and in which temporal being bears ultimate primacy for Christian existence.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-8; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09783-7
Neil Sinhababu (Am Philos Q 54(1):89–98, 2017) has recently argued against the fine-tuning argument for God. They claim that the question of the universe’s fine-tuning ought not be ‘why is the universe so hospitable to life?’ but rather ‘why is the universe so hospitable to morally valuable minds?’ and that, moreover, the universe isn’t so hospitable. For it is metaphysically possible that psychophysical laws be substantially more permissive than they in fact are, allowing for the realisation of morally valuable consciousness by exceptionally simple physical states and systems, rather than the complex states of brains. I reply that Sinhababu’s argument rests upon unsupported claims and that we have reason to doubt that an omnibenevolent God would make the psychophysical laws more permissive than they in fact are.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-21; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09782-8
In the second Critique, Kant argues that for the highest good to be possible we need to postulate the existence of God and the immortality of the soul in a future world. In his other writings, however, he suggests that the highest good is attainable through mere human agency in this world. Based on the apparent incoherence between these texts, Andrews Reath, among others, argues that Kant’s texts reveal two competing conceptions of the highest good, namely a secular and a theological conception. In this paper, I argue that Kant has a coherent conception of the highest good which applies to two different domains, namely the domain of the individual humans and the domain of the human species.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 229-230; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09781-9
Department of Philosophy, Stetson University, Deland, FL, 32723, USA R. L. Hall You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar Correspondence to R. L. Hall. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Hall, R.L. Preface. Int J Philos Relig 88, 229–230 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09781-9 Download citation Published: 30 October 2020 Issue Date: December 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09781-9
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 307-312; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09780-w
Connecticut College, New London, USA Andrew Pessin You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar Correspondence to Andrew Pessin. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Pessin, A. The Principles of Judaism. Samuel Lebens. Oxford University press, 2020, xiii and 331 pp, $100 (hb.). Int J Philos Relig 88, 307–312 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09780-w Download citation Published: 21 October 2020 Issue Date: December 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09780-w
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-19; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09779-3
I argue that beliefs about what appears possible are justified in much the same way as beliefs about what appears actual. I do so by chisholming, and then modalizing, the epistemic principle associated with phenomenal conservatism. The principle is tested against a number of examples, and it gives the intuitively correct results. I conclude by considering how it can be used to defend two controversial modal arguments, a Cartesian argument for dualism and an ontological argument for the existence of God.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 137-138; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09778-4
Department of Philosophy, Stetson University, Deland, FL, 32723, USA R. L. Hall You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar Correspondence to R. L. Hall. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Hall, R.L. Editorial preface. Int J Philos Relig 88, 137–138 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09778-4 Download citation Published: 19 September 2020 Issue Date: October 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09778-4
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 223-227; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09776-6
Morehead State University, Morehead, KY, 40351, USA Sabrina Little You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar Correspondence to Sabrina Little. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Little, S. J. L. Schellenberg: Religion after Science: The Cultural Consequences of Religious Immaturity. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09776-6 Download citation Published: 10 September 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09776-6
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 1-4; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09777-5
University of Delaware, Newark, US Jeffrey J. Jordan You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar Correspondence to Jeffrey J. Jordan. Reprints and Permissions Jordan, J.J. W. P. Franks: Explaining evil: four views. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09777-5 Download citation Published: 09 September 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09777-5
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-22; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09775-7
Some religious requirements seem genuinely arbitrary in the sense that there seem to be no sufficient explanation of why those requirements with those contents should pertain. This paper aims to understand exactly what it might mean for a religious requirement to be genuinely arbitrary and to discern whether and how a religious practitioner could ever be rational in obeying such a requirement (even with full knowledge of its arbitrariness). We lay out four accounts of what such arbitrariness could consist in, and show how each account provides a different sort of baseline for understanding how obedience to arbitrary requirements could, in principle, be rational.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion pp 1-20; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09773-9
