Gives two pared-down versions of the argument from design, which may prove more persuasive as to a Creator, discusses briefly the mathematics underpinning disbelief and nonbelief and its misuse and some proper uses, moves to why the full argument is needed anyway, viz., to demonstrate Providence, offers a theory as to how miracles (open and hidden) occur, viz. the replacement of any particular mathematics underlying a natural law (save logic) by its most appropriate nonstandard variant. -/- Note: This is an (...) extended abstract; there are no present plans to complete it. (shrink)
This article presents a theodicy based on a revision of the popular concept of God’s benevolence. If we follow the Protestant tradition by assuming that God is the exclusive source of virtue, the benevolence of God has to be radically different from the benevolence of a human being. A benevolent and almighty God who wishes to reward virtue and punish evil would design the world order similar to that in the allegory of the long spoons. Divine punishment is unforgiving, merciless, (...) individually non-retributive, holistically retributive, and quantitatively unpredictable. All sufferings are divine punishment. Several popular arguments from evil, including animal suffering, victims of evil deeds, natural disasters, and children’s diseases, can be resolved within this framework. (shrink)
All of us, including scientists, make judgments about what is true or false, probable or improbable. And in the process, we frequently appeal to concepts such as evidential support or explanation. Bayesian philosophers of science have given illuminating formal accounts of these concepts. This paper aims to follow in their footsteps, providing a novel formal account of various additional concepts: the likelihood-prior trade-off, successful accommodation of evidence, ad hocness, and, finally, consilience—sometimes also called “unification”. Using these accounts, I also provide (...) a new Bayesian analysis of how someone such as Charles Darwin hypothetically could have reasoned in favor of evolution over special creationism. Lastly, I explore how these accounts relate to other topics and accounts in philosophy, and I chart out some areas for further research. (shrink)
Given the laws of our universe, the initial conditions and cosmological constants had to be "fine-tuned" to result in life. Is this evidence for design? We argue that we should be uncertain whether an ideal agent would take it to be so—but that given such uncertainty, we should react to fine-tuning by boosting our confidence in design. The degree to which we should do so depends on our credences in controversial metaphysical issues.
Each author first presents his own side, and then they interact through two rounds of objections and replies. Pedagogical features include standard form arguments, section summaries, bolded key terms and principles, a glossary, and annotated reading lists.
David Hume was clearly a critic of religion. It is still debated, however, whether or not he was an atheist who denied the existence of God. According to some interpretations he was a theist of some kind and others claim he was an agnostic who simply suspends any belief on this issue. This essay argues that Hume’s theory of belief tells against any theistic interpretation – including the weaker, “attenuated” accounts. It then turns to the case for the view that (...) Hume’s criticisms of theism were limited to the “soft” skeptical (agnostic) aim of discrediting theist arguments, and shows that he is committed to a “harder” skeptical view that denies the theist hypothesis (in all its forms). Hume’s atheistic commitments are, the paper concludes, entirely consistent with his mitigated skeptical principles. (shrink)
Recent authors, emphasizing Newman’s distaste for natural theology—especially William Paley’s design argument—have urged us to follow Newman’s lead and reject design arguments. But I argue that Newman’s own argument for God’s existence (his argument from conscience) fails without a supplementary design argument or similar reason to think our faculties are truth-oriented. In other words, Newman appears to need the kind of argument he explicitly rejects. Finding Newman’s rejection of natural theology to stem primarily from factors other than worries about cogency, (...) however, I further argue that there is little reason not to pursue design arguments in order to save the argument from conscience. (shrink)
Recently, Del Ratzsch proposed a new version of the design argument. He argues that belief in a designer is often formed non-inferentially, much like perceptual beliefs, rather than formed by explicit reasoning. Ratzsch traces his argument back to Thomas Reid (1710-1796) who argues that beliefs formed in this way are also justified. In this paper, I investigate whether design beliefs that are formed in this way can be regarded as knowledge. For this purpose, I look closer to recent scientific study (...) of how design beliefs are formed. I argue that the science strongly suggest that people easily form false beliefs. As a result, design beliefs can only constitute knowledge if subjects have additional reasons or evidence for design. (shrink)
