Revelation, or the view that the essence of phenomenal properties is presented to us, is as intuitively attractive as it is controversial. It is notably at the core of defences of anti-physicalism. I propose in this paper a new argument against Revelation. It is usually accepted that low-level sensory phenomenal properties, like phenomenal red, loudness or brightness, stand in relation of similarity and quantity. Furthermore, these similarity and quantitative relations are taken to be internal, that is, to be (...) fixed by what their relata are. I argue that, under some plausible additional premises, no account of what grounds these relations in the essence of their relata is consistent with Revelation, at least if we take common phenomenological descriptions for granted. As a result, the plausibility of Revelation is undermined. One might however resist this conclusion by weakening the epistemic relation postulated between subjects and their phenomenal properties. (shrink)
According to naïve realist (or primitivist) theories of colour, colours are sui generis mind-independent properties. The question that I consider in this paper is the relationship of naïve realism to what Mark Johnston calls Revelation, the thesis that the essential nature of colour is fully revealed in a standard visual experience. In the first part of the paper, I argue that if naïve realism is true, then Revelation is false. In the second part of the paper, I defend (...) naïve realism against a number of objections. (shrink)
Revelation is roughly the thesis that we have introspective access to the essential nature of our conscious states. This thesis is appealed to in arguments against physicalism. Little attention has been given to the problem that Revelation is a source of pressure in the direction of epiphenomenalism, as introspection does not seem to reveal our conscious states as being essentially causal. I critique Hedda Hassel Mørch’s ‘phenomenal powers view’ response to this difficulty, before defending a form of the (...) ‘consciousness+’ response. (shrink)
Revelation is the thesis that having an experience that instantiates some phenomenal property puts us in a position to know the nature or essence of that property. It is widely held that although Revelation is prima facie plausible, it is inconsistent with physicalism, and, in particular, with the claim that phenomenal properties are physical properties. I outline the standard argument for the incompatibility of Revelation and physicalism and compare it with the Knowledge Argument. By doing so, I (...) hope to show that on various plausible interpretations of Revelation it is in fact consistent with physicalism. Moreover, there is a robust reading of Revelation that a posteriori physicalists can, and should, accept. (shrink)
It is usually agreed that the Revelation Thesis about experience – the idea that the knowledge we gain by having an experience somehow “reveals” the essence, or nature, of this experience – only requires that we know the essence of the experience, not that we know, of this essence, that it is the essence of the experience. I contest this agreement. In the light of what I call the “Essentiality of Essence Principle”– the principle that whatever is in the (...) essence of something is also essentially so – I argue that the Revelation Thesis does require that we know, of the essence of an experience, that it is the essence of the experience, and draw some conclusions about the plausibility of that thesis. (shrink)
In recent literature on the metaphysics of consciousness, and in particular on the prospects of physicalism, there are two interesting strands of discussion. One strand concerns the so-called ‘thesis of revelation’, the claim that the essences of phenomenal properties are revealed in experience. The other strand concerns the intuition of dualism, the intuition that consciousness is nonphysical. With a particular focus on the former, this paper advances two main arguments. First, it argues that the thesis of revelation is (...) intuitive; it is part of our ordinary, implicit conception of experience. Second, it brings the two strands of discussion together and puts forward a rational explanation of the intuition of dualism in terms of the intuitiveness of the thesis of revelation. (shrink)
