Standard animalists are committed to a stringent form of restricted composition, thereby denying the existence of brains, hands, and other proper parts of an organism . One reason for positing this near-nihilistic ontology comes from various challenges to animalism such as the Thinking Parts Argument, the Unity Argument, and the Argument from the Problem of the Many. In this paper, I show that these putatively distinct arguments are all instances of a more general problem, which I call the ‘Too Many (...) Candidates Problem’ . Given my formulation of the problem, it is evident that standard animalists are mistaken in believing that restricting composition is the only solution. I show that there is another option for solving the TMC. The advantage of such a position, which I call ‘unrestricted animalism’, is that it is compatible with unrestricted composition and the existence of brains and other proper parts of an organism. I conclude by sketching several strategies one can take regarding this latter solution to the TMC. (shrink)
In trying to establish the view that there are no non-living macrophysical objects, Trenton Merricks has produced an influential argument—the Overdetermination Argument—against the causal efficacy of composite objects. A serious problem for the Overdetermination Argument is the ambiguity in the notion of overdetermination that is being employed, which is due to the fact that Merricks does not provide any theory of causation to support his claims. Once we adopt a plausible theory of causation, viz. interventionism, problems with the Overdetermination will (...) become evident. After laying out the Overdetermination Argument and examining one extant objection to it, I will explicate the relevant aspects of an interventionist theory of causation and provide a characterization of overdetermination that follows from such an account. From this, I will argue that the Causal Principle that undergirds the Overdetermination Argument is false and hence the argument is invalid; and I claim that the only other available characterization of overdetermination would render a key premise in the argument false. Thus, the Overdetermination Argument fails to provide us with any reason to deny the causal efficacy of macrophysical objects, and therefore provides no reason to doubt their existence. (shrink)
According to Eric Olson, the Thinking Animal Argument (TAA) is the best reason to accept animalism, the view that we are identical to animals. A novel criticism has been advanced against TAA, suggesting that it implicitly employs a dubious epistemological principle. I will argue that other epistemological principles can do the trick of saving the TAA, principles that appeal to recent issues regarding disagreement with peers and experts. I conclude with some remarks about the consequence of accepting these modified principles, (...) drawing out some general morals in defending animalism. (shrink)
Constituent ontologies maintain that the properties of an object are either parts or something very much like parts of that object. Recently, such a view has been criticized as leading to a bizarre and problematic form of substance dualism and implying the existence of impossible objects. After briefly presenting constituent and relational ontologies, I respond to both objections, arguing that constituent ontology does not yield either of these two consequences and so is not shown to be an unacceptable ontological framework.
Traditional Christology maintains that Christ was a single divine person with two natures (human and divine). According to kenotic Christology, certain divine properties such as omniscience and omnipotence were divested in order for Christ to acquire essential human properties. However, such a view appears to conflict with perfect-being theology, which takes omniscience and omnipotence to be essential properties for being divine. I propose a view that adopts a Thomistic theory of essences in order to show that there need be no (...) conflict, and hence Christ can give up the property of being omniscient while still being essentially omniscient. (shrink)
Recently, Stephan Blatti has argued that a deprivationist view (DV) of death’s harm is incomplete, and he presents a view such that the kind of distinctive harm that death brings to an individual involves the restriction of that individual’s autonomy.2 Not only does death deprivation-harm us, but it also restriction-harms us. Let us label such an account—one that includes both deprivation and restriction as comprising death’s harm—as a ‘deprivationist-restrictionist view’ (or ‘DRV’). Blatti favors DRV because it avoids several worries that (...) beset DV. In this paper, I present several objections to DRV; in particular, I raise some problems for the claim that death restriction-harms us and show that even DRV does not avoid the worries of DV—so there is no reason to prefer DRV over DV. (shrink)
Joseph Keim Campbell has attempted to say “farewell” to a particular version of source incompatibilism, viz. direct source incompatibilism, arguing that direct source incompatibilism is committed to two theses that are in tension, thereby threatening the coherence of the position. He states that direct source incompatibilism is committed to the following claims: SI-F: there are genuine Frankfurt-style counterexamples. SI-D: there is a sound version of the Direct Argument. Campbell argues that both of these theses cannot be simultaneously held since a (...) sound version of the Direct Argument would undermine Frankfurt-style counterexamples, and vice versa. After laying out Campbell’s argument, I will first make some preliminary comments regarding actual direct source incompatibilists and their commitment to SI-F and SI-D. I then object to Campbell’s argument, arguing that one can accept both SI-F and SI-D, thereby vindicating direct source incompatibilism from the charge of incoherence. (shrink)
This paper examines a recent attempt at updating Anselm’s ontological argument by employing the notion of mediated and unmediated causal powers. After presenting the updated argument and the underlying metaphysical framework of causal powers that is utilized in the argument, I show that some of the key assumptions can be rejected. Once we closely examine some of the assumptions, it will also be evident that the updated version in some ways collapses back to Anselm’s original version and so is subject (...) to some of the same worries. (shrink)
Reduplicative approaches to the incarnation attempt to avoid the charge of incoherence by employing a qua-operator that operates on an entire assertion. The main objection to this approach is that it still yields a contradiction. Recently, two new reduplicative approaches have been offered that purport to avoid contradiction, one that offers a novel analysis of negative predications and the other which prevents conjoining divine and human predicates into a meaningful sentence. In this paper, I argue that these newer approaches either (...) fail to provide a distinctive solution or do not show whether the model is genuinely possible. (shrink)
Several philosophers have argued that property dualism and substance materialism are incompatible positions. Recently, Susan Schneider has provided a novel version of such an argument, claiming that the incompatibility will be evident once we examine some underlying metaphysical issues. She purports to show that on any account of substance and property-possession, substance materialism and property dualism turn out incompatible. In this paper, I argue that Schneider’s case for incompatibility between these two positions fails. After briefly laying out her case for (...) incompatibility, I present an account of substance—one that relies on a relational ontology—that makes the combination of substance materialism and property dualism unproblematic. Then I show that even under the theories of substance that Schneider considers—those that rely on a constituent ontology—there still is no incompatibility problem. (shrink)
Recently, in this journal, Jeremy Gwiazda has offered a critique of our separationist view of hell. His objection relies on two key assumptions, and we show in our reply that both assumptions can be denied.
