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You are only a Christian because of your birthplace!

Gee, where have we heard that before? Saints and skeptics answer here.

Korsgaard: Two Value Distinctions

The decision to return to graduate school has paid another dividend. A graduate student at the University of Colorado, Zak Kopeikin, pointed me to "Two Distinctions in Goodness" by Christine Korsgaard. This article identifies the same...Show More Summary

West on the American Founding (1): The State of Nature and the Evolution of Religion

At the next convention of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco (August 31-September 3), I will be on a panel on Thomas West's new book--The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom. Show More Summary

The is part of a paper I am writing to extend the debate with David Kyle Johnson

The debate appears in Gregory Bassham ed. C. S. Lewis's Christian Apologetics: Pro andCon. (Brill Rodopi, 2015). Now I think it important here to point out one very important area of disagreement between myself and Johnson. Johnson firmly...Show More Summary

What the argument from reason criticizes

The viewpoints that the argument from reason criticizes are variously called naturalism, materialism, and physicalism. The idea is that nature, or matter, or physics, is all there is. Behind all of this is the attempt to exclude the supernatural, such entities as God, angels, or the soul. Show More Summary

Belief without evidence is crucial for knowledge

Here. The key quote is from Swinburne: n the introduction of his book The Evolution of the Soul, Philosopher Richard Swinburne lays out some key principles we all use in our reasoning. The first is the Principle of Credulity. Swinburne...Show More Summary

Action Guidingness: Virtue Theory vs. Desirism

Rosalind Hursthouse defines a "right action" as: P.r. An action is right iff it is what a virtuous agent would characteristically (i.e. acting in character) do in the circumstances. Rosalind Hursthouse. On Virtue Ethics (Kindle Locations 355-356). Show More Summary

Believing in God for pragmatic reasons

What would you say to people, for example, who say that if there is no life beyond this one, there is really no hope for human existence, and it is vain to continue. In answering this question, it is important to realize that many of...Show More Summary

A Test for Intrinsic Value

A recent email exchange with a fellow graduate student has caused me to look at the idea of "intrinsic value". This graduate student presented an argument concerning G.E. Moore's test for intrinsic value. In response to this, I asked...Show More Summary

The thought that counts.

Neurocritic asks a great question here, neatly provoking that which he would have defined – thought. What is thought, and what are individual thoughts? He quotes reports that we have an estimated 70,000 thoughts a day and justly asks how on earth anyone knows. How can you count thoughts? Well, we like a challenge round […]

Richard Bauckham on Lewis's Fernseeds and Elephants

Summarized here. Bauckham is a leading biblical scholar, who sees a great deal of value in Lewis's criticism of his discipline in an essay I know as "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism."

Culpably Ignorant? In a deterministic universe?

I presented some arguments on Debunking Christianity a few weeks back and got identified as the Gullible Person of the day. Since I consider it a major step toward an unproductive discussion when the focus of discussions switch from subject matter to the intellectual viability of persons. Show More Summary

Ockham's Razor and Ockham's Lobotomy

Now, the principle of explanatory exclusion is very popular amongst atheists and naturalists. It is simply a form of Ockham’s Razor. Atheists are happy to point out that the electrical explanation of electricity makes Thor’s hammer unnecessary, and that the Blind Watchmaker of evolution replaces the divine watchmaker. Show More Summary

What to do when someone challenges your faith

Just say it's a matter of faith and by definition it can't be challenged? No.

Kim's Principle of Explanatory Exclusion

Jaegwon Kim has argued that in order for there to be a workable account of mental causation, reductionism has to be true. According to his principle of explanatory exclusion: An event cannot have two separate and complete explanations. Show More Summary

Punishment and Wrong Action

I had dinner with Jonathan Spelman yesterday. He's the graduate student whose PhD dissertation, Moral Obligation, Evidence, and Belief that I read about a month ago. Our conversation concerned points of disagreement about his paper. However, there was a point of agreement that seemed to surprise Dr. Show More Summary

Against Usury

This is completely off-topic, and a much more substantial piece than my usual posts. However, this discussion at Aeon prompted me to put forward some thoughts on similar issues which I wrote a while go.  I hope this is interesting, but in any case normal service will resume in a couple of days… Debt problems beset […]

Anscombe's commentary on her exchange with Lewis

In 1948, Elizabeth Anscombe, then a student of Wittgenstein and a research fellow at Oxford, publicly challenged C. S. Lewis’s central argument against naturalism. In response to her criticisms, Lewis rewrote the relevant chapter of his book Miracles. Show More Summary

Laplace's demon and Godel's Theorem

I think we need to pause for a moment and reflect upon what mechanistic means here. Consider what happens as I discover, at the foot of a mountain, that I am about to be caught in an avalanche. Rocks are falling down, and to avoid being hit, I run. Show More Summary

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