J. P. Moreland on Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism (Part One)
January 7, 2010 — 10:27

Author: Bill Vallicella  Category: Books of Interest  Comments: 48

Apart from what Alvin Plantinga calls creative anti-realism, the two main philosophical options for many of us in the West are some version of naturalism and some version of Judeo-Christian theism. As its title indicates, J. P. Moreland’s The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism (SCM Press, 2009) supports the theistic position by way of a penetrating critique of naturalism and such associated doctrines as scientism. Moreland briefly discusses creative anti-realism in the guise of postmodernism on pp. 13-14, but I won’t report on that except to say that his arguments against it, albeit brief, are to my mind decisive. Section One of this review will present in some detail Moreland’s conception of naturalism and what it entails. Sections Two and Three will discuss his argument from consciousness for the existence of God. Section Four will ever so briefly report on the contents of the rest of the book. In Part Two of this review I hope to discuss Moreland’s critique of Thomas Nagel’s Dismissive Naturalism. Numbers in parentheses are page references. Words and phrases enclosed in double quotation marks are quotations from Moreland. Inverted commas are employed for mentioning and ‘scaring.’


Instants, Intervals, and the Reconciliation of Creatio Ex Nihilo with Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit
July 13, 2006 — 14:49

Author: Bill Vallicella  Category: Concept of God  Comments: 8

This post examines Richard C. Potter’s solution to the problem of reconciling creatio ex nihilo with ex nihilo nihil fit in his valuable article, “How To Create a Physical Universe Ex Nihilo,” Faith and Philosophy, vol. 3, no. 1, (January 1986), pp. 16-26. (Potter appears to have dropped out of sight, philosophically speaking, so if anyone knows what became of him, please let me know. The Philosopher’s Index shows only three articles by him, the last of which appeared in 1986.)


My Stanford Encyclopedia Entry on Divine Simplicity Now On-Line
March 20, 2006 — 20:30

Author: Bill Vallicella  Category: Concept of God  Comments: 2

My article on the divine simplicity for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is now available. Authors of these articles are supposed to update them regularly. So I welcome any comments anyone has on style and content. And if you know of any additional literature I should cite, whether on-line or in print, please let me know. At the moment, the webliography is a bit weak.
By the way, the well-heeled among you ought to consider making a contribution to SEP. It is widely regarded as the premier philosophy resource on the World Wide Web. But to remain free it requires financial support. See here. In case you are wondering, the authors of entries work pro bono.

Does Trinity Entail Quaternity?
March 16, 2006 — 8:43

Author: Bill Vallicella  Category: Christian Theology  Comments: 23

Christianity, like the other two Abrahamic religions, is monotheistic. But unlike Judaism and Islam, Christianity holds to a