Edward Feser defends the ‘Aristotelian proof’ for the existence of God, which reasons that the only adequate explanation of the existence of change is in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. His argument, however, relies on the falsity of the Existential Inertia Thesis (EIT), according to which concrete objects tend to persist in existence without requiring an existential sustaining cause. In this article, I first characterize the dialectical context of Feser’s Aristotelian proof, paying special attention to EIT and its rival thesis—the Existential Expiration Thesis. Next, I provide a more precise characterization of EIT, after which I outline two metaphysical accounts of existential inertia. I then develop new lines of reasoning in favor of EIT that appeal to the theoretical virtues of explanatory power and simplicity. Finally, I address the predominant criticisms of EIT in the literature.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 125-134; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09774-8
This paper aims to outline a counterfactual theory of divine atemporal causation that avoids problems of preemption. As a result, the presentation of the analysis is structured such that my counterfactual analysis directly addresses preemption issues. If these problems can be avoided, the theist is well on her way to proposing a usable metaphysical concept of atemporal divine causation. In the first section, I outline Lewis’ original counterfactual analysis as well as how these cases of preemption cause problems for his analysis. In particular, two cases of preemption have proven problematic for counterfactual analyses: late preemption and trumping preemption. In the second section, I propose a counterfactual analysis of divine causation that is not subject to these problems of preemption. I present a counterfactual analysis of timeless divine causation, supplemented by a definition of what it means for God to allow an event to happen. In the third section, I argue this analysis is not prey to problems of preemption.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 135-152; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09768-6
We use a mechanized verification system, PVS, to examine the argument from Anselm’s Proslogion Chapter III, the so-called “Modal Ontological Argument.” We consider several published formalizations for the argument and show they are all essentially similar. Furthermore, we show that the argument is trivial once the modal axioms are taken into account. This work is an illustration of Computational Philiosophy and, in addition, shows how these methods can help detect and rectify errors in modal reasoning.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 153-170; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09772-w
It is argued that God cannot be a fitting target of prepositional gratitude. The first premise is that if someone cannot be benefited, then they cannot be a fitting target of prepositional gratitude. The second premise is that God cannot be benefited. Concerning the first premise, it is argued that a necessary component of prepositional gratitude is the desire to benefit one’s benefactor. Then it is argued that such a desire is fitting only if one’s benefactor can in fact be benefited. Concerning the second premise, it is noted that classical theism widely attributes blessedness to God. It is argued that if God is blessed then God necessarily has as much well-being as it is possible for God to have, and hence God cannot be benefited. Also noted are some ways in which God’s blessedness is compatible with less orthodox ideas about God’s passibility. The argument is then defended against eight objections.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 1-3; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09771-x
Department of Philosophy, Stetson University, Deland, FL, 32723, USA R. L. Hall You can also search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar Correspondence to R. L. Hall. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Hall, R.L. Editorial preface. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09771-x Download citation Published: 04 July 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09771-x
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 133-136; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09770-y
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 171-187; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09769-5
Philosophical and theological conceptions of eternity frequently define it through a contrast with time’s transience. These conceptions reflect the widespread influence of Augustine’s idea of eternity, where eternity stands atemporally in opposition to time. Such conceptions are problematic for both divine and human relations to the world. However, the work of Plotinus and Boethius shows that eternity can be conceived more inclusively—as transcending time, but nonetheless including temporal change and dynamism within its presence. This facilitates Boethius’ views of divine knowledge and human freedom in ways that are not available to Augustine. His work demonstrates how an inclusive conception of eternity can reconcile the pursuit of eternal wisdom with a commitment to ethical responsibility within the temporal flow of the world.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 107-123; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09767-7
