There is a wide consensus among scholars that Plato’s Socrates is wrong to trust in reason and argument as capable of converting people to the life of philosophy. In this paper, I argue for the opposite. I show that Socrates employs a more sophisticated strategy than is typically supposed. Its key component is the use of philosophical argument not to lead an interlocutor to rationally conclude that he must change his way of life but rather to cause a certain affective (...) experience, one that can be effective at changing his beliefs about how best to live. (shrink)
In the present interview, Jacob Rogozinski elucidates the main concepts and theses he developed in his latest book dedicated to the issue of modern jihadism. On this occasion, he explains his disagreements with other philosophical (Badiou, Baudrillard, Žižek) and anthropological (Girard) accounts of Islamic terrorism. Rogozinski also explains that although jihadism betrays Islam, it nonetheless has everything to do with Islam. Eventually, he describes his own philosophical journey which led him from a phenomenological study of the ego and the (...) flesh to the study of past (witch-hunts, French Reign of Terror) and contemporary (jihadism) terror apparatuses. (shrink)
Throughout an illustrious career of teaching and writing that spans five decades, philosopher Needleman has always tackled the "big questions" of life. In this collection of six feature interviews that began in the 1980s, Miller and Needleman discuss "Making Sense of Mysticism, The Secrets of Time and Love, The Meanings of Money, Searching for the Soul of America, Meeting God without Religion, " and "The Need for Philosophy.".
Medical nihilism is the view that we should have little confidence in the effectiveness of medical interventions. Jacob Stegenga argues persuasively that this is how we should see modern medicine, and suggests that medical research must be modified, clinical practice should be less aggressive, and regulatory standards should be enhanced.
The problems with grace and free will have prompted long-standing theological conflicts, chiefly revolving around certain disagreements over the nature of divine causality in respect to the free will's of creatures and His foreknowledge of free acts. Eleonore Stump offers a new interpretation of divine action on the will that holds God only acts by way of formal causality and that human cooperation with grace is only by way of "quiescence." I argue that this account lacks coherence in certain (...) important respects, especially in how human beings freely decide upon conversion - a process impossible on this model. I also argue that any model of divine causality cannot escape the dichotomy of holding a Molinist or a Banezian model of efficacious grace. In response, I offer a new interpretation of classical Thomist models of grace that preserves human freedom and divine sovereignty in grace. (shrink)
Any interpretation of the doctrine of the atonement has to take account of relevant biblical texts. Among these texts, one that has been the most difficult to interpret is that describing the cry of dereliction from the cross. According to the Gospels of Mathew and Mark, on the cross Jesus cries, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?‘ In this paper, I give a philosophical analysis of the options for understanding the cry of dereliction, interpreted within the constraints (...) of orthodox Christian theology; and I show the suggestiveness of this analysis for interpretations of the doctrine of the atonement. (shrink)
Wandering in Darkness reconciles the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly good God with suffering in the world. Eleanore Stump presents the moral psychology and value theory within which the theodicy of Thomas Aquinas is embedded. She explicates Aquinas's account of the good for human beings, including the nature of love and union among persons, and then argues that some philosophical problems are best considered in the context of narratives. In the context of famous biblical stories and against the (...) backdrop of Aquinas's other views, Stump argues that Aquinas's theodicy gives a powerful explanation for God's allowing suffering. This explanation constitutes a consistent and cogent defense for the problem of suffering. (shrink)
Stump, Aquinas, and Dawkins & Company seem to think that objectual faith--"faith in"--is identical with propositional belief. I argue that they are wrong. More plausibly, objectual faith requires belief of the relevant proposition(s). There are other forms of faith: propositional faith, allegiant faith, and affective or global faith. We might conjecture that each of these forms of faith likewise require belief of the relevant propositions. More weakly, we might conjecture that at least one of them does. This latter thesis (...) I call the Stump-Aquinas-Dawkins Thesis (SAD). In this essay, I develop one reason against SAD and critique seven reasons for it. (shrink)
Recent defenses of a priori knowledge can be applied to the idea of conventions in science in order to indicate one important sense in which conventionalism is correctsome elements of physical theory have a unique epistemological status as a functionally a priori part of our physical theory. I will argue that the former a priori should be treated as empirical in a very abstract sense, but still conventional. Though actually coming closer to the Quinean position than recent defenses of a (...) priori knowledge, the picture of science developed here is very different from that developed in Quinean holism in that categories of knowledge can be differentiated. (shrink)
Is science unified or disunified? This collection brings together contributions from prominent scholars in a variety of scientific disciplines to examine this important theoretical question. They examine whether the sciences are, or ever were, unified by a single theoretical view of nature or a methodological foundation and the implications this has for the relationship between scientific disciplines and between science and society.
