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Benjamin W. McCraw [17]Benjamin McCraw [13]
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Benjamin McCraw
University Of South Carolina Upstate
  1. The Nature of Epistemic Trust.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):413-430.
    This paper offers an analysis of the nature of epistemic trust. With increased philosophical attention to social epistemology in general and testimony in particular, the role for an epistemic or intellectual version of trust has loomed large in recent debates. But, too often, epistemologists talk about trust without really providing a sustained examination of the concept. After some introductory comments, I begin by addressing various components key to trust simpliciter. In particular, I examine what we might think of when we (...)
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  2.  76
    Faith and Trust.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77 (2):141-158.
    This paper begins with the oft-repeated claim that having faith involves trust in God. Taking this platitude seriously requires at least two philosophical tasks. First, one must address the relevant notion of “trust” guiding the platitude. I offer a sketch of epistemic trust: arguing that epistemic trust involves several components: acceptance, communication, dependence, and confidence. The first duo concerns the epistemic element of epistemic trust and the second part delimit the fiducial aspect to epistemic trust. Second, one must also examine (...)
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  3.  53
    Wittgensteinian Blasphemy: What It's Like to be a Heretic.Benjamin McCraw - 2024 - Religious Studies 60:89-102.
    In this article, I explore a Wittgensteinian approach to blasphemy. While philosophy of religion tends to have very little to say about blasphemy, we can note two key, typically unchallenged, assumptions about it. First, there is the Assertion from Anywhere Assumption: whether one can successfully blaspheme is entirely independent of one’s religious views, commitments, or way of life. Second, there is the Act of Communication Assumption: blasphemy is essentially an act of assertion. I contend that a Wittgensteinian approach rejects both (...)
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  4.  38
    Thinking with Others: A Radically Externalist Internalism.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (3):351-371.
    This paper is ambitious: it begins with mixing externalism in philosophy of mind with internalism in epistemology, and it ends with instructive insights from social and feminist thought. In the first stage, I argue that one can consistently combine two theses that appear, at first glance, incompatible: cognitive externalism—the thesis that one’s mental states/processing can extend past one’s biological boundaries—and mentalism in epistemology—i.e., that epistemic justification supervenes on one’s mental states. This yields the perhaps startling or strange view that the (...)
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  5. Proper Epistemic Trust as a Responsibilist Virtue.Benjamin McCraw - 2019 - In Katherine Dormandy (ed.), Trust in Epistemology. New York, NY, USA: pp. 189-217.
    In this paper, I argue that epistemic trust is an intellectual virtue. First, I offer a brief analysis of what it means to place epistemic trust in someone involving several components: belief, communication, dependence, and confidence. I show this account of trust fits a major approach to virtue in the second section. Next, I argue that epistemic trust both contributes to the epistemic good life and that the paradigmatically rational or virtuous agent will include trust in her motivational structure. Considerations (...)
     
