dunnettreader + god-existence   30

Romanticism, reflexivity, design: An interview with Colin Jager by Nathan Schneider « The Immanent Frame
Colin Jager’s reading of the British romantics places them at the center of debates about religion, secularism, and pluralism today. In The Book of God, he traces the ways in which design arguments for God’s existence — predecessors to the current Intelligent Design movement—were developed and discussed in British literature from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth. His interpretation challenges those in the habit of trying to disentangle the religious and the secular, in both the past and the present. Jager is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University and is currently at work on a second book, After Secularism: Romanticism, Literature, Religion - downloaded pdf to Note
interview  intellectual_history  religious_history  cultural_history  literary_history  17thC  18thC  19thC  Romanticism  God-existence  secularization  English_lit  religious_culture  religious_belief  design-nature  creation  theology  theodicy  natural_religion  Deism  creationism  intelligent_design  downloaded 
march 2016 by dunnettreader
Wireless Philosophy | Classical Theism 7 (Atheistic Arguments from Evil) | Wi Phi
Classical Theism 7 (Atheistic Arguments from Evil), Emeritus Professor, Philosophy, University of Toronto -- Last in series - Often it can seem like the existence of evil is incompatible with a good and omnipotent God. This video present an argument for that claim put forward by J.L. Mackie, and it examines the different ways that Classical Theism and Theistic Personalism respond to a version of it that concludes that there is no God
video  God-attributes  God-existence  philosophy_of_religion  theology  theodicy 
december 2015 by dunnettreader
John Sellars - Is God a Mindless Vegetable? Cudworth on Stoic Theology (2011) | Academia.edu
Intellectual History Review 21/2 (2011), 121-33 -- In the late sixteenth century a number of influential writers claimed Stoicism to be compatible with Christianity but by the mid eighteenth century, Stoicism had come to be associated with atheism. What happened during the course of the reception of Stoicism in the intervening period? While it remains unclear who was the first person to call the Stoics atheists, there is no doubt that the most philosophically sustained analysis of Stoic theology during this period is to be found in Ralph Cudworth's True Intellectual System of the Universe, published in 1678. Cudworth's aim in this work is to catalogue and then attack all existing forms of atheism and one of the four principal forms of atheism he identifies he calls ‘Stoical’. However, in Cudworth's complex taxonomy of different forms of theism and atheism, Stoicism appears twice, first as a form of atheism but also as a form of imperfect theism. The aim of this study is to examine Cudworth's claims about Stoic theology, assessing their fairness, but also placing them within the wider context of the early modern reception of Stoicism. -- Keywords: Atheism, Stoicism, Cambridge Platonism, and Ralph Cudworth -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  Academia.edu  intellectual_history  17thC  18thC  Stoicism  theology  atheism  determinism  God-existence  God-attributes  Cambridge_Platonists  Cudworth  downloaded 
november 2015 by dunnettreader
Brian Leiter - The Death of God and the Death of Morality [Nietzsche] :: SSRN - September 16, 2015
University of Chicago -' Nietzsche famously proclaimed the "death of God," but in so doing it was not God's death that was really notable -- Nietzsche assumes that most reflective, modern readers realize that "the belief in the Christian god has become unbelievable" (GS 343) -- but the implications of that belief becoming unbelievable, namely, "how much must collapse now that this faith has been undermined," in particular, "the whole of our European morality" (GS 343). What is the connection between the death of God and the death of morality? I argue that Nietzsche thinks the death of God will undermine two central aspects of our morality: its moral egalitarianism, and its belief in moral responsibility and warranted guilt. I offer an account of how Nietzsche sees the connections, and conclude with some skeptical considerations about whether Nietzsche was right that atheism would, in fact, undermine morality. -- Number of Pages in PDF File: 25 -- Keywords: Nietzsche, theism, morality -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  SSRN  moral_philosophy  religious_belief  religious_culture  19thC  Nietzsche  theism  atheism  God-existence  moral_psychology  morality-Nietzche  morality-divine_command  morality-Christian  morality-conventional  morality-objective  Kant-ethics  egalitarian  guilt  norms  obligation  responsibility  free_will  downloaded 
october 2015 by dunnettreader