David Widerker has forcefully argued that a libertarian is on firm ground in believing that the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) is true. Eleonore Stump has argued that not all libertarians need accept PAP, and that its acceptance is not required for a rejection of compatibilism.This paper is a defense of Widerker against Stump. I argue that it is not at all clear that Stump’s view of freedom is libertarian in nature, and that she has not provided (...) a good reason for thinking that a libertarian can abandon PAP. (shrink)
Eleonore Stump has argued that a proponent of libertarian freedom must maintain that an agent is sometimes morally responsible for his mental action and that such moral responsibility is incompatible with that mental action’s being causally determined. Nevertheless, she maintains that this moral responsibility does not require that the agent be free to perform another mental action (act otherwise). In this paper, I argue that Stump fails to make a good case against the view that moral responsibility requires (...) the freedom to act otherwise. (shrink)
To love someone, Eleonore Stump tells us, is to have two desires: a desire her objective good and a desire for union with her. In Atonement, Stump claims that loving someone—understood as having these desires—is necessary and sufficient for morally appropriate forgiveness. I offer several arguments against this claim.
Eleonore Stump develops and defends a theodicy of redemptive suffering. In particular, God's permission of suffering (at least some classes, if not instances, of serious undeserved, involuntary suffering due to natural or free causes) is justified just in case it benefits those who suffer, it is the best possible means in the circumstances for their benefit, and God knows this is the case. The main aim of this paper is to show that for Stump's theodicy to have a (...) good chance of working, it is reasonable to think that it requires the Molinist claim that God has middle knowledge. (shrink)
An astonishing volume and diversity of evidence is available for many hypotheses in the biomedical and social sciences. Some of this evidence—usually from randomized controlled trials (RCTs)—is amalgamated by meta-analysis. Despite the ongoing debate regarding whether or not RCTs are the ‘gold-standard’ of evidence, it is usually meta-analysis which is considered the best source of evidence: meta-analysis is thought by many to be the platinum standard of evidence. However, I argue that meta-analysis falls far short of that standard. Different meta-analyses (...) of the same evidence can reach contradictory conclusions. Meta-analysis fails to provide objective grounds for intersubjective assessments of hypotheses because numerous decisions must be made when performing a meta-analysis which allow wide latitude for subjective idiosyncrasies to influence its outcome. I end by suggesting that an older tradition of evidence in medicine—the plurality of reasoning strategies appealed to by the epidemiologist Sir Bradford Hill—is a superior strategy for assessing a large volume and diversity of evidence. (shrink)
Few philosophers or theologians exerted as much influence on the shape of medieval thought as Thomas Aquinas. He ranks amongst the most famous of the Western philosophers and was responsible for almost single-handedly bringing the philosophy of Aristotle into harmony with Christianity. He was also one of the first philosophers to argue that philosophy and theology could support each other. The shape of metaphysics, theology, and Aristotelian thought today still bears the imprint of Aquinas' work. In this extensive and deeply (...) researched study, Eleonore Stump examines Aquinas' major works, _Summa Theologiae _and _Summa Contra Gentiles, _and clearly assesses the vast range of Aquinas' thought. Philosophers, theologians, and students of the medieval period alike will find this unrivalled study an indispensable resource in researching and teaching Aquinas. (shrink)
This paper considers briefly the approach to the problem of evil by Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, and John Hick and argues that none of these approaches is entirely satisfactory. The paper then develops a different strategy for dealing with the problem of evil by expounding and taking seriously three Christian claims relevant to the problem: Adam fell; natural evil entered the world as a result of Adam's fall; and after death human beings go either to heaven or hell. Properly interpreted, (...) these claims form the basis for a consistent and coherent Christian solution to the problem of evil. (shrink)
Robustness is a common platitude: hypotheses are better supported with evidence generated by multiple techniques that rely on different background assumptions. Robustness has been put to numerous epistemic tasks, including the demarcation of artifacts from real entities, countering the “experimenter’s regress,” and resolving evidential discordance. Despite the frequency of appeals to robustness, the notion itself has received scant critique. Arguments based on robustness can give incorrect conclusions. More worrying is that although robustness may be valuable in ideal evidential circumstances (i.e., (...) when evidence is concordant), often when a variety of evidence is available from multiple techniques, the evidence is discordant. †To contact the author, please write to: Jacob Stegenga, Department of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093; e‐mail: [email protected] (shrink)
Philosophers have committed sins while studying science, it is said – philosophy of science focused on physics to the detriment of biology, reconstructed idealizations of scientific episodes rather than attending to historical details, and focused on theories and concepts to the detriment of experiments. Recent generations of philosophers of science have tried to atone for these sins, and by the 1980s the exculpation was in full swing. Marcel Weber’s Philosophy of Experimental Biology is a zenith mea culpa for philosophy of (...) science: it carefully describes several historical examples from twentieth century biology to address both ‘old’ philosophical topics, like reductionism, inference, and realism, and ‘new’ topics, like discovery, models, and norms. Biology, experiments, history – at last, philosophy of science, free of sin. (shrink)
It has been over a decade since the first edition of The Cambridge Companion to Augustine was published. In that time, reflection on Augustine's life and labors has continued to bear much fruit: significant new studies into major aspects of his thinking have appeared, as well as studies of his life and times and new translations of his work. This new edition of the Companion, which replaces the earlier volume, has eleven new chapters, revised versions of others, and a comprehensive (...) updated bibliography. It will furnish students and scholars of Augustine with a rich resource on a philosopher whose work continues to inspire discussion and debate. (shrink)
