Herman Philipse puts forward a powerful new critique of belief in God. He examines the strategies that have been used for the philosophical defence of religious belief, and by careful reasoning casts doubt on the legitimacy of relying on faith instead of evidence, and on probabilistic arguments for the existence of God.
God in the Age of Science? is a critical examination of strategies for the philosophical defence of religious belief. Herman Philipse argues that the most promising for believers who want to be justified in accepting their creed in our scientific age is the Bayesian cumulative case strategy developed by Richard Swinburne, and goes on to present an in-depth analysis of this case for theism. Using a 'strategy of subsidiary arguments', Philipse concludes that theism cannot be stated meaningfully; that if theism (...) were meaningful, it would have no predictive power concerning existing evidence, so that Bayesian arguments cannot get started; and that if the Bayesian cumulative case strategy did work, one should conclude that atheism is more probable than theism. Philipse provides a careful, rigorous, and original critique of atheism in the world today. (shrink)
This scrupulously researched and rigorously argued book is the first to interpret and evaluate the central topic of Martin Heidegger's philosophy--his celebrated "Question of Being"--in the context of the full range of Heidegger's thought. With this comprehensive approach, Herman Philipse distinguishes in unprecedented ways the center from the periphery, the essential from the incidental in Heidegger's philosophy. Among other achievements, this allows him to shed new light on the controversial relationship between Heidegger's life and thought--in particular the connections between his (...) philosophy and his involvement with Nazism.Philipse begins by explaining which problems an interpretation of Heidegger's question of being should solve, and he specifies which type of interpretation is the best basis for an evaluation of Heidegger's thought. He then identifies various strands or leitmotifs in Heidegger's idea of being, and shows how these strands hang together in the philosopher's work. In doing so, Philipse offers new insights into Heidegger's views on such subjects as human existence, authenticity, logic, and language, and into his readings of such philosophers as Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche. Philipse then integrates into his interpretation of Heidegger's overall theory the latest scholarship about the philosopher's engagement with Nazism. Finally, Philipse examines the fundamental structures of Heidegger's philosophy and assesses whether Heidegger's views are true, probable, or possess some other epistemic or existential value.As the most thorough interpretation of Heidegger's theory of being now available, this work represents a new phase in the vigorous debate about the philosopher's life and works. (shrink)
By focussing on the logical relations between scientific theories and religious beliefs in his book Where the Conflict Really Lies, Alvin Plantinga overlooks the real conflict between science and religion. This conflict exists whenever religious believers endorse positive factual claims to truth concerning the supernatural. They thereby violate an important rule of scientific method and of common sense, according to which factual claims should be endorsed as true only if they result from validated epistemic methods or sources.
Theistic and analytic philosophers of religion typically privilege classical theism and monotheism by ignoring or underestimating the great threat of polytheism. We develop an argument from infinitely many alternatives, which decisively demonstrates that if a monotheistic or polytheistic god-model obtains, it will almost certainly be polytheistic. Probabilistic calculations are performed in order to illustrate the difficulties faced by the monotheistic proponent. After considering possible objections, such as whether there should be limits placed on how many possible god-models could obtain, we (...) conclude that our argument from infinitely many alternatives is sound, and highly unlikely to be overcome. (shrink)
Husserl and Frege did not criticize psychologism on the ground that it deduced the norms of logic from non-normative premises (naturalistic fallacy), as is often supposed. Rather, their refutation of psychologism assumes that such a deduction is possible. Husserl compared the rules of logic to those of technology, on the supposition that they have a purely theoretical basis. This conception of logic is critically examined, and it is argued (contra Follesdal) that Frege held a similar view.
It is difficult to imagine that a Royal Institute of Physics would organize an annual lecture series on the theme ‘conceptions of physics’. Similarly, it is quite improbable that a Royal Institute of Astronomy would even contemplate inviting speakers for a lecture series called ‘conceptions of astronomy’. What, then, is so special about philosophy that the theme of this lecture series does not appear to be altogether outlandish? Is it, perhaps, that philosophy is the reflective discipline par excellence, so that (...) the very nature of philosophy is a topic that belongs to its domain of investigations? Or is there something more serious at issue? Let me first tell you how the question concerning the nature of philosophy arose for me as a young student, and how I tried to answer it, quite naively, by endorsing Edmund Husserl's programme of turning philosophy into a rigorous science. In a second section, I shall offer three diagnoses of the fact that all such attempts seem to have failed. Finally, I'd like to say a few words on my own research agenda in philosophy and on a public function of philosophers. (shrink)
Paul Churchland's philosophical work enjoys an increasing popularity. His imaginative papers on cognitive science and the philosophy of psychology are widely discussed. Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind (1979), his major book, is an important contribution to the debate on realism. Churchland provides us with the intellectual tools for constructing a unified scientific Weltanschauung. His network theory of language implies a provocative view of the relation between science and common sense. This paper contains a critical examination of Churchland's network (...) theory of language, which is the foundation of his philosophy. It is argued that the network theory should be seen as deriving its point from traditional empiricism. The network theory enables the empiricist to resist the phenomenalistic temptations inherent in his position, and to build a realist philosophy on the basis of the representative theory of perception. This interpretation is confirmed by the fact that the representative theory is presupposed by Churchland's main argument in favour of the network view. Churchland tends to conceive of himself as a naturalistic epistemologist. But the philosophical faction to which Churchland belongs is rather that of modern neo?Kantianism. (shrink)
