Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)


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Classical Theism is thus committed to the universe not being identical to God. I shall argue that Classical Theism is committed to seeing the universe as God's body or a part of His body if there are parallel universes. It follows that it is also committed to the falsity of theories which identify people with their bodies or state that of necessity people depend on their bodies for their continued existence. Freedom, human and divine. You are reading this book. Therefore, there is a God. Morpheus and Berkeley on Reality. Religions, truth, and the pursuit of truth: a reply to Zamulinski.

Contrary to Zamulinski's claim that religions are not truth-oriented but function as fictions, it is contended that they could not serve the purpose he assigns them unless their adherents regarded them as true. Religions must therefore be truth-oriented.

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The substantive question is whether any of them are true, and Zamulinski's paper provides no new method for addressing this question. The possibility of a free-will defence for the problem of natural evil. I conclude that, despite prima facie plausibility, these arguments do not, in fact, work. I provide my own argument for there being no possible world in which creatures enjoying this sort of freedom exist yet suffer no natural evil, and conclude that the way is thus open for extending the free-will defence to the problem of natural evil.

How a single personal revelation might not be a source of knowledge.


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I shall argue that — at least in the first instance — such people should probably not think of themselves as knowing that there is a God if they are also traditional libertarians and believe in Robert Nozick's theory of knowledge. God's creation of morality. In this paper, I argue that classical theists should think of God as having created morality. In form, my position largely resembles that defended by Richard Swinburne. However, it differs from his position in content in that it evacuates the category of necessary moral truth of all substance and, having effected this tactical withdrawal, Swinburne's battle lines need to be redrawn.

In the first section, I introduce the Euthyphro dilemma. In the third section, I turn to consider how the claim that all value is contingent upon God's will might best be understood, arguing that classical theists will want to commit themselves to a relatively strong form of objectivism about moral value even though this is not needed in order to solve the Euthyphro dilemma.

I then give and defend an account of God's creation of contingent moral truths which coheres with what I argue is the most plausible form of this commitment. In the following section, I argue that this account avoids the charge that God is arbitrary in His choice of values and, finally, I argue that it avoids the charge that God may not be said to be good without vacuity. Thus, I conclude that the Euthyphro dilemma does not threaten classical theism.

Omnipotence and necessary moral perfection are compatible: A reply to Morriston. In this paper, which is a reply to Wes Morriston's 'Omnipotence and necessary moral perfection: are they compatible? Indeed, I shall argue that a classical theist can show that an omnipotent being is of necessity morally perfect. Mill's proof. British Journal for the History of Philosophy. Miracles and laws of nature. In this paper, I argue that miracles should not be defined as involving violations of natural laws. They should be defined as signs of particular volitions of the deity or of other supernatural agents.

I suggest that one may, without any prior belief in the existence of such supernatural agents, reasonably come to believe that one has witnessed miracles.

Philosophy of Religion: Evidence for God's Existence

The problem of evil and moral indifference. I start by arguing that one cannot, by consideration of agents' choices between morally indifferent options, reach any conclusion as to these agents' moral qualities. There is an assortment of teleological arguments, but a common theme among them is the claim that certain characteristics of the natural world reflect design, purpose, and intelligence.

These features of the natural world are then used as evidence for an intelligent, intentional designer of the world. The teleological argument has been articulated and defended at various times and places throughout history, but its zenith was in the early nineteenth century with perhaps its most ardent defender: William Paley — Those offered by David Hume — in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion are often taken to be archetype refutations of traditional design arguments. Among them are that the analogy between the works of nature and human artifacts is not particularly strong; that even if we could infer a grand designer of the universe, this designer turns out to be something less than the God of the theistic religions especially given the great amount of evil in the world ; and that just because a universe has the appearance of design, it does not follow that it is in fact designed; such an event could have occurred through natural, chance events.

A more recent version of the design argument is based on the apparent fine-tuning of the cosmos. Fine-tuning arguments, whose current leading defender is Robin Collins, include the claims that the laws of nature, the constants of physics, and the initial conditions of the universe are finely tuned for conscious life. Consider the following three: 1 If the strong nuclear force the force that binds protons and neutrons in an atom had been either stronger or weaker by five percent, life would be impossible; 2 If neutrons were not roughly 1.