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  6.  7
    Social Epistemology and Epidemiology.Benjamin W. McCraw - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-16.
    Recent approaches to the social epistemology of belief formation have appealed to an epidemiological model, on which the mechanisms explaining how we form beliefs from our society or community along the lines of infectious disease. More specifically, Alvin Goldman (2001) proposes an etiology of (social) belief along the lines of an epistemological epidemiology. On this “contagion model,” beliefs are construed as diseases that infect people via some socio-epistemic community. This paper reconsiders Goldman’s epidemiological approach in terms of epistemic trust. By (...)
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  7.  53
    A (Different) Virtue Responsibilism: Epistemic Virtues Without Motivations.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (3):311-329.
    Debate rages in virtue epistemology between virtue reliabilists and responsibilists. Here, I develop and argue for a new kind of responsibilism that is more conciliar to reliabilism. First, I argue that competence-based virtue reliabilism cannot adequately ground epistemic credit. Then, with this problem in hand, I show how Aristotle’s virtue theory is motivated by analogous worries. Yet, incorporating too many details of Aristotelian moral theory leads to problems, notably the problem of unmotivated belief. As a result, I suggest a re-turn (...)
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  8. Virtue epistemology, testimony, and trust.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2014 - Logos and Episteme 5 (1):95-102.
    In this paper, I respond to an objection raised by Duncan Pritchard and Jesper Kallestrup against virtue epistemology. In particular, they argue that the virtue epistemologist must either deny that S knows that p only if S believes that p because of S’s virtuous operation or deny that intuitive cases of testimonial knowledge. Their dilemma has roots in the apparent ease by which we obtain testimonial knowledge and, thus, how the virtue epistemologist can explain such knowledge in a way that (...)
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  9.  20
    Duncan Pritchard on the Epistemic Value of Truth: Revision or Revolution?Benjamin W. McCraw - 2022 - Philosophia 51 (2):821-833.
    In this paper, I assess Duncan Pritchard’s defense of the “orthodox” view on epistemic normativity. On this view, termed “epistemic value T-monism” (EVTM), only true belief has final value. Pritchard discusses three influential objections to EVTM: the swamping problem, the goal of inquiry problem, and the trivial truths problem. I primarily focus on Pritchard’s defense of the trivial truths problem: truth cannot be the only final epistemic value because we value “trivial” truths less than “significant” truths. In response, Pritchard appeals (...)
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  10.  80
    Recent Objections to Perfect Knowledge and Classical Approaches to Omniscience.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2016 - Philosophy and Theology 28 (1):259-270.
    Patrick Grim and Einar Duenger Bohn have recently argued that there can be no perfectly knowing Being. In particular, they urge that the object of omniscience is logically absurd (Grim) or requires an impossible maximal point of all knowledge (Bohn). I argue that, given a more classical notion of omniscience found in Aquinas and Augustine, we can shift the focus of perfect knowledge from what that being must know to the mode of that being’s understanding. Since Grim and Bohn focus (...)
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  11.  51
    Philosophical Approaches to the Devil.Benjamin W. McCraw & Robert Arp (eds.) - 2015 - New York: Routledge.
    This collection brings together new papers addressing the philosophical challenges that the concept of a Devil presents, bringing philosophical rigor to treatments of the Devil. Contributors approach the idea of the Devil from a variety of philosophical traditions, methodologies, and styles, providing a comprehensive philosophical overview that contemplates the existence, nature, and purpose of the Devil. While some papers take a classical approach to the Devil, drawing on biblical exegesis, other contributors approach the topic of the Devil from epistemological, metaphysical, (...)
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  12.  64
    The Concept of Hell.Robert Arp & Benjamin McCraw (eds.) - 2015 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The Concept of Hell examines a wide range of topics, problems, and concepts of interest to philosophers, theologians, and anyone curious about religious thinking concerning damnation. Acting as a platform for philosophers from many different views and traditions, this book provides a myriad of approaches to thinking about Hell. From the nature of Hell to philosophical justifications of damnation, to the way in which Hell informs us about our relationships with each other, the discussions offer a tantalizing exploration of how (...)
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  13.  17
    Purgatory: Philosophical Dimensions.Kristof Vanhoutte & Benjamin W. McCraw (eds.) - 2017 - Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book examines the concept of Purgatory. However, in contradistinction to the many monographs and edited volumes published in the past 50 years devoted to historical, cultural, or theological treatments of Purgatory—especially in proportion to the voluminous output on Heaven and Hell—this collection features papers by philosophers and other scholars engaged specifically in philosophical argument, debate, and dialogue involving conceptions of Purgatory and related ideas. It exists to broaden the discussion beyond the prevailing trends in the academic literature and fills (...)
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  14. Augustine and Aquinas on the Demonic.Benjamin McCraw - 2017 - In Benjamin McCraw & Robert Arp (eds.), Philosophical Approaches to Demonology. New York, NY, USA: pp. 23-38.
    My focus in this paper concerns the demonic from the perspective of Augustine and Aquinas. Much of their views on demons coincide with certain elements of the popular view, but a good bit also diverges in some interesting and important ways. In fact, their philosophical theology is essentially bound up with their overall demonology. I show that the aim of the demonic is to bring about conversion through temptation, and this “possession” is nothing but the person coming to be like (...)
     