The great religions often claim that their books or creeds contain truths revealed by God. How could we know that they do? In the second edition of Revelation, renowned philosopher of religion Richard Swinburne addresses this central question. But since the books of great religions often contain much poetry and parable, Swinburne begins by investigating how eternal truth can be conveyed in unfamiliar genres, by analogy and metaphor, within false presuppositions about science and history. In the final part of (...) the book, Swinburne then applies the results of Parts I and II to assessing the evidence that the teaching of the Christian Church constitutes a revelation from God. -/- In the course of his philosophical exploration, Swinburne considers how the church which Jesus founded is to be identified today and presents a sustained discussion of which passages in the Bible should be understood literally and which should be understood metaphorically. -/- This is a fuller and entirely rewritten second edition of Revelation, the most notable new feature of which is a long chapter examining whether traditional Christian claims about personal morality (divorce, homosexuality, abortion, etc.) can be regarded as revealed truths. A formal appendix shows how the structure of evidence supporting the Christian revelation can be articulated in terms of the probability calculus (and shows that Plantinga's well-known argument from 'dwindling probabilities' against probabilistic arguments of this kind is not cogent). (shrink)
According to Kant’s dictum, morality leads inescapably to religion. Notably, this implies two unavoidable shifts: From ‘morality’ to the ‘religion of reason’ and from the ‘religion of reason’ to ‘positive religions’. I explain the grounds for each shift, focusing on the different kinds of necessity involved. I then analyze Fichte’s Versuch einer Kritik aller Offenbarung, which mainly addresses the second shift, discussed only briefly by Kant. As I show, whereas for Kant revelation is conditioned by a prior free determination (...) of the will, for Fichte it obtains a primordial status. I explain how Fichte’s approach fills in the Kantian gap between the concept of God, which seems to exclude the possibility of revelation, and the unavoidable human need to assume such an occurrence. (shrink)
This article examines Kant’s and Marx’s analysis of religion in its relation to human emancipation. It highlights some important affinities in their accounts of human nature and their critique of religious authority including: the emphasis on freedom as distinguishing human beings from other species, the relation between moral and political progress, the critique of revealed religion, the role of political community and the importance of ethical community to achieve moral emancipation.
Christianity and other religions claim that their books and creeds contain truths revealed by God. How can we know whether they do? Revelation investigates the claim of the Christian religion to have such revealed truths; and so considers which parts of the Bible are to be regarded as literal history, and which as metaphorical truth. This entirely rewritten second edition contains a long new chapter examining whether traditional Christian claims about personal morality can be regarded as revealed truths.
In this paper I argue that the propositional model of Divine revelation deserves renewed attention due to both criticisms stemming from misunderstanding and recent arguments in favor of the propositional model. I begin by clarifying what I mean by the propositional model of Divine revelation and by pointing out misunderstandings of the implications of this model. Subsequently, I offer a few arguments in favor of the propositional model of Divine revelation based on three assumptions that I take (...) to be basic elements of Christianity. Finally, I explain why I think the propositional model is doctrinally significant for the Christian Faith. (shrink)
Obstacles to Divine Revelation examines the notion that there are obstacles to God giving revelation, if God exists. Rolfe King argues that exploring these significantly refines ideas of evidence for God, including the claim that God must operate within a logically necessary structure of revelation. Examining obstacles to divine revelation clarifies this structure and paves the way to evaluating its significance.
This paper defends the view that philosophical propositions are merely relatively true, i.e. true relative to a doxastic perspective defined at least in part by a non-inferential belief-acquiring method. Here is the strategy: first, the primary way that contemporary philosophers defend their views is through the use of rational intuition, and this method delivers non-inferential, basic beliefs which are then systematized and brought into reflective equilibrium. Second, Christian theologians use exactly the same methodology, only replacing intuition with revelation. Third, (...) intuition and revelation yield frequently inconsistent output beliefs. Fourth, there is no defensible reason to prefer the dictates of intuition to those of Christian revelation. Fifth, the resulting dilemma means that there are true philosophical propositions, but we can't know them (scepticism), or there are no philosophical propositions and the naturalists are right (nihilism), or relativism is true. I suggest that relativism is the most palatable of these alternatives. (shrink)
This commentary focuses on explaining the intuition of revelation, an issue that Chalmers (2018) raises in his paper. I first sketch how the truth of revelation provides an explanation for the intuition of revelation, and then assess a physicalist proposal to explain the intuition that appeals to Derk Pereboom’s (2011, 2016, 2019) qualitative inaccuracy hypothesis.
