The Upcoming Release of the Sententias Journal

by Max Andrews

The premier issue for the Sententias Journal will be released within the next week or two. All the preliminary information for the journal and its archive are located in the ‘Sententias Journal’ tab at the top of the screen. It is currently scheduled for quarterly online release. An anonymous moderation board has been assembled, which is composed of graduate and postgraduate referees from universities in the United States and Europe. The referees come from various philosophical, theological, and scientific backgrounds and different areas of research/expertise. I wanted to give a preview for this current issue so below you can find a list of the articles and their abstracts.

Cognitive Science of Religion & Theism
Paul Rezkalla
University of Birmingham, England

Abstract: In this paper I discuss what Cognitive Science of Religion is, as it is a relatively new field, and what its implications are for theism. Findings in the Cognitive Science of Religion seek to explain the origin of religious beliefs. Some critics of theistic belief have tried using the findings of CSR, specifically the ability of the hyperactive agency detection device (HADD) to explain why humans over-detect and over-attribute agency, to undermine theism. I am arguing that any attempt at using findings from CSR to debunk the veracity of theistic belief fails on account of committing the genetic fallacy.

The History and Macro-Ontology of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics
Max L. E. Andrews
Department of Philosophy
Liberty University

Abstract: Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics (MWI) has caused perturbations in the fields of physics and philosophy. There are many aspects about the interpretation that make it favorable due to its objectivity and lack of logical holes. If MWI is adopted due to its favorability then this creates a problem for understanding macro states. If it’s true that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously then defining the mechanism, which causes these ‘splits’ and how these ‘splits’ and branches operate, are problematic on the macro-scale. The question becomes, “How does this work on the macro level?” In order to construct an argument that traces the historical development to propose a preferred understanding for the macro-ontology I will discuss different hypotheses offered in a discussion by Alastair Wilson[1] in “Macroscopic-Ontology in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.” I will discuss the leading theories such as literal fission, macroscopic pairing, and spacetime point pairing. Each theory will have discussions and objections raised. To avoid begging the question I will evaluate the theories and apply an abductive methodology and make an inference to the best explanation to determine which theory should be preferred and what that means for macro-ontology.

[1] University of Birmingham, England. His paper, which will be my key text, is “Macroscopic Ontology in Everettian Quantum Mechanics,” The Philosophical Quarterly 61 no. 243 (April 2011): 363-382.

The Ontological Argument: Past, Present… And Future?
Shaun Smith
Department of Philosophy
Liberty University

Abstract: The ontological argument has a rather peculiar history.  From the time Saint Anselm first presented the argument, to the contemporary alterations done by Alvin Plantinga, the ontological argument has been loved and hated by those who dare to examine it.  However, maybe if one understands the terms then one can also come to love the argument.  As the world heads into a deep surplus of technological advances, maybe the ontological argument can serve its purpose in today’s world.

Sententias Journal Article PreviewA Lakatos-MacIntyre Based Convergence Model of the Interaction Between Theology and Science
Joshua W. Anderson
Talbot School of Theology

Abstract: I argue for a convergence model of the interaction between theology and science—where these two disciplines remain distinct yet sometimes make pronouncements on co-referring terms. In support of convergence I outline the Lakatos-MacIntyre understanding of the nature of science, as well as Nancy Murphy’s adaption of this view for theology. Once science and theology are seen to have similar structures, I argue, convergence is the natural outcome for their interaction. To demonstrate how this interaction occurs in real life, I consider two test cases: The Copernican Revolution and the case of “Junk” DNA.

The Incompatibility of Methodological Naturalism and Scientific Realism
Kegan J. Shaw
Department of Philosophy
Liberty University

Abstract: Naturalism seems to have trouble defending a great many of the doctrines it espouses. This paper wonders whether methodological naturalists can be scientific realists. Without allowing the justification of propositions a priori, this paper will argue, one cannot escape the threat of a radical skepticism that calls into question the entirety of the justificatory principles in virtue of which naturalists believe their theories to be verisimilitudinous.

The Argument From Reason and Incompleteness Theorems
Ryan Thomas
Department of Philosophy
Liberty University

Abstract:  In this paper, I argue that C.S. Lewis’ famous “Argument from Reason” is supported by the epistemic implications of Kurt Gödel’s famous incompleteness theorems. Lewis’ argument consists of two main arguments, the second of which asserts the inability of the human mind to demonstrate its own rationality. This has some striking similarities to Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, which essentially states that a consistent system of axioms cannot demonstrate its own consistency. Thus, if it can be demonstrated that the human mind is, on the naturalist’s account, a purely formal system, then the entailments of Gödel’s theorem further support Lewis’ argument. It is my position that, considered apart from any sort of supernature, human rationality is best construed as a purely formal system, and that regardless of how we explain the emergence of rationality (evolution, chaos theory, etc.), Gödel’s theorem still applies—and therefore, so does Lewis’ argument.

Metaphysics, Natural Selection, and Quasi-Religion
Tyler D. McNabb
University of Birmingham, England

Abstract: In Alvin Plantinga’s Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism, Plantinga formulates his latest version of his Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism. In defending this argument, Plantinga not only develops his traditional articulation of the argument but Plantinga also introduces a new possible approach to it. Plantinga briefly argues that metaphysical beliefs would clearly not aid in survival and reproduction and thus these types of beliefs would seem unreliable given the truths of naturalism and evolution. It is here in this paper that I will both defend Plantinga’s classical approach to the EAAN as well as take on Plantinga’s claim that metaphysical beliefs do not aid in survival and reproduction. In fact, I will argue that it is because most metaphysical beliefs aid in survival and reproduction that given the truths of naturalism and evolution, one would have a defeater for most of their metaphysical beliefs.

 


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