This paper deals with two different problems in which infinity plays a central role. I first respond to a claim that infinity renders counting knowledge-level beliefs an infeasible approach to measuring and comparing how much we know. There are two methods of comparing sizes of infinite sets, using the one-to-one correspondence principle or the subset principle, and I argue that we should use the subset principle for measuring knowledge. I then turn to the normalizability and coarse tuning objections to fine-tuning (...) arguments for the existence of God or a multiverse. These objections center on the difficulty of talking about the epistemic probability of a physical constant falling within a finite life-permitting range when the possible range of that constant is infinite. Applying the lessons learned regarding infinity and the measurement of knowledge, I hope to blunt much of the force of these objections to fine-tuning arguments. (shrink)
I intend to dismantle a piece of historiographic mythology created by self-styled ‘Revisionists’ (Hill, Alvey, Oslington, etc.). According to the myth, Adam Smith endorsed several of the traditional proofs of God’s existence; he believed that the order existing in the world is a morally good order implemented by Divine Providence; he believed that evil in the world is part of an all-encompassing Divine Plan; and that the ‘invisible hand’ is the hand of the Christian God who leads the rich to (...) employ their wealth for the greater benefit of the greatest number. I argue instead that there is a remarkable analogy between Smith’s and Kant’s theory of religion. Smith’s philosophy is a third way between Rationalism and Phyrronism, arguing that doctrines confirmed by reason in every field, from natural science to theology, are nothing more than combinations of ideas agreeable to the imagination; if we try, on the basis of both Smithian texts and their context and co-text, to reconstruct his lectures on natural theology, all kind of evidence converge in indicating that he reduced proofs of God´s existence to ‘inventions of the imagination’ and argued that philosophical theism is not different in status from primitive belief in invisible beings, or that it is as unwarranted as any system is, and besides that it generates a moral conundrum; he argued also that teleological explanations are no more and no less imaginary than those based on efficient causes, that the teleological order we may imagine in the world is not too bad from a ‘consequentialist’ point of view, and yet it is far below any moral standard; I argued that this is by no means a proof of Smith’s ‘irreligion’ and also that no convincing proof of any turn from religion to irreligion on his part has been provided so far, and finally that the two viable options he left open were either dismal unbelief or Theism on a moral basis. I defend this third way by proving that what Smith’s lost lectures on natural religion said can be reconstruct with some plausibility and what they did not say with absolute certainty; I argue that he developed a sharp criticism of natural theology, that he argued that at the root of religion there are a number of principles of the mind that make religious belief a ‘natural belief’; I do so by reconstructing, first, the context of the missing lectures (sect. 2); then the contents of their first part, considering the proofs of God’s existence and his attributes (sects 3-4); the ‘principles of the mind’ lying at the root of polytheism (sect. 5), of philosophical monotheism (par. 6), and of pure and rational religion (par.7); I contend, then, that his vindication of toleration is consistent with ‘pure and rational religion’ (par. 8) and that attempts to prove a phantom conversion to ‘natural religion’ or ‘irreligion’ result from misreading (par.9). My conclusions are the following: i) Adam Smith claimed that any natural theology is impossible; ii) There is in fact some kind of order in the world, and it proves useful to a point in allowing for humankind’s survival, but it doesn’t meet any minimal moral criterion; iii) the world is not teleologically ordered; we may indeed imagine such order for mental economy, but the world abounds in misery and depravity; iv) consequences of human wickedness and insanity do, happily enough, deviate from intended outcomes; we may feign invisible mechanisms at work behind, but to mistake them for a hidden mechanism is as childish as the primitive’s belief in ‘invisible beings’. v) there are indeed themes from theological doctrines in Smithian economic theory, but they not the kind of rational theology ‘discovered’ by the ‘New View’; they are instead Augustinian and Jansenist themes. vi) Smith’s theological doctrines did – as suggested by Waterman – have a bearing on his economic theory not by ‘doctrinal dependence’ but – as suggested by Harrison – in the more modest role of source of blueprints for economic explanation. (shrink)
According to the premises of the fine-tuning argument, most nomologically possible universes lack intelligent life; and the fact that ours has intelligent life is best explained by supposing it was created. However, if our universe was created, then the creator chose the laws of nature, and hence chose in favor of lifeless universes. In other words, the fine-tuning argument shows that God prefers universes without intelligent life; and the fact that our universe has intelligent life provides no new evidence for (...) God's existence. (shrink)