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  15.  11
    Alston, Aristotle, and Epistemic Normativity.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2022 - Logos and Episteme 13 (1):75-92.
    Alston argues that there is no such thing as a single concept of epistemic justification. Instead, there is an irreducible plurality of epistemically valuable features of beliefs: ‘epistemic desiderata.’ I argue that this approach is problematic for meta-epistemological reasons. How, for instance, do we characterize epistemic evaluation and do we do we go about it if there’s no theoretical unity to epistemology? Alston’s response is to ground all epistemic desiderata, thereby unifying epistemology, in truth and truth-conduciveness. I argue that this (...)
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  16.  4
    Appeal to Ignorance.Benjamin McCraw - 2018 - In Robert Arp, Steven Barbone & Michael Bruce (eds.), Bad Arguments. Chichester, UK: Wiley. pp. 106–111.
    This chapter focuses on one of the common fallacies in Western philosophy called appeal to ignorance (or ad ignorantiam). A few passages from classical philosophical texts may commit an argumentum ad ignorantiam. Richard Robison develops another way of launching an ad ignorantiam that works by using a rhetorical question to commit the illicit move: Woods and Walton describe the appeal to ignorance as a fallacy “located within confirmation theory as a confusion between the categories of 'lack of confirming evidence' and (...)
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  17.  1
    Appeal to the People.Benjamin McCraw - 2018 - In Rob Arp, Steven Barbone & Michael Bruce (eds.), Bad Arguments. Chichester, UK: Wiley. pp. 112–114.
    This chapter focuses on one of the common fallacies in Western philosophy, appeal to the people (ATP; also known as argumentum ad populum). ATP comes in two distinct variations. First, there is what Woods and Walton call the “argument from popularity”. On this view, an ATP occurs “whenever someone takes a belief to be true merely because large numbers of people accept it”. Another version is the “emotive” ATP, again in Woods and Walton's language. When this variant occurs, one attempts (...)
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  18. A Virtue-Theoretic Approach to Religious Epistemology: Faith as an Act of Epistemic Virtue.Benjamin McCraw - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Georgia
    This work lies at the juncture between religious epistemology and virtue epistemology. Currently, both fields in epistemology are burgeoning with interest and novel theories, arguments, and applications. However, there is no systematic or sustained overlap between the two. I aim to provide such a systematic connection. Virtue epistemology holds that epistemology should turn away from analyzing person-neutral concepts like evidence, reliability, etc. as the primary locus of analysis in favor of person-based properties like intellectual character traits. I develop and defend (...)
     
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  19. Epistemic Evil, Divine Hiddenness, and Soul-Making.Benjamin McCraw - 2015 - In Benjamin McCraw & Robert Arp (eds.), The Problem of Evil: New Philosophical Directions. Lanham, MD 20706, USA: pp. 109-126.
    J. L. Schellenberg’s Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason offers an argument for the non-existence of God. He argues that God’s existence isn’t evident and, thus, there exist cases of “reasonable nonbelief”. But, such nonbelief is inconsistent—Schellenberg argues—with the existence of a loving God desiring a personal relationship with others. In short, if (a perfectly loving) God exists, then reasonable nonbelief must be impossible. But, since there is such belief, we have good reason to think God doesn’t exist. In this chapter, (...)
     
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  20.  3
    Naturalistic Fallacy.Benjamin McCraw - 2018 - In Rob Arp, Steven Barbone & Michael Bruce (eds.), Bad Arguments. Chichester, UK: Wiley. pp. 193–195.
    This chapter focuses on one of the common fallacies in Western philosophy called 'naturalistic fallacy'. The naturalistic fallacy follows from one's metaphysical (metaethical) commitments rather than simply a general defect of reasoning. Unlike many fallacies – formal or informal – it is not likely that one will find the naturalistic fallacy in standard logic textbooks. The natural properties (e.g., pleasure) are logically and/or metaphysically distinct from normative or moral properties (e.g., goodness) and, thus, any identification of a natural property with (...)
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  21. Not So Superlative: The Fourth Way as Comparatively Problematic.Benjamin McCraw - 2016 - In Robert Arp (ed.), Revisiting Aquinas' Proofs for the Existence of God. Leiden, Netherlands: pp. 173-201.
    In this paper, I examine several criticisms that can be raised against Aquinas’s Fourth Way. Each criticism draws a line of reasoning from a historical source to a contemporary analogue. The aim is to trace these objections from Aquinas’s own philosophical perspective to a contemporary standpoint: showing how arguments and positions today bear on his 13th C. argument and vice versa. Section One begins by reconstructing the argument itself. Then I address a series of objections questioning some fundamental element of (...)
     
