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Philosophia Christi

Volume 20
Symposium on Dualism and Physicalism

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Displaying: 1-20 of 55 documents


1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
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forum on erik j. wielenberg’s robust ethics
2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Adam Lloyd Johnson Introduction to the American Academy of Religion Panel Forum on Erik Wielenberg’s Robust Ethics
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Erik Wielenberg is the most important contemporary critic of theistic metaethics. Wielenberg maintains that God is unnecessary for objective morality because moral truths exist as brute facts of the universe that have no, and need no, foundation. At times his description of these brute facts make them sound like abstract objects or Platonic forms. At the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting in Boston in November of 2017, we organized an Evangelical Philosophical Society panel to discuss Erik Wielenberg’s book Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism. All five papers presented there are included in this journal.
3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig Erik Wielenberg’s Metaphysics of Morals
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Focusing on Erik Wielenberg’s metaphysic of morals, I argue that his moral Platonism is, given the presumption against the existence of abstract objects, unmotivated. Moreover, Godless Normative Realism is implausible in light of the mysterious causal relations said to obtain between concrete objects and moral abstracta. His appeals to theism in order to motivate such causal connections is nugatory. If Wielenberg walks back his moral Platonism, then his metaphysics of morals collapses and Godless Normative Realism becomes explanatorily vacuous.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Tyler Dalton McNabb Wile E. Coyote and the Craggy Rocks Below: The Perils of Godless Ethics
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William Lane Craig has defended the following two contentions: (1) If theism is true, we have a sound foundation for morality, and, (2) If theism is false, we do not have a sound foundation for morality. Erik Wielenberg rejects (2). Specifically, Wielenberg argues that naturalists have resources to make sense of objective moral values, moral duties, and moral knowledge. In response to Wielenberg, I defend Craig’s second contention by arguing that Wielenberg’s theory fails to robustly capture our moral phenomenology as well as make intelligible robust moral knowledge.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Mark C. Murphy No Creaturely Intrinsic Value
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In Robust Ethics, Erik Wielenberg criticizes all theistic ethical theories that explain creaturely value in terms of God on the basis that all such formulations of theistic ethics are committed to the denial of the existence of creaturely intrinsic value. Granting Wielenberg’s claim that such theistic theories are committed to the denial of creaturely intrinsic value, this article considers whether theists should take such a denial to be an objectionable commitment of their views. I argue that theists should deny the existence of creaturely intrinsic value, and that such a denial is not an objectionable commitment of theism.
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Adam Lloyd Johnson Fortifying the Petard: A Response to One of Erik Wielenberg’s Criticisms of the Divine Command Theory
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Erik Wielenberg argued that William Lane Craig’s attack against nontheistic ethical models is detrimental to Craig’s Divine Command Theory (DCT) as follows: Craig claims it is unacceptable for ethical models to include logically necessary connections without providing an explanation of why such connections hold. Yet Craig posits certain logically necessary connections without providing an explanation of them. Wielenberg concluded that “Craig is hoisted by his own petard.” In this paper I respond to Wielenberg’s criticism by clarifying, and elaborating on, the DCT. I will attempt to provide a preliminary explanation for the logically necessary connections included in the DCT.
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Erik J. Wielenberg Reply to Craig, Murphy, McNabb, and Johnson
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In Robust Ethics, I defend a nontheistic version of moral realism according to which moral properties are sui generis, not reducible to other kinds of properties (e.g., natural properties or supernatural properties) and objective morality requires no foundation external to itself. I seek to provide a plausible account of the metaphysics and epistemology of the robust brand of moral realism I favor that draws on both analytic philosophy and contemporary empirical moral psychology. In this paper, I respond to some objections to my view advanced by William Craig, Mark Murphy, Tyler McNabb, and Adam Johnson.
articles
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Jonathan Mark Threlfall The Imago Dei and Blaise Pascal’s Abductive Anthropological Argument
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Blaise Pascal argued abductively for Christianity by presenting Christian anthropology as the best explanation for the existential paradoxes of human greatness and wretchedness. Surprisingly, however, the doctrine of the imago Dei never surfaces in his Pensées. I argue that considerations arising from the doctrine of the imago Dei strengthen Pascal’s abductive argument by providing more details for and encompassing more instances of humans’ paradoxical duality. Specifically, the imago Dei helps explain the existential paradoxes of happiness and misery, certainty and uncertainty, and human greatness and smallness within the cosmos. Further, its explanatory scope encompasses perplexing behavior and beliefs, including Freud’s Todestriebe, false altruism, conflicting beliefs about the divine, and our search for self-knowledge.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Elliott R. Crozat Does the Purpose Theory of the Meaning of Life Entail an Irrational God?
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In this essay, I address an objection to purpose theory (PT). PT holds that fulfilling the purpose God has assigned for humans is a way for human life to be objectively meaningful. According to the objection, PT entails the absurdity that God is irrational. There are at least two versions. I refer to them as Irrationality Objection-1 (IO-1), raised elsewhere by Thaddeus Metz, and Irrationality Objection-2 (IO-2), which I raise in this essay. I summarize IO-1 and replies to it by Metz. I then articulate IO-2 and support the following thesis: if God has middle knowledge (MK), IO-2 fails.
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert Larmer Theistic Evolution, Intelligent Design, and the Charge of Deism
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Christians who are theistic evolutionists and Christians who are proponents of intelligent design very frequently criticize one another on the basis that the other’s position is theologically suspect. Ironically, both camps have accused the other of being deistic and thus sub-Christian in their understanding of God’s relation to creation. In this paper, I consider the merit of these charges. I conclude that, although each position has both deistic and nondeistic forms, theistic evolution in its treatment of life’s history is typically deistic, whereas intelligent design typically is not.
11. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Timothy Blank The Open Theistic Multiverse
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Recently, some analytic philosophers of religion have argued that if God exists, it is likely that He would create a multitude of universes. This view is called the Theistic Multiverse. More specifically, the view claims that each possible universe has an axiological status and all and only those universes above an objective axiological threshold are created by God and included in the Theistic Multiverse. I point out that in this model of divine creation there is the implicit assumption that Molinism is true. But Molinism is a controversial view, and so this project considers the compatibility of the Theistic Multiverse with a rival model of divine foreknowledge: Open Theism.
12. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Christopher W. Love The Argument from Disagreement to Moral Skepticism: A “Worldview” Reply
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This essay begins with the assumption that many of our moral disputes have deeper roots in disagreement over worldview propositions. If this is true, and if there is a fact of the matter about worldview propositions, such that one could know the truth of at least some of them, then this makes it possible for one to maintain one’s moral beliefs, even despite the persistent, pervasive disagreements so common today. I argue that this holds true even when those debates include supposed peers and when the worldview propositions themselves are highly disputed.
13. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Travis Dumsday Origen on Demonic Ignorance: And Why It Might Still Matter for the Theology of World Religions
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Historically it has been common for theologians to understand demons as basically on a par with angels in terms of intelligence and access to knowledge (excluding direct communications from God). Yet on this point Origen dissents, suggesting instead that demons might be qutie ignorant, at least with respect to spiritual truths. I explore some of the justifications available to him for entertaining this idea, and consider whether it could contribute to current discussions concerning the theology of world religions. Specifically, I argue that Origen's account of demonic ignorance provides the key ingredients for a plausible (at least for those already open to the reality of the demonic) explanatory model of one root cause of religious diversity: paranormal and “religious” experiences delivering incompatible propositional content.
14. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Matthew J. Hart Christian Materialism and Demonic Temptation
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Demons have the power to cause temptations in us, and Christian materialism implies the supervenience of temptations on brain states. This in turn implies that demons bring about temptations by causally interfering with our brains. But if they have such an ability to affect the physical world, it is mysterious why they do not wreak more havoc than they do both to our brains and in the world more generally. Substance dualism provides an elegant solution: demonic temptation is not a species of soul-to-brain causation, but soul-to-soul, and we don’t need to suppose demons have the power to directly affect the physical world. Materialist solutions, in contrast, are ad hoc.
15. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Dallas Willard, Brandon Rickabaugh Intentionality contra Physicalism: On the Mind’s Independence from the Body
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We argue for the mind’s independence from the body. We do so by making several moves. First, we analyze two popular kinds of reasons which have swayed many to adopt the independence of the mind from the body. Second, we advance an argument from the ontology of intentionality against the identity thesis, according to which the mind is identical to the brain. We try to show how intentionality is not reducible to or identical to the physical. Lastly, we argue that, contrary to what many materialists contend, the concept of a mind, understood as an immaterial substance, existing independently of the body is both coherent and empirically evidenced.
16. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Victor Reppert Extending the Debate on the Argument from Reason: A Further Response to David K. Johnson
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In our exchange in the book, C. S. Lewis’s Christian Apologetics: Pro and Con, edited by Gregory Bassham, David Kyle Johnson argued that four naturalistic views, property dualism, the identity theory, epiphenomenalism, and eliminative materialism, can all meet the challenge posed by a C. S. Lewis–style argument from reason. I maintain that his response fails to take into account what a consistent naturalism is committed to, and that his defenses of these positions fail to put those positions in the clear.
17. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
David Kyle Johnson Retiring the Argument from Reason: Another Reply to Reppert
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In C. S. Lewis’s Christian Apologetics: Pro and Con, I took the con in a debate with Victor Reppert about the soundness of Lewis’s famous “argument from reason.” Reppert then extended his argument in an article for Philosophia Christi; this article is my reply. I show that Reppert’s argument fails for three reasons. (1) It “loads the die” by falsely assuming that naturalism, by definition, can't include mental causation "on the basic level." (I provide multiple examples of naturalist theories of mind that do exactly that). (2) Physical processes can reliably produce true beliefs. And (3) reasoning isn’t necessarily mental.
philosophical notes
18. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Benjamin H. Arbour, Gregory E. Trickett Evil Does Not Pose Any Special Problem for Berkeleyan Idealism: An Idealist Response to John DePoe
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John DePoe takes issue with Christians who accept Berkeleyan idealism, essentially arguing that there is a special problem from evil for the Christian idealist. While DePoe’s treatment of idealism is commendable, his argument ultimately fails in one of two ways. It either (1) turns on common misunderstandings of idealism or (2) results in consequences unacceptable to Christians. In our article, we respond to DePoe’s argument by remotivating idealism, pointing out ways in which DePoe misunderstands idealists’ responses to the charge of a special problem of evil, and pointing out problems with DePoe’s proposals of materialist solutions to the problem of evil.
19. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
William Hasker What’s Wrong with Theistic Evolution?
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The volume, Theistic Evolution, brings together objections to an evolutionary account of life’s history, and especially to theistic evolution, developed by scientists, philosophers, and theologians who prefer the perspective afforded by Intelligent Design. I present the main themes of their critique, and also point out that the work done to date falls short of providing a genuine alternative to the prevalent evolutionary account.
book reviews
20. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
J. P. Moreland Metaphysical Perspectives
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