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101. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Scott A. Davison Privacy and Control
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In this paper, I explore several privacy issues as they arise with respect to the divine/human relationship. First, in section 1, I discuss the notion of privacy in a general way. Section 2 is devoted to the claim that privacy involves control over information about oneself. In section 3, I summarize the arguments offered recently by Margaret Falls-Corbitt and F. Michael McLain for the conclusion that God respects the privacy of human persons by refraining from knowing certain things about them. Finally, in section 4, I shall criticize Falls-Corbitt and McLain’s arguments and make some concluding remarks about God and privacy.
102. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
David B. Burrell Is Christianity True?
103. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Ted A. Warfield The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control
104. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Mary Beth Ingham Duns Scotus, Metaphysician
105. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
William P. Alston Faith and Criticism
106. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Stewart Goetz Libertarian Choice
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In this paper, I develop a noncausal view of agency. I defend the thesis that choices are uncaused mental actions and maintain, contrary to causal theorists of action, that choices differ intrinsically or inherently from nonactions. I explain how they do by placing them in an ontology favored by causal agency theorists (agent-causationists). This ontology is one of powers and liabilities.After explicating how a choice is an uncaused event, I explain how an adequate account of freedom involves the concept of choosing for a reason. Choosing for a reason is a teleological notion, and I set forth what is involved in making a choice for a purpose.
107. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig In Defense of the Kalam Cosmological Argument
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Graham Oppy’s attempt to show that the critiques of the kalam cosmological argument offered by Griinbaum, Davies, and Hawking are successful is predicated upon a misunderstanding of the nature of defeaters in rational belief. Neither Grunbaum nor Oppy succeed in showing an incoherence in the Christian doctrine of creation. Oppy’s attempts to rehabilitate Davies’s critique founders on spurious counter-examples and unsubstantiated claims. Oppy’s defense of Hawking’s critique fails to allay suspicions about the reality of imaginary time and finally results in the denial of tense and temporal becoming.
108. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
James G. Hanink The Sources of Christian Ethics
109. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Evan Fales Divine Intervention
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Some philosophers deny that science can investigate the supernatural - specifically, the nature and actions of God. If a divine being is atemporal, then, indeed, this seems plausible - but only, I shall argue, because such a being could not causally interact with anything. Here I discuss in detail two major attempts, those of Stump and Kretzmann, and of Leftow, to make sense of theophysical causation on the supposition that God is eternal. These views are carefully worked out, and their failures are instructive for any attempt to reconcileeternality with causal efficacy. I conclude by arguing that if knowledge of God is possible, in virtue of His effects upon the world, then it is science that must play the preeminent role in producing that knowledge.
110. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Notes and News
111. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Chris Eberle God’s Nature and the Rationality of Religious Belief
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If something like Reformed Epistemology is correct, an agent is innocent in regarding certain ways of forming beliefs to be reliable until those ways have been proven guilty. An important species of argument purporting to show guilt (1) identifies the ways of forming beliefs at the core of our cognitive activity, (2) isolates the features of our core practices which account for their reliability, and (3) determines whether or not peripheral practices which ought to have those features enjoy at least their functional equivalents. An example. Sense perception is at the heart of our cognitive activity; a feature of sense-perception which provides us with confidence in its reliability is that we can subject sense-perceptual beliefs to intersubjective criticism - others can check our beliefs. Beliefs about God formed on the basis of religious experience cannot be so checked and therefore lack positive epistemic status.An important response to such criticism consists of arguing that the difference between two ways of forming beliefs is just what we should expect given some relevant difference between the subject matters of those two ways of forming beliefs. This species of response employs what I call ‘the Ontological Principle,’ viz., that the nature or characteristics of an object constrain the way an agent ought to form beliefs about that object.In this paper, I attempt to provide a rationale for the Ontological Principle. I argue as follows. Any epistemic norm which requires of an agent that she enter into causal relations with an object which she cannot in the ‘nature’ of the case enter lacks epistemic merit - it violates the ought implies can dictum. Because the epistemic norms properly governing the cognitive activity of a given agent are constrained by the causal relations possible between an agent and an object of belief, and because the causal relations possible between an object of belief and an agent are determined in part by the characteristics of the object of belief, the epistemic norms properly governing the cognitive activity of a given agent are determined in part by the characteristics of the object of belief. That is, the Ontological Principle is true.
112. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Edward Pols Making Sense of Your Freedom: Philosophy for the Perplexed
113. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 2
Donald Wayne Viney Jules Lequyer and the Openness of God
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Until recently the most prominent defender of the openness of God was Charles Hartshorne. Evangelical thinkers are now defending similar ideas while being careful to distance themselves from the less orthodox dimensions of process theology. An overlooked figure in the debate is Jules Lequyer. Although process thinkers have praised Lequyer as anticipating their views, he may be closer in spirit to the evangelicals because of the foundational nature of his Catholicism. Lequyer’s passionate defense of freedom conceived as a creative act as well as the theological implications he drew from this are examined for their relevance to the present discussion of the openness of God.
114. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Joshua L. Golding Maharal’s Conception of the Human Being
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This paper discusses Maharal’s conception of the human being and its four major aspects, namely body, soul, intellect, and tselem (image or form). I suggest that some of his apparently inconsistent remarks concerning the human body may be reconciled by distinguishing two different senses of badness or evil. Secondly, I show that Maharal embraces what might be termed “moderate rationalism.” Thirdly, I elucidate his conception of the tselem by discussing parallel ideas in Kabbalistic literature.
115. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Robert Oakes Creation as Theodicy: In Defense of a Kabbalistic Approach to Evil
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The doctrine of Tzimzum (or divine “withdrawal”) occupies pride of place in the Jewish mystical tradition as a response to what is arguably the chief theological or metaphysical concern of that tradition: namely, how God’s Infinity or Absolute Unlimitedness does not preclude the existence of a distinct domain of finite being. Alternatively, how can it be that God, by virtue of His Maximal Plenteousness, does not exhaust the whole of Reality? I attempt to show that, while a plausible argument - one that does not involve the idea of Tzimzum --- can be mounted against this “pantheism” problem, the doctrine of Tzimzum has considerable force as the nucleus of a theodicy.
116. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Hilary Putnam On Negative Theology
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In addition to being arguably the greatest Jewish philosopher, Moses Maimonides was also the most radical of the medieval proponents of “negative theology”. Building on some recent important work by Ehud Benor, I propose to discuss the puzzles and paradoxes of negative theology not as simply peculiar to Maimonides’ thought, but as revealing something that can assume great importance for religious life at virtually any time. My discussion will begin with a brief review of well known aspects of Maimonides’ view; following that I will say something about Wittgensteinian views of religious language; then I will return to Maimonides’ negative theology; and finally I will consider some philosophical criticisms, not only of Maimonides’ view but of the medieval discussion as a whole.
117. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Howard Wettstein Doctrine
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I argue that theological doctrine, the output of philosophical theology, is not a natural tool for thinking about biblical/rabbinic Judaism. Fundamental to my argument is the claim that there is a tension between constellations of theological doctrine of medieval vintage and the primary religious literature---the Hebrew Bible as understood through, and supplemented by, the Rabbis of the Talmud. This tension is a product of the genesis of philosophical theology, the application of Greek philosophical thought to a very different tradition, one that emerged from a very different world.
118. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Notes and News
119. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
Eleonore Stump Saadia Gaon on the Problem of Evil
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Considerable effort has been expended on constructing theodicies which try to reconcile the suffering of unwilling innocents, such as Job, with the existence and nature of God as understood in Christian theology. There is, of course, abundant reflection on the problem of evil and the story of Job in the history of Jewish thought, but this material has not been discussed much in contemporary philosophical literature. I want to take a step towards remedying this defect by examining the interpretation of the story of Job and the solution to the problem of evil given by one important and influential Jewish thinker, Saadia Gaon.
120. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 4
T. M. Rudavsky Creation and Temporality in Medieval Jewish Philosophy
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Of the many philosophical perplexities facing medieval Jewish thinkers, perhaps none has been as challenging or as divisive as determining whether the universe is created or eternal. Not unlike contemporary cosmologists who worry about the first instant of creation of the universe, or Christian scholastics who attempted to define the nature of an instant, so too medieval Jewish thinkers were aware of the philosophical complexities surrounding the issues of creation and time. Jews were immensely affected by Scripture and in particular by the creation account found in Genesis I-II. In the context of this tension, perhaps the most important word of Scripture is b’reishit, “in the beginning.” The very term b’reishit designates the fact that there was a beginning, i.e., temporality has been introduced if only in the weakest sense that this creative act occupies a period of time. In this paper I shall focus my study upon Jewish philosophical attempts to clarify what is entailed by postulating a first instant of creation. I shall begin with early Rabbinical commentaries upon Genesis, and then turn to three paradigmatic medieval Jewish thinkers who, influenced by these Rabbinical texts, represent the range of positions taken with respect to this issue.