Design Arguments for the Existence of God | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Table of Contents -- 1. The Classical Versions of the Design Argument -- a. Scriptural Roots and Aquinas's Fifth Way -- b.The Argument from Simple Analogy -- c. Paley's Watchmaker Argument -- d. Guided Evolution **--** 2. Contemporary Versions of the Design Argument. -- a. The Argument from. -- b. Irreducible Biochemical Complexity -- c. The Argument from Biological Information. -- d. The Fine-Tuning Arguments -- (i) The Argument from Suspicious Improbability -- (ii) The Confirmatory Argument. **--** 3. The Scientifically Legitimate Uses of Design Inferences. **--** 4.References and Further Reading -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  ancient_philosophy  medieval_philosophy  17thC  18thC  19thC  20thC  philosophy_of_religion  theology  natural_religion  rational_religion  Newtonianism  creation  design-nature  God-existence  God-attributes  Aquinas  analogy  Paley  complexity  cosmology  cosmological-fine-tuning  intelligent_design  creationism  natural_philosophy  evolution  Bible-as-history  bibliography  downloaded 
august 2015 by dunnettreader
Hartshorne: Biography and Psychology of Sensation | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(..) he insisted that metaphysics and empirical science have different aims and methods, each ensuring in its own way a disciplined objectivity. His “neoclassical” or “process” metaphysics is in the same family of speculative philosophy that one finds in the works of CS Peirce and the later writings of AN Whitehead. Although he did not style himself a disciple of either, he made significant contributions to the study of these philosophers even as he developed his own views. Like them, he endeavored in his own metaphysical thinking to give full weight to the dynamic, relational, temporal, and affective dimensions of the universe. He emphasized, as few before him had, in logic and in the processes of nature, the foundational nature of asymmetrical relations. He was also a theist (...) the revival of the ontological or modal argument for God’s existence...He insisted, however, that it was unavailing to appeal to ...any theistic argument) as support for theism without first rethinking the concept of deity. He argued that thinking about God had been handicapped by lack of attention to the logically possible forms of theism, and in place of the unmoved mover of classical theology, he proposed “the most, and best, moved mover.” He endorsed a “dipolar” version of theism according to which God is both necessary and contingent, but in different respects. He sought a “panentheism” in which God includes the creatures without negating their distinctiveness. -- entry also covers his 1st book on perception -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  20thC  metaphysics  philosophy_of_religion  Peirce  Whitehead  theism  Hartshorne  natural_religion  rational_religion  God-attributes  God-existence  analytical_philosophy  logic  logic-Peirce  process_theology  panentheism  ontological_argument  cosmology  Aristotelian  sensation  perception  empiricism  downloaded 
august 2015 by dunnettreader
Hartshorne, Charles: Neoclassical Metaphysics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy - July 2015
Hartshorne (1897-2000) was an intrepid defender of the claims of metaphysics ...While many influential voices were explaining what speculative philosophy could not accomplish or even proclaiming an end to it, Hartshorne was trying to show what speculative philosophy could accomplish. Metaphysics, he said, has a future as well as a past. He believed that the history of philosophy exhibits genuine, albeit halting and uneven, progress towards a comprehensive understanding of the nature of existence. Philosophy was, for him, a dialogue that spans centuries, with partners whose wisdom has a perennial relevance. The 2 philosophers who most influenced him, and in whose work he found the greatest parallels with his own thinking, were Charles Sanders Peirce and Alfred North Whitehead. Hartshorne was co-editor with Paul Weiss of the first comprehensive edition of Peirce’s philosophical papers, and he served as Whitehead’s assistant during the most metaphysically creative period of the Englishman’s career. (...) there remained important differences between the two philosophers [i.e. H & W]. (..) theism was always a central element of Hartshorne’s metaphysics (addressed briefly here, but see “Charles Hartshorne: Dipolar Theism” and “Charles Hartshorne: Theistic and Anti-theistic Arguments”) whereas Whitehead was preoccupied for much of his career with a philosophy of nature and did not introduce God until he developed the speculative philosophy of his later works. -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  20thC  metaphysics  philosophy_of_religion  Peirce  Whitehead  theism  Hartshorne  natural_religion  rational_religion  God-attributes  God-existence  analytical_philosophy  logic-Peirce  ontological_argument  modal_logic  Quine  process_theology  panentheism  downloaded 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Review by: Charles Taliaferro - Richard Swinburne, Providence and the Problem of Evil | JSTOR: The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 197 (Oct., 1999), pp. 562-564
