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Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring-Summer 1998

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Displaying: 1-11 of 11 documents

1. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Keith M. Parsons Why Philo?
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2. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Paul Kurtz First Things First: Toward a Minimal Definition of Humanism
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We need to clarify “humanist” and “humanism,” terms that have been open to considerable philosophical definition-mongering. I wish to propose a minimal core definition. Although this is normative, it is continuous with common usage. First, humanism expresses a set of values and virtues. emphasizing human freedom and autonomy. This ethical theory contrasts with divine-command ethics. Second, humanism, particularly secular humanism, rejects supernaturalism. Humanism should not be simply equated with atheism; however. it proposes a reflective form of agnostic or skeptical atheism. Third, secular humanism is committed to a key epistemological principle: amethod of inquiry that emphasizes reason and scientific objectivity. Fourth, it has a nonreductive naturalistic ontology drawn from the sciences. Last, humanist philosophers should not only be concerned with theoretical issues, but with the role of humanism in practical life as an alternative to theistic religion.
3. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Adolf Grünbaum Theological Misinterpretations of Current Physical Cosmology
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In earlier writings, I argued that neither of the two major physical cosmologies of the twentieth century support divine creation, so that atheism has nothing to fear from the explanations required by these cosmologies. Yet theists ranging from Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, and Leibniz to Richard Swinburne and Philip Quinn have maintained that, at every instant anew, the existence of the world requires divine creation ex nihilo as its cause. Indeed, according to some such theists, for any given moment t, God’s volition thatthe-world-should-exist-at-t supposedly brings about its actual existence at t.In an effort to establish the current viability of this doctrine of perpetual divine conservation. Philip Quinn I argued that it is entirely compatible with physical energy-conservation in the Big Rang cosmology, as well as with the physics of the steady-state theories.But I now contend that instead, there is a logical incompatibility on both counts. Resides, the stated tenet of divine conservation has an additional defect: It speciously purchases plausibility by trading on the multiply disanalogous volitional explanations of human actions.
4. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Richard M. Gale R. M. Adams’s Theodicy of Grace
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R. M. Adams’s essay, “Must God Create the Best?” can be interpreted as offering a theodicy for God’s creating morally less perfect beings than he could have created. By creating these morally less perfect beings, God is bestowing grace upon them, which is an unmerited or undeserved benefit. He does so, however, in advance of the free moral misdeeds that render them undeserving. This requires that God have middle knowledge, pace Adams’s version of the Free Will Theodicy, of what would result from his actualization of possible free persons. It is argued that God’s possession of such middle knowledge negates the freedom of created beings, since God completely determines every action of every created person. And since they are not free, they cannot qualify as morally unmeritorious or undeserving. And, with that, Adams’s theodicy of grace-in-advance collapses.
5. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Kai Nielsen Naturalism and Religion: Must Naturalistic Explanations Explain Religion Away?
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There are, it is argued, conceptually and empirically adequate naturalistic explanations of religion that explain religion without explaining it away and without leaving out anything needed fully to comprehend religious phenomena. Moreover, naturalistic explanations arc sometimes also critiques of religion. This article concerns itself with a subspecies of such explanations through articulating and defending some naturalistic criticisms of the truth-claims of religion. The rationale is displayed for naturalistic thinkers going from truth-claim analyses to functional analyses and the central naturalistic explanations of the roles and functions of religion are distinguished and related. It is shown how these analyses dovetail and, particularly when supplemented by an error-theory of religious belief, constitute a comprehensive and adequate explanation of religion.
6. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Michael Martin Why the Resurrection is Initially Improbable
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A strong case can be made that the initial probability of the Resurrection is very low even if one accepts the existence of a theistic God. Even sophisticated theists who maintain that God performs miracles believe that these are rare initially improbable events. Consequently, strong evidence is needed to overcome this initial improbability. In the case of the Resurrection there is no plausible theory why this event should have occurred; moreover, even if there is, it is unlikely that it would have happened at the particular time and place it did.
7. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Quentin Smith Why Stephen Hawking’s Cosmology Precludes a Creator
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Atheists have tacitly conceded the field to theists in the area of philosophical cosmology, specifically, in the enterprise of explaining why the universe exists. The theistic hypothesis is that the reason the universe exists lies in God’s creative choice, but atheists have not proposed any reason why the universe exists. I argue that quantum cosmology proposes such an atheistic reason, namely, that the universe exists because it has an unconditional probability of existing based on a functional law of nature. This law of nature (“the wave function of the universe”) is inconsistent with theism and implies that God does not exist. I criticize the claims of Alston, Craig, Deltete and Guy, Oppy and Plantinga that theism is consistent with quantum cosmology.
8. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Theodore Schick Jr. The ‘Big Bang’ Argument for the Existence of God
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Some believe that evidence for the big bang is evidence for the existence of god. Who else, they ask, could have caused such a thing? In this paper, I evaluate the big bang argument, compare it with the traditional first-cause argument, and consider the relative plausibility of various natural explanations of the big bang.
9. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Theodore M. Drange Nonbelief vs. Lack of Evidence: Two Atheologlcal Arguments
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Here are two atheological arguments, called the “Lack-of-evidence Argument” (LEA) and “the Argument from Nonbelief” (ANB). LEA: Probably, if God were to exist then there would be good objective evidence for that. But there is no good objective evidence for God’s existence. Therefore, probably God does not exist. ANB: Probably, if God were to exist then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world. But there are many nonbelievers in the world. Therefore, probably God does not exist. Reasons are given for saving that although LEA is not totally implausible, ANB is a stronger atheological argument than it is.
book reviews
10. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Keith M. Parsons Lively Answers to Theists
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11. Philo: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
H. James Birx Nietzsche’s Return
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