Searches Based on Misunderstandings

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William Rowe's argument for a self-existent being
Um ... William Rowe doesn't think there is a self-existent being. He's an atheist. He thinks the arguments for a self-existent being are unconvincing. He happens to be much more fair to such arguments than virtually any other atheist in the history of philosophy, but he still resists the conclusion (in a way that I think makes him guilty of what he accuses people accepting the argument of illegitimately doing, but that's an issue for a post that is still forthcoming but will probably come soon).

van inwagen's argument about theism
Which one? He discusses all of the most important ones.

how is race not real to Charles Mills
Um ... Mills doesn't deny the reality of race. He just doesn't think it's a biologically grounded category. It's a social category. It's as real as Republicans, liberals, universities, boundary lines, the Supreme Court, and anything else created by social conventions.

what does the p below x mean in christianity
It took someone who doesn't think in Greek but knows Greek to help me figure out what this was referring to. Apparently it's the Chi-Rho symbolism that comes from the first two letters of 'Christos' in Greek. This is just a very strange way to ask the question, even from someone who doesn't know that there's no p or x in that particular symbol.

jonathan edwards uncovered crossing over
Somehow I don't think Jonathan Edwards would be very happy about being confused with John Edward.

3 Comments

I'm not sure this is right, but I'm sure you'll tell me if it isn't...

Didn't Russell believe he believed in a self-existent being: the universe.

I'm not certain that this is right, but I thought one response he had to the cosmological argument is that if it proves anything, it proves only that the universe is in certain ways unlike some particulars we encounter in it.

Is Russell being unfair or has he gone beyond what fairness demands? I know virtues are tricky as the mean between excess and deficiency isn't easy to point at, but I've made my case for thinking Russell is the fairest atheist in the land. Bit of a jerk, perhaps, but fair.

I don't know if Russell ever thought the universe is self-existent, but in his debate with Copleston he endorsed the Humean view that the universe doesn't need an explanation. I know some people have responded to the cosmological argument by taking the universe to be self-existent. John Post entertains that view, I think. I'm not sure if I know of any others who do. Gruenbaum and Quentin Smith take the Humean line.

All I was saying is that Rowe doesn't endorse that response. I don't offhand remember why he dismisses it, though. Rowe thinks there are only contingent things, and he doesn't think there is any explanation of the existence of the fact that there are contingent things.

As for who is most fair, maybe I should refrain from commenting too much further, but I would say Rowe generally seems more fair on some issues than Russell. My quick look through Why I Am Not a Christian made me really unsure of Russell's understanding of Christian thought. There seemed to be quite a few straw men in there. I think Rowe goes way out of his way to avoid that, as evidenced by his responses to what he sees as bad objections to the cosmological and ontological arguments (including Kant's "existence is not a predicate" objection, which Rowe thinks is nonsense).

You missed a great perspective on the Rowe search: the "Did you mean" suggestion: "William Rowe's argument for a shelf-existent being"

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