John Schellenberg argues that God would never withhold the possibility of conscious personal relationship with Him from anyone for the sake of greater goods, since there simply would not be greater goods than a conscious personal relationship with God. Given that nonresistant nonbelief withholds the possibility of such relationship, this entails that God would not allow nonresistant nonbelief for the sake of greater goods. Thus, if Schellenberg is right, all greater goods responses to the hiddenness argument must fail in principle. I argue that there are good reasons for thinking that greater goods responses do not, for the above reason, fail in principle.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 67-89; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09766-8
In this paper I argue that racism’s subtle and insidious reach should lead us to prefer an account of religious experience that is capable of reckoning with that reach, an account that, I shall argue, appears in the work of St. John of the Cross. The paper begins with an analysis of race and racism and the way in which the latter can have existential and even spiritual effects. The argument is then applied particularly to white people and the deleterious effects racism has on their intellects, wills, and even memories, not merely inwardly but also as a result of what Charles Mills famously calls an epistemology of ignorance. Notably, intellect, will, and memory are the key sites for union in St. John’s discussion. In the last main section, I discuss how progress in the mystical life can be hindered by racism’s effects even while it is possible for there to be “touches of union” on the way. Another result of this inquiry is that it shows how a widely-used schema, such as St. John’s, will require spiritual aspirants to deal with racism, both in themselves and in the world.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 3-24; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09765-9
Kant’s religious ethics is grounded in a practical philosophy where ‘God’ is subordinated to moral principles. To accomplish this goal, Kant dismantled the onto-theological groundwork of religion and the conventional method of attaching morality to God, as if morality was a consequence of religious belief. In this essay, I will show how Kant replaces the metaphysics of being with the metaphysics of morality. More importantly, I will show how Kant’s thesis of moral theism argues that the practical philosophy does not end with the categorical imperative, but that Kant also thinks morality inevitably leads to religious belief.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 25-41; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09762-y
I defend an account of God’s ineffability that depends on the distinction between fundamental and non-fundamental truths. I argue that although there are fundamentally true propositions about God, no creature can have them as the object of a propositional attitude, and no sentence can perfectly carve out their structures. Why? Because these propositions have non-enumerable structures. In principle, no creature can fully grasp God’s intrinsic nature, nor can they develop a language that fully describes it. On this account, the ineffability of God is explained in terms of the inability of our language and mental capacities to grasp God as he really is. I will motivate my account by distinguishing it from a rival proposal. According to this rival, there are no fundamentally true propositions about God’s intrinsic nature. I argue that this rival proposal faces problems that my account does not face. And unlike this rival and other accounts of ineffability, my account provides a fitting explanation of why God is ineffable. God is ineffable because the structure of his intrinsic nature is infinite.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 89, pp 43-65; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09764-w
Lewisian theism is the view that both traditional theism and Lewis’s modal realism are true. On Lewisian theism, God must exist in worlds in one of the following ways: (1) God can be said to have a counterpart in each world; (2) God can be said to exist in each world in the way that a universal can be said to exist in worlds (if universals exist), i.e. through transworld identity; (3) God can be said to be a scattered individual, with a part of God existing in each world; and, (4) God can be said to exist in each world, through His existing from the standpoint of each world. In the literature, (1)–(4) have been rejected as viable options. I grant that (1) and (3) are not viable. However, I believe that (2) and (4) have been too hastily rejected. Herein, I develop ways to respond to objections to (2) and (4), and conclude that (4) is a viable option for Lewisian theists.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 287-305; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09763-x
The popularity of theodicy over the past several decades has given rise to a countermovement, “anti-theodicy”, which admonishes attempts at theodicy for various reasons. This paper examines one prominent anti-theodical objection: that it is hubristic, and attempts to form an approach to theodicy which evades this objection. To do so I draw from the work of Eleonore Stump, who provides a framework by which we can glean second-personal knowledge of God. From this knowledge, I argue that we can derive a theodicy which does not utilise the kind of analytic theorising anti-theodicists accuse of intellectual hubris.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 203-208; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09755-x
