August 24th, 2015

Sententias Temporarily Down

by Max Andrews

I have received many emails and messages from readers within the last week of the 404 Errors. At first I thought it was because I had recently taken down many posts that contain material that I have submitted for publication (copyright purposes).

However, the site is temporarily unavailable beyond what is able to be seen on the front pages. There website is currently without funds to maintain it and the domain has suspended services due to the lack of funds.

In due time, I will be able to get the site back up and running as it should be (hopefully the podcasts can be up again in the future–they were shut down for lack of funds as well). The material won’t go anywhere but it won’t be available until I’m able to front the needed funds.

(The site automatically tweets posts queried through a plugin so please disregard any posts in the near future.)

Thank you for your loyalty and for your readership!

Max

August 13th, 2015

What is a Scientific Explanation?

by Max Andrews

Scientific Explanation

  • If scientific explanation is causal explanation, and causation is law-governed sequence, then it follows that scientific explanations require laws.  However, a problem with this (i.e. the ideal gas law: PV=nRT) is that instead of making things clearer, it threatens to involve the analysis of scientific explanation in a thicket of “metaphysical” issues that several philosophers and positivists sought to avoid.[1] Scientific explanation requires a causal explanation, which requires a law-governed explanation.
  • Natural law describes but does not explain natural phenomena.
    • Consider the use of D-N: Newton’s law of universal gravitation described, but did not explain, what caused gravitational attraction.  Newton claimed that he invented no hypotheses but deduced them from observations produced by rationalistic positivism, which engulfed contemporary European science.  Even though Newton’s law does not explainthe data, it is still scientific but offers no scientific explanation.  Many scientific theories do not offer an explanation by natural law.  Instead, they postulate past regularities to explain presently observed phenomena, which also, in turn, allow for predictive capabilities
  • Our knowledge of cause and effect relationships, which can sometimes formulate as laws, will often guide the inferences that scientists make about what happened in the past and will influence their assessment of the plausibility of competing explanations.
    read more »

August 10th, 2015

My E-Books: From Molinism to Existentialism

by Max Andrews

 

I have gathered my four e-books that I’ve published through Amazon in one convenient spot. Although it would be advantageous to set up a proper author’s page with Amazon but I have yet to do that and simply searching ‘Max Andrews’ isn’t sufficient for finding all the literature (unless you type in another keyword or the title).

If you haven’t already, please share and/or buy these books that you or a friend or a family member may be interested in. The profits go towards keeping this site up and running.

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 11.45.38 PMAn Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1)
    • The task of a Molinist perspective of middle knowledge is to remove the perceived dilemma between human freedom and divine foreknowledge. Middle knowledge is the second logical moment of God’s omniscience. There are three logical moments, the first being natural knowledge. With natural knowledge God knows everything that could logically happen. The third moment is God’s free knowledge; God knows all true propositions of the actual world. Middle knowledge lies logically in between these, which affirms that God knows all true counterfactual propositions, or possess hypothetical knowledge of future contingents. The following is an attempt to provide reasonable grounds for affirming divine middle knowledge.

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July 14th, 2015

“Time and Tide Wait for No Choice: A Response to Emily Paul”

by Max Andrews

On the 2 of July I presented my response paper, “Time and Tide Wait for no Choice: A Response to Emily Paul”, at Tyndale’s conference at Cambridge University. There’s no audio of Emily Paul’s reading but below is a link to her paper.

Emily Paul’s paper, ”Can Divine timelessness reconcile libertarian human freedom and divine knowledge of future human actions?”: http://www.tyndalephilosophy.co.uk/PaulEmily.pdf

July 8th, 2015

Paper: Defending the Possibility of an Actually Infinite Universe

by Max Andrews

Cambridge Max Andrews 2015On July 2, I will be presented my first philosophy of mathematics paper at Tyndale’s conference at Cambridge University.

Below is the abstract for “The Extent of Existents: Ontologies and Infinities”.

Abstract: There seems to be an intrinsic rationality to the universe that is not simply extrinsically projected by the knowing subject. The consilience between mathematics and physics is inherent to nature and is inductively depended upon by every person. What makes the question of infinities interesting is whether there actually are such existent sets. Theists are often inclined to deny that actual infinites exist and explain such things as useful fictions of conceptually existent in the mind of God—but there can be no actual infinite set (ℵ) of existents [or anything]. I will, of course, address the concrete or abstract nature and [the so-called] indispensability of such sets but that is a peripheral concern, as the infinite set of quarks or strings does not necessarily depend on the existence of the correlate abstracta. I will then survey some rejoinders such as Hilbert’s Hotel and other ‘incoherence’ arguments against actual infinites and how they are limited in applicable scope. Cantorian and ZFC semantics will be used, as they are mathematically canonical. I will conclude that theists are wholly consistent in their philosophy of mathematics and science, which will, in turn, compose a stronger theology of nature by affirming actual infinites. A theological and scientific consilience will be argued from the Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of variety and G. W. Leibniz’s principle of plenitude. I will conclude that having a theology and philosophy that permits an actual infinite set of existents will not conflict with [examples in] theoretical physics such as many cosmological models and some mechanics in quantum physics—though this is not to be considered a driving motivator; rather, it’s an example of some of the consequences for one allowing the possibility of an actual infinite of existents to one’s ontological framework.

June 5th, 2015

Explaining Middle Knowledge Without Being Complicated

by Max Andrews

In the beginning, there was God. Just God. No one or nothing else (“prior” to creation). Now, for the sake of taking some of the language down a few notches, let’s suppose God is deliberating between which worlds he wants to create (I deny divine deliberation, but work with me here).