Swinburne, unlike Plantinga etc, admits there's enough of what we would term evil to require a theodicy from any Christian theologian or philosophers of religion more generally -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  find  reviews  jstor  intellectual_history  theology  theodicy  God-existence  God-attributes  creative_destruction  creation  agnosticism  theism  Christianity  downloaded  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Alan Carter - On Pascal's Wager, or Why All Bets Are Off | JSTOR: The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 198 (Jan., 2000), pp. 22-27
Short demonstration that if Pascal succeeds in showing it's rational to bet on a good god and lead a morally upstanding life, it's similarly rational to believe in an evil god and attempt to earn divine rewards by conducting our lives in the most morally repugnant way we can. - starts with a discussion of prior, less dramatic, objections to Pascal's Wager from e.g. Diderot onwards -- didn't download
article  jstor  intellectual_history  17thC  18thC  French_Enlightenment  Pascal  religious_belief  God-existence  God-attributes  theodicy  universalism  comparative_religion  immortality  immorality  morality-divine_command  morality-Christian  morality-conventional  Diderot  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
"The Modal Status of Kant's Postulate of God's Existence" by Mathew Jonathan Snow | U of Wisconsin Masters thesis (2013)
Masters thesis -- Kant is traditionally read as arguing that moral agents are rationally required to postulate the actual existence of God, but contemporary commentators' reconstructions of the argument only seem sufficient to warrant postulating the merely possible existence of God. There have been three attempts to address this seeming lacuna between what the argument is supposed to justify and what it does justify. Allen Wood defends the traditional interpretation - that Kant postulated the actual existence of God. M Jamie Ferreira proposes a revisionary interpretation - that Kant postulated the possible existence of God. Finally, Paul Guyer simply criticizes Kant for postulating the actual existence of God when his argument only justifies postulating the possible existence of God. I argue that Allen Wood's defense is insufficient to ground the appropriate propositional attitude toward the postulates while M Jamie Ferreira's proposal cannot pass as a reading of Kant. Nonetheless, I argue that Kant need not be criticized because the seeming lacuna does not arise if we are sufficiently sensitive to the modality of the judgment Kant takes to be required for rational pursuit of the highest good. --Snow, Mathew Jonathan, "The Modal Status of Kant's Postulate of God's Existence" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. Paper 308. -- downloaded pdf to Note
thesis  intellectual_history  18thC  Kant-ethics  God-existence  moral_philosophy  reason  practical_reason  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Advisors - Charles H. Kahn and Susan Sauvé Meyer, Paul Guyer -- When Plato discusses the World-soul, cosmic intellect (nous), and the Demiurge, he approaches them theologically, i.e. as being the subjects of an account of the nature of the gods, but few works in the last half-century or more have addressed the ‘players’ in Plato’s theology as such. -- I analyze Plato’s various accounts of those divine things that are immanent in the world of change (e.g. the World-soul) and those that are said to be transcendent intelligibles (e.g. the Forms and the Demiurge) in order to determine what Plato’s gods are, and what roles they play in his system. -- The invention of the World-soul is revealed to be Plato’s way of instantiating intellect in the cosmos in order to suit the demands of his natural and moral philosophy, while his esoteric account of the Demiurge resolves any tensions between his immanent theology and his metaphysics, and suggests, semi-literally, the role that timeless, intelligible goodness plays in organizing the sensible world of change. -- Rheins, Jason G., "THE INTELLIGIBLE CREATOR-GOD AND THE INTELLIGENT SOUL OF THE COSMOS IN PLATO’S THEOLOGY AND METAPHYSICS" (2010). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. Paper 184. -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  ancient_philosophy  ancient_Greece  religious_history  theology  metaphysics  moral_philosophy  creation  gods-antiquity  God-attributes  God-existence  immanence  transcendence  forms  ideas-theories  Plato  change-metaphysics  cosmology  good  time  timeless  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Gary Gutting - What Does Buddhism Require? | NYT April 2014
This is the fifth in a series of interviews about religion that I am conducting for The Stone. The interviewee for this installment is Jay L. Garfield, who has taught philosophy at several universities and is currently the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities, Yale-NUS College in Singapore. He is at work on a book called “Engaging Buddhism: Why Buddhism Matters to Contemporary Philosophy.”
