Self-control has been described as the ability to master motivation that is contrary to one’s better judgement; that is, an ability that prevents such motivation from resulting in behaviour that is contrary to one’s overall better judgement (Mele, Irrationality: An essay on Akrasia, self-deception and self-control, p. 54, 1987). Recent discussions in philosophy have centred on the question of whether synchronic self-control, in which one exercises self-control whilst one is currently experiencing opposing motivation, is actional or non-actional. The actional theorist (...) maintains that such exercises are actions, whilst the non-actional theorist claims that synchronic self-control consists in the having of unmotivated thoughts which occur at times when agents experience recalcitrant motivations and which serve to attenuate the strength of those motivations. In this paper I discuss a class of cases which has been largely ignored in these discussions, cases which I argue are common synchronic self-control problems, but in which a lack of motivation is the characteristic symptom. I argue that such cases present problems for actional accounts and add some support to the non-actional approach. (shrink)
Timothy O’Connor’s book Theism and Ultimate Explanation offers a defense of a new version of the cosmological argument. In his discussion, O’Connor argues against the coherence of a brute fact “explanation” of the universe and for the claim that the God of theism cannot be logically contingent. In this paper, I take issue with both of these arguments. Regarding the former, I claim that contrary to what O’Connor asserts, we have no good reason to prefer an account (...) according to which the universe is explained via a necessary being to that of a naturalist who thinks that the universe is contingent and ultimately unexplained. Regarding the latter, I argue that the possibility of a logically contingent God is fully consistent with traditional theism. (shrink)
When leading spectroscopists in Europe and America were engaged, during 1897, in exploring the recently-discovered Zeeman Effect, they were overtaken by a relatively obscure phsicist working in Dublin. Thomas Preston had previously been known only for his excellent textbooks. His achievement in discovering the Anomalous Zeeman Effect was immediately recognized, but his untimely death has deprived posterity until now of a full account of his life and qualities.
In this clear and up-to-date introduction, Thomas D. Senor lays the philosophical foundation needed to understand the justification of memory belief. This book explores traditional accounts of the justification of memory belief and examines the resources that prominent positions in contemporary epistemology have to offer theories of the memorial justification. Along the way, epistemic conservatism, evidentialism, foundationalism, phenomenal conservatism, reliabilism, and preservationism all feature. Study Questions and annotated Further Reading guides at the end of each chapter make this book (...) ideal for classroom use and independent study. Written in very clear prose, A Critical Introduction to the Epistemology of Memory is a valuable resource for students approaching epistemology for the first time or those looking to advance their understanding of a core area of philosophy. (shrink)
Thinking about God often leads to thinking about ‘God’. And it has never been completely clear how best to understand this little English word. Traditionally, ‘God’ has been taken to be either a description or a name. However, a third option has recently captured the attention of philosophical theologians. It is claimed that just as one should think of, say, ‘humanity’ as a kind term, so one should think of ‘God’, or perhaps ‘divinity’, as a kind term. But given the (...) tight link between semantics and metaphysics, if one is tempted to understand ‘humanity’ or ‘divinity’ as kind terms, then one will naturally begin to think of humanity and divinity as kinds. Characterizing divinity this way, a primary task of philosophical theology is to give a characterization of the divine kind-essence. In this paper, I want to consider the claim that divinity is profitably construed as a kind-essence, and argue that the way that this has typically been understood is not altogether adequate. I shall then present and develop an alternative understanding of this kind-essence approach that takes the analogy of `supernatural kinds’ and natural kinds much more seriously. I will conclude by considering some objections. (shrink)
Our technologies are progressively developing into algorithmic devices that seamlessly interface with digital personhood. This text discusses the ways in which technology is increasingly becoming a part of personhood and the resulting ethical issues. It extends upon the framework for a brain-based cyberpsychology outlined by the author's earlier book Cyberpsychology and the Brain: The Interaction of Neuroscience and Affective Computing. Using this framework, Thomas D. Parsons investigates the ethical issues involved in cyberpsychology research and praxes, which emerge in algorithmically (...) coupled people and technologies. The ethical implications of these ideas are important as we consider the cognitive enhancements that can be afforded by our technologies. If people are intimately linked to their technologies, then removing or damaging the technology could be tantamount to a personal attack. On the other hand, algorithmic devices may threaten autonomy and privacy. This book reviews these and other issues. (shrink)
This book is the first study to focus on the reception of Paul's link between resurrection and salvation, revealing its profound effect on early Christian theology - not only eschatology, but also anthropology, pneumatology, ethics, and soteriology. Thomas D. McGlothlin traces the roots of the strong tension on the matter in ancient Judaism and then offers deep readings of the topic by key theologians of pre-Nicene Christianity, who argued on both sides of the issue of the fleshliness of the (...) resurrected body. McGlothlin unravels the surprising continuities that emerge between Irenaeus, Origen, and the Valentinians, as well as deep disagreements between allies like Irenaeus and Tertullian. (shrink)
