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editorial
1. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Keith M. Parsons Defending Naturalism
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papers
2. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Barbara Forrest Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturalism: Clarifying the Connection
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In response to the charge that methodological naturalism in science logically requires the a priori adoption of a naturalistic metaphysics, I examine the question whether methodological naturalism entails philosophical (ontological or metaphysical) naturalism. I conclude that the relationship between methodological and philosophical naturalism, while not one of logical entailment, is the only reasonable metaphysical conclusion given (1) the demonstrated success of methodological naturalism, combined with (2) the massive amount of knowledge gained by it, (3) the lack of a method or epistemology for knowing the supernatural, and (4) the subsequent lack of evidence for the supernatural. The above factors together provide solid grounding for philosophical naturalism, while supernaturalism remains little more than a logical possibility.
3. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Theodore Schick, Jr. Methodological Naturalism vs. Methodological Realism
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According to Eugenie Scott, methodological materialism---the view that science attempts to explain the world using material processes---does not imply philosophical materialism---the view that all that exists are material processes. Thus one can consistently be both a scientist and a theist. According to Phillip Johnson, however, methodological materialism presupposes philosophical materialism. Consequently, scientists are unable to see the cogency of supernatural explanations, like creationism. I argue that both Scott and Johnson are wrong: scientists are not limited to explaining tbe world using material processes and science does not presuppose materialism. Thus scientists’ rejection of creationism is not irrational.
4. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Theodore M. Drange The Fine-Tuning Argument Revisited
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A version of the Fine-tuning Argument (FTA) considered in a previous essay is replaced by an improved version, which is then refuted.Advocates of FTA must proclaim that there is no world ensemble, that a great many alternatives to the physical constants of our universe are physically possible and roughly equal in probability to them, and that alternate hypothetical worlds are all, or almost all, uninteresting in comparison to our universe. But no reason has been produced to believe any of these claims, and so FTA, even in its improved version, can still be dismissed as unsupported, doubtful, and weak.
5. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Victor J. Stenger Natural Explanations for the Anthropic Coincidences
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The anthropic coincidences are widely claimed to provide evidence for intelligent creation in the universe. However, neither data northeory support this conclusion. No basis exists for assuming that a random universe would not have some kind of life. Calculations of the properties of universes having different physical constants than ours indicate that long-lived stars are not unusual, and thus most universes should have time for complex systems of some type to evolve. A multi-universe scenario is not ruled out, since no known principle requires that only one universe exist.
6. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Lewis Vaughn The Failure of Supernatural Hypotheses
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By applying some of the standard criteria used to judge the adequacy of scientific explanations, Richard Swinburne tries to show that the best explanation of everything is that God exists. That is, he contends that the best explanation for the existence of the universe and human life is that there is a God. I contend that Swinburne is right to appeal to the criteria of adequacy but wrong to construe them as he does. The criteria, plausibly applied, show that the God hypothesis is actually inferior to naturalistic explanations. In fact, they provide excellent reasons for believing that the God hypothesis---indeed all supernatural explanations---are false.
7. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Peter Byrne Perceiving God and Realism
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The paper aims to move the debate between Alston and critics of Perceiving God forward by asking if Alston’s book establishes a case for a realist interpretation of Christian mystical perception. It is argued that critical comments on Alston’s paper in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research by Richard Gale point, when reinterpreted, to a crucial disparity between mystical perception and sense perception. A realist interpretation of the former is not prima facie warranted but a realist interpretation of the latter is. Alston confuses the question of whether mystical perception yields true outputs with the question of its realist status.
book reviews
8. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Mark I. Vuletic Destined for Greatness
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In an expansion of the fine-tuning argument, Michael Denton argues that every aspect of the universe is ideally suited for the production and maintenance of familiar and anthropomorphic forms of life. He further argues that the ideal nature of these aspects is extremely improbable unless one postulates a designer who tooled them for the express purpose of producing familiar and anthropomorphic life. I point out shortcomings in Denton’s line of argument, focusing in particular on the premise that the ideal nature of the aspects in question is improbable absent a designer.
9. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Graham Oppy Evil Beyond the Burden of Belief
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editorial
10. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Keith M. Parsons Ongoing Debates
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papers
11. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Matt McCormick Why God Cannot Think: Kant, Omnipresence, and Consciousness
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It has been argued that God is omnipresent, that is, present in all places and in all times. Omnipresence is also implied by God’s knowledge, power, and perfection. A Kantian argument shows that in order to be self-aware, apply concepts, and form judgments, in short, to have a mind, there must be objects that are external to a being that it can become aware of and grasp itself in relationship to. There can be no external objects for an omnipresent God, so he cannot have a mind.
12. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Owen McLeod Is There a Moral Obligation to Obey God?
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A widespread view among theists is that there is a moral obligation to obey God’s commands. In this paper, four arguments for this view are considered: the argument from beneficence; the argument from property rights; the argument from justice; and the argument from omnipotence and moral perfection. It is argued that none of these arguments succeeds in showing that there is a moral obligation to obey God’s commands. The paper concludes with the suggestion that there might be, nevertheless, weighty and specifically religious (as distinct from moral) reasons to obey God.
13. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Basil Smith Plantinga and Wittgenstein on Properly Basic Beliefs
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Alvin Plantinga argues that secular evidential ism must be false because the criteria of properly basic beliefs are too restrictive or incoherent. I argue that Plantinga’s arguments are unsound, and this is easily seen against what Wittgenstein implies about evidentialism.
discussion
14. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Stephen T. Davis The Rationality of Resurrection for Christians: A Rejoinder
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The present paper is a rejoinder to Michael Martin’s “Reply to Davis” (Philo vol. 2, no. 1), which was a response to my “Is Belief in theResurrection Rational? A Response to Michael Martin” (ibid.), which was itself a response to Martin’s “Why the Resurrection is Initially Improbable” (Philo vol. 1, no. 1), which in turn was a critique of various of my own writings on resurrection, especially Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection.
15. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Michael Martin Christianity and the Rationality of the Resurrection
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In my “Reply to Davis” (Philo vol. 2, no. 1) I defended two theses: First, even for Christians the initial probability of the Resurrection is very low. Second, the historical evidence for the Resurrection is not strong enough to overcome this initial improbability. Consequently, I maintained that belief in the Resurrection is not rational even for Christians. In his latest reply, “The Rationality of Resurrection for Christians: A Rejoinder” (present issue), Stephen T. Davis emphasizes that he is only defending the rationality of belief in the Resurrection for Christians, not for non-Christian supernaturalists. Presumably this point is emphasized by Davis because he supposes that I have at best shown that belief in the Resurrection is not rational for non-Christian supernaturalists. However, this is not so. In this reply I will defend the two theses stated above.
16. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
George Nakhnikian Quantum Cosmology, Theistic Philosophical Cosmology and the Existence Question
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In a recent essay, Quentin Smith revisits a question of philosophical cosmology. Why does the universe exist? This is one way of asking the existence question EQ. Smith notes that all theistic philosophical cosmologists have answered this question in terms of God’s creative choice. Smith favors an “atheistic” philosophical answer: “The universe exists because it has an unconditional probability of existing based on a fundamental law of nature.” He further declares: “This law of nature ... is inconsistent with theism and implies that God does not exist.” The structure of Smith's reasoning in defense of these claims is the following: (1) The answer to EQ of theistic philosophical cosmologists is logically inconsistent with the answer of atheistic philosophical cosmologists. (2) Therefore, theistic and atheistic philosophical cosmologies are logically inconsistent with each other. (3) The atheistic answer to EQ is a complete answer to EQ. (4) Therefore, theism is demonstrably false. I shall argue that Smith’s reasoning in defense of (1) is not sound. From that, it follows that (2) is not a proven truth. Assumption (3) is controversial, and in the present context question-begging. It presupposes that materialism is true. Therefore, (4) is not a proven truth.
17. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Quentin Smith Concerning the Metaphysical Necessity of the Universe Beginning Uncaused: A Reply to George Nakhnikian
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In George Nakhnikian’s interesting and stimulating paper, “Quantum Cosmology, Theistic Philosophical Cosmology, and the Existence Question” (present issue) he addresses the fundamental issue of whether it is metaphysically possible or justifiable to believe that our universe began to exist without a cause, divine or otherwise. His conclusion is negative, and he argues that, contrary to my views, quantum cosmology is consistent with theism. In this paper, I shall evaluate Nakhnikian’s arguments.
18. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Victor Reppert Reply to Parsons and Lippard on the Argument from Reason
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19. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Keith M. Parsons Further Reflections on the Argument from Reason
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In this essay I respond to the critical remarks made by Prof. Reppert in “Reply to Parsons and Lippard on the Argument from Reason” (present issue). I also provide a critique of Reppert’s original article, “The Argument from Reason,” in Philo vol. 2, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1999).
book review
20. Philo: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Craig White Writing the Corpus Dei
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