philosophy_of_religion  Buddhism  God-existence 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Alfred Caldecott, Hugh Ross Mackintosh, eds. - Selections from the Literature of Theism (1904 - 472 pgs) - Google Books
Thomas Aquinas *--* Descartes *--* Spinoza *--* The Cambridge Platonists *--* Berkeley *--* Kant *--* Schleiermacher *--* Cousin *--* Comte *--* Mansel *--* Lotze *--* Martineau *--* Janet *--* Ritschl -- each author introduced by brief essay but more interesting intellectual framework of the editors comes out in their footnotes -- not exactly a companion to Caldecott history of British and American philosophy of religion, since his history covers a large number of thinkers and doesn't include Continental except as needed to explain the Anglo-American authors, but still useful for the intellectual framework of increasingly confident academic approach to philosophy of religion as distinct from theology -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  etexts  Google_Books  intellectual_history  theology  philosophy_of_religion  17thC  18thC  19thC  Descartes  Spinoza  Spinozism  Cambridge_Platonists  Berkeley  Kant  Schleiermacher  Comte  German_Idealism  British_Idealism  Hegelian  hermeneutics  moral_philosophy  cosmology  materialism  mind-body  metaphysics  God-attributes  God-existence  realism  scepticism  intuitionism  sociology_of_religion  phenomenology  Fin-de-Siècle  modernity  Victorian  Edwardian  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Alfred Caldecott - The Philosophy of Religion in England and America (1901) - Google Books
Downloaded pdf to Note -- interesting from standpoint of how he classifies the philosophical elements - e.g. lumps Bolingbroke with Berkeley and Butler, not with Deists or Hume - clearly doesn't see how similar Bolingbroke and Hume really were, unlike Warburton who grasped it; also doesn't sneer like Leslie Stephen -- a specimen of fin de siècle academic professionalization after the divinity training raison d'être and "vocation" of Anglo-American universities had evaporated
books  etexts  Google_Books  16thC  17thC  18thC  19thC  intellectual_history  theology  philosophy_of_religion  British_history  US_history  reason  revelation  cosmology  God-attributes  God-existence  creation_ex_nilho  creation  scepticism  theism  Cambridge_Platonists  Locke-religion  Deism  rational_religion  natural_religion  materialism  mind-body  mind-theory_of  idealism-transcendental  subjectivism  Butler  Berkeley  Bolingbroke  theodicy  comparative_religion  comparative_anthropology  monotheism  ecclesiology  Hegelian  British_Idealism  moral_philosophy  moral_sentiments  obligation  intuitionism  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Clayton Littlejohn, review - Rob Lovering, God and Evidence: Problems for Theistic Philosopher // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // Dec 2013
Rob Lovering presents a series of related problems for theism. Most of these have to do with our epistemic predicament. The bulk of the book is spent arguing that the fact of nonbelief should lead us to abandon a variety of theistic views (i.e., theistic inferentialism, theistic noninferentialism, and theistic fideism). In the book’s final chapter, he argues against the coherence of theism by arguing that there could not be an essentially omniscient being. Lovering’s book is a welcome addition to the literature. His arguments are novel and forceful. The problems he discusses deserve careful consideration. I shall briefly summarize the main moves in the text and then point to two places where I think the theist can push back. Although his arguments might not establish conclusively that the theistic views he discusses are mistaken, they show that these views are deeply problematic.