Scientific knowledge is not merely a matter of reconciling theories and laws with data and observations. Science presupposes a number of metatheoretic shaping principles in order to judge good methods and theories from bad. Some of these principles are metaphysical (e.g., the uniformity of nature) and some are methodological (e.g., the need for repeatable experiments). While many shaping principles have endured since the scientific revolution, others have changed in response to conceptual pressures both from within science and without. Many of (...) them have theistic roots. For example, the notion that nature conforms to mathematical laws flows directly from the early modern presupposition that there is a divine Lawgiver. This interplay between theism and shaping principles is often unappreciated in discussions about the relation between science and religion. Today, of course, naturalists reject the influence of theism and prefer to do science on their terms. But as Robert Koons and Alvin Plantinga have argued, this is more difficult than is typically assumed. In particular, they argue, metaphysical naturalism is in conflict with several metatheoretic shaping principles, especially explanatory virtues such as simplicity and with scientific realism more broadly. These arguments will be discussed as well as possible responses. In the end, theism is able to provide justification for the philosophical foundations of science that naturalism cannot. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose that, in addition to the multiverse hypothesis, which is commonly taken to be an alternative explanation for fine-tuning, other than the design hypothesis, the simulation hypothesis is another explanation for fine-tuning. I then argue that the simulation hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘designer’ and ‘supernatural designer of immense power and knowledge’ in much the same way that the multiverse hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘fine-tuning’ and ‘fine-tuner’ (or ‘designer’). If this is (...) correct, then the fine-tuning argument is a weak argument for the existence of God. (shrink)
[from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De (...) Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitive science of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition. -/- De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality. (shrink)
Pope Francis takes the Big Bang as supplying empirical evidence for God’s existence, going so far as to credit God’s will as the force behind natural selection. So if natural selection is the emanation of divine will, then so too is what Richard Dawkins calls the “selfish gene” underlying it. The trouble is that the natural forces of self-interest may win out over the better angels of our nature, spelling disaster for the human species—and the planet sustaining it. For the (...) drive of individual self-interest is the main fuel of capitalism, which has become the dominant global economic paradigm. And this unbridled self-interest is arguably most responsible for widespread environmental degradation. Therefore, if humanity should ultimately expire as a direct result of its evolutionary adaptations, it won’t exactly be a ringing endorsement of the architect of life, the universe, and everything. (shrink)
-/- Some phenomena within nature exhibit such exquisiteness of structure, function or interconnectedness that many people have found it natural—if not inescapable—to see a deliberative and directive mind behind those phenomena. The mind in question, being prior to nature itself, is typically taken to be supernatural. Philosophically inclined thinkers have both historically and at present labored to shape the relevant intuition into a more formal, logically rigorous inference. The resultant theistic arguments, in their various logical forms, share a focus on (...) plan, purpose, intention and design, and are thus classified as teleological arguments (or, frequently, as arguments from or to design). -/- Although enjoying some prominent defenders over the centuries, such arguments have also attracted serious criticisms from a number of major historical and contemporary thinkers. Both critics and advocates are found not only among philosophers, but come from scientific and other disciplines as well. In the following discussion, major variant forms of teleological arguments will be distinguished and explored, traditional philosophical and other criticisms will be discussed, and the most prominent contemporary turns (cosmic fine tuning arguments, many-worlds theories, and the present Intelligent Design debate) will be tracked. Discussion will conclude with a brief look at one historically important non-inferential approach to the issue. (shrink)
Natural theology is the branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to gain knowledge of God through non-revealed sources. In a narrower sense, natural theology is the discipline that presents rational arguments for the existence of God. Given that these arguments rarely directly persuade those who are not convinced by their conclusions, why do they enjoy an enduring appeal? This article examines two reasons for the continuing popularity of natural theological arguments: (i) they appeal to intuitions that humans robustly hold (...) and that emerge early in cognitive development; (ii) they serve an argumentative function by presenting particular religious views as live options. I conclude with observations on the role of natural theology in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The history of design arguments stretches back to before Aquinas, who claimed that things which lack intelligence nevertheless act for an end to achieve the best result. Although science has advanced to discredit this claim, it remains true that many biological systems display remarkable adaptations of means to ends. Versions of design arguments have persisted over the centuries and have culminated in theories that propose an intelligent designer of the universe. This volume is the only comprehensive survey of 2,000 years (...) of debate, drawing on both historical and modern literature to identify, clarify and assess critically the many forms of design argument for the existence of God. It provides a neutral, informative account of the topic from antiquity to Darwin, and includes concise primers on probability and cosmology. It will be of great value to upper-level undergraduates and graduates in philosophy of religion, theology, and philosophy of science. (shrink)
