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Showing posts from December, 2007

An Excellent Encyclopedia Entry on the Evidential Argument From Evil

...can be found here. The author is Nick Trakakis. Nick is a hot up-and-comer in philosophy of religion. He recently published a monograph with Ashgate Press on Rowe's evidential argument from evil, which displays a command of all the literature on the argument. He has also published a slew of journal articles on it, in which he makes a genuine contribution to the debate. He is therefore an ideal person to learn from on this topic.

Philosophical Gerrymandering and Cumulative Case Arguments For Theism

I've argued that no argument for God, taken by itself, demonstrates theism -- or even makes theism more probable than not. However, this leaves open the possibility that, when taken together, these arguments do demonstrate the truth of theism, or at least make theism more probable than not.

Richard Swinburne is one famous philosopher of religion who takes this approach to arguments for theism[1]. He uses a formula from probability calculus known as Bayes' Theorem to argue in this way. He calls an argument that raises the probability of a hypothesis a good C-inductive argument, and he calls an argument that makes a hypothesis more probable than not a good P-inductive argument. He then considers a large variety of arguments for theism, and admits that none of them, when construed as a deductive argument, constitutes a sound argument for God's existence. However, he argues that a number of them, when reformulated as inductive arguments, each raise the probability of thei…

Online Course on the Old Testament

This looks to be a great course on the Old Testament at Yale. It comes complete with a syllabus and lectures in both audio and video formats. I imagine it's worth browsing around there to find other classes in various disciplines. Isn't it great to know that you can now sit in on courses at Ivy League universities at home in your pajamas, and at no monetary cost to yourself?

The Trouble With Plantinga's Reformed Epistemology In A Nutshell (Draft)

Plantinga rightly points out that classical foundationalist accounts of properly basic beliefs are inadequate -- not enough beliefs count as properly basic. Unfortunately, Plantinga goes too far -- too many beliefs count as properly basic on his account. He wants to widen the circle of properly basic beliefs so as to allow belief in God to count as properly basic, but he can't do so in a way that's plausible.

To see this, recall the inductive procedure Plantinga recommends for generating criteria of proper basicality: a person considers actual and hypothetical circumstances in which a belief of a certain type is formed. In each considered circumstance, the person asks herself whether the belief is rational (i.e., properly basic or properly based) or irrational (i.e., improperly basic or improperly based). If that type of belief is judged to be neither irrational nor rational-but-properly-based, then the belief is judged to be properly basic (at least if it is judged to be …