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Showing posts from April, 2011

Paul Russell on the Riddle of Hume's Treatise

In The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion, Paul Russell argued that Hume's primary aim in his Treatise of Human Nature was to make a major contribution to philosophy religion -- in particular, to provide a devastating critique of natural theology and Christian theism. Nigel Warburton recently discussed Russell's important book with him on the podcast, Philosophy Bites. Here is the link.

Btw, Rico Vitz wrote a very helpful review of the book for NDPR a few years ago (here).

Quote for the Day

"Recently some philosophers have argued that Plantinga has not proved that universal transworld depravity is logically possible. It has been argued that although it is true that for all we know every essence suffers from transworld depravity, Plantinga has not shown that it is really possible. However, even if Plantinga has not shown that it is logically possible that every essence suffers from transworld depravity, philosophers such as Howard-Snyder and O’Leary-Hawthorne have thought it clear that it is epistemically possible, in the sense that we can’t rule it out. That is, for all we know, it could be the case that every essence suffers from transworld depravity. In the following I will argue that it turns out there is a good explanation of why Plantinga and others have been unable to show the hypothesis of universal transworld depravity is possible: it is necessarily false."

Richard Otte, "Transworld Depravity and Unobtainable Worlds", Philosophy and Phenomenolo…

Kahane, Nagel, and Not Wanting God to Exist

Apologists frequently quote Thomas Nagel's express hope that there is no God:

"It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that." (The Last Word, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 130-131.)

They then assert that: (i) Nagel's hope/desire is representative of the typical atheist; (ii) such a hope/desire, and not arguments or evidence, is the true basis for the typical atheist's atheism; (iii) such a hope/desire is perverse, or at any rate inappropriate in some important sense.

There are legitimate concerns about the warrant for each claim above (let alone an inference from (i)-(iii) to the falsity or epistemic impropriety of atheism -- circumstantial ad hominem, anyone?), but in a new paper ("Should We Want God to Exist?", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming)), Guy Ka…

Guest Blogger: Aaron Rizzieri on Pragmatic Encroachment, Stakes, and Religious Knowledge

Dear Readers,

May name is Aaron Rizzieri. I am an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at CUNY-LaGuardia. Recently, ex-apologist was kind enough to mention a paper of mine that has recently been picked up by the International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion with the above title. I would like to offer the readers of this blog a brief summary of the arguments contained therein in the hope of stimulating conversation on this topic. All criticism and feedback is greatly welcomed.

Precis of “Pragmatic Encroachment, Stakes, and Religious Knowledge”

Abstract: It is commonly held that epistemic standards for S’s knowledge that p are affected by practical considerations, such as what is at stake in decisions that are guided by that p. I defend a particular view as to why this is, that is referred to as “pragmatic encroachment.” I then introduce a “new argument against miracles” that uses stakes considerations in order to explore the conditions under which stakes affect the level of epis…

Emo Phillips Joke

A little comic relief for the weekend:


Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!"

He said, "Nobody loves me."

I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"

He said, "A Christian."

I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me, too! What franchise?"

He said, "Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council …