Volume 4 / Number 4 / Winter 2012
David S. ODERBERG
SURVIVALISM, CORRUPTIONISM, AND MEREOLOGY
Abstract. Corruptionism is the view that following physical death, the human being ceases to exist (until Resurrection) but their soul persists in the afterlife. Survivalism holds that both the human being and their soul persist in the afterlife, as distinct entities, with the soul constituting the human. Each position has its defenders, most of whom appeal both to metaphysical considerations and to the authority of St Thomas Aquinas. Corruptionists claim that survivalism violates a basic principle of any plausible mereology, while survivalists tend to reject the principle, though without as much detail as one would like. In this paper I examine both the key exegetical issues and the mereological question, arguing (i) that Aquinas cannot be shown to have supported the principle in question, and (ii) that the principle should be rejected on independent grounds. If correct, some key planks in support of survivalism are established, with others to await further examination.
ANSELM’S METAPHYSICS OF NONBEING
Abstract. In his eleventh century dialogue De Casu Diaboli, Anselm seeks to avoid the problem of evil for theodicy and explain the fall of Satan as attributable to Satan’s own self-creating wrongful will. It is something, as such, for which God as Satan’s divine Creator cannot be held causally or morally responsible. The distinctions on which Anselm relies presuppose an interesting metaphysics of nonbeing, and of the nonbeing of evil in particular as a privation of good, worthy of critical philosophical investigation in its own right. Anselm’s concept of nonbeing does not resolve the philosophical problem of evil implied by Satan’s fall from grace, but is shown perhaps more unexpectedly to enable Anselm’s proof for the inconceivable nonexistence of God as the greatest conceivable intended object of thought to avoid Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason objection to the general category of ‘ontological’ arguments.
Erik J. WIELENBERG
AN INCONSISTENCY IN CRAIG’S DEFENCE OF THE MORAL ARGUMENT
Abstract. I argue that William Craig’s defence of the moral argument is internally inconsistent. In the course of defending the moral argument, Craig criticizes non-theistic moral realism on the grounds that it posits the existence of certain logically necessary connections but fails to provide an adequate account of why such connections hold. Another component of Craig’s defence of the moral argument is an endorsement of a particular version of the divine command theory (DCT). Craig’s version of DCT posits certain logically necessary connections but Craig fails to provide an adequate account of why these connections hold. Thus, Craig’s critique of non-theistic moral realism is at odds with his DCT. Since the critique and DCT are both essential elements of his defence of the moral argument, that defence is internally inconsistent.
Andrei A. BUCKAREFF
OMNISCIENCE, THE INCARNATION, AND KNOWLEDGE DE SE
Abstract. A knowledge argument is offered that presents unique difficulties for Christians who wish to assert that God is essentially omniscient. The difficulties arise from the doctrine of the incarnation. Assuming that God the Son did not necessarily have to become incarnate, then God cannot necessarily have knowledge de se of the content of a non-divine mind. If this is right, then God’s epistemic powers are not fixed across possible worlds and God is not essentially omniscient. Some options for Christian theists are discussed, including rejecting traditional theism in favour of some version of pantheism or panentheism.
T. Ryan BYERLY
INFALLIBLE DIVINE FOREKNOWLEDGE CANNOT UNIQUELY THREATEN HUMAN FREEDOM, BUT ITS MECHANICS MIGHT
Abstract. It is not uncommon to think that the existence of exhaustive and infallible divine foreknowledge uniquely threatens the existence of human freedom. This paper shows that this cannot be so. For, to uniquely threaten human freedom, infallible divine foreknowledge would have to make an essential contribution to an explanation for why our actions are not up to us. And infallible divine foreknowledge cannot do this. There remains, however, an important question about the compatibility of freedom and foreknowledge. It is a question not about the existence of foreknowledge, but about its mechanics.
T. J. MAWSON
ON DETERMINING HOW IMPORTANT IT IS WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A GOD
Abstract. Can the issue of how important it is whether or not there is a God be decided prior to deciding whether or not there is a God? In this paper, I explore some difficulties that stand in the way of answering this question in the affirmative and some of the implications of these difficulties for that part of the Philosophy of Religion which concerns itself with assessing arguments for and against the existence of God, the implications for how its importance may best be defended within secular academe.