Heidegger denied that his enquiries were concerned with ethics. Heidegger and Ethics questions this self-understanding and reveals a form of ethics in Heidegger’s thinking that is central to his understanding of metaphysics and philosophy. In our technological age, metaphysics has, according to Heidegger, become real- ity; philosophy has come to an end. Joanna Hodge argues that there has been a concomitant transformation of ethics that Heidegger has failed to identify. Today, technological relationships form the ethical relations in which humans find (...) them- selves. As a result, ethics is cut loose from abstract universal moral standards, and the end of philosophy announced by Heidegger turns out to be an interminable interruption of the metaphysical will to completion. In order to realise the produc- tive potential of this interruption, the repressed ethical element in Heidegger’s think- ing must be retrieved. (shrink)
In this paper an attempt is made to reconstruct the development of Husserl’s conception of intentionality from 1891 up to 1900/01. It is argued that Husserl’s concept of intentionality in the Logical Investigations took shape under the influence of problems originating in two different fields: the philosophy of perception and philosophical semantics. This multiple origin of the concept of intentionality of 1900/01 is then adduced as an explanation of tensions within the text of the Investigations, tensions whieh account for the (...) fact that various contradictory interpretations of Husserl’s concept of intentionality are supported by the texts.The paper starts with a brief and schematic interpretation of Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. Next, the theory of perception of the ‘Psychological Studies for Elementary Logic’ is compared with that contained in the Investigation’s.On the basis of an analysis of Husserl’s early theory of reference to non-existing referents (‘Intentional Objects’, 1894) and of his criticism of Twardowski, it is concluded that his concept of int.entionality of 1900/01 is not free from ambiguities: Husserl wavers between a non-relational and a relational concept. Finally, it is shown why Husserl’s “official” concept in the Investigations was the non-relational version. (shrink)
In this paper an attempt is made to reconstruct the development of Husserl’s conception of intentionality from 1891 up to 1900/01. It is argued that Husserl’s concept of intentionality in the Logical Investigations took shape under the influence of problems originating in two different fields: the philosophy of perception and philosophical semantics. This multiple origin of the concept of intentionality of 1900/01 is then adduced as an explanation of tensions within the text of the Investigations, tensions whieh account for the (...) fact that various contradictory interpretations of Husserl’s concept of intentionality are supported by the texts.The paper starts with a brief and schematic interpretation of Brentano’s Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. Next, the theory of perception of the ‘Psychological Studies for Elementary Logic’ is compared with that contained in the Investigation’s.On the basis of an analysis of Husserl’s early theory of reference to non-existing referents and of his criticism of Twardowski, it is concluded that his concept of int.entionality of 1900/01 is not free from ambiguities: Husserl wavers between a non-relational and a relational concept. Finally, it is shown why Husserl’s “official” concept in the Investigations was the non-relational version. (shrink)
Religion is relevant to all of us, whether we are believers or not. This book concerns two interrelated topics. First, how probable is God's existence? Should we not conclude that all divinities are human inventions? Second, what are the mental and social functions of endorsing religious beliefs? The answers to these questions are interdependent. If a religious belief were true, the fact that humans hold it might be explained by describing how its truth was discovered. If all religious beliefs are (...) false, a different explanation is required. In this provocative book Herman Philipse combines philosophical investigations concerning the truth of religious convictions with empirical research on the origins and functions of religious beliefs. Numerous topics are discussed, such as the historical genesis of monotheisms out of polytheisms, how to explain Saul's conversion to Jesus, and whether any apologetic strategy of Christian philosophers is convincing. Universal atheism is the final conclusion. (shrink)
Paul Churchland has become famous for holding three controversial and interrelated doctrines which he put forward in early papers and in his first book. Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind (1979): eliminative materialism, the doctrine of the plasticity of perception, and a general network theory of language. In his latest book, The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul (1995), Churchland aims to make some results of connectionist neuroscience available to the general public and explores the philosophical and (...) social consequences that neuroscience is likely to have. I argue that these results of neuroscience refute the three doctrines that Churchland advocated in his earlier works. Yet youthful dreams do not die easily and Churchland is reluctant to relinquish his early views. (shrink)
In writings published after the Second World War, Martin Heidegger reinterpreted the ontological concepts by means of which he had characterized human existence in Sein und Zeit (1927), and he claimed that his new definitions revealed the real meaning of these “existentialia.” One might wonder what justifies or explains Heidegger’s surprising procedure. According to the solution to this problem proposed here, Sein und Zeit and the later works belong together as the two stages of a unified grand strategy of religious (...) apologetics. (shrink)
In Schriften, die nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg erschienen, deutete Martin Heidegger die ontologischen Begriffe, mit denen er in Sein und Zeit die menschliche Existenz charakterisiert hatte, um. Er behauptete, daß seine neuen Definitionen die wahre Bedeutung dieser ‚Existenzialien’ offenlegten. Man kann sich fragen, was dieses überraschende Vorgehen Heideggers rechtfertigt beziehungsweise erklärt. Der hier vorgeschlagenen Lösung zufolge gehören Sein und Zeit und die späteren Werke zusammen als zwei Schritte einer umfassenden Strategie religiöser Apologetik.