God: for or against?

I think its merely because I got drunk; and I found a really good article advertised.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/july/13.22.html

William Lane Craig is a philosopher who I have had the pleasure to meet in person; I must say that when I first met him, that I didn’t like him very much. But, seriously, however, I think this fellow has a lot of interesting work.

The phenomenon of Christian Analytic Philosophers is VERY VERY interesting. I am of the view that everyone in the world is full of shit except analytic philosophers. Analytic philosophers have training in logic, metaphyics, and history of philosophy. A lot of people who argue for or against God generally do not have the relevant philosophical background to truly appreciate the background arguments and history; for example. How powerful Hume’s arguments were, how important Aquinas’ five ways were, or the role of science in philosophy.

However, even philosophers I do not trust with credence to deal with Christianity. Because, one needs to have read the Christian historey, and works; like Aquinas; Augustine, Irenaeus, Pascal, Kant, Schliermacher, Barth, Rahner, Liberation theology, Black theology, Feminist theology, and Postmodern theology.

There are, however, a few philosophers who I have a deep sense of respect for; not because I agree or disagree with them, but because of the breath and strength of their intellectual pursuits. I mention here, the likes of William Lane Craig (outside of his apologetics, he is a proper philosopher, who writes very powerful and insightful articles; he believes, for instance, that the B-series of time is incompatible with Relativity); Alvin Plantinga (who has written on Modality and a lot of epistemology); William Alston (who is, in my knowledge of philosophy, a well-cited and well reputed epistemologist, on a par with the likes of people like Laurence BonJour).

I had a tutor at university who had this phrase “he’s no fool!”. I seriously believe that a person who has established the philosophical consensus of the view that the B-series is incompatible with relativity is no fool. I do not believe that non-fools talk nonsense; except if they are drunk, horny, or accidic; I believe these philosophers do not satisfy either of these conditions.

I have a few comments to make:

1. If you can prove S5 modality, you can give a successful proof of God’s existence. I have a friend in graduate school who believes in a view that is compatible with S5 modality; which proposes that there are no possible worlds that, in any circumstance, entertain actuality.

2. Philosophical arguments for the existence of God; if they are to be modern and sophisticated, engage in a philospohical language that the lay person cannot understand; these are serious arguments and a serious fight has to be made on both sides; this is not an appeal to authority; this is an appeal to sophia.

3. Philosophical arguments for the existence of God, assume advocation of the project of Natural philosophy (Cf. Aquinas); not too many protestants would accept this commitment; particulary those who advocate analogia fides; or sola Christus/sola fides. Natural philosophy is a view that (to my knowledge) is a big concession to Catholic philosophy/theology. This issue is an internal argument for Christian believers….

In short, I seriously say to you readers, that atheism is no obvious thesis to be true. Neither position, if seriously entertained, is the stock of fools.

Michael

Claiming heritage

It may sound a pretentious thing; but it’s an appeal that many people hold to. (certain) Catholics hold that they are part of a ‘historical’ institution that originally came from Paul. Arabs and European Scholastics can claim common inheritance of Aristotle; and many continentals try to make themselves look ‘analytic’ (where, this word becomes so strangely defined it actually isn’t the ‘analytic’ in the proper sense of the word (the tradition of philosophy predominant in the English Speaking world; which valorises Russell, Frege etc. [an editorial note…’analytic’ philosophy, I think is not a unified term anymore; as there are struggling battles between camps. I would like to write more about this at some point – Michael]).

If one is to call themselves a philosopher; to whom does their heritage belong? Some people appeal immediately to be following from the work of philosophers from the past two or three generations. Lewis is the most striking example for one; but also Quine, Putnam, Strawson, Austin, Russell, and maybe some of the Pragmatists in the 19thC USA body of philosophy.