One of the most commonly-raised objections to the design argument is the so-called “who designed the designer?” objection, which charges that any designer invoked to explain complexity in the universe will feature complexity of its own, and thus require explanation in terms of design. There are two distinct versions of this objection in the contemporary literature, with it being couched in terms of: (1) Complexity of designer: a designer exhibits complexity, which calls for explanation in terms of design; (2) Complexity (...) of ideas: a designer’s ideas exhibit complexity, which calls for explanation in terms of design. To each of these versions of the objection there corresponds various responses from proponents of design. These proponents adopt a very particular strategy when crafting their responses: they argue that the objection can be neutralised simply by appealing to one or more of God’s attributes. In this paper I argue that this strategy is inapt, and unable to yield a successful response to either version of the objection. I also argue that a more promising way of tackling the objections is to identify their own peculiar weaknesses, for once these are exposed the objections cease to be a credible threat to the design hypothesis. (shrink)
The existence of natural laws, whether deterministic or indeterministic, and whether exceptionless or ceteris paribus, seems puzzling because it implies that mindless bits of matter behave in a consistent and co-ordinated way. I explain this puzzle by showing that a number of attempted solutions fail. The puzzle could be resolved if it were assumed that natural laws are a manifestation of God’s activity. This argument from natural law to God’s existence differs from its traditional counterparts in that, whereas the latter (...) seek to explain the fact of natural laws, the former seeks to explain their possibility. The customary objections to the traditional arguments cannot be successfully adapted to counter this new argument, with one exception which has only limited effect. I rebut four claims that the theistic solution to the puzzle about natural laws is paradoxical, though I concede that one of these claims has merit. I consider four objections to the new argument but find three of them more or less unsatisfactory. The fourth, if successful, would undermine our claims to know the truth about the world. (shrink)
My paper moves from Kant's taxonomy for the arguments for the existence of God. After providing a brief survey of Kant's account, I claim that contemporary arguments from design fit Kant's characterization of the physico-theological argument. Then, in the second section, I deal with the logical frame of the argument from design. In the third section I introduce Berkeley's divine language argument (DLA), in order to demonstrate that DLA is an argument from design. Consequently, in the fourth section, I give (...) a refutation of Hooker's and Kline's reading of DLA. Finally, in the last section, I take Berkeley's DLA as a paradigmatic case of the argument from design, showing a fundamental difficulty the argument endorses. (shrink)
Gottesbeweise gehören zu den großen Themen der abendländischen Philosophie. Im 20. Jahrhundert sind sie mit Hilfe der modernen Logik neu formuliert worden und auch in der analytischen Philosophie werden Gottesbeweise seit Jahrzehnten kontrovers diskutiert. Offenkundig ist die Frage nach der Existenz Gottes im nachmetaphysischen Zeitalter aktueller denn je. Der Band versammelt die großen Gottesbeweise des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit ebenso wie die klassischen Einwände von Hume und Kant. Die sprachanalytische Debatte wird ausführlich dokumentiert und ein eigener Teil ist Kurt Gödel (...) gewidmet, dessen ontologischer Beweis bis heute nicht stichhaltig widerlegt worden ist. Umfassende einleitende Essays führen in die Problematik der Gottesbeweise ein und bieten gut verständliche Rekonstruktionen der jeweiligen Beweisversuche. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga argues by counterexample that no naturalistic account of functions is possible--God is then the only source for natural functions. This paper replies to Plantinga's examples and arguments. Plantinga misunderstands naturalistic accounts. Plantinga's mistakes flow from his assimilation of functional notions in general to functions from intentional design in particular.
Alexander of Aphrodisias understood the Aristotle´s Unmoved Mover as efficient cause only to the extent that it is the final cause of heaven, which by moving strives to imitate the divine rest. Aquinas seems to agree with him. However his interpretation is original and philosophically more satisfactory: God is the efficient cause of the world, not only as creator, but also as it´s ruler. In this way God is also the final cause.
