January 4th, 2013
I consider myself a moderate evidentialist when it comes to epistemology. 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.
Everything that we know is intuitive or experiential. Intuition will be discussed later but the knowledge gained is from sensory apparatus’. The characters read on paper are only the result of photons reflecting off of the paper and the photoreceptors in the eye receiving that information. All knowledge cannot be deemed sensory only since it seems feasible that a person with a sensory handicap or no functioning sensory apparatus’ may still be justified in believing in his own existence by intuition (as well as moral truths). The task of justification, or determining the truth of p, must meet the criteria of an inference to the best explanation (IBE).
Consider the following definition for justification:
S is justified in believing p = S possesses sufficient evidence for p to be true.
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August 7th, 2012
The ethical realist objector [to DCT] claims that it is possible for God to command rape in some possible world, or in an impossible world close to the actual world, making it obligatory for all moral agents, whereas rape is still morally bad in that same world, thus, making DCT arbitrary and is defeated.
The nonstandard semantics objection to the arbitrariness of DCT suggests that there is an impossible world, however close to the actual world, in which God commands rape or the torture of innocent children. Approaching the objection from an explanandum-driven consideration, would a contingent command be an adequate objection?
Consider the following contingencies of a command:
(CONTCOM) ∀ϕ[(◊~Cgϕ) ∙ (◊Cgϕ)]
(CONTCOMʹ) ∀ϕ[(◊~Cg~ϕ) ∙ (◊Cg~ϕ)]
The objector to divine command theory assumes that ϕ can be any command and could thus look like:
(CONTCOM″) ∀ϕ[(◊~Cgϕ ∙ ◊~Cg~ϕ) ∙ (◊Cgϕ ∙ ◊Cg~ϕ)]
(CONTCOM‴) ∀ρ[(◊~Cgρ ∙ ◊~Cg~ρ) ∙ (◊Cgρ ∙ ◊Cg~ρ)]
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August 7th, 2012
The proponent of divine command theory (DCT) claims that whatever God commands to any moral agent becomes a moral obligation. Formulations of the commands are given symbolic form by David Efird as:
(RIGHT) ∀ϕ☐(Rϕ ≣ Cgϕ)
(WRONG) ∀ϕ☐(Wϕ ≣ Cg~ϕ)
(PERMITTED 1) ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ)
(PERMITTED 2) [(∃ϕ☐Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐Cg~ϕ)] ∙ [(∃ϕ☐~Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐~Cg~ϕ)]
The arbitrariness objection claims that [for example] if God commanded moral agents to rape then the action of committing rape would be obligatory to all moral agents. The objector assumes an inference in the form of the argument stating that ∀ϕ☐(Rϕ ≣ Cgϕ) may also be applicable in the sense that ϕ could refer to rape (ρ).
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July 11th, 2012
Reblogged from Alexander Pruss.
A stranger is drowning. You know nothing about the stranger other than that the stranger is drowning. You can press a button, and the stranger will be saved, at no cost to yourself or anybody else. What should you do?
Of course you ought to press the button. That’s simply obvious.
But it wouldn’t be obvious if at least on average a human life weren’t good, weren’t worth living. If on average, a human life were bad, were not worth living, you would have to seriously worry about the likely bad future that you would be enabling by saving the stranger. It still might well be right to pull out the stranger, but it wouldn’t be obvious. And if on average a human life were neutral, it wouldn’t be obvious that it’s a duty.
So our judgment that obviously a random stranger should be saved commits us to judging that at least on average a human life is good (or at least will be good).
Now suppose we get exactly one of the following pieces of information:
- The stranger is a member of a downtrodden minority.
- The stranger is currently a hospital patient (and is drowning in the bathtub of the hospital room).
- The stranger’s mother did not want him or her to be conceived.
- The stranger is economically in the bottom 10% of society.
None of these pieces of information makes it less obvious that we should save the stranger’s life. This judgment, then, commits us to judging that on average the life of a member of a downtrodden minority, or of a hospital patient or of someone whose mother did not want him or her to be conceived, or of someone economically in the bottom decile is at least on average good.
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July 5th, 2012
Theologian: Rudolf Otto (1869 – 1937)
More on his theology: Otto was a leading theologian of religious expression–a revival of Kierkegaard. In 1917 Otto published his keynote work, Das Holige (The Idea of the Holy). The outcome of the book was a sociological study of human religion and marked the distinction between ethics and religion. The two cannot be equated. Theological liberals maintained the idea that we should do what we know we should do. The moral good may not be religious and the religious may not be the moral, which disagreed with the theological liberals). Religion, to Otto, has to do with the numinous, that is, the realm beyond the human, which both attracts us and terrifies us. This is what he called the mysterium tremendum. This is an unapproachable fear towards God. C.S. Lewis illustrates this fear in The Problem of Pain.
Suppose you were told that there was a tiger in the next room: you would know that you were in danger and would probably feel fear. But if you were told “There is a ghost in the next room,” and believed it, you would feel, indeed, what is often called fear, but of a different kind.
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June 22nd, 2012
There are primarily six passages in the Bible that concern the issue of homosexuality. In Leviticus 18.22 it says that it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as with a woman. In Lev. 20.13 the death penalty is prescribed in Israel for such an act, along with adultery, incest, and bestiality. In Gen. 19 Sodom is destroyed for their homosexuality and wickedness.
In I Cor. 6.9-10 Paul writes, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” The words in the list translated “men who practice homosexuality” refer in Greek literature to the passive and the active partners in male homosexual intercourse. In I Tim. 1.10 along with fornicators, slave traders, liars, and murderers as “contrary to the sound teaching of the Gospel.” In Rom. 1.24-28 Paul states,
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
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June 15th, 2012
W.K. Clifford summarized this deontic model of rationality when he stated, “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind… the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.” Clifford gives the scenario of a seafaring ship and the ship owner’s knowledge of the integrity of the ship. In Clifford’s alternated ending the ship owner is responsible or equally guilty for the shipwreck even though it never happened. The reason why he’s responsible is because he knew that that’s what could have happened.
The deontic aspect of belief and knowledge is not so much how one forms a belief but rather what that belief is. This ethic on pertains to what the belief is and how it measures to the evidence. The justificatory means is peripheral as long as the belief corresponds to reality. Initially, this seems an untenable position assuming that it may be possible to know the objective truth about all of reality. In order for one to be justified and to have knowledge without being at fault ethically the belief must be congruent to the evidence. This allows for reasonable accountability and correction of one’s beliefs and it permits the advancement of knowledge, to learn, and paradigm shifts.
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