Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

"We saw earlier that Swinburne claims that most contemporary theists need an adequate total theodicy in order to rationally believe that God exists. This is a claim about rationality in the subjective sense (p. 16).[1] Swinburne also holds that no adequate total theodicy except his own is available. Presumably, this means that theists who believe they have such a theodicy are guilty of at least objective irrationality. Furthermore...very few theists will agree with all or even most of the many metaphysical and axiological claims upon which the success of his theodicy depends and so will not, if Swinburne is correct, have an adequate total theodicy in the relevant sense. The surprising implication is that, if everything Swinburne says in his book is true, then most theistic belief is irrational in at least one of Swinburne’s two senses and will remain so no matter how many theists read and understand his book! Further, though additional argument would be required to establish this, it would seem that the internalist irrationality of most theistic belief is antecedently more likely if God does not exist than if God exists, and so is evidence against theism. Thus, Swinburne’s commitment to such irrationality is at least ironic and maybe even significant, especially since Swinburne is arguably the greatest natural theologian of the 20th Century."

-Draper, Paul. “Review of Richard Swinburne’s Providence and the Problem of Evil”, Nous 35:3 (2001), pp. 472-3.

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[1] As Draper points out, "Swinburne distinguishes two internalist senses of rationality or justification in this book, one subjective and one objective (pp. 15–17 and 58– 63). A person’s belief is subjectively rational if and only if, given that person’s criteria of probability, it is either rendered probable by that person’s other subjectively rational beliefs or is properly basic. A person’s belief is objectively rational if and only if, given the true criteria of probability, it is either rendered probable by that person’s other objectively rational beliefs or is properly basic." Ibid., p. 473.

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