The argument from design stands as one of the most intuitively compelling arguments for the existence of a divine Creator. Yet, for many scientists and philosophers, Hume's critique and Darwin's theory of natural selection have definitely undermined the idea that we can draw any analogy from design in artifacts to design in nature. Here, we examine empirical studies from developmental and experimental psychology to investigate the cognitive basis of the design argument. From this it becomes clear that humans spontaneously discern (...) purpose in nature. When constructed theologically and philosophically correctly, the design argument is not presented as conclusive evidence for God's existence but rather as an abductive, probabilistic argument. We examine the cognitive basis of probabilistic judgments in relationship to natural theology. Placing emphasis on how people assess improbable events, we clarify the intuitive appeal of Paley's watch analogy. We conclude that the reason why some scientists find the design argument compelling and others do not lies not in any intrinsic differences in assessing design in nature but rather in the prior probability they place on complexity being produced by chance events or by a Creator. This difference provides atheists and theists with a rational basis for disagreement. (shrink)
This paper's aim is threefold. First, I wish to show that there is an analogy in section nine that arises out of the interaction of the interlocutors; this analogy is, or has, a certain comic adequatic to the traditional arguments about proofs for the existence of God. Second, Philo's seemingly inconsequential example of the strange necessity of products of 9 in section nine is a perfected analogy of the broken arguments actually given in that section, destroying Philo's earlier arguments. Finally, (...) I raise the question of the designer's intent in creating such a humourous piece. (shrink)
This paper is an evaluation of C. S. Peirce’s late essay “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God”, based on the two logical values that he calls “productiveness” and “security.” After reviewing the unique logical form of “abduction” and noting that it is a formal fallacy—and so enjoys less “security” than deduction or induction—I turn to the extraordinary case of abduction that is found in “A Neglected Argument.” I argue that the productiveness of the Neglected Argument is found in (...) its ability to instigate practical results. The security of the Neglected Argument, on the other hand, is rooted in an activity Peirce calls “musement,” a kind of rational intuition. Moreover, I suggest that Peirce’s notion of “musement,” which has remained something of a mystery in Peirce studies, arose from hisearly reading of Friedrich von Schiller’s aesthetics. (shrink)
The focus of this research paper concerns the dialogue between science and theology. The current state of the dialogue involves a wide range of points of intersection that both pose and provoke questions concerning the very viability and coherence of such a dialogue. In particular, this paper examines the physicist/theologian, Robert John Russell's 'Creative Mutual Interaction' (CMI). The significance of the CMI diagram is that it names the basic interactions between science and theology and theology and science. These interactions are (...) presented as pathways, 8 in all, 5 of which flow from science to theology and 3 of which flow from theology to science. These pathways integrate a number of philosophical assumptions. These pathways can make scientists, theologians, and philosophers more aware of the philosophical assumptions at work between both theology and science. Russell, in his CMI, provides 8 paths to this interaction; 5 pathways where science informs theology and 3 by which theology informs science. In this thesis, I examine a test case of Russell's where he interacts the concepts of cosmology, eschatology, and bodily resurrection as it applies to Jesus Christ in New Testament Studies. (shrink)
Quantum field theory is generally accepted by the modern scientific community as the most accurate paradigm for understanding the mystery of reality. This theory revolutionizes what we know as ’matter’ and how material things are connected. But is also confirms an ancient philosophical and ethical truth: the unfathomable mystery of being. Quantum field theory demonstrates that beings be in such a manner that their composite reality evades human cognition. Quantum field theory forces a rethinking of what we mean by ’world’, (...) ’beings’, ’existence’, and ’God’, and our assumptions about order, God, responsibility and systems of ethics. (shrink)
In this book, Graham Oppy examines arguments for and against the existence of God. He shows that none of these arguments is powerful enough to change the minds of reasonable participants in debates on the question of the existence of God. His conclusion is supported by detailed analyses of the arguments as well as by the development of a theory about the purpose of arguments and the criteria that should be used in judging whether or not arguments are successful. Oppy (...) discusses the work of a wide array of philosophers, including Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Kant, Hume and, more recently, Plantinga, Dembski, White, Dawkins, Bergman, Gale and Pruss. (shrink)
William Paley’s teleological argument for the existence of God is no longer convincing, because we can explain apparent design using entirely natural, observable mechanisms. While his argument does not provide compelling evidence of God’s existence, it gives us insight into why we want to believe in God.
