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Displaying: 61-80 of 357 documents

61. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 2
Laura Hassan In Pursuit of the World's Creator: Fakhr al-Din al-Razi on the Origins of the Universe in al-Matalib al-'Aliya
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Fakhr al-Dın al-Razı’s (d. 606/1210) final theological treatise, al-Matalib al-‘Aliya min al-‘Ilm al-Ilahiyya, is sufficient justification for the assertion of his towering significance as interpreter of Ibn Sına (d. 428/1037) and in the development of new theological paradigms. Yet such is its richness and subtlety that al-Razı’s views in the Matalib on key doctrinal issues such as the creation of the world require much further study. Previously, scholars have maintained that al-Razı refrains from affirming any one doctrine of creation. I argue to the contrary, that despite al-Razı’s epistemological caution on matters pertaining to the action of God, he ultimately deems creation ex nihilo most probable on the balance of evidence, and therefore the doctrine that is to be believed.
62. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 2
Kirk Lougheed Epistemic Paternalism, Open Group Inquiry, and Religious Knowledge
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Epistemic paternalism occurs when a decision is made for an agent which helps them arrive at the truth, though they didn’t consent to that decision (and sometimes weren’t even aware of it). Common defenses of epistemic paternalism claim that it can help promote positive veritistic results. In other words, epistemic paternalism is often good for inquiry. I argue that there is often a better alternative available to epistemic paternalism in the form of what I call Open Group Inquiry. I then examine how Open Group Inquiry can be applied to cases of religious inquiry, while noting that epistemic paternalism is impermissible in cases of general religious inquiry. I argue that in the case of religious inquiry, there are serious questions about what constitutes evidence along with how to evaluate it. Rather than posing a particular worry for Open Group Inquiry, I suggest these questions pose a problem for religious inquiry in general. I conclude that while it very much matters how concepts like religious knowledge, religious faith, scepticism, etc., are defined, these considerations may well pave the way for a novel argument for religious scepticism.
63. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 2
Amir Saemi Revelation, Moral Skepticism, and the Mu'tazilites
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Facing morally controversial passages in Scripture, many Muslims find themselves forced to choose between accepting the dictates of Scripture and trusting their modern moral sensibilities. Let’s call the view that our independent moral judgment is not reliable when it is in conflict with the apparent meaning of Scripture, moderate moral skepticism. Assuming the falsity of the divine command theory, I will explore the argument for moderate moral skepticism by discussing the ideas of the Mu‘tazilite theologian, Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar al-Hamadani (935–1025). My hope is that the discussion of the ideas of ‘Abd al-Jabbar helps us to see why the argument for moderate moral skepticism is appealing and what is the best way to resist the argument.
64. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 2
Julie Loveland Swanstrom Illumination of the Heart: Doubt, Certainty, and Knowledge Acquisition in al-Ghazali and Augustine
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Though al-Ghazalı is often superficially compared to Descartes, Ghazalı’s epistemological project echoes—in consonance or dissonance—Augustine’s, warranting a clear exploration of the depths of these echoes. For both Augustine and Ghazalı the epistemological and theological quest starts with an interior turn, and divine illumination provides the tools for and content of knowledge. Both recount skeptical leanings resolved by divine illumination; both employ philosophy as a tool in theological disputes; both see knowledge as dynamic and transformative; and both assert that God’s direct illumination is a necessary precursor to and a final capstone upon knowledge. Ghazalı’s use of illumination is more circumscribed and specified than Augustine’s. I argue that Ghazalı and Augustine take similar approaches to the role of divine illumination and the importance of interiority or the subjective grasp on knowledge, but despite these differences, Ghazalı and Augustine deal distinctly with the question of authority and certitude of knowledge.
65. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 2
Seyma Yazici Can al-Ghazali's Conception of Modality Propose a Solution to Rowe's Argument against Divine Freedom?
