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1. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
David A. Horner What It Takes to be Great: Aristotle and Aquinas on Magnaminity
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The revival of virtue ethics is largely inspired by Aristotle, but few---especially Christians---follow him in seeing virtue supremely exemplified in the “magnanimous” man. However, Aristotle raises a matter of importance: the character traits and type of psychological stance exemplified in those who aspire to acts of extraordinary excellence. I explore the accounts of magnanimity found in both Aristotle and Aquinas, defending the intelligibility and acceptability of some central elements of a broadly Aristotelian conception of magnanimity. Aquinas, I argue, provides insight into how Christian ethics may appropriate central elements of a broadly Aristotelian conception of extraordinary virtue.
2. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
Phillip L. Quinn The Virtue of Obedience
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This paper is a critical study of Christians among the Virtues: Theological Conversations with Ancient and Modern Ethics by Stanley Hauerwas and Charles Pinches. It has four parts. First, I consider several possible responses to G. E. M. Anscombe’s famous challenge to modern moral philosophy in order to provide a framework in which the project of Hauerwas and Pinches can be located. Next I criticize their attempt to eliminate the realm of obligation from morality. Then I examine their treatment of Martha Nussbaum’s work onAristotle in order to explore differences between secular and Christian appropriations of Aristotle. Finally, I discuss their views on the virtue of obedience and criticize their arguments against rival Kantian and divine command views.
3. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
Kenneth W. Kemp The Virtue of Faith in Theology, Natural Science, and Philosophy
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In this paper, I attempt to develop the account of intellectual virtues offered by Aristotle and St. Thomas in a way which recognizes faith as a good intellectual habit. I go on to argue that, as a practical matter, this virtue is needed not only in theology, where it provides the basis of further intellectual work, but also in the natural sciences, where it is required given the complexity of the subject matter and the cooperative nature of the enterprise.
4. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
Robert C. Roberts Character Ethics and Moral Wisdom
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A particular conception of the enterprise of character ethics is proposed, in which the central preoccupation of the discipline is to explore the logical-psychological features of particular virtues. An attraction of this approach is the prospect it holds out of promoting in its practitioners and readers the virtue of moral wisdom. Such analysis is sensitive to differences among moral traditions which imply differences in the logical-psychological features of versions of types of virtues. Thus Christian generosity could be expected to have some features which differentiate it from Aristotelian or Stoic generosity. On the proposed view, the aim is not to produce a theory of the virtues which, it is argued, is likely to be reductivist and thus systematically distorting. Instead, the aim is produce “grammatical” analyses of them. To this end a series of open-ended questions are provided, to guide the exploration. The method is illustrated by aschematic analysis of the virtue of gratitude. The paper ends with remarks about the power and limits of such analysis to produce moral wisdom.
5. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
Robert Merrihew Adams Self-Love and the Vices of Self-Preference
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The paper explores the extent to which self-love, as understood by Bishop Butler, may be in harmony with altruistic virtue. Whereas Butler was primarily concerned to rebut suspicions directed against altruism, the suspicions principally addressed by the present writer are directed against self-love. It is argued that the main vices of self-preference---particularly selfishness, self-centeredness, and arrogance---are not essentially excesses of self-love and, indeed, do not necessarily involve self-love. lt is argued further that self-love is something one is typically taught as a child, for socially compelling reasons. This suggests how a healthy self-love and a healthy commitment to the common good can be integrated and will normally be in harmony.
6. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
J.L.A. Garcia Lies and the Vices of Self-Deception
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This essay applies to the morality of lying and other deception a sketch of a kind of virtues-based, input-driven, role-centered, patient-focused, ethical theory. Among the questions treated are: What is wrong with lying? Is it always and intrinsically immoral? Can it be correct, as some have vigorously maintained, that lying is morally wrong in some circumstances where other forms of deliberate dissimulation are not? If so, how can that be? And how can it be that lying to someone is immoral when other, harsher ways of treating her are permissible? The essay examines several responses to the first question, and suggests that lying violates morality as an excessive departure from the role-derived virtues of charity and justice: the liar wills another person the evil of false belief precisely in the proposition for which the speaker offers her assurance and takes special responsibility in asserting. So conceived, lying is an especially egregious form of treachery and degrading manipulation of another person. Appeal is then made to the gravity inherent in lying so conceived to suggest ways of answering the other questions which would support the traditional Augustinian claim that lying is inherently impermissible and ineligible in circumstances where other forms of deliberate deception may not be, and even in situations where violent attack may be permissible.At the end, a taxonomy of more and less rigorist positions of lying is offered. A tentative proposal is made that, while consistent with the traditional Augustinian rigorist position that Iving is always immoral, nevertheless has some features that may slightly soften that view’s practical application. The proposed view does this in a way similar to that in which allowing moral dilemmas may soften it, for allowing dilemmas means there may be cases where an act of a type always immoral may still be more eligible than any alternative. However, it is maintained that the view here proposed need not countenance genuine dilemmas.
7. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
Linda Zagzebski The Virtues of God and the Foundations of Ethics
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In this paper I give a theological foundation to a radical type of virtue ethics I call motivation-based. In motivation-based virtue theory all moral concepts are derivative from the concept of a good motive, the most basic component of a virtue, where what I mean by a motive is an emotion that initiates and directs action towards an end. Here I give a foundation to motivation-based virtue theory by making the motivations of one person in particular the ultimate foundation of all moral value, and that person is God. The theory is structurally parallel to Divine Command Theory, but has a number of advantages over DC theory without the well-known problems. In particular, DM theory does not face a dilemma parallel to the famous Euthyphro problem, nor does it have any difficulty answering the question whether God could make cruelty morally right. Unlike DC theory, it explains the importance of Christology in Christian ethics, and it has the advantage of providing a unitary account of all evaluative properties, divine and human. I call the theory Divine Motivation Theory.
notes and news
8. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
Notes and News
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9. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 4
Index of Volume 15, 1998
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10. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
David Reiter Calvin’s “Sense of Divinity” and Externalist Knowledge of God
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In this paper I explore and defend an interpretation of Calvin’s doctrine of the sense of divinity which implies the following claim: (CSD) All sane cognizers know that God exists. I argue that externalism about knowledge comports well with claim CSD, and I explore various questions about the character of the theistic belief implied by CSD. For example, I argue that CSD implies that all sane cognizers possess functionally rational theistic belief. In the final sections of the paper, I respond to two main objections and argue that CSD is consistent with the existence of various kinds of atheists and agnostics.
11. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Loren Meierding The Consensus Gentium Argument
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In antiquity the consensus gentium argument for God’s existence was believed to have merit (cf. Cicero, De Natura Deorum, Book II, sect.2,4), but has been considered blatantly fallacious during more recent times. In this article Bayes’ Theorem is applied to show that the argument is in fact a valid inductive argument. A two hypothesis and a four hypothesis version of the argument are analyzed. Perusal of available statistical evidence suggests that when better worldwide opinion polling data becomes available it will turn out to be sound as well.
12. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Jacqueline Mariña The Theological and Philosophical Significance of the Markan Account of Miracles
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This paper combines both an exegetical and philosophical approach to the treatment of miracles in the Markan gospel. Using key insights developed by biblical scholars bearing on the problem of Mark’s treatment of miracles as a basis, I conclude that for the author of Mark, miracles are effects, and as such, signs and symbols of what occurs in the moral and spiritual order. I argue that Mark connects miracles with faith in Jesus, a faith qualified through a grasp of the proper exercise of human power in the kingdom of God. The last section of the paper explores the ontological conditions for the possibility of miracles as they are portrayed in this gospel; there I argue that the best candidate for a theory that squares with Mark’s understanding of miracle is a different one from that found in the contemporary philosophical literature on miracles.
13. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Kevin J. Corcoran Persons and Bodies
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Defenders of a priori arguments for dualism assume that the Cartesian thesis that possibly, I exist but no bodies exist and the physicalist thesis that I am identical with my body, are logically inconsistent. Trenton Merricks offers an argument for the compatibility of those theses. In this paper I examine several objections to Merricks’ argument. I show that none is ultimately persuasive. Nevertheless I claim that Merricks’ argument should not be accepted. I next propose a view of persons that is an alternative both to person-body identity and Cartesian dualism and offer a view of the afterlife that is compatible both with the alternative conception of persons I present and the Christian doctrine of resurrection.
14. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Michael Potts Aquinas, Hell, and the Resurrection of the Damned
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Based on themes in Aquinas, this paper adds to the defense of the doctrine of an eternal hell, focusing on the state of those in hell after the resurrection. I first summarize the Thomistic doctrine of the human person as a body-soul unity, showing why existence as a separated soul is truncated and unnatural. Next, I discuss the soul-body reunion at the resurrection, which restores an essential aspect of human nature, even for the damned. This reveals the love of God since He gives the damned the best human existence they can possibly have given their disordered wills. Finally, I defend this position against three important objections.
15. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
John Davenport Piety, MacIntyre, and Kierkegaardian Choice: A Reply to Professor Ballard
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This paper concerns a debate between two previous articles in Faith and Philosophy. In 1995, Bruce Ballard criticized Marilyn Piety’s argument that the Kierkegaardian “choice” between the ‘aesthetic’ and ‘ethical’ modes of existence is not an irrational or criterionless leap. Instead, Ballard defended MacIntyre’s view that Kierkegaard’s position succumbs to the tensions inherited from its opposing enlightenment sources. I argue in response that Ballard sets up a false dilemma for Kierkegaard and misunderstands Kierkegaardianpathos. To bolster Piety’s position, I compare her analysis to my own argument (developed in an earlier paper) that the “choice” to determine oneself in light of ethical distinctions has to do with the personal appropriation, not the authority, of morality. I also compare this to arguments from several other scholars that the choice in Either/Or has to do with taking responsibility for and developing one’s ‘self,’ not with providing a foundation for moral norms. Finally, in light of these analyses, I argue against Ballard’s remaining socialistcriticism that Kierkegaard’s ethics is “bourgeois.”
16. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
William Hasker Swinburne’s Modal Argument for Dualism: Epistemically Circular
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Most critics of Richard Swinburne’s modal argument for mind-body substance dualism have alleged that the argument is unsound, either because its premises are false or because it commits a modal fallacy. I show that the argument is epistemically circular, and thus provides no support for its conclusion even if it is sound.
17. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Richard Swinburne The Modal Argument is Not Circular
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Hasker’s claim that my modal argument for substance dualism is epistemically circular is implausible. Someone can accept Premise 2 (which, Hasker claims, is the premise which generates the circularity) without ever understanding the conclusion, or without accepting Premise 3.
18. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Peter Drum Is the Bible Really Independant Evidence for the Existance of God?
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This paper considers John Lamont’s claim that the Bible is a basic form of evidence for the existence of God. It is argued to the contrary that its admissibility depends upon God’s existence being an acceptable real prior possibility.
book reviews
19. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Francis J. Beckwith Religion and Morality
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20. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 3
Robert Oakes Ontological Arguments and Belief in God
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