In his ’Logic and Theism’ Sobel claims that the allocation of prior probabilities to theories is a purely subjective matter. I claim that there are objective criteria for determining prior probabilities of theories (dependent on their simplicity and scope); and if there were not, science would be a totally irrational activity. I reject Sobel’s main criticism of my own cumulative argument for the existence of God that I argue illegitimately from each datum raising the probability of theism to the conjunction (...) of all data raising that probability, since I explicitly adopted a procedure which does not commit that fallacy. (shrink)
This paper first outlines the main ideas of British natural theology, and shows the perennial value some of them have kept. It then outlines ways of searching for connections between God and nature, seeking traces of intelligence, first in the context of the setting of the modern ontology of the laws of nature, and then in the context of the design argument. It contrasts the positions of Hume and Paley. A presentation of recent "intelligent design" proposals is then offered, from (...) the perspective of their continuing that tradition of argumentation. They are contrasted with a Millian acount of their leaving the problem of evil unanswered. Behe's concept of irreducible complexity is presented in greater details, followed by Dembski's attempt to turn it into a logically valid mode of inference. Objections stemming from philosophers of science are lastly considered. The nature of life's strategies is in the end found to escape both attempts to have it on one's side. (shrink)
This paper analyzes Berkeley's arguments for the existence of God in the Principles of Human Knowledge, Three Dialogues, and Alciphron. Where most scholarship has interpreted Berkeley as offering three quite distinct attempted proofs of God's existence, I argue that these are all variations on the strategy of inference to the best explanation. I also consider how this reading of Berkeley connects his conception of God to his views about causation and explanation.
The cosmological and teleological argument both start with some contingent feature of the actual world and argue that the best or only explanation of that feature is that it was produced by an intelligent and powerful supernatural being. The cosmological argument starts with a general feature, such as the existence of contingent being or the presence of motion and uses some version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason to conclude that this feature must have an explanation. The debate then focuses (...) on two points: first, whether the PSR in question is true, and second, whether the explanation must involve God or at least some God-like being. The teleological argument begins with a general feature of the cosmos judged to have value, such as the existence of intelligent life or the presence of order in the universe, and argues, usually inductively but sometimes deductively, that this feature is to be explained by the agency of a powerful supernatural being. Here, the debate tends to focus on whether there are alternate naturalistic explanations, such as Darwinian evolution. (shrink)
[First published in Italian as: “L’irreligione e lo spettatore imparziale nel sistema morale di Adam Smith”, in Rivista di Filosofia 3 (3):375-403 (2005). -/- Translated by E. Lecaldano.] -/- A number of commentators on Smith’s philosophy have observed that the relationship between his moral theory and his theological beliefs is “exceedingly difficult to unravel.” The available evidence, as generally presented, suggests that although Smith was not entirely orthodox by contemporary standards, he has no obvious or significant irreligious commitments or orientation. (...) Contrary to this view of things, this essay argues that behind the veneer of orthodoxy that covers Smith’s discussion in The Theory of the Moral Sentiments there are significant irreligious themes present in his work. -/- . (shrink)
In a recent article, Graham Oppy offers a lucid and intriguing examination of William Paley's design argument. Oppy sets two goals for his article. First, he sets out to challenge the "almost universal assumption" that Paley's argument is inductive by revealing it actually to be a deductive argument. Second, he attempts to expose Paley's argument as manifestly poor when interpreted in this way. I will argue that Oppy is unsuccessful in accomplishing his first goal, leaving his second goal quite irrelevant. (...) Contrary to Oppy's interpretation, Paley's argument is best interpreted as an inference to the best explanation. (shrink)
The aim of my paper is to highlight that for Peirce the reality of God makes sense of the whole scientific enterprise. The belief in God is a natural product of abduction, of the "rational instinct" or educated guess of the scientist or the layman, and also the abduction of God may be understood as a "proof" of pragmatism. Moreover, I want to suggest that for Peirce scientific activity is a genuine religious enterprise, perhaps even the religious activity par excellence, (...) and that to divorce religion from science is antithetical to both the scientific spirit and the real Peirce. Understanding the real Peirce requires to deal with his religious concerns, which are increasingly recognized as being perhaps as philosophically important as his scientific concerns. Since a key notion in this project is the idea of "il lume naturale" that Peirce borrowed from Galileo, I want also to pay attention to that expression which during years I have been following through Peirce's papers and books. -/- In order to try to explain some of this, my paper is arranged into four brief sections after this already long introduction: 1) God and scientific inquiry; 2) The belief in God as a product of abduction; 3) Galileo and Peirce: Il lume naturale; and by way of conclusion 4) Some remarks on the religious framework of Peirce's approach. (shrink)
I analyze different accounts of laws of nature: the Hume-Lewis regularity account, the Armstrong-Tooley relations between universals account, and my preferred account in terms of the powers and liabilities of individual substances. On any account it is most unlikely a priori that a universe would be governed by simple laws of nature. But if there is a God, it is quite probable that he will choose to create free agents of limited power, and to put them in a universe governed (...) by simple laws of nature, in order that their purposes may have their intended effects. Hence, the operation of simple laws of nature confirms the existence of God. (shrink)