April 28, 2007

"Common Sense," "Pre-Theoretical Intuitions," and Philosophy

I am presently reading Peter van Inwagen's Material Beings (I'm not sure if it's going to actually help with my very strange philosophy of religion term paper wherein I argue that idealism is compatible with a belief in the bodily resurrection of the dead, or if I'm just procrastinating). In section 10, after denying that there are, in metaphysical rigor, any artifacts (i.e. inanimate macrophysical objects, such as chairs), van Inwagen makes the following remark: Does my position not fly in the face of common sense? I do not think so. This is not because I think that my position is in accord with "common sense," but rather because I do not think that there is any such thing as the body of doctrine the philosophers call common sense...
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April 26, 2007

The New York Times Supports the Police State!

An editorial appearing in today's New York Times finally, at least, more or less understands the position of supporters of the Second Amendment as written. That's close to all that can be said positively about this little article. It begins with this line:
By now, the logic is almost automatic. A shooter takes innocent lives, and someone says that if the victims had been armed, this wouldn�t have happened. The only solution to a gun in the wrong hands, it seems, is a gun in the hands of everyone.
Why do gun advocates support this line of reasoning? The critical point is that it is not possible to keep guns out of the hands of criminals...
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April 24, 2007

Quote of the Day

"We now have almost as many definitions of heresy and orthodoxy as there are denominations ... Now I can be fundamentalist, orthodox, heretical, and an atheist all at the same time. Just ask my critics!" - Henry Neufeld
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April 19, 2007

Calvinism and Arminianism: On Making the Right Objection

I want to make an important point about something that is either a reasoning mistake (if done accidentally) or an underhanded rhetorical trick (if done intentionally). I've seen it a lot (and done it myself, accidentally) in debates between Calvinists and Arminians (mostly on a popular level, but sometimes even in the writings of philosophers and theologians), so I'm going to use this debate to provide examples ... The issue is this: all of us believe implicit contradictions, because we are unable to determine all the consequences of our beliefs. This means that there is a big difference between rejecting a belief p and accepting a belief q which, unbeknownst to you, logically entails not-p. So, if you believe ...
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April 18, 2007

On Methodologies of New Testament Textual Criticism

Not long ago, I was finally able to read the debate between Gordon Fee and Zane Hodges, which took place in a series of articles in the March and June 1978 editions of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. (Fee's article, Hodges' response, Fee's rejoinder, Hodges' "surrejoinder") The debate concerns the general methodology of New Testament textual criticism. Fee supports a method known as "reasoned eclecticism," whereas Hodges supports what is known as the "majority text method" or some such. (Contrary to the charges sometimes leveled against it, the majority text method is not just a rationalization for...
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April 16, 2007

Important Announcement!

So, I normally make it a rule not to post anything of a personal nature on this blog and, likewise, with one notable exception (it was snowing on the Parthenon!), not to post photos. However, as we all know, rules were made to be broken.

This is a picture of a diamond ring. The beautiful woman wearing the diamond ring is Lauren. We haven't set a date yet.
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Topic(s): My Life
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April 11, 2007

Translating Revelation 11:15

In Revelation 11:15, a loud voice from heaven says something which the HCSB translates as "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!" The other translations I had handy (NKJV, NIV, NASB, KJV, RSV) were all very similar. The agreement of the translations makes me wonder if I'm missing something, because it appears to me that there is another reading, which actually seems to me to deal with the grammar better. I would translate this reading as: "The Kingdom of the Universe, [the Kingdom] of...
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April 9, 2007

Libertarian Compatibilism?

In metaphysics, libertarianism is the view that human beings (and other free beings) are free because they can do otherwise. Determinism is the view that the conjunction of the laws of nature with all the facts about the configuration of the world at some time t entail all the facts about the configuration of the world at all times. Compatibilism is the view that free will and determinism are logically compatible, and incompatibilism is the view that they are not. Libertarianism is generally taken to entail incompatibilism, and is contrasted with compatibilist theories of free will. However, in her recent...
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