Download e-book for kindle: Atheism and Theism (2nd Edition) by J. J. C. Smart, J. J. Haldane

By J. J. C. Smart, J. J. Haldane

ISBN-10: 0631232583

ISBN-13: 9780631232582

The problem of even if there's a God is among the oldest and most generally disputed philosophical questions. it's a debate that spreads some distance around the diversity of philosophical questions about the prestige of technological know-how, the character of brain, the nature of excellent and evil, the epistemology of expertise and testimony, and so forth. during this ebook philosophers, every one dedicated to unambiguous models of trust and disbelief, debate the crucial problems with atheism and theism.Smart opens the talk by means of arguing that theism is philosophically untenable and seeks to provide an explanation for metaphysical fact within the mild of overall technological know-how. Haldane keeps the dialogue by way of maintaining that the life of the area, and the potential for our coming to have wisdom of it, rely on the life of a developing, maintaining, own God. this is often by way of replies, the place each one thinker has the opportunity to reply and to guard his place. This moment variation comprises new essays via each one thinker, responding to criticisms and construction on their earlier work.

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Extra info for Atheism and Theism (2nd Edition)

Example text

E. equivalent to something such as ‘the omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent being’. More exactly, ‘God exists’ would come out ‘There is an x such that for any y, y is an OOB if and only if x is identical with y’, or in symbols ‘(∃x) (y) (OOBy ≡ x = y)’. The symbols are in fact clearer than the ordinary language version, because of the ‘there is an x’ which is not like ‘there is a lion’ or ‘lion x’: ‘x’ is a variable, whose use is for cross reference, not a predicate. But for the need for cross reference we could just have said ‘something’.

This explanation, depending as it does on the many universes hypothesis, does not have the back to front character of the example that we have recently been discussing. But how good is the world ensemble explanation? An unattractive feature of the explanation is its apparent prodigality. We may be reminded of Ockham’s razor, the principle that entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity. ‘Necessity’ is a bit strong: let us say, ‘without more than compensating explanatory advantage’. Ontological parsimony must be balanced against explanatory power.

According to this ‘(∃x)Fx’ is true if for some name ‘a’ the sentence ‘Fa’ is true. Here there is no commitment to existence since ‘a’ might be, say, ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Contrast the (standard) ‘objectual’ quantification, where ‘(∃x)Fx’ is true only if ‘Fx’ is true of (or ‘satisfied by’) something. The usual objection to substitutional quantification is that we get into trouble with ‘all rabbits’ or ‘some rabbits’ since we do not have names for all the rabbits. (And if we replace ‘rabbits’ by ‘real numbers’ it is even worse, since it is mathematically impossible to have names for all real numbers.

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Atheism and Theism (2nd Edition) by J. J. C. Smart, J. J. Haldane


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