A THEISTIC, UNIVERSE-BASED, THEODICY OF HUMAN SUFFERING AND IMMORAL BEHAVIOUR
Abstract. In what follows I offer an explanation for the evils in our world that should be a live option for theists who accept middle knowledge. My explanation depends on the possibility of a Multiverse of radically different kinds of universes. Persons must pass through various universes, the sequence being chosen by God on an individual basis, until reaching God’s goal for them. Our universe is depicted as governed much by chance, and I give a justification, in light of my thesis, for why God would have people pass through a universe of just such a sort.
HEDENIUS’ SOTERIOLOGICAL ARGUMENT FROM EVIL
Abstract. In this paper I explicate and assess a logical argument from evil put forth by the Swedish analytic philosopher Ingemar Hedenius in his book Trooch vetande (Eng. Faith and Knowledge) (1949), by far the most famous and influential critique of Christianity in Swedish intellectual history. I seek to show that Hedenius’ argument is significantly different from, and indeed stronger than, the paradigmatic logical argument from evil in the analytic tradition, i.e. that of John Mackie (1955). Nevertheless, Hedenius’ argument is, I argue, ultimately unconvincing.
REDEFINING RELIGIOUS TRUTH AS A CHALLENGE FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Abstract. One of the most important features of contemporary Western societies is the rise of (religious) pluralism. Whereas (philosophical) theism used to serve as a common ground to discuss the truth-claims of religion, this approach seems to have lost much of its plausibility. What I want to argue in this article is that philosophy of religion as a critical intellectual activity still cannot do without the notion of religious truth, but also that it needs to redefine this truth in an existential way, i.e. by interpreting religions as concrete ways of life. In this paper I develop this idea of religious truth by interpreting religions as traditions of wisdom, being a kind of truth that is able to orientate humans’ lives without being swayed by the issues of the day. In order to substantiate my interpretation I discuss three fundamental aspects of wisdom, viz. the fact that it rests on a broadened idea of reason, the way in which it discovers the universal in the particular, and the insight that all life-orientations are based on a principle that is subjectively adequate, but objectively inadequate (Kant).
SCIENCE, RELIGION AND COMMON SENSE
Abstract. Susan Haack has recently attempted to discredit religion by showing that science is an extended and enhanced version of common sense while religion is not. I argue that Haack’s account is misguided not because science is not an extended version of common sense, as she says. It is misguided because she assumes a very restricted, and thus inadequate, account of common sense. After reviewing several more realistic models of common sense, I conclude that common sense is rich enough to allow various kinds of extensions. Just as science can be correctly seen as an enhanced version of common sense, so also religion.
IN QUEST OF AUTHENTIC DIVINITY: CRITICAL NOTICE OF MARK JOHNSTON’S ‘SAVING GOD: RELIGION AFTER IDOLATRY’
Abstract. Johnston describes Saving God, in a preface, as ‘the expression of a certain sensibility’ that ‘contains some philosophy but is not a work of philosophy’ (p. xi). It is true that the main negative thesis of Saving God is the rejection of ‘supernaturalism’, with its conception of God as a personal agent who creates the Universe ex nihilo and intervenes in its history to salvific purpose. And it is also true that, for Johnston, ‘the crux of supernaturalist belief ’ is ‘belief in life after death’. For his critique of this belief, and thus what he himself counts as his ‘philosophical defence of the spiritual irrelevance of supernaturalism’ (p. xi), Johnston directs the reader to his subsequent book, Surviving Death.1 It by no means follows, however, that Saving God is not a work of philosophy. I found reading Saving God an exhilarating experience and I refuse to agree that such an unputdownable book is not an authentic work of philosophy! In this article, I hope to show, to the contrary, that Saving God should be taken seriously as a significant original contribution to the Philosophy of Religion, even though it may also serve as its author’s spiritual manifesto.