books  reviews  philosophy_of_religion  theology  theism  atheism  God-attributes  God-existence  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Lex Newman - The Fourth Meditation | JSTOR: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 59, No. 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 559-591
Recent scholarship suggests that Descartes's effort to establish a truth criterion is not viciously circular (notwithstanding its reputation)-a fact that invites closer scrutiny of his epistemological program. One of the least well understood features of the project is his deduction of a truth criterion from theistic premises, a demonstration Descartes says he provides in the Fourth Meditation: the alleged proof is not revealed by a casual reading, nor have commentators fared any better; in general, the relevance of the Fourth Meditation has not been duly appreciated. This paper reconstructs the argument of the Fourth Meditation, detailing the steps in the demonstration of the criterion and clarifying its role in the larger program. Surprisingly, Descartes deduces a truth criterion more fundamental than clarity and distinctness; this more fundamental criterion helps explain what are otherwise cryptic (though central) epistemological moves in the Sixth Meditation. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  intellectual_history  17thC  Descartes  epistemology  God-existence  Cartesian_Circle  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
february 2014 by dunnettreader
Maria Popova - Godliness in the Known and the Unknowable: Alan Lightman on Science and Spirituality | Brainpickings Jan 2014
Maria Popova on Alan Lightman (MIT physicist and author of fiction and nonfiction) -new essay collection 'The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew" - though an atheist thinks there are lots of ways to knowledge besides science, and that creativity and happiness requires embracing uncertainty and faith of various types
books  reviews  find  amazon.com  21stC  science-and-religion  physics  spirituality  secular_humanism  God-existence  God-attributes  Deism  atheism  natural_religion  cosmology  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Michael Lackey - Killing God, Liberating the "Subject": Nietzsche and Post-God Freedom | JSTOR: Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 60, No. 4 (Oct., 1999), pp. 737-754
Nietzsche claims freedom and self overcoming requires killing grammar -- maybe this will explain what Foucault et al mean by the death of the subject. Sounds twisted Hegelian but what do I know?
article  jstor  intellectual_history  philosophy  19thC  20thC  Nietzsche  God-existence  religious_belief  freedom  self  subject  moral_philosophy  postmodern  existentialism  Foucault  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
The God Debates | A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers
Shook presents a comprehensive, non-technical survey of the quest for knowledge of God. Using current ideas and concepts such as modernism, postmodernism, fideism, evidentialism, presuppositionalism, and mysticism, Shook ushers the importance of theological debates into a present-day context, steering clear of outdated caricatures of religion.

By mastering the clear and concise strategies Shook presents in each chapter, readers of all levels can participate in a thoughtful debate, grounded in knowledge of key arguments for and against the existence of God. Shook helps nonbelievers learn important theological standpoints while also acknowledging the shortcomings of some faith-based arguments. A final chapter considers the possibility of harmonizing reason and faith in light of several current worldviews, including fundamentalism and secularism.
books  God-existence  theology  atheism  science-and-religion  secularism  humanism  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Nicholas Rescher, Issues in the Philosophy of Religion, Reviewed by Laura Garcia // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2007)
The opening chapter on "Faith and Belief" sets the theme for the entire collection, introducing Rescher's distinction between a doxastic approach to religion and an axiological approach. The doxastic perspective focuses on propositional beliefs, their interpretation, coherence, and justification, while an axiological inquiry focuses on what a person values or finds desirable. Both approaches concern themselves with how God is conceived, but with different ends in mind -- a doxastic inquiry asks what sort of God is being accepted or rejected, while axiology asks whether the existence of God (conceived in a particular way) would be a good or a bad thing, welcome or unwelcome..... Most important for Rescher's purposes, a committed doxastic atheist might still be an axiological theist, since it is notoriously difficult to prove something's nonexistence. Rescher argues in favor of a presumption of atheism vis-à-vis the doxastic question, assuming that in any question of fact the affirmative side is required to offer reasons or evidence. However, he includes under this description many kinds of evidence -- demonstrative, experiential, inductive, and even acceptance of a claim to revelation. Rescher spends little time on the doxastic question, moving quickly to his main focus on the value question. There is no similar presumption in favor of axiological atheism, he claims, since the focus here is not on what is true or false but on what one should wish to be true or false.
books  reviews  God-existence  philosophy_of_science  theology  science-and-religion  atheism  Aquinas  values  hope  James_William  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Kenan Malik - WHO NEEDS GOD? | Pandaemonium February 2012
What I want to concentrate on today, however, is on the first type of argument. And that is because for me, as it is for many other atheists, this is the primary motivation for my atheism – I simply do not see the necessity for God.

