Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sinhababu's New Critique of the Fine-Tuning Argument

Sinhababu, Neil. "Divine Fine-Tuning vs. Electrons in Love", American Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming).

Menzel's Critique of the Bootstrapping Objection to Theistic Activism

Menzel, Christopher. "Problems With the Bootstrapping Objection to Theistic Activism", American Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming).

Schlossberger's New Paper on the Problem of Evil...

...looks intriguing:

Bad Samaritans, Aftertastes, and the Problem of Evil

Philosophia 43 (1):197-204 (2015)

The paper argues first that, by not rescuing innocents in certain ways , God violates a weak Bad Samaritan principle that few would deny. This ‘Bad Samaritan argument’ appears to block the traditional free will defense to the problem of evil, since respecting the principle does not violate or show lack of respect for free will. Second, the paper articulates a version of the traditional argument from evil, the ‘Aftertaste argument’, that appears to close some of the traditional loopholes in the argument from evil, such as the ‘greater good from evil’ defense.

And if a copy should find its way to my inbox...

UPDATE: Thanks!

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Issue of Philo

See the links on the right. The full table of contents can be found here. Can't access the aricles? Subscribe!

Schwitzgebel on Moral Duties to Flawed Gods


New Papers on Plantinga's Free Will Defense...

...in the newest issue of IJPoR:

Otte (165–177, 2009) and Pruss (400–415, 2012) have produced counterexamples to Plantinga’s famous free will defence against the logical version of the problem of evil. The target of this criticism is the possibility of universal transworld depravity, which is crucial to Plantinga’s defence. In this paper, we argue that there is a simpler and more plausible free will defence that does not require the possibility of universal transworld depravity or the truth of counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. We assume only that libertarianism is possibly true and that God’s existence is consistent with the existence of free agents who never go wrong. We conclude the paper by explaining how our defence may be able to succeed without assuming , in a way that is consistent with compatibilism.

This paper argues against the sufficiency of Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense, as presented in God, freedom, and evil as a response to the logical problem of evil. I begin by introducing the fundamental issues present in the problem of evil and proceed to present Plantinga’s response. Next, I argue that, despite the argument’s wide acceptance in the field, a central notion to the defense, transworld depravity, is internally inconsistent and that attempts to resolve the problem would result in an abandonment of the original terms of the discussion. Finally, I consider some potential alternatives for a free will defense beyond the one presented by Plantinga and conclude that the logical problem of evil may have more worth as a philosophical topic than has been thought in recent years.

And if I should find a copy of these in my inbox...
UPDATE: Many thanks!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fascinating Interview with Eric Steinhart...

...at Prosblogion. I found his description of his religious experiences particularly fascinating. It's worth quoting at some length:
Much of my interest in philosophy of religion has been driven by a series of religious or mystical experiences. I have had five or six of these. Of them, three have been overpowering, ego-shattering experiences, while three have been gentler. But all have been profoundly moving. None of them have involved God. Other philosophers, such as Wittgenstein, Hick, and Plantinga have reported their own mystical experiences. So it’s worth thinking more about how such experiences inspire philosophies. 
I would not say that I really gained much new knowledge during these experiences. The content of my experiences was shaped by what I had already studied and found interesting in philosophy, theology, and mathematics. I already thought that reality was a certain way, but my thoughts were merely very abstract outlines of that way. During my mystical experiences, I saw with intense vividness that reality is this way. Much of what I have written philosophically is an effort to verbally express the content of these visions. I regard all these efforts as failures. The vision really is ineffable. 
To some, the term “vision” might suggest hallucination. But I would not say that I have hallucinated. Rather, my visions are more purely mathematical. During one, which came close to the violence of a seizure, I saw the iterative hierarchy of pure sets. I had been studying a lot of set theory; but then I saw it. Along with this vision there was an extreme flood of joy, as well as a kind of pain that comes from being cognitively broken up. Another vision involved something like the totality of recursive functions on the ordinal number line, and the recognition that these functions are the meanings which produce reality as they generate themselves. The forest dissolved into a network of computations. I had already experienced something like this while reading Josiah Royce. This vision was again extremely joyous, and I knew that death is nothing. 
On the basis of these experiences, as well as plenty of discursive reasoning, I identify myself as a religious naturalist. However, I do not take this naturalism to entail simply materialism or logical positivism.   Unfortunately, religious naturalism today is mostly intellectual, and has little in the way of social practice. So I am primarily interested in developing social practices for religious naturalism.   Rather than my practices driving my beliefs, my beliefs are driving my search for practices. And much of my search is for practices which cohere with my mystical experiences.
On a related note, if you haven't already, you should really read his fascinating paper, "On the Plurality of Gods" (Religious Studies 49 (2013), 289-312.) And of course you know about his book, Your Digital Afterlives.