Let's Make a Deal

Behind door number 1 is an option for a world and universe for God to create. Let’s concoct what this world would look like:

WORLD 1

  • Cassidy owns a ginger cat named Basil
  • Hugo won $156,000,000 in the lottery
  • James got a haircut on 09 November 2004
  • Desmond went to prison

May 31st, 2015

Cambridge Paper Preview: Extent of Existents

by Max Andrews

This July I will be presenting my first philosophy of mathematics paper at Tyndale’s conference at Cambridge University. Please Consider Helping! I’m almost at the goal for grants and donations to pay 100%. For insight on my response paper to the plenary speak see my earlier post.

So far, in brief discussions with others, this paper seems a bit controversial since I’m defending the possibility of an actual infinite set of things existing. Below is the abstract for “The Extent of Existents: Ontologies and Infinities”.

Abstract: There seems to be an intrinsic rationality to the universe that is not simply extrinsically projected by the knowing subject. The consilience between mathematics and physics is inherent to nature and is inductively depended upon by every person. What makes the question of infinities interesting is whether there actually are such existent sets. Theists are often inclined to deny that actual infinites exist and explain such things as useful fictions of conceptually existent in the mind of God—but there can be no actual infinite set (ℵ) of existents [or anything]. I will, of course, address the concrete or abstract nature and [the so-called] indispensability of such sets but that is a peripheral concern, as the infinite set of quarks or strings does not necessarily depend on the existence of the correlate abstracta. I will then survey some rejoinders such as Hilbert’s Hotel and other ‘incoherence’ arguments against actual infinites and how they are limited in applicable scope. Cantorian and ZFC semantics will be used, as they are mathematically canonical. I will conclude that theists are wholly consistent in their philosophy of mathematics and science, which will, in turn, compose a stronger theology of nature by affirming actual infinites. A theological and scientific consilience will be argued from the Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of variety and G. W. Leibniz’s principle of plenitude. I will conclude that having a theology and philosophy that permits an actual infinite set of existents will not conflict with [examples in] theoretical physics such as many cosmological models and some mechanics in quantum physics—though this is not to be considered a driving motivator; rather, it’s an example of some of the consequences for one allowing the possibility of an actual infinite of existents to one’s ontological framework.

May 20th, 2015

New EPS 2015 Conference Paper on the Moral Argument

by Max Andrews

column_leftDave Beck and I have had another paper accepted for this year’s Evangelical Philosophical Society’s annual conference. This year the conference is in Atlanta so I may try to attend it this year but if I’m unable to (contingent on funds and teaching schedule) Dave will be presenting the paper on behalf of both of us.

Date: November 18 at 9:20am

All of my [and our] previous papers have been concerning, primarily, the philosophy of science with the philosophy of religion in tow. Ethics is a new area of professional research for me but the paper will focus on both the ethics/metaethics of the argument and the logic and rationale.

Here’s the abstract to our paper “The Internal Logic of the Moral Argument”:

All of the theistic arguments have the following logical pattern: (1) identify a particular in need of explanation. (2) Eliminate all natural explanations. (3) Conclude to a non-natural alternative. The uniqueness of the Moral Argument, as an attempt to explain moral obligation, is that the non-natural alternative only emerges in the course of the argument and in two phases: (a) A best explanation phase in which neither natural/causal nor the human/free model works. (b) This, in turn, sets up the following dilemma: a fitting explanation must be personal (not causal) but it cannot be other persons because all persons are free and equal in relation to moral obligation. This forces the abduction to the conclusion that there must be a superperson somehow authorized to obligate persons.

The logic of the argument itself forces us to an inference to the best explanation that avoids the aforementioned dilemma: another person, but who is authorized to legislate ethics. In defending our argument we will construct a clear abductive argument, which factors in the set of all explananda. The explanans that we will infer to is a morally capable person and what is of paramount note is that this explanation does not take us fully to the Anselmian God. That is a task for further arguments and sub-arguments.

May 15th, 2015

Tyndale Cambridge: Presenting on Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom and Actual Infinites

by Max Andrews

This July, at the Tydale philosophy conference at the University of Cambridge, I’ll be doing a response paper to ”Can Divine timelessness reconcile libertarian human freedom and divine knowledge of future human actions?”. This was a prize winning paper with Tyndale and I will be responding to this year’ plenary speaker, who will be presenting this paper.

Abstract:

An age-old problem for theists is the apparent irreconcilability of God’s omniscience with libertarian human freedom. If God knows what I will do tomorrow, and is infallible, then it appears that I am unable to refrain from acting in accordance with this knowledge. The pervasiveness of this problem is an important reason for many philosophers (from Boethius, Augustine and Aquinas, through to Helm, Leftow and Stump) holding that God is timeless. I will explain how a timeless God is alleged to avoid the sting of the freedom-foreknowledge dilemma, before demonstrating why I believe that this account fails.

April 8th, 2015

Explanation, Teleology, and Efficient Causation in Science

by Max Andrews

Inference to the Best Explanation Revisited (Our Method of Inquiry)

  • When using certain theoretical terms, as in the inference to quarks, the epistemic process cannot restrict explanations to only natural or empirical explanations. If one attempts to strip science of all metaphysical import then material causation is the only sufficient form of scientific explanation. However, this has an unnecessary restriction on science and is incongruent with one’s epistemology (if it is to be robust). The robust epistemology certainly accounts for inferential explanations that are not necessarily required to be material. The epistemic methodology may be identical to a non-scientific context but when this methodology is applied in a scientific context then the explanation is ruled out a priori with no [apparent] justification (hence the removal of efficient and final causation from science). Thus, scientific explanations must not necessarily be material explanations. Remember, by using inferential explanations such as quarks and protons we observer their effects and infer as to what the best antecedent causal explanation may be. It’s an issue over the identity of what antecedent causes could be. (In a normal epistemic process the antecedent may be agency).