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  22.  30
    Philosophical Approaches to Demonology.Benjamin W. McCraw & Arp Robert (eds.) - 2017 - New York, USA: Routledge.
    In contradistinction to the many monographs and edited volumes devoted to historical, cultural, or theological treatments of demonology, this collection features newly written papers by philosophers and other scholars engaged specifically in philosophical argument, debate, and dialogue involving ideas and topics in demonology. The contributors to the volume approach the subject from the perspective of the broadest areas of Western philosophy, namely metaphysics, epistemology, logic, and moral philosophy. The collection also features a plurality of religious, cultural, and theological views on (...)
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  23. Praying for the Dead: An Ecumenical Proposal.Benjamin McCraw - 2017 - In Kristof K. P. Vanhoutte & Benjamin McCraw (eds.), Purgatory: Philosophical Dimensions. Basingstoke, UK: pp. 239-262.
    In this paper, I defend the claim that we have good reason to think that God can (and maybe does) answer prayers for the dead, and, perhaps surprisingly, these reasons hold even if one is agnostic on Purgatory. I examine philosophical discussions on the efficacy of both petitionary prayer and praying for the past: showing that the reasons offered for efficacious prayers of those types apply to prayers for the dead as well. Hence, supposing that we have good reasons to (...)
     
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  24. Reformed Demonology?Benjamin McCraw - 2015 - In Benjamin McCraw & Robert Arp (eds.), Philosophical Approaches to the Devil. New York, NY, USA: pp. 145-156.
    In this chapter I explore the possibility and prospects of what I’m calling reformed demonology, an extension of a reformed epistemology that includes belief in the Devil. I begin by characterizing reformed epistemology as denying the necessity of propositional evidence—via argument—for the positive epistemic status of a religious belief. I then turn to the influential reformed approaches of Alvin Plantinga and William Alston, seeing whether or not one can developed their Reformed approaches to beliefs about God to beliefs about the (...)
     
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  25.  73
    The Problem of Evil: New Philosophical Directions.Benjamin McCraw & Robert Arp (eds.) - 2015 - Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
    The Problem of Evil: New Philosophical Directions brings together a diversity of philosophical views, methods, and approaches to the much-discussed topic of evil and its bearing on religious belief. Through both general and specific examinations of the problem of evil, this book proposes new directions for philosophical thought.
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  26.  9
    Adam Morton , Bounded Thinking: Intellectual Virtues for Limited Agents . Reviewed by. [REVIEW]Benjamin W. McCraw - 2014 - Philosophy in Review 34 (1-2):59-61.
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  27.  20
    Brian Leftow, God and Necessity , ix + 575 pp., £60.00. [REVIEW]Benjamin W. McCraw - 2014 - Ratio 28 (1):112-118.
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  28.  30
    Clayton Littlejohn and John Turri, eds., Epistemic Norms: New Essays on Action, Belief, and Assertion. Reviewed by. [REVIEW]Benjamin W. McCraw - 2015 - Philosophy in Review 35 (4):204-207.
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  29.  22
    Joseph J. Godfrey: Trust of people, words, and God: a route for philosophy of religion: Notre Dame University Press, Notre Dame, 2012, 520 pp, $49.00. [REVIEW]Benjamin W. McCraw - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (3):367-370.
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  30.  34
    Laura Frances Callahan and Timothy O’Connor : Religious faith and intellectual virtue: Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014, 333 pp, £45.00. [REVIEW]Benjamin W. McCraw - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77 (3):281-285.
    Let me begin with what I take to be the two most significant features of this collection. First, it addresses an area that is woefully under-discussed: the intersection of virtue epistemology and philosophy of religion. Each is a massively influential and important field in its own right, so bringing the two into dialogue makes tremendous sense. This collection accomplishes much in this regard but also underscores the amount of work that needs to be developed. Bringing together virtue epistemology, philosophy of (...)
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