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William L. Rowe poses a dilemma between God’s freedom and essential moral goodness by arguing that God cannot satisfy the arguably accepted condition for libertarian freedom, namely, ability to do otherwise. Accordingly, if God does a morally good action A freely, then there is at least a possible world in which God refrains from doing A and thereby does the morally wrong action. And if God does a morally wrong action in one of the possible worlds, he ceases to be essentially morally perfect. I will argue that Rowe’s conclusion is based on a specific possible world semantics, and we might avoid Rowe’s conclusion with an alternative understanding of modality. In doing so, I will examine the conception of modality proposed by al-Ghazalı in which the possibility of a state of affairs does not entail its actuality in at least one possible world.
66. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 2
Billy Dunaway, Jon McGinnis Knowledge and Theological Predication: Lessons from the Medieval Islamic Tradition
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This article sketches how the debate over divine predications should be informed by the medieval Islamicate tradition. We emphasize the focus not only on the metaphysics and language of divine predications by al-Ghazali, Maimonides, and others, but also on the epistemology of divine predications. In particular, we emphasize the importance of a theory that explains not only what it takes to make a divine predication true, but also whether these predications are knowable. The epistemological element is central, because traditional views of theology aim to avoid theological skepticism, which is the view that, even if there are theological truths, these truths are unknowable. We pursue this point by emphasizing the role of substantives in al-Ghazalı’s theory of divine predicates, and Maimonides’s discussion of negative predications. In closing we apply these lessons to some recent discussions of theological predication.
67. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Sarah McGrath Moral Confirmation vs. Moral Explanation: A Tale of Two Challenges
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In the first chapter of The Nature of Morality (1977), Gilbert Harman sets out what he takes to be the “basic issue” confronting moral philosophy: whether moral principles can be “tested and confirmed in the way that scientific principles can . . . out in the world” (3–4). Harman argues that they can’t be. In this paper I argue that if we reject the Harmanian view that confirmation is the converse of explanation, then we can agree with the naturalist realist on the basic epistemological issue of whether moral principles can be tested and confirmed in the way that scientific principles can. But I argue that there nevertheless is an important metaphysical way in which moral explanations differ from certain kinds of non-moral explanations. An upshot is that even realists who think that moral facts are necessary, causally inefficacious, and knowable a priori can agree that moral claims are subject to empirical confirmation in the way that scientific claims are.
68. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Benjamin Winokur Critical Reasoning and the Inferential Transparency Method
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Alex Byrne (2005; 2011a; 2011b; 2018) has argued that we can gain self-knowledge of our current mental states through the use of a transparency method. A transparency method provides an extrospective rather than introspective route to self-knowledge. For example, one comes to know whether one believes P not by thinking about oneself but by considering the world-directed question of whether P is true. According to Byrne, this psychological process consists in drawing inferences from world-directed propositions to mind-directed conclusions. In this article, I consider whether this ‘Inferential Transparency Method’ can provide us with the self-knowledge that some philosophers have thought we require in order to “critically reason” (Burge 1996), and I conclude that it cannot provide such self-knowledge. The force of this objection depends on how much stock we should place in our status as critical reasoners. However, I conclude by suggesting a more general worry for Byrne’s account.
69. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Chien-hsing Ho Causation and Ontic Indeterminacy
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In this article, I first introduce an Indian Madhyamaka Buddhist critique of causality and discuss critically a contemporary Humean interpretation of the critique. After presenting a Chinese Madhyamaka interpretation, I resort to an ontological conception of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy, which draws on Chinese Madhyamaka thought together with Jessica Wilson’s account of metaphysical indeterminacy, to show that the conception is well equipped to unravel two puzzling issues that arise from the critique. I suggest that a world that consists of things that are indeterminate with respect to certain ways they are is sufficient for it to embody causal phenomena.
70. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Irem Kurtsal Persistence Egalitarianism
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Modal Plenitude—the view that, for every empirically adequate modal profile, there is an object whose modal profile it is—is held to be consistent with each of endurantist and perdurantist (three- and four-dimensionalist) views of persistence. Here I show that, because “endurer” and “perdurer” are two substantially different kinds of entity, compossible with each other and consistent with empirical data, Modal Plenitude actually entails a third view about persistence that I call “Persistence Egalitarianism.” In every non-empty spacetime region there are two persisting objects: one that endures through the temporal dimension of that region, and another that perdures through the region. Additionally, if the argument from anthropocentrism makes a strong case for Modal Plenitude, then an equally strong and parallel case supports Persistence Egalitarianism. I close with the meta-semantic consequences of persistence egalitarianism for ordinary object talk.
71. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Uriah Kriegel Nominalism and Material Plenitude
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The idea of “material plenitude” has been gaining traction in recent discussions of the metaphysics of material objects. My main goal here is to show that this idea may have important dialectical implications for the metaphysics of properties—more specifically, that it provides nominalists with new resources in their attempt to reject an ontology of universals. I will recapitulate one of the main arguments against nominalism—due to David Armstrong—and show how plenitude helps the nominalist overcome the argument.
book symposium
72. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Ben Bramble Précis of "The Passing of Temporal Well-Being"
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73. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Ben Bradley A Defense of Temporal Well-Being
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74. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Connie S. Rosati The Normative Significance of Temporal Well-Being
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75. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Tatjana Visak How to Resist Bramble's Arguments against Temporal Well-Being?
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76. Res Philosophica: Volume > 98 > Issue: 1
Ben Bramble Replies to Bradley, Rosait, and Visak
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77. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Adam Bjorndahl Knowledge Second
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Classical philosophical analyses seek to explain knowledge as deriving from more basic notions. The influential “knowledge first” program in epistemology reverses this tradition, taking knowledge as its starting point. From the perspective of epistemic logic, however, this is not so much a reversal as it is the default—the field arguably begins with the specialization of “necessity” to “epistemic necessity”—that is, it begins with knowledge. In this context, putting knowledge second would be the reversal. This article motivates, develops, and explores such a “knowledge second” approach in epistemic logic, founded on distinguishing what a body of evidence actually entails from what it is (merely) believed to entail. We import a logical framework that captures exactly this distinction, use it to define formal notions of (internal and external) justification and knowledge, and investigate applications to the KK principle, the “strong belief” postulate, and the regress problem.
78. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Catharine Saint-Croix Privilege and Position
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How does being a woman affect one’s epistemic life? What about being Black? Or queer? Standpoint theorists argue that such social positions can give rise to otherwise unavailable epistemic privilege. “Epistemic privilege” is a murky concept, however. Critics of standpoint theory argue that the view is offered without a clear explanation of how standpoints confer their benefits, what those benefits are, or why social positions are particularly apt to produce them. For this reason, many regard standpoint theory as being out of step with epistemology more broadly. But this need not be so. This article articulates a minimal version of standpoint epistemology that avoids these criticisms and supports the normative goals of its feminist forerunners. This account serves as the foundation for developing a formal model in which to explore standpoint epistemology using neighborhood semantics for modal logic.
79. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Brandon Carey A Counterfactual Theory of Epistemic Possibility
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Standard theories of epistemic possibility analyze this relation in terms of knowledge, entailment, or probability. These theories are mistaken. Here, I present counterexamples to the standard theories and defend a new theory: that a proposition is epistemically possible on a body of evidence just in case that evidence supports that if the proposition were true, then the evidence might exist. In addition to avoiding the problems of the standard views, this new theory captures good reasoning about epistemic possibilities and matches intuitive judgments in a wide range of cases, giving us good reason to accept it.
80. Res Philosophica: Volume > 97 > Issue: 4
Niklaas Tepelmann A Case for Weak Safety
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Safety theorists prefer a strong version of safety over a weak version, in order to account for our intuition that we do not know lottery propositions. I argue that weak safety has advantages that can outweigh our intuitions in lottery cases. First, I argue that for the nonepistemic domain, we should adopt weak safety to account for experts’ claims about cyber security. Second, I argue that a unified account of safety is preferable. Hence, we should adopt weak safety for the epistemic domain as well. My argument can also be put as follows. It is more plausible to suppose that our intuitions about lottery cases are misguided than to suppose either that experts’ judgments about cyber security are misguided or that there are different versions of safety.