There are three kinds of reasons often given for the necessity of God. First, there is the claim that God is necessary to explain Creation and the maintenance of the cosmos. Second, that God is a necessary source of moral values; that without God we would fall into the abyss of moral nihilism. And third, that without belief in God, there can be no purpose or meaning to life. Let us look at each of these claims in turn.
intellectual_history  theology  atheism  God-existence  God-attributes  voluntarism  moral_philosophy  morality-objective  morality-conventional  Biblical_criticism  Bible-as-history  Aquinas  cosmology  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
Nathaniel Peters, review: Denys Turner, Thomas Aquinas - The Common Doctor for Common People | America Magazine Oct 2013
Nathaniel Peters is a doctoral student in historical theology at Boston College.

As Turner argues, Thomas’ theology is deeply Dominican, marked above all by a concern for preaching. The Summa is, after all, a curriculum designed for men who are studying so that they can proclaim the Word of God and administer the sacraments. It is academic, but its study is aimed at proclamation. Attendant to the concern for preaching is a concern for poverty, which allows the preacher to back up his words with his own life. For all its erudition, the Summa is theology that friars can take with them to care for the people of God.

Turner begins his exposition of this theology in what might seem like an odd way: He argues that Thomas is a materialist—a materialist not according to the contemporary reductive sense that matter is all there is, but in a richer sense that matter is capable of bearing immense meaning. Hence he argues that we know truths about God and ourselves from our intellect’s grasp of material, worldly objects.

In a similar way, Thomas argues that human beings are body–soul composites. Contra Plato and his followers, the soul is not “the center of gravity of personhood,” to use Turner’s term. For Thomas, the person is the body and soul together, and not just the soul’s rational faculties, but even its more vegetative and animal ones.
books  biography  reviews  theology  Aquinas  materialism  dualism  God-existence  God-attributes  EF-add 
october 2013 by dunnettreader
NIALL O'FLAHERTY (2010). WILLIAM PALEY'S MORAL PHILOSOPHY AND THE CHALLENGE OF HUME: AN ENLIGHTENMENT DEBATE?. Modern Intellectual History, 7, pp 1-31. doi:10.1017/S1479244309990254. -- paywall rent 24 hours $5.99 -- This essay offers a reassessment of William Paley's Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (1785). It focuses on his defence of religious ethics from challenges laid down in David Hume's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751). By restoring the context of theological/philosophical debate to Paley's thinking about ethics, the essay attempts to establish his genuine commitment to a worldly theology and to a programme of human advancement. This description of orthodox thought takes us beyond the bipolar debate about whether intellectual culture in the period was religious or secular: it was clearly religious; the question is: what kind of religion? It also makes questionable the view that England was somehow isolated from so-called Enlightenment currents of thought that were thriving elsewhere on the Continent. The “science of man”, far from being the sole preserve of Scottish and continental thinkers, also provided the basis for moral thought in eighteenth-century England.
article  paywall  find  18thC  intellectual_history  theology  Enlightenment  God-existence  moral_philosophy  religious_culture  improvement  Hume  Paley  human_nature  EF-add 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
C. P. Ragland review: Andrea Christofidou, Self, Reason, and Freedom: A New Light on Descartes' Metaphysics // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // August 2013
For a long time, Anglophone commentators on Descartes' Meditations gave the Fourth Meditation short shrift, but in the last fifteen years or so, it has increasingly piqued their interest. Exemplifying that trend, Christofidou studies the entire Meditations in light of concepts central to the Fourth. She presents Descartes' method of doubt as a "self-administered" form of "Socratic . . . elenchus" (8) in which the meditator seeks truth by rejecting all authorities but that of Reason. Because employing the method is a free exercise of active will, freedom is at the heart of Descartes' project.As someone who has thought long and hard about Descartes' conception of freedom, I found Christofidou's central contention both accurate and exciting. I also agree completely with her characterization of Descartes as fundamentally a seeker after metaphysical and physical truth -- understood as correspondence of thought with reality -- rather than as an epistemologist or a proto-idealist. Nevertheless, the book frustrated me, probably because of the way it is "pitched".
books  reviews  17thC  intellectual_history  Descartes  free_will  God-existence  epistemology  metaphysics  dualism  substance  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader

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