This article considers the concepts of revelation and inspiration. The two notions are distinct but closely connected in Christian theology; they come together preeminently in discussions of the Bible. The purpose of revelation is to bring it about that humans come into a personal relationship with God, one that involves freely chosen love as well as worship and obedience. Inspiration is that influence of the Holy Spirit on the writing of the Bible which ensures that the words of (...) its various texts are appropriate both for the role which they play in Scripture and for the overall salvific purpose of Scripture itself. In other words, working in conjunction with the human author, God ensures that the words written are revelatory and fit God's purposes. Because of inspiration, God speaks to us in the Bible. Scripture is not just a record of revelation; it in itself is revelatory. (shrink)
How should one decide whether to undergo an experience that changes who one is? In her discussion of ‘transformative experiences’, L.A. Paul argues that to choose rationally when deliberating first-personally, one should base one’s decision on ‘revelation’, i.e. to discover out what the experience will be like. If this solution is taken as the sole means by which a transformative choice is made, then I argue it is problematic. This is because (i) it overlooks the role that one’s practical (...) identity ought to play when making a major life decision; and (ii) it ignores morally relevant reasons for action. Even if we retain the revelation approach as only part of the means through which a transformative choice is made, I argue that revelation should frequently carry little weight in our decision-making. Rather than focusing on the subjective quality of future experiences, it is often preferable to reflect on who one is and what one’s endorsed practical identity commits one to. (shrink)
In middle to late Byzantium, one finds dogmatic-style sceptical arguments employed against human reason in relation to divine revelation, where revelation becomes the sole criterion of certain truth in contrast to reason. This argumentative strategy originates in early Christian authors, especially Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215 CE) and Gregory Nazianzen (c. 329–390 CE), who maintain that revelation is the only domain of knowledge where certainty is possible. Given this, one finds two striking variations of this sceptical approach: (...) a “mild” variant (represented by Clement), where knowledge derived from human reason admits partial access to truths manifested in revelation, if imperfect; and a “strict” variant (represented by Gregory), where knowledge derived from human reason does not admit any access to truths in revelation. This paper analyzes the three Byzantines, Nicholas of Methone (d. 1160/66 CE), Theodore Metochites (1270–1320 CE), and Gregory Palamas (1296–1357/59 CE), who each display certain tendencies toward these two “poles” in their respective epistemological positions on knowledge through reason and faith. (shrink)
While the dominant approaches to the current study of political philosophy are various, with some friendlier to religious belief than others, almost all place constraints on the philosophic and political role of revelation. Mainstream secular political theorists do not entirely disregard religion. But to the extent that they pay attention, their treatment of religious belief is seen more as a political or philosophic problem to be addressed rather than as a positive body of thought from which we might derive (...) important insights about the nature of politics and the truth of the human condition. In a one-of-a-kind collection, DeHart and Holloway bring together leading scholars from various fields, including political science, philosophy, and theology, to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy and to demonstrate the role that religion can and does play in political life. Contributing authors include such important thinkers as Peter Augustine Lawler, Robert C. Koons, J. Budziszewski, Francis J. Beckwith, and James Stoner. (shrink)
Divine revelation is a topical subject, given the many claims to revelation in the modern world. This article looks at recent discussion within the analytic tradition of philosophy which particularly relates to how to evaluate claims about divine revelation. The subjects covered are: defining divine revelation; direct cognition of God; evidence‐based approaches; divine testimony; conversion and faith; competing claims about divine revelation. Brief comments are then made on some related areas.