: For the sake of defending the political-ethical legitimacy of religious exemptions, this article analyzes what contemporary natural law theorists call the good of religion—harmony with the transcendent source of existence and meaning. This good serves as a principle in practical judgments, not as a premise in a deductive argument, but as an end of action. Practical familiarity and explicit understanding of this good can differ among individuals, and variations of such familiarity and understanding lead to differing practical judgments concerning (...) what constitute reasonable choices in its pursuit. This in turn affects judgments of fairness concerning burdens on that same pursuit. It is optimal for judgments about religious exemptions to presuppose a more paradigmatic understanding of this good so that one can better assess what is really at stake in the minds of religious believers when their religious liberty is burdened. In making a case for a more paradigmatic understanding of religion, this article draws attention to existential data from which practical insight into the good of religion arises. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that internalistic foundationalist theories of the justification of memory belief are inadequate. Taking a discussion of John Pollock as a starting point, I argue against any theory that requires a memory belief to be based on a phenomenal state in order to be justified. I then consider another version of internalistic foundationalism and claim that it, too, is open to important objections. Finally, I note that both varieties of foundationalism fail to account for the epistemic (...) status of our justified nonoccurrent beliefs, and hence are drastically incomplete. (shrink)
In this essay an ‘objective’ account of intrinsic value is proposed and partly defended. It is claimed that a kind of value exists which is, or may reasonably be supposed to be, a property of certain objects. The presence of such value is not to be wholly accounted for as the ‘projection’ of certain human feelings elicited by the object thought to be of value, nor by the object's meeting certain operative human conventions prescribing what is to be admired, nor (...) by its being conformable, in some way, to human needs or desires. Hume, of course, would have none of this. It is hoped to show that if one adopts Hume's account, then his attempt to show that there nevertheless will be convergence in the long run as to what is of aesthetic value is forced and unsuccessful. By contrast, on the ‘objective’ account convergence is to be expected. This, of course, only shows the superiority of the ‘objective’ account so long as there is an expectation of long-term convergence. This is not an expectation of most contemporary value ‘subjectivists’, and therefore the argument will not be directly relevant to their positions. (shrink)
If the world were wholly just, the following inductive definition would exhaustively cover the subject of justice in holdings. 1. A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in acquisition is entitled to that holding. 2. A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in transfer, from someone else entitled to the holding, is entitled to the holding. 3. No one is entitled to a holding except by applications of i (...) and 2. The complete principle of distributive justice would say simply that a distribution is just if everyone is entitled to the holdings they possess under the distribution. (shrink)
Mill says that the object of his essay On Liberty is to defend a certain principle, which I will call the ‘liberty principle’, and will take to say the following: ‘It is permissible, in principle, for the state or society to control the actions of individuals “only in respect to those actions of each, which concern the interest of other people”’. The liberty principle is a prescription of intermediate generality. Mill intends it to support more specific political prescriptions, such as (...) liberty of conscience, of expressing and publishing opinions, of framing a plan of life to suit our own character, and of combination for any purpose not involving harm to others. The liberty principle is more general than these prescriptions but less general than its possible moral foundations, such as utilitarianism. My concern will be with attempts to defend the liberty principle by showing it to be supported by an acceptable moral position. (shrink)
In a pair of recent articles, Brian Leftow and Eleonore Stump offer independent, although similar, accounts of the metaphysics of the Incarnation. Both believe that their Aquinas-inspired theories can offer solutions to the kind of Leibniz’s Law problems that can seem to threaten the logical possibility of this traditional Christian doctrine. In this paper, I’ll have a look at their compositional account of the nature of God incarnate. In the end, I believe their position can be seen to have unacceptable (...) philosophical and theological implications, and that is it inadequate to solve the Leibniz’s law problems that motivate it in the first place. (shrink)
Philosophers and theologians acknowledge that "fideism" is difficult to define but rarely agree on what the best characterization of the term is. In this article, I investigate the history of use of "fideism" to explore why its meaning has been so contested and thus why it has not always been helpful for resolving philosophical problems. I trace the use of the term from its origins in French theology to its current uses in philosophy and theology, concluding that "fideism" is helpful (...) in resolving philosophical problems only when philosophers scrupulously acknowledge the tradition of use that informs their understanding of the word. (shrink)
In his recent book, Jaegwon Kim argues thatpsychophysical supervenience withoutpsychophysical reduction renders mentalcausation `unintelligible'. He also claimsthat, contrary to popular opinion, his argumentagainst supervenient mental causation cannot begeneralized so as to threaten the causalefficacy of other `higher-level' properties:e.g., the properties of special sciences likebiology. In this paper, I argue that none ofthe considerations Kim advances are sufficientto keep the supervenience argument fromgeneralizing to all higher-level properties,and that Kim's position in fact entails thatonly the properties of fundamental physicalparticles are causally efficacious.
The commonly held view that Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion entails an irrationalist defense of religion known as 'fideism' loses plausibility when contrasted with recent scholarship on Wittgenstein's corpus, biography, and other sources. This book reevaluates the place of Wittgenstein in the philosophy of religion and charts a path forward for the subfield by advancing three themes. The first is that philosophers of religion should question received interpretations of philosophers, such as Wittgenstein, as well as the meanings of key terms used (...) in interpretations, such as 'fideism'. The second theme is that Wittgenstein's philosophy, across his corpus, pursues a particular end: a searching clarity or perspicuity. The third theme is that with the rise of various religious movements within societies and around the world in recent decades, philosophy of religion has important tasks in clarifying global conversations on living well amidst human diversities and contemplating philosophy as a vocation. (shrink)