The doctrine of God’s absolute simplicity denies the possibility of real distinctions in God. It is, e.g., impossible that God have any kind of parts or any intrinsic accidental properties, or that there be real distinctions among God’s essential properties or between any of them and God himself. After showing that some of the counter-intuitive implications of the doctrine can readily be made sense of, the authors identify the apparent incompatibility of God’s simplicity and God’s free choice as a special (...) difficulty and associate it with two others: the apparent incompatibilities between essential omnipotence and essential goodness, and between perfect goodness and moral goodness. Since all three of these difficulties are associated with a certain understanding of the nature of God’s will, the authors base their resolution of them on an account of will in general and of God’s will in particular, drawing on Aquinas’s theory of will.Taking creation as their paradigm of divine free choice, the authors develop a solution of the principal incompatibility based on three claims: God’s acts of choice are both free and conditionally necessitated; the difference between absolutely and conditionallynecessitated acts of will is not a real distinction in God; and the conditional necessity of God’s acts of will is compatible with contingency in the objects of those acts. The heart of their solution consists in their attempt to make sense of and support those claims.The authors extend their solution to cover the two associated apparent incompatibilities as well.The article concludes with observations on the importance of the doctrine of God’s absolute simplicity for resolving problems in religious morality and in the cosmological argument. (shrink)
The major Western monotheisms, and Christianity in particular, are often supposed to be committed to a substance dualism of a Cartesian sort. Aquinas, however, has an account of the soul which is non-Cartesian in character. He takes the soul to be something essentially immaterial or configurational but nonetheless realized in material components. In this paper, I argue that Aquinas’s account is coherent and philosophically interesting; in my view, it suggests not only that Cartesian dualism isn’t essential to Christianity but also (...) that the battle lines between dualism and materialism are misdrawn. (shrink)
Measuring the effectiveness of medical interventions faces three epistemological challenges: the choice of good measuring instruments, the use of appropriate analytic measures, and the use of a reliable method of extrapolating measures from an experimental context to a more general context. In practice each of these challenges contributes to overestimating the effectiveness of medical interventions. These challenges suggest the need for corrective normative principles. The instruments employed in clinical research should measure patient-relevant and disease-specific parameters, and should not be sensitive (...) to parameters that are only indirectly relevant. Effectiveness always should be measured and reported in absolute terms (using measures such as 'absolute risk reduction'), and only sometimes should effectiveness also be measured and reported in relative terms (using measures such as 'relative risk reduction')-employment of relative measures promotes an informal fallacy akin to the base-rate fallacy, which can be exploited to exaggerate claims of effectiveness. Finally, extrapolating from research settings to clinical settings should more rigorously take into account possible ways in which the intervention in question can fail to be effective in a target population. (shrink)
To what extent can one be saddled with responsibility or guilt as a result of actions committed not by oneself but by others with whom one has a familial or national connection or some other communal association? The issue of communal guilt has been extensively discussed, and there has been no shortage of writers willing to apply the notion of communal responsibility and guilt to Germany after the Holocaust. But the whole notion of communal guilt is deeply puzzling. How can (...) evil actions cast a shadow over the future in this way to generate obligations or guilt on the part of those who did not in any way participate in those actions? In this article, I will focus on a question that is a smaller-scale analogue of the question of communal guilt, one which raises similar perplexities but in a more tractable way. I will concentrate on the restoration of relations with perpetrators of great evil in cases in which their whole-hearted repentance is not in doubt. Most of us feel a strong antipathy to the restoration of relations with such a perpetrator. What explains and supports that emotive reaction is the subject of this article, and its conclusions are suggestive of promising approaches to the question of communal guilt. (shrink)
Medicalisation is a social phenomenon in which conditions that were once under legal, religious, personal or other jurisdictions are brought into the domain of medical authority. Low sexual desire in females has been medicalised, pathologised as a disease, and intervened upon with a range of pharmaceuticals. There are two polarised positions on the medicalisation of low female sexual desire: I call these the mainstream view and the critical view. I assess the central arguments for both positions. Dividing the two positions (...) are opposing models of the aetiology of low female sexual desire. I conclude by suggesting that the balance of arguments supports a modest defence of the critical view regarding the medicalisation of low female sexual desire. (shrink)
Religious faith may manifest itself, among other things, as a mode of seeing the ordinary world, which invests that world imaginatively with an unseen depth of divine intention and spiritual significance. While such seeing may well be truthful, it is also unavoidably constructive, involving the imagination in its philosophical sense of the capacity to organize underdetermined or ambiguous sense date into a whole or gestalt. One of the characteristic ways in which biblical narratives inspire and teach is by renewing their (...) characters’ and readers’ imagination. The texts do so not inexorably but in a similar way as works of art. This paper therefore investigates the ways in which works of art engage and develop the imagination, and thereby enable renewed perceptual and cognitive engagement with the world. The paper introduces predictive processing as a helpful psychological theory for analyzing this dynamic, and outlines questions for further research. (shrink)