Revelation and the God of Israel explores the concept of revelation as it emerges from the Hebrew Scriptures and is interpreted in Jewish philosophy and theology. The first part is a study in intellectual history that attempts to answer the question, what is the best possible understanding of revelation. The second part is a study in constructive theology and attempts to answer the question, is it reasonable to affirm belief in revelation. Here Norbert M. Samuelson focuses (...) on the challenges given from a variety of contemporary academic disciplines, including evolutionary psychology, political ethics, analytic philosophy of religion, and source critical studies of the Bible. This important book offers a unique approach to theological questions and fresh solutions to them and will appeal to those interested in the history of philosophy, religious thought, and Judaism. (shrink)
Givenness and Revelation represents both the unity and the deep continuity of Jean-Luc Marions thinking over many decades. This investigation into the origins and evolution of the concept of revelation arises from an initial reappraisal of the tension between natural theology and the revealed knowledge of God or sacra doctrina. Marion draws on the re-definition of the notions of possibility and impossibility, the critique of the reification of the subject, and the unpredictability of the event in its relationship (...) to the gift in order to assess the respective capacities of dogmatic theology, modern metaphysics, contemporary phenomenology, and the biblical texts, especially the New Testament, to conceive the paradoxical phenomenality of a revelation. This work thus brings us to the very heart and soul of Marions theology, concluding with a phenomenological approach to the Trinity that uncovers the logic of gift performed in the scriptural manifestation of Jesus Christ as Son of the Father. Givenness and Revelation enhances not only our understanding of religious experience, but enlarges the horizon of possibility of phenomenology itself. With a Foreword by Ramona Fotiade, Senior Lecturer in French, and David Jasper, Professor of Literature and Theology, both at the University of Glasgow. (shrink)
Reason, Revelation, and Devotion argues that immersion in religious reading traditions and their associated spiritual practices significantly shapes our emotions, desires, intuitions, and volitional commitments; these in turn affect our construction and assessments of arguments for religious conclusions. But far from distorting the reasoning process, these emotions and volitional and cognitive dispositions can be essential for sound reasoning on religious and other value-laden subject matters. And so western philosophy must rethink its traditional antagonism toward rhetoric. The book concludes with (...) discussions of the implications of the earlier chapters for the relation between reason and revelation, and for the role that the concept of mystery should play in philosophy in general, and in the philosophy of religion and philosophical theology in particular. (shrink)
On Christian doctrine, God is love; and the love of God is most manifest in Christ’s passion. The passion of Christ thus matters to philosophical theology’s examination of the divine attribute of love. But the passion of Christ is presented in a biblical story, and there are serious methodological questions about the way in which a biblical story can be used as evidence in philosophical theology. And these questions in turn raise deeper epistemological questions. How does any narrative transmit knowledge? (...) And what counts as veridicality in a narrative? This paper deals with some of the questions for philosophical theology and then concentrates on the more general epistemological questions about narratively transmitted knowledge. (shrink)
What mysteries lie at the heart of fiction's power to enchant and engage the mind? Empty Revelations considers a number of philosophical problems that fiction raises, including the primary issue of how we can think and talk about things that do not exist. Peter Alward covers thought-provoking terrain, exploring fictional truth, the experience of being "caught up" in a story, and the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction. At the centre of Alward's argument is a figure known as the "narrative informant" (...) who mediates the reader's encounter with fictional events through - sometimes unreliable - reporting. Developing a theory in which the author is a sculptor who constructs works of fiction out of words, Alward demonstrates that much of the confusion about fiction stems from a failure to properly distinguish between writing fiction and telling stories. Combining clarity, philosophical sophistication, ingenuity, and originality, Empty Revelations is a rewarding read for both scholars of philosophy and anyone interested in the complex ways that fiction works. (shrink)
Jean-François Revel is the first philosopher to take food seriously and to offer a topology for food practices. He draws a distinction between different kinds of cuisine -- popular cuisine and erudite cuisine. With this distinction, he traces the evolution of food practices from the ancient Greeks and Romans, down through the Middle Ages, and into the Renaissance and the Modern Period. His contribution has been acknowledged by Deane Curtin who offers an interpretation of Revel’s conceptual scheme along Platonic lines. (...) In this essay the author reviews Curtin’s interpretation, finds it wanting in certain respects, and develops an alternative reading of Revel along Hegelian lines. This interpretation, the author believes, does greater justice to Revel’s topology for food practices. (shrink)
Anthropological inquiry has often been considered an agent of intellectual secularization. Not least is this so in the sphere of religion, where anthropological accounts have often been taken to represent the triumph of naturalism. This metanarrative, however, fails to recognize that naturalistic explanations could sometimes be espousedforreligious purposes and in defence of confessional creeds. This essay examines two late nineteenth-century figures – Alexander Winchell in the United States and William Robertson Smith in Britain – who found in anthropological analysis resources (...) to bolster rather than undermine faith. In both cases these individuals found themselves on the receiving end of ecclesiastical censure and were dismissed from their positions at church-governed institutions. But their motivation was to vindicate divine revelation, in Winchell's case from the physical anthropology of human origins and in Smith's from the cultural anthropology of Semitic ritual. (shrink)