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161. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
H. E. Baber Abba, Father: Inclusive Language and Theological Salience
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Questions about the use of “inclusive language” in Christian discourse are trivial but the discussion which surrounds them raises an exceedingly important question, namely that of whether gender is theologically salient-whether Christian doctrine either reveals theologically significant differences between men and women or prescribes different roles for them. Arguably both conservative support for sex roles and allegedly progressive doctrines about the theological significance of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are contrary to the radical teaching of the Gospel that in Christ there is no male or female, Greek or Jew, slave or free man.
162. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Caleb Miller Creation, Redemption and Virtue
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In this paper, I defend the claim that Christian theology gives us good reason to think that virtue is relative to individuals and communities, i.e., that what character traits are virtues for individuals is relative to individuals and to the communities of which they are members. I begin by reviewing the theological claims that I take to be relevant. I then argue that these claims make it plausible to conclude that virtue is morally redemptive and therefore relative to individuals and communities. I then seek to use these conclusions to illuminate the discussion of the correctiveness of virtue. Finally I respond to some objections and suggest some further ways that my views could be developed.
163. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Helen E. Cullen Simone Weil on Greece’s Desire for the Ultimate Bridge to God: The Passion
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Simone Weil believed that Greece’s vocation was to build bridges between God and man. This paper argues that, in light of Weil’s “tradition of mystical thought,” the Christian vocation is an extension of the Greek. The search for the perfect bridge in Homer, Sophocles and Plato comes to fruition in the Passion of Christ. The Greek thinkers, especially Plato with his Perfectly Just Man, already had implicit knowledge of the Passion’s truth.
164. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Graham Oppy Koons’ Cosmological Argument
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Robert Koons has recently defended what he claims is a successful argument for the existence of a necessary first cause, and which he develops by taking “a new look” at traditional arguments from contingency. I argue that Koons’ argument is less than successful; in particular, I claim that his attempt to “shift the burden of proof” to non-theists amounts to nothing more than an ill-disguised begging of one of the central questions upon which theists and non-theists disagree. I also argue that his interesting attempt to bridge (part of) the familiar gap between the claim that there is a necessary first cause and the claim that God exists is beset with numerous difficulties.
165. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Timothy O’Connor Simplicity and Creation
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According to many philosophical theologians, God is metaphysically simple: there is no real distinction among His attributes or even between attribute and existence itself. Here, I consider only one argument against the simplicity thesis. Its proponents claim that simplicity is incompatible with God’s having created another world, since simplicity entails that God is unchanging across possible worlds. For, they argue, different acts of creation involve different willings, which are distinct intrinsic states. I show that this is mistaken, by sketching an adequate account of reasons-guided activity that does not require distinct intrinsic states of willing corresponding to each possible act of creation.
166. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Michael Bergmann Might-Counterfactuals, Transworld Untrustworthiness and Plantinga’s Free Will Defence
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Plantinga’s Free Will Defense (FWD) employs the following proposition as a premise:◊TD. Possibly, every essence is transworld depraved.I argue that he fails to establish his intended conclusion because the denial of ◊TD is epistemically possible. I then consider an improved version of the FWD which relies on◊TU. Possibly, every essence is transworld untrustworthy.(The notion of transworld untrustworthiness is the might-counterfactual counterpart to Plantinga’s would-counterfactual notion of transworld depravity.) I argue that the denial of ◊TU is also epistemically possible and, therefore, that the improved FWD fares no better than the original at establishing the compatibility of God and evil.
167. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Notes and News
168. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Michael Czapkay Sudduth Can Religious Unbelief Be Proper Function Rational?
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This paper presents a critical analysis of Alvin Plantinga’s recent contention, developed in Warranted Christian Belief (forthcoming), that if theism is true, then it is unlikely that religious unbelief is the product of properly functioning, truth-aimed cognitive faculties. More specifically, Plantinga argues that, given his own model of properly basic theistic belief, religious unbelief would always depend on cognitive malfunction somewhere in a person’s noetic establishment. I argue that this claim is highly questionable and has adverse consequences for Plantinga’s epistemology of religious belief. Plantinga’s proper basicality thesis together with his view of rationality defeaters suggests that there are circumstances in which theistic belief would not be proper function rational even if theism is true.
169. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
George I. Mavrodes Innocence and Suicide
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In this paper I examine one line of argument against the claim that (some) suicide may be morally legitimate. This argument appeals to a putative moral principle that it is never licit to assault an innocent human life. I consider some related arguments in St. Augustine and St. Thomas, and I explore two possible senses of “innocent.” I argue that in one sense the putative moral principle is very implausible, and in neither sense is it true that all suicides assault an innocent life. So this line of argument fails to establish the desired universal prohibition of suicide.
170. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 3
Eleonore Stump Dust, Determinism, and Frankfurt: A Reply to Goetz
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In a preceding issue of Faith and Philosophy Stewart Goetz criticized a paper of mine in which I try to show that libertarians need not be committed to the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) and that Frankfurt-style counterexamples to PAP are no threat to libertarianism. In my view, the main problem with Goetz’s arguments is that Goetz does not properly understand my position. In this paper, I respond to Goetz by summarizing my position in as plain a way as possible. Goetz’s charge against my position has two parts, first, that it isn’t libertarian and, second, that it provides no good reason for libertarians to abandon PAP. This paper briefly presents my answers to these two parts of Goetz’s charge.
171. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Keith Yandell God and Other Agents In Hindu Monotheism
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Having shown that Ramanuja and Madhva are indeed monotheists, I argue that (i) they differ concerning the relationship between God, the original Agent, and human agents created by God; (ii) that this difference involves in Madhva’s case there being only one agent and in Ramanuja’s case both God and created persons being agents, and (iii) since both positions require that created persons be agents, Madhva’s perspective is inconsistent and Ramanuja’s is not.
172. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Francis X. Clooney The Existence of God, Reason, and Revelation In Two Classical Hindu Theologies
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This essay introduces central features of classical Hindu reflection on the existence and nature of God by examining arguments presented in the Nyāyamañjarī of Jayanta Bhatta (9th century CE), and the Nyāyasiddhāñjana of Vedānta Deśika (14th century CE). Jayanta represents the Nyāya school of Hindu logic and philosophical theology, which argued that God’s existence could be known by a form of the cosmological argument. Vedānta Deśika represents the Vedånta theological tradition, which denied that God’s existencecould be known by reason, gave primacy to the revelatory texts known as the Upanisads, and firmly subordinated theological reasoning to the acceptance of revelation. Jayanta and Deśika are respected representatives of their traditions whose clear, systematic positions illumine traditional Hindu understandings of “God” and the traditional Hindu debates about God’s existence and nature. Attention to their positions highlights striking common features shared by Hindu and Christian theologies, and offers a substantial basis for comparative reflection on the Christian understanding of God’s existence and nature, and the roles of reason and revelation in knowledge of God.
173. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Paul J. Griffiths What Do Buddhists Hope For from Antitheistic Argument?
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This essay begins by distinguishing an argument’s validity from its cogency, and emphasizing the importance for understanding particular philosophers of knowing how they saw both matters (I). It then gives an introduction to the views of Moksākaragupta, an Indian Buddhist philosopher, on both these matters (II-III), and an analysis of his rebuttals of arguments for God’s existence, and his arguments against the possibility of God’s existence (IV). It concludes by showing that these arguments, though taken to be valid byMoksākaragupta, were not intended by him to be persuasive; it suggests, also, that this is a typical feature of such arguments.
174. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Michael Bergmann God and Inscrutable Evil: In Defense of Theism and Atheism
175. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Roger R. Jackson Atheology and Buddhalogy In Dharmakīrti’s Pramānavārttika
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This article seeks to clarify the relation between arguments for atheism and descriptions of the summum bonum in Indian Buddhism, through the analysis of one influential text. I begin by noting that a number of writers have detected a tension between, on the one hand, Buddhist refutations of the existence of “God” (īśvara, ātman, puruşa) and, on the other, Buddhist (especially Mahāyāna) claims about the nature of the ultimate (nirvāna, buddha, dharmakāya), which often appears to have God-like qualities. I then turn to a locus classicus of Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy of religion, the Pramānasiddhi (“Establishment of Authority”) chapter of the Pramānāvarttika (“Commentary on Authority”) of Dharmakīrti (7th century CE). After briefly introducing Dharmakīrti and the Pramānasiddhi chapter, I examine first the chapter’s atheological passages, which include a systematic attack on a Hindu (Nyāya) “argument from design” and a number of important claims about the implausibility of any permanent “spiritual” principle. The arguments are complex and varied, but most turn on the crucial Buddhist assumption that a permanent entity is by definition incapable of interaction with the impermanent, hence utterly unsuitable as a cause or effect. I then examine the chapter’s buddha logical passages, which tend to stress that a Buddha is defined above all by his knowledge of what is to be avoided and adopted by those intent on freedom, i.e., his knowledge of the four noble truths. The Buddha thus described is less notable for his transcendental nature than for his wise, compassionate, and skillful engagement with the world and its creatures---hence less obviously Mahāyānist than the Buddha described by those who articulate a “three-body” (trikāya) theory. I note by way of conclusion that, though Dharmakīrti’s buddhalogy did not prove as influential as his atheology, the juxtaposition of the two reveals an overall metaphysical consistency, in which axiomatic assumptions about permanence, impermanence, and deity are in harmony rather than tension.
176. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Patricia Sayre Fact, Value, and God
177. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Thomas D. D’Andrea Dialectic and Narrative in Aquinas: An Interpretation of the Summa Contra Gentiles
178. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
José Ignacio Cabezón Incarnation: A Buddhist View
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As is the case with many of the more classically theistic religions, Mahāyāna Buddhism has attempted to elaborate doctrines of incarnation. This paper will first examine the philosophical / doctrinal context in which such doctrines are elaborated by offering a brief overview of Buddhism’s repudiation of theism. It then discusses both denaturalized / philosophical and naturalized / narrative versions of the doctrine of incarnation as it is found in both the exoteric and the tantric (esoteric) traditions of the Mahāyāna texts. It concludes with a defense of the coherence of the docetism found in such texts.
179. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Index of Volume 16, 1999
180. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 16 > Issue: 4
Simon J. Evnine God Without the Supernatural: A Defense of Scientific Theism