July 7th, 2014
I recently returned from my journey to Cambridge University where I presented a paper titled “The Ontology of Many Worlds and Thomistic Modal Realism”. This paper is a continuation of research from this summer’s forthcoming Philosophia Christi publication “God and the Multiverse” I coauthored with Dave Beck.
The part of the paper that pertains particularly to the philosophy of science is also a part of doctoral research. There is another version of this paper that is more detailed though it excludes the initial theological/historical aspects. I included the theological preface for the presentation since it’s a continuation of “God and the Multiverse”. The current, more detailed technical paper has been submitted to a journal and is currently under review.
DOWNLOAD “The Ontology of Many Worlds and Thomistic Modal Realism”
I received excellent feedback from the attendees and I’m grateful for the critiques.
DOWNLOAD AND LISTEN TO THE PRESENTATION AUDIO DOWNLOAD THE CORRESPONDING POWERPOINT
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June 14th, 2012
See William Rowe, “The Problem of Evil,” in Philosophy of Religion (Belmont: CA, Wadsworth, 2007), 112-31.
Rowe makes a strong positive case for why atheism is true. He supposes that, as especially in the absence of other arguments, anyone who observes the amount of human and animal suffering in the world and the truth of premise 1 in the evidential argument (that there are probably pointless evils) then this person would be rationally justified in believing atheism to be true. He presents two basic forms of the argument: the logical and the evidential problems of evil. The logical problem of evil argues that the existence of God and the existence of evil are logically contradictory claims. However, these aren’t explicitly contradictory—they are implicit (i.e. a married bachelor is an implicit contradiction and a married non-married person is an explicit contradiction). Rowe recognizes that we must abandon the logical problem of evil because the contradiction has yet to be proved (though he states that just because it has yet to be demonstrated doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one).
The evidential problem is a probabilistic argument, which argues that given the apparent [pointless] evil it is more probable that God does not exist than if God does exist. He uses the example of a fawn suffering for no apparent reason. Given that God would prevent this from happening and the fact that it does happen then God doesn’t seem to exist. Rowe seems to favor this form of the problem of evil over the logical problem.
Each of the arguments is countered with theistic objections to the problem of evil such as the free will defense and other theodicies. Rowe gives fair attention and representation of the competing explanations. He concedes that there are certainly rational grounds for believing in theism and advocates a form of friendly agnosticism or atheism and discourages any unfriendly forms of agnosticism or atheism.
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June 11th, 2012
Wykstra argues contra ‘Calvinian’ epistemology, a la Alvin Plantinga, which suggests that belief in God is properly basic. Wykstra puts forth a case for evidentialism. His goal was to not refute Plantinga’s view but instead relocate the discussion so that evidentialism will appear as a viable option. With this option of evidentialism he doesn’t attempt to say that it’s necessarily absent from a Calvinian point of view but that Calvinians’ need to understand the role of evidence. It’s not that evidentialism is wrong or that the Calvinian can’t use evidentialism but it’s that Calvinians can have their claim of properly basic beliefs without completely dismissing the evidentialist position.
Logically prior to such inferential reasoning is intuition or basic beliefs. These beliefs may also be considered properly basic. The belief that this glass of water in front of me will quench my thirst if I drink it is not inferred back from previous experiences coupled with an application of a synthetic a priori principle of induction. Though this example is not how we form our beliefs psychologically or historically, it can be formed via instances of past experience and induction in the logical sense. This is how the properly basic beliefs are related to God’s existence.
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