Cover of Philosophia Christi
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1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
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three views on creation, causality, and abstracta
2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Craig J. Hazen Introduction to the Conversation
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3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig God and Abstract Objects
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Central to classical theism is the conception of God as the sole ultimate reality, the creator of all things apart from Himself. Such a doctrine is rooted in Hebrew-Christian scripture and unfolded by the ante-Nicene church fathers. Platonism, which postulates the existence of uncreated abstract objects, is therefore theologically objectionable. In order to overcome the presumption which anti-Platonism enjoys theologically, the Platonist would have to show that all other positions, both realist and nonrealist, are rationally untenable. No one has even attempted so audacious a project, nor is there any reasonable expectation that it could be carried out.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
J. Thomas Bridges A Moderate-Realist Perspective on God and Abstract Objects
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On the horizon between metaphysics and philosophy of religion stands the question of God’s relation to various abstracta. Like other contemporary philosophical debates, this one has resulted in a broadly dichotomous stalemate between Platonic realists on the one hand and varieties of nominalism/antirealism on the other. In this paper, I offer Aquinas’s moderaterealism as a true middle ground between realist or nominalist solutions. What Platonists take to be abstracta are actually the result of intellect’s abstractive work on sensible objects. Further, the Christian philosopher should be concerned as much, if not more so, by nominalism than by Platonism. Given the problems associated with either Platonist or nominalist solutions, one should be open to a Thomistic moderate-realist solution to the problem of God and abstracta.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Peter van Inwagen Did God Create Shapes?
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I defend the thesis that at least some abstract objects are uncreated. I choose to discuss a rather neglected category of abstract object, shapes. I choose to discuss shapes because I think the members of my audience may have fewer metaphysical preconceptions about shapes than about, e.g., numbers or propositions or attributes.
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig Response to Bridges and Van Inwagen
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Bridges’s “moderate realism” is really a misnomer, since Aquinas’s view was that mathematical objects and universals are mere entia rationis, making Bridges’s view antirealist. The metaphysical idleness of properties on van Inwagen’s view ought to motivate reexamination of his presumed criterion of ontological commitment. Regarding paraphrastic strategies, one can meet van Inwagen’s challenge to provide a nominalistically acceptable paraphrase of Euclid’s proof of exactly five Platonic solids. Concerning fictionalism, van Inwagen should allow the anti-Platonist to treat abstracta as he treats supposed composite, inanimate objects. Finally, van Inwagen too quickly dismisses the absolute creationist view that abstracta can be effects, if not causes.
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Peter van Inwagen A Reply to Craig
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In “God and Other Uncreated Things,” I defended the position that at least some properties (attributes, qualities, and so forth) are uncreated. I argued that this thesis does not contradict the creedal statement that God is the creator of all things, visible and invisible, because that statement presupposes a domain of quantification that does not include (the things that I call) properties. William Lane Craig has contended that this defense of the consistency of my position with the Nicene Creed fails, owing to the fact that there are clear patristic statements to the effect that the domain of quantification presupposed in the Nicene Creed must be understood as absolutely unrestricted. In this paper, I grant his premise but present reasons for doubting whether his conclusion—that the proposition that there are uncreated properties contradicts the Nicene Creed—follows from it.
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
J. Thomas Bridges Response to Van Inwagen and Craig
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One thing that becomes apparent in this exchange is that each of the positions emerges based on differences in fundamental philosophical commitments. An existential Thomist has a very well-defined and sufficiently “thick” view of being at the heart of his metaphysical system. Van Inwagen rejects such views of being in favor of a “thin” view. This issue is addressed and clarified. Craig takes issue with the way the term “moderate-realism” has been explicated, whether or not the idea of existence in the intellect is coherent, and whether the Thomistic solution offers any real advantages over nominalist ones. In this response, I continue to demonstrate the cogency and advocate the superiority of Aquinas’s position.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
C. Stephen Evans, Brandon L. Rickabaugh What Does It Mean to Be a Bodily Soul?
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Evangelical scholars have recently offered criticisms of mind-body dualism from the disciplines of theology, philosophy, and neuroscience. We offer several arguments as to why these reasons for abandoning mind-body dualism fail. Additionally, we offer a positive thesis, a dualism that brings together the best aspects of the Cartesian view and the Thomistic view of human persons. The result is a substance dualism that treats the nature of embodiment quite seriously. This view explains why we, as souls, require a resurrected body as well as accounting for the great good of our embodiment in general. A human person is at the same time wholly soul and yet fully bodily.
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Elijah Hess Arguing from Molinism to Neo-Molinism
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In a pair of recent essays, William Lane Craig has argued that certain open theist understandings of the nature of the future are both semantically and modally confused. I argue that this is not the case and show that, if consistently observed, the customary semantics for counterfactuals Craig relies on not only undermine the validity of his complaint against the open theist, they actually support an argument for the openness position.
11. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Adam Lloyd Johnson Debunking Nontheistic Moral Realism: A Critique of Erik Wielenberg’s Attempt to Deflect the Lucky Coincidence Objection
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Evolutionary Debunking Arguments (EDAs) argue that, if naturalism and evolution are true, then our moral beliefs are merely human constructs nature selected because they increased our prospects for survival and reproduction. Atheist Erik Wielenberg disagrees; he has recently argued that morality could be objectively real, and that we could have moral knowledge, even if naturalism and evolution are true. I argue that Wielenberg is unsuccessful in his attempt to deflect a major concern raised by EDA proponents, namely, that moral knowledge would be extremely unlikely given naturalism and evolution because it would involve a vast amount of unexplained lucky coincidences.
12. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Conor R. Anderson Desire and the Failures of Evolutionary Naturalism
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Human desires for survival and things conducive to survival seem to be exactly what one would expect given natural selection. Thus, one might intuitively assume that such desires provide evidence for evolutionary naturalism. The purpose of this paper is to show that they do not: desires for survival, things conducive to survival, and other natural desires found in human beings are not an evidential asset to evolutionary naturalism. Indeed, they are severely problematic due to their intentionality and the fact that they fit just as well, if not better, with theism.
philosophical notes
13. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Paul K. Moser New Testament Apologetics, Arguments, and the End of Christian Apologetics as We Know It
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This paper responds to “Paul K. Moser and the End of Christian Apologetics as We Know It,” by Tedla Woldeyohannes, who defends natural theology in apologetics against some objections I have raised. The paper explains why this defense of natural theology fails, and clarifies a sense in which Christian apologetics is legitimate. The paper identifies how New Testament apologetics makes do without natural theology, and fits with the apostle Paul’s remark: “My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4–5).
14. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Tedla G. Woldeyohannes How Not to Attack Natural Theology: Rejoinder to Moser
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Paul Moser responds to my article in two major sections. In the first section, Moser argues that New Testament writers did not use natural theology arguments. Moser then suggests that, following New Testament writers, contemporary Christian philosophers and apologists should abandon the use of natural theology, especially in Christian apologetics. I show that Moser’s proposal is mistaken. In the second section, Moser issues a series of challenges to objections I raised against the implications of his religious epistemology to Christian apologetics,especially regarding the use of natural theology arguments in Christian apologetics. In the second section, I respond to Moser’s key challenges.
15. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Jerry L. Walls Pharaoh’s Magicians Foiled Again: Reply to Cowan and Welty
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In this paper, I respond to the central points of Steve Cowan and Greg Welty’s response to my 2011 article in which I argued that theists, especially Christian theists, should not be compatibilists. I contend that their counterexamples fail to undermine my “provenance principle” as my “evil manipulator principle.” Their counterexamples are not convincing cases of determinism, and thus tacitly rely on libertarian freedom to make moral sense. I also argue that their appeal to skeptical theism fails to undercut my argument from appalling moral evil. Finally, I argue that the resources provided by libertarian freedom better makes sense of damnation than does compatibilism.
16. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Greg A. Welty, Steven B. Cowan Won’t Get Foiled Again: A Rejoinder to Jerry Walls
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Jerry Walls has attempted to make the case that no orthodox Christian should embrace compatibilism. We responded to his arguments, challenging four key premises. In his most recent response, Walls argues that none of our rebuttals to these premises succeed. Here we clarify aspects of our previous arguments and show that Walls has not in fact undermined our defense of Christian compatibilism.
17. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
K. Scott Oliphint Gauch’s “Gotchas”: Protestant Principia and the Problem with Public Presuppositions
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In a recent article in Philosophia Christi, Hugh G. Gauch, Jr., argues for the necessity of “public presuppositions” for Christian apologetics. In the course of his argument, he critiques three tenets of my approach, as given in my book, Covenantal Apologetics. Though all three objections have been lodged and answered in numerous places, I respond to Gauch by arguing that the three tenets are embedded in and consistent with the theology that came out of the Reformation. Thus, I conclude that our apologetic differences have their roots in our theological differences.
18. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Ross D. Inman Epistemic Temperance and the Moral Perils of Intellectual Inquiry
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An oft-repeated dictum in contemporary epistemology is that the epistemic goal minimally includes the acquisition of true beliefs and the avoidance of false beliefs. There is, however, a robust epistemological tradition in the Christian West that distinguishes between a virtuous and a vicious desire for and pursuit of cognitive contact with reality. The cognitive ideal for humans consists (in part) in epistemic temperance, an appetite for and pursuit of truth that is conducted in appropriate measure, and calibrated to appropriate objects and ends. Here I explore this rich Christian tradition with an eye toward its application to contemporary Christian philosophy.
19. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Larry Barnett The Need for Apologetics: What the Data Reveal about the Crisis of Faith among Young Christians in America
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While doubt is nothing new, it has now become much more harmful to Christian faith, and it is the major cause of the recent decline in American Christianity, according to new findings of the Next Generation Project. Given the serious threat posed to the next generation by unanswered questions and unresolved doubts, Christians must better meet our biblical obligations to doubters and those with questions (Jude 1:22, 1 Peter 3:15). If and only if we faithfully fulfill these duties—answering their questions and offering them good reasons to believe—we can expect a bright future for the American church.
book reviews
20. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Sarah C. Geis The Outrageous Idea of the Missional Professor
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