This will imply that someone who is not overburdened by such a provision will have an obligation to provide the relevant goods. Again, this will imply that someone who is not overburdened by such a provision will have an obligation to provide the relevant goods. As it should be, these moral requirements apply to us as well as to God, although our ability to prevent is obviously different. This is because they think that it may be logically impossible for God to prevent the evil consequences of both such actions. In the course of my argument, I propose to do just that. Which then makes it a case to which Moral Evil Prevention Requirement III applies. This is because theists think that there may be no logically possible alternative way for God to provide for such goods that is morally unobjectionable. In the course of my argument, I propose to do just that. Correspondence to James P. Sterba. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Sterba, J.P. Is a good god logically possible?. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09755-x Download citation Received: 15 December 2019 Accepted: 15 February 2020 Published: 07 May 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09755-x
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 217-222; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09758-8
Richard Swinburne (1991): The Existence of God, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 219. William Hasker (1992): “The Necessity of Gratuitous Evil,” Faith and Philosophy, 9/1, 23–24. See p. 32. William Rowe (1991): “Ruminations about Evil,” Philosophical Perspectives, 5: 69–88. See p. 72. Michael Murray (2008): Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Trent Dougherty (2014): The Problem of Animal Pain: A Theodicy for All Creatures Great and Small, New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Michael Tooley (2019): The Problem of Evil, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 46–50. Alvin Plantinga and Michael Tooley (2008): Knowledge of God, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 108–150. Op cit., 34–6. Peter van Inwagen (2006): The Problem of Evil, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 114. Ibid. Op cit., 26. Michael Bergman (2009): “Skeptical Theism and the Problem of Evil,” in Michael Bergmann and Thomas Flint (eds.), Oxford Handbook to Philosophical Theology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 374–99: 376. Correspondence to Michael Tooley. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Tooley, M. Analyzing Sterba’s argument. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09758-8 Download citation Received: 15 December 2019 Accepted: 15 February 2020 Published: 04 May 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09758-8
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 229-243; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09761-z
In my comment on Jim Sterba’s book, I claimed that traditional theists would find his moral requirement on God, MEPR1, deeply repugnant and unacceptable. He maintains, on the contrary, that religious people will accept this principle. If they accept it, then they should agree that the Israelites, in my Deuteronomic satire, have a valid logical and ethical case against the Lord—but they won’t agree to that. If they do in some way accept the principle, they will accept it as a prima facie obligation, a very different matter from accepting it as an exceptionless requirement, which is what Sterba needs them to do. In any case, if he is to show a logical incompatibility between God and evil, he needs to defeat the best theistic answer to his argument; it’s not enough to defeat a weaker answer built on a (possibly unwise) initial concession by his opponents. I suggested a couple of modifications for MEPR1, in the interest of making it a more plausible candidate for an exceptionless moral requirement. Sterba demurs. With regard to the exception for sufferers who were themselves the agents of the moral evil in question, consider this example: The dictator of a small nation starts a malicious war of aggression in order to extend his territory. The offensive fails, but results in huge amounts of suffering and death, and the dictator’s palace is surrounded by an angry mob. On Sterba’s unmodified principle, he has a right to be transported to a remote location where he can live out his life in luxury and safety; he has this right against anyone who is able easily to do this for him. As for future generations, I am far more confident that we have a responsibility to care for the earth than that future generations of people, who do not exist and may never exist, have rights over us here and now. And I think that in general it is implausible to suppose that all of our duties can be cashed out in terms of rights that individuals have over us. (Suppose there is something that is seriously needed by many of my neighbors—for instance, access to a secondary-level education. I can easily provide this for some few of them, but my resources are inadequate to provide it for all. It is plausible that I have an obligation to provide for as many as I reasonably can, but that no particular individual has a right over me to have me make such provision.) Throughout his book Sterba appeals to the idea of an “ideally just and powerful state” as an analogy to help us see what we should morally expect of a good God. In his RepliesFootnote 1 he infers that, since I did not refer to this idea in my comment, he has satisfied or neutralized my objections to the notion. This inference is badly mistaken. In fact, I view the notion as completely unusable; it plays no role at all in my thinking about these topics. It is obvious that no such state exists; nor, I should say, is there anything like an approximation to it.Footnote 2 Given what we know of human nature, I do not think anything of the sort is possible. And I should strongly oppose giving to any human government powers sufficient to make it a plausible analog for the divine governance of the world. (Readers of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings will recall that both Gandalf and Galadriel (beings of exalted status, far superior to humans in wisdom and goodness) refused the Ring of Power. The Ring would have enabled either of