April 8th, 2015
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).
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March 14th, 2015
Over the last few years of maintaining Sententias I’ve decided to start a very long series that may be used to assist the curious and the new believers. The material will progress from the most basic elements of theology and philosophy [as it relates to the faith]. Then it will progress towards other doctrinal issues and then on to more peripheral issues. All the while there will be intermittent points of reflection and Bible study material.
This will be designed for either a group of individuals (if someone is being discipled by a mature Christian) or by someone who happens to be alone (where this can help get them going until they can find someone to teach them one on one).
I will soon post an outline of what I intended to include. The general format will be that of the famous spider web example. In the centre of the web will be the essentials (e.g. the existence of God, deity of Jesus, atonement, repentance and faith, etc.). In the inner rings will be important but non-salvific and non-gospel issues (e.g. theories of the atonement [I will advocate substitionary], biblical inerrancy, etc.). Then on the more outer rings there will be tentatively held issues like dating, authorships, textual transmission, gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc.
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March 5th, 2015
Julian Charles at The Mind Renewed asked me some questions concerning Molinism. Please listen to the interview and subscribe to his podcast. See the tags at the bottom of the page for all the topics that came up and were mentioned during the interview.
TMR 076 : Max Andrews : Molinism – A Glimpse into the Mind of God?
If God knows the future, how can I be free? If there’s human evil in the world, how can God be good? If people live beyond the reach of the Gospel, how can God be all-loving?
This week we are joined by the philosopher Max Andrews for a fascinating look at the mind-bending and strange (yet potentially illuminating) world of Molinism, a philosophical position on God’s omniscience and providence that offers potential solutions to a whole host of theological conundrums.
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March 2nd, 2015
Kuhn on Scientific Revolutions and Paradigm Shifts
- Scientific revolutions are here taken to be those non-cumulative developmental episodes in which an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible new one. Paradigms are incommensurable (no common measure—can we really do that and still talk about different models?). (g. planets)
- “Suddenly the fragments in my head sorted themselves out in a new way, and fell into place together. My jaw dropped, for all at once Aristotle seemed a very good physicist indeed, but of a sort I’d never dreamed possible. Now I can understand why he had said what he’d said, and what his authority had been. Statements that previously seemed egregious mistakes, now seemed at worst near misses within a powerful and generally successful tradition.”
- When paradigms enter into a debate about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily circular. Each group uses its own paradigm to argue in that paradigm’s defense. (This circularity doesn’t necessarily make the arguments wrong or ineffectual.)
- There’s no such thing as paradigm independent data. Interpreting the data is paradigm specific. There is no theory-neutral data. No theory-neutral data ≠ objective knowledge. (Kuhn claimed this criticism was the result of a misunderstanding of him.) He claimed that when a scientific revolution occurs, “The world changes.” (He wanted to apply Scientific Revolutions to the contemporary science of his day but was constantly having to modify his philosophy in responding to critics.)
- Anomalies: The parallax of the angles between stars and the earth every six months. The lack of difference between angles was thought to show a Ptolemaic universe; however, the Copernican view allowed for this by suggesting that the angles were insignificant to their measurements (technological limitation) because the stars were too far away. Anomalies may also simply be ignored or counted as, simply, irrelevant until they build an undercutting consensus.
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February 15th, 2015
The following is a guest post by Michael Muniz. Michael and I did our MA’s together. I’ve wanted to get Michael on the site for a long time and we finally got a post. I hope you enjoy it.
A little bit of who I am: I have a BA in English and Academic Certificate in Film Studies from Florida International University, and an MA in Philosophical Studies from Liberty University. My thesis was on the Philosophy of Film Narratology. I’m currently a high school teacher (my 8th year) and an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at various colleges in South Florida. I’ve written chapters for several books in the pop culture and philosophy series including: Psych and Philosophy, Jurassic Park and Philosophy, Adventure Time and Philosophy, BioShock and Philosophy, and Jim Henson and Philosophy. I’ve also spoken at many pop culture and philosophy conferences around the nation including ComicCon and Mythcon. You can follow me on Facebook at Michael Muniz, and on Twitter @zinum777, and I have an author page on amazon.com.
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February 10th, 2015
I’ve been very touched and invested of the story about Michael and Sarah Chardavoyne. Sarah has been in the fiercest battle with Lyme Disease and Michael has been a faithful, loving husband to her.
Below is an excerpt from their fundraising page, written by Sarah’s father. Please continue reading and watch the video on their site. See the joy, the pain, the fidelity, and the love. As of today, they are halfway to their needed goal to provide the care she needs. They have 8 days to go. Anything helps…
As a father I always wanted what every dad wanted; a healthy child who achieves the dreams that God placed upon their heart, and shares life with their soul mate. Last year Sarah, married the man God put on this earth to become her soul mate, but still searches to fulfill the fullness of health and complete her aspirations.
In December of 2013 I didn’t look at Sarah’s wedding as giving my daughter away but more as I was gaining a son. My son- in-law, Michael, didn’t know when he said his vows on that day how quickly he would have to live up to those words: in sickness and health. For better and for worse.
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February 5th, 2015
Rationalism & Empiricism, a priori & a posteriori, Analytic & Synthetic—Differences?
In regards to rationalism and empiricism, the rationalist says that knowledge can be known by reason alone whereas the empiricist will claim that knowledge is derived from the senses–we are born tabula rasa, a blank slate for a mind and we fill that slate with sense perceptions. The rationalist will have no problem affirming the synthetic a priori and analytic a posteriori category. The empiricist will primarily affirm the analytic a priori and synthetic a posteriori (although there is definite psychological overlap–the affirmations primarily concern epistemic justification).
||“All bachelors are not married.”
“Triangles have three angles.”
Objective Morality? (e.g. Kant’s pure reason)
||“Gold has the atomic weight of 196.966543”
||“This elephant is gray.”
“Edinburgh receives more rain than the Sahara.”
Subjective Morality? (e.g. “Twenty’s Plenty”)
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February 3rd, 2015
The Discovery Institute’s next summer seminars are from July 10-18, 2015 in Seattle. I attended the seminar in 2010. Once you’re labeled as an ID proponent your academic career is potentially slowed down or halted, unfortunately. Thankfully, I haven’t had any problems even though I’m still agnostic in many areas concerning intelligent design. I’ve gone on to become a Philosophy PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh and a I teach two classes in the philosophy of science as a tutor (academic freedom is written into my contract and have had great support from people within the university in regards to my research: fine-tuning and the ontology of many worlds scenarios). I’ve already outed myself as it’s not hard to find it in a quick Google search (I’m a philosopher so it’s not as academically persecuted).
I have no negative comments concerning the DI’s seminar. In fact, I have more respect for the institute and fellows. There were two concurrent seminars (natural and social sciences [now the CS Lewis Fellows Program]) that interacted with each other on a regular basis and combined on many occasions.
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