However; there are those who have such a diverse range of works that many people can claim heritage to. My favourite examples are Newton and Aristotle. Biologists carry the inheritance of Aristtotle’s interest in the empirical study of nature; metaphysicians (post-Kripke) also engage in a similar subject matter to Aristotle; in the fundamental concepts (or ‘ontological categories’) such as BEING (existence), SUBSTANCE, CAUSE, and PERSISTANCE/CHANGE. Newton (my favourite example) has engaged, in his life, upon so many ventures; theoretical physics, pure mathematics, alchemy, Christian apologetics, Biblical exegesis, and not to mention that weird shit about identifying fake coins.

Hume laid claim to being of the inheritance of Newton; he wanted to be the Newton of the Sciences. Kant (because Kant must come up in every post in this blog), who, in many ways opposes Hume quite fundamentally, but also agrees with him in no superficial way either; makes claim to Newton as being fundamental in following. Kant and Hume claim to be continuing the Spirit of Newton’s work; in Hume, the knowledge of things beyond experience, on the basis of observables; for Kant, the mathematical structure of the world. There seems to be a tension in the way in which I have construed Hume and Kant’s appropriation. For you see; Kant appeals to the mathematical success of Newton; appealing to a more metaphysical and rationalist reading of the Principia; however, it is one interpretation which Kant acknowledges (rightly so) that Newton wouldn’t approve of (but should have done so). Hume, by contrast, continues the Empiricist spirit of Newton (that Kant so rejects). Is it no odd thing that the most bitter enemies of today share the most intimately common of ancestors?

A political and social analogy can be made with those now enemies of civil war, who were once of the same kin, but they now fail to recognise. But that aside, I want to consider when inheritors become so widely vastly apart after generations.

Consider the case of someone like Pascal; or Babbage, or Turing; many could appeal to claiming inheritance of their work and projects; computer scientists, theological scientists (for the case of Pascal); Logicians; engineers. Although, I’ve not always thought that theological scientists would see eye to eye with logicians (of course important counterexamples I well know in my own circles).

It is ultimately shallow to lay claim to inheritance. From my own life; I have parents and Jesuit masters who lay claim to being instructional to Sinistre. Yet, during the instruction period of which I undertook with them, they hardly cared about my own developmen; yet when success or attention blooms; they all seem to lay claim to bbeing responsible somehow…bastards.

Sinistre (and S*)

Junior

I was watching a film around the same time as Michael over the weekend on the telly (which is quite rare for me to watch anything other than the news); we were watching this film, Junior; where Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fertility scientist at a university working with a practicioner gynacologist to formulate a new fertility drug; but due to lack of institutional support, they decide to test it on themselves, which is illegal by international standards of research conduct.

But, alas, they do; at first, they only test the drug on themselves to see how to establish conclusions of their research. Oh yes, did I mention that they are testing a fertility drug on a man? Oh, but that doesn’t matter because the drug was formulated to work with human cells irrespective of sex.

Anyway, what I found interesting about the film was how Schwarzenegger portrayed an academic; I was kind of hoping he would do a typical Arnie thing, like, use a dead man’s corpse as a human shield as people try to shoot him; tear a man’s arms off using an elevator; kill the devil; throw a snake woman into a fire after having sex with her; punching a camel; driving into a shop window with a truck; or have a naked fight into the snow…

Oh well, it would be just as exciting if he did something like solve the hard problem of consciousness…

S*

Noughtie’s “English”

There are a few conventions that seem to be adopted so quickly that no one notices that they are new; but just become part of the furniture; for instance

1. The phrase “for sure”…where the hell has this come from?
2. Using “I’m sorry” as a synonym for “excuse me,….”, or calling for a stranger’s attention
3. Fashionable pop-up words that just suddenly people use; for instance “panic buy” (in light of the recent economy situation); or “sexed up”, from the phrase “sexed up dossier” referring to the Hutton Report.

I’m a bit old to really understand youth culture (sadly, I must say…); and I notice very odd conventions that seem so entrenched, so quickly into our public discourse, that only not saying them makes it to be shown.

I’ve not even started with internet informal comminiques; I was at a dinner party once and a lady said “‘lol”; not ‘laugh out loud’, but the phonetic lol.

M