January 15th, 2016
I recently became interested in A Song of Ice and Fire and the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones within the last year. While LOST will always have a sentimental and special place in my heart, I must concede that this is perhaps the most well-written show I’ve ever seen. LOST is still very well written and tops a close #2 on my list even though I think it is much more philosophical.
Tyler D. McNabb and I have coauthored a chapter for the forthcoming 2016 book The Ultimate Game of Thrones and Philosophy published by Open Court Press. The chapter title is “Belief and Trust in the Fog of War and Lies: The Case of Catelyn and Brienne”. Naturally, I’m not an epistemologist–that’s Tyler. I’m the metaphysician, which made Tyler lead but the contribution by both of us were balanced and equal.
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December 30th, 2014
What if it were the case that justification of our beliefs in propositions describing physical objects is always inferential and that it is always from propositions about the nature of our experiences that such inferences are made.? If this is true, there are two conditions that must be satisfied concerning inferential belief in physical objects:
(1) Statements about experience must count as reasons or evidence for statements about objects.
(2) Statements about experience must in some, no doubt rather obscure, sense be accepted by those who make statements about objects.
Maybe there’s reason to doubt (1) and (2) by simply suggesting that that it is not always the case that most people are always in the “appropriate, sophisticated, phenomenological frame of mind.” This is certainly true to an extent; so let us refer to this handicap as H. It may be the case person S is intoxicated with alcohol and his phenomenological apprehension may be malfunctioning or that S realizes that his phenomenological apprehension of the external world is not as it should be and is capable of recognizing malfunction.
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October 31st, 2014
If you want to get under the skin of a philosopher there are a few ways to irk us. There’s more that just the annoyance of telling someone you’re a philosopher and they respond, “Oh, I took a psychology course in university!” Yes, that type of misunderstanding warrants the philosopher’s incredulous stare… just as these will:
10. “So, how will you make money? What do you do?”
Okay, so I’m not an engineer. I’m not a research chemist for a Fortune 500 corporation and I may not be able to work most blue collar tasks… However, I, and other philosophers, think (but there’s more!). For the philosopher, the act of philosophizing is not a mere intellectual exercise that could exist solely in consciousness. To the contrary, philosophy is a procedure and inquiry to the self, a “discovery and self-liberation.” The intellectual and cognitive acts of philosophy are participatory in their inquiry of the world. This would be very similar to the understanding that Socrates is the philosopher. He not only taught and philosophized, but he understood that the very act of philosophizing was an act of engagement with the world and it was a way of life.
9. The university administration putting philosophy in the periphery
Philosophy departments aren’t typically the big money-makers at university–typically. However, the university system needs to understand that the philosophy faculty, the philosophy students, and the discipline of philosophy in general is an investment rather than a moneymaker. I’ve seen firsthand that a university can divest in the philosophy department. Academia, the provost, the administrators, et al, need to view philosophy as the foundation by which a university is built and sustained.
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August 13th, 2014
I recently presented at the Tyndale Fellowship Conference in Cambridge in July. Whilst in attendance I listened to a paper by Max Baker-Hytch on this issue of cultural contingency of religion (or God being a “cultural chauvinist”) from a Reformed Epistemologist perspective. The paper is titled “Religious diversity and epistemic luck” by Max Baker-Hytch (PhD Philosophy, Oxford) and was published in the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
This episode of Eavesdropping is the audio recording from his presentation in Cambridge.
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May 12th, 2014
I would consider my epistemic position to be a moderate evidentialist. (This is just a brief outline). There is a sense of deontology to it in that one ought to base their beliefs corresponding to the evidence; however, there is a sense in which one may hold a belief without sufficient evidence and still be rational. The source of truth is the objective prime reality and our knowledge should correspond to the truth of reality. My epistemology yields my theology in the sense of scientific theology. What I know about reality is what I know about God.
Excursus: One thing I’ve noticed about being an evidentialist is that we all have desires and wants and wills. The problem [or psychological down side] with this is that sometimes I want X to be true but I find out that X is not true or that the probability or likelihood of X is stronger in favor of ~X. I don’t think this is a problem for evidentialism as a system.
Cont.: I’ve had this several times in my pursuit for truth. If I had to be as succinct as possible about why I’m an evidentialist it’s because the truth leaves a trail. That trail could be empirical, intuition [a priori knowledge as well], and other forms. Also, theologically, God desires us to pursue truth… if we cannot draw valid and sound conclusions from the data before us then we live in an intrinsically irrational world, incapable of being known. Likewise, evidentialism is self-affirming. The evidence for evidentialism is likely to be a methodology that leads to the truth. It is akin to coherentism (See this paper).
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