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  • While each of the individual calculations of such constants may not be fully accurate, it is argued that the significant number of them, coupled with their independence from one other, provides evidence of their being intentionally established with conscious life in mind. Objections to fine-tuning arguments are multifarious.

    Theism and Explanation

    According to an anthropic principle objection, if the laws of nature and physical constants would have varied to any significant degree, there would be no conscious observers such as ourselves. Given that such observers do exist, it should not be surprising that the laws and constants are just as they are.

    One way of accounting for such observers is the many-worlds hypothesis. In this view, there exist a large number of universes, perhaps an infinite number of them. Most of these universes include life-prohibiting parameters, but at least a minimal number of them would probably include life-permitting ones.

    It should not be surprising that one of them, ours, for example, is life-permitting. Much of the current fine-tuning discussion turns on the plausibility of the many-worlds hypothesis and the anthropic principle. There are other versions of the teleological argument that have also been proposed which focus not on fundamental parameters of the cosmos but on different aspects of living organisms—including their emergence, alleged irreducibly complex systems within living organisms, information intrinsic within DNA, and the rise of consciousness—in an attempt to demonstrate intelligent, intentional qualities in the world.

    If successful, the cosmological argument only provides evidence for a transcendent first cause of the universe, nothing more; at best, the teleological argument provides evidence for a purposive, rational designer of the universe, nothing more; and so on. Natural theologians maintain, however, that the central aim of these arguments is not to offer full-blown proofs of any particular deity, but rather to provide evidence or warrant for belief in a grand designer, or creator, or moral lawgiver.

    Some natural theologians argue that it is best to combine the various arguments in order to provide a cumulative case for a broad form of theism. Taken together, these natural theologians argue, the classical arguments offer a picture of a deity not unlike the God of the theistic religious traditions and even if this approach does not prove the existence of any particular deity, it does nonetheless lend support to theism over naturalism which, as used here, is the view that natural entities have only natural causes, and that the world is fully describable by the physical sciences.

    Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion - Routledge

    Along with arguments for the existence of God, there are also a number of reasons one might have for denying the existence of God. If the burden is on the theist to provide highly convincing evidences or reasons that would warrant his or her believing that God exists, in the absence of such evidences and reasons disbelief is justified. Another reason one might have for not believing that God exists is that science conflicts with theistic beliefs and, given the great success of the scientific enterprise, it should have the last word on the matter.

    Since science has regularly rebuffed religious claims in the past, we should expect the claims of religion to eventually become extinct.

    A third possible reason for denying the existence of God is that the very concept of God is incoherent. And a fourth reason one might have is that the existence of God conflicts with various features of the natural world, such as evil, pain, and suffering. Over the last several hundred years there has been tremendous growth in scientific understanding of the world in such fields as biology, astronomy, physics, and geology.

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    These advances have had considerable influence on religious belief. When religious texts, such as the Bible, have been in conflict with science, the latter has generally been the winner in the debate ; religious beliefs have commonly given way to the power of the scientific method. It has seemed to some that modern science will be able to explain all of the fundamental questions of life with no remainder.

    Given the advances of science and the retreat of religious beliefs, many in the latter half of the twentieth century agreed with the general Freudian view that a new era was on the horizon in which the infantile illusions, or perhaps delusions, of religion would soon go the way of the ancient Greek and Roman gods.

    With the onset of the twenty-first century, however, a new narrative has emerged. Religion has not fallen into oblivion, as many anticipated; in fact, religious belief is on the rise. Many factors account for this, including challenges to psychological and sociological theories which hold belief in God to be pathological or neurotic. In recent decades these theories have themselves been challenged by medical and psychological research, being understood by many to be theories designed primarily to destroy belief in God.

    Another important factor is the increase in the number of believing and outspoken scientists, such as Francis Collins, the director of the human genome project.

    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)
    Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) Theism and Explanation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)

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