them to overcome great evils and accomplish much that was good. But in the end, it would overpower them and the result would be even greater evil.) As has been noted, one objection against NEPR1 is that it would greatly impair the morally significant exercise of free will. To be sure, the principle does not require that the exercise of free will shall itself be controlled, only that the harmful consequences of such exercise will be prevented. But once it becomes generally known that such consequences will not be allowed to occur, it will become in effect impossible for anyone to act in the ways that would have such results. Furthermore, the motivation of humans to care for one another by preventing serious harms to others will be considerably lessened, once it is recognized that such harms will not be allowed to occur in any case.Footnote 3 Sterba mentions, in his Replies, an additional feature of his view that is designed to avoid these disadvantages. In cases where human beings have failed in their duty of preventing the harmful consequences of moral evil, God will prevent part of the evil consequences, but will leave another part to occur. Thus it will not be so clear to those who intend harm to others that their harm cannot succeed, nor will persons of goodwill be deprived of motivation to prevent evils. Sterba pictures a situation in which a child is abducted, where a bystander has the opportunity, and therefore the obligation, to prevent the abduction before it occurs. If the bystander fails in this responsibility, God arranges for police officers to arrest the abductors before they have killed or physically harmed the child. This prevents the worst consequences of the abduction, but may well leave the child traumatized from the experience. So people who have the opportunity to save others from harm will still realize that things will be worse if they fail in their responsibility to act. This strategy fails. The requirement is that an agent prevent “significant or horrendous” evils. This wording is vague, but in any particular case there will be a threshold, such that harm falling below that threshold is relatively unimportant and can be permitted, whereas harm above the threshold would violate the sufferer’s rights and must be prevented. Now, if a human intervenes in such a way as to keep the evil consequences below the threshold, well and good. If the human being fails in her responsibility to intervene, but God acts so as to prevent harm above the...
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 209-212; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09756-w
James P. Sterba, Is a Good God Logically Possible? (Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). Page references in the text are to this volume. John Hick, (Philosophy of Religion, 3rd Edition (Engelwood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1983), 47. See, for example, Mark C. Murphy, God’s Own Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017). Correspondence to William Hasker. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Hasker, W. Who’s right about rights?. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09756-w Download citation Received: 15 December 2019 Accepted: 15 February 2020 Published: 25 April 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09756-w
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 213-216; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09757-9
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 223-228; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09759-7
Correspondence to James P. Sterba. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Sterba, J.P. Replies. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09759-7 Download citation Received: 15 December 2019 Accepted: 15 February 2020 Published: 24 April 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09759-7
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 88, pp 249-258; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09752-0
Multiverse theorists provide controversial, unique but unified accounts of divine creation that result in the Anselmian God creating a best world. On what conditions should theists endorse this or any account of divine creation? One available way is to evaluate how well they resolve some intractable problems in philosophical theology. I argue that multiverse accounts do not resolve these problems to a greater degree than some alternative account of divine creation. I conclude that we should endorse the alternative account over multiverse accounts.
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 201-202; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09754-y
McCloskey, H. J. (1968). On being an atheist. In H. Hawton (Ed.), Question 1 (pp. 62–69). London: Pemberton Publishing. Rowe, W. L. (1979). The Problem of Evil and some Varieties of Atheism. American Philosophical Quarterly,16(4), 335–341. Sterba, J. (2019). Is a Good God Logically Possible?. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillon. Download references Correspondence to Michael S. Jones. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Jones, M.S. Introduction to the symposium. Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09754-y Download citation Published: 22 April 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09754-y
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 87, pp 245-249; doi:10.1007/s11153-020-09760-0
Correspondence to Michael Almeida. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Reprints and Permissions Almeida, M. Is a good god logically possible? James P. Sterba, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, XI and 209 pp, $29.99 (paper). Int J Philos Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09760-0 Download citation Received: 15 December 2019 Accepted: 15 February 2020 Published: 18 April 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-020-09760-0