This paper addresses the alleged tension between the kind of strong apophaticism endorsed by Maimonides and his view of worshiping God. After considering some extant resolutions to this problem, I offer a proposal that utilizes the role of silence and imitative activity in Maimonides. While this solution may not have been one that Maimonides would have offered, I argue that Maimonides had conceptual resources for offering a promising solution within his theological framework.
A recent solution to the Body-Minus problem, which is a problem of material constitution, claims that ordinary proper parts (such as left feet) exist, but the complements of these objects (such as left-foot complements) do not exist. In this paper, I examine a defense of this solution from the worry of arbitrariness and from its ineffectiveness against a revised version of the problem that focuses on the head, and I show that this defense fails.
Some opponents of animalism have offered a relatively new worry: the remnant-person problem. After presenting the problem, I lay out several responses and show why they are either problematic or come with too many theoretical costs. I then present my own response to the problem, which unlike the other responses, it is one that can be adopted by animalists of any stripe. What I hope to show is that some of the key assumptions of the remnant-person problem can be rejected, (...) and thus, the remnant-person problem should be seen as posing no threat to animalism. (shrink)
A novel argument has recently been advanced against materialism—the view that human persons are identical to composite, material objects. The argument claims that pairs of people are not conscious and that the only viable explanation for why they are not is because pairs of people are not simple. The argument concludes that only a simple thing can be the subject of conscious states. In this paper, I offer an alternative explanation for why pairs of people are not conscious: pairs of (...) people are not substances. I provide two characterizations of substantiality. The first proposal claims that substances have irreducible causal powers, and the second claims that substances cannot have other substances as proper parts. The alternative explanation based on these characterizations of substantiality shows that being conscious is compatible with materialism. (shrink)
Social Trinitarianism is a family of views that bear some resemblance to each other in a way that distinguishes them from other Trinitarian accounts. In this paper, we address recent objections by Carl Mosser against ST, objections which have not received much attention by defenders of ST. Mosser claims that proponents of ST offer a narrative that is historically inaccurate, employs concepts of personhood and perichoresis that are incompatible, upholds dubious hermeneutical assumptions, and is unable to preclude Mormon theology within (...) its fold. We argue that all four criticisms fail, especially for a specific version of ST: Perichoretic Monotheism. (shrink)
With a few exceptions, much of epistemology in the last century has been dominated by discussions centered on knowledge, and in particular propositional knowledge (along with associated concepts such as justification, the reliability of cognitive processes, etc.). Recently, attention has been given to other cognitive states such as understanding and wisdom, due in some part to the resurgence of theorizing about intellectual virtues. As with typical epistemic concepts such as justification and knowledge, offering an analysis of wisdom has been difficult. (...) In this paper, I critique a recent attempt to analyze wisdom as risk-taking, and after gleaning from the insights of Thomas Aquinas, I defend a particular version of the wisdom-as-understanding approach. (shrink)
Relationships between children and parents pervade the Star Wars saga, especially if people include surrogate parents. Anakin's relationship with his mother, Shmi, in the prequels impacts his trajectory toward the dark side. In The Mandalorian, Mando's role as a surrogate father to Grogu transforms them into a “Clan of Two”. But the most significant parent‐child relationship in the saga may be the one between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Confucius's teachings highlight the importance of benevolence, social order, and ritual propriety (...) among other virtues and values. This chapter shows that understanding Luke's surrender to Vader in terms of Confucian filial piety makes sense of how Luke is able to overcome the allure of the dark side and become a Jedi. Confucius's Analects has a moral framework called “exemplarism”. This is the idea that moral knowledge and practice do not start with principles, rules, duties, consequences, or character traits. (shrink)