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Showing posts from March, 2011

Philosophy TV: Elga, Schechter, and White on the Problem of Troublingly Contingent Beliefs

Over at Philosophy TV, Adam Elga, Joshua Schecter, and Roger White discuss the following problem:

Your beliefs about matters such as politics, religion, and morality are contingent on epistemically irrelevant factors like the time and place of your birth. Does this worry you? Should it? Elga maintains that this sort of contingency of our beliefs should not by itself undermine our confidence in them. Schechter and White challenge that position.

Stephen Law: Why philosophy degrees are among the MOST useful. Evidence demolishing myths peddled by philosophy bashers.

iPod Question

Hi folks,

For some reason, my iPod (touch, 2nd generation, I think) has stopped receiving data from the net via my wireless internet connection. It says it's connected, but, ya -- not receiving data. I've disconnected and reconnected, powered off, powered on, rebooted, but nothing works. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Does Plantinga's Free Will Defense Help Defuse the Problem of Evil?

Here's a thought I'm toying with: Suppose you agree with a number of epistemologists that the way things seem or appear to one is defeasible, prima facie evidence for the way things are. To use Plantinga's terminology: beliefs that appear to one to be true are "properly basic" for one. Now suppose further that it appears to some person -- let's call her 'Sue' -- that nothing could morally justify some of the evils that occur in the world (the Holocaust, for example). Then it follows that Sue has defeasible, prima facie evidence that nothing could justify some of the evils that occur in the world.[1] Finally, assume that Sue accepts the fairly standard view that an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly good god wouldn't allow an evil to occur without sufficient moral justification. Then Sue would have a good reason to think there is no all-knowing, all-powerful, perfectly good god.

How could one defeat Sue's basis for her atheism? If we assume t…

CORRECTION: The Schellenberg Sessions at the APA Central Division Meeting

CORRECTION: I originally stated that there will be one session on Schellenberg's work, and that it was on Saturday, April 2nd, 9AM-noon. As you can see with the corrections below, I was way off. (Sorry, John!)

Thursday, March 31st:
9:00AM-Noon: Group Meeting: Philosophy of Religion Group: The Work of J.L. Schellenberg
Chair: Daniel Howard-Snyder
Speakers: J.L. Schellenberg, Andrew Chignell, and Terence Cuneo
Commentator: J.L. Schellenberg

Saturday, April 2nd:
12:15-2:15PM: Group Meeting: Philosophy of Religion Group: The Work of J.L. Schellenberg (continued)
Chair: Daniel Howard-Snyder
Speakers: Daniel Howard-Snyder, J.L. Schellenberg, and Wes Morriston
Commentator: J.L. Schellenberg

(The APA Central Division meeting will take place from March 30th through April 2, 2011, at the Hilton Minneapolis Hotel in Minneapolis, MN.)

Epistemic Contextualism and Philosophy of Religion

We've noted a few recent applications of current philosophical hot topics to issues in philosophy of religion: (i) the epistemology of disagreement, and (ii) phenomenal conservatism. However, I've been waiting to see work that applies insights from the contextualism vs. invariantism debate to issues in philosophy of religion. In any case, my wait is now over, as Aaron Rizzieri has a paper out in the current issue of the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion: "Pragmatic Encroachment, Stakes, and Religious Knowledge". Here's the 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 discuss a “new argument against miracles” that uses stakes considerations in order to explore the conditions under which stakes affect the level …

Comic Relief

Philosophy Bro recently posted on conceivability arguments for dualism, and in the process, further confirmed my suspicion that he's a fellow modal epistemologist. Keep fighting the good fight, bro....

He also briefly touches on the dubiousness of "far out" modal claims in reference to the modal ontological argument. Seconded, broseph. On a positive note, I find the brontological argument much more persuasive.

Watching The Detectives-Elvis Costello