The Sweep of Probability broadly surveys this burgeoning field of philosophical inquiry. The book is unique because it engages the reader in contemporary debates about a variety of issues in probability theory without requiring a background in probability and mathematics. It also illustrates how the concerns of probability relate not only to philosophical inquiry but to aspects of everyday life. The primary aim of this book, claims George N.Schlesinger in the introduction, is to illustrate, by discussing a wide variety of (...) topics, that elementary probability belongs to one of those rare intellectual ventures where the returns are disproportionately high to the initial investment of effort. (shrink)
This book explores recently opened avenues in logic and philosophical analysis to offer new perspectives on time-honored religious beliefs. Topics covered include the nature of divine attributes, the implications of divine benevolence and divine justice, arguments in support of theism and atheism, and religion and morality.
According to popular opinion, thought experiments are limited in scope, since no novel empirical results could be expected to be produced by thought alone. Yet consider the spectacular 16th century experiment by Stevin. leading to the discovery of the principles of the resolution and combination of forces. He conducted no experiments, for he derived his novel and highly important conclusions by several steps of ingenious reasoning alone. To understand why mental experiments may serve as very effective scientific tools. we need (...) to explicate carefully their underlying mechanism. Thought experiments invariably involve the widely debated notion of “counterfactual conditionals.” A variety of historical examples are offered designed to illustrate the nature of thought experiments, their associated counterfactual conditionals. as well a the nature of the vital link between the two. (shrink)
Basic yet familiar and non-technical features of time are investigated. Two novel and detailed arguments are advanced defending the common view that 'time rolls relentlessly'. A number of hitherto neglected but important differences between spatio-temporal location and every other physical property are discussed. Also explored are the locations of circular time; the uniformity of nature, temporal positions and possible worlds, as well as the famous, unresolved problem, 'Why do we know so much more about the past than about the future?'. (...) For those who wish to delve deeper, a portion of the book consists of problems to ponder and their possible solutions. (shrink)
Die Welt ist voller Leid. Gott ist entweder unfähig, es zu verhindern – dann ist Er nicht allmächtig –, oder Er will es nicht verhindern – dann ist Er nicht vollkommen gut. Seit Generationen wird dies als das schlagendste Argument gegen den Glauben angesehen, daß ein allmächtiges und allgütiges Wesen existiert. Natürlich haben Theisten sich die größte Mühe gegeben, eine angemessene Erwiderung vorzubringen. ... Selbst wenn nur ein einziges Individuum unnötigerweise für einen kurzen Moment eine leichte Unannehmlichkeit zu ertragen hätte, (...) wäre das Problem logisch ebenso real – obwohl es nicht so schmerzhaft wäre oder möglicherweise sogar unbemerkt bliebe. (shrink)
In recent years a number of arguments have been advanced to show that there are conceptual difficulties with a variety of divine attributes. Some have claimed that there is an inherent inconsistency in the notion of omnipotence, others that omnipotence was logically incompatible with omniscience or omnibenevolence, and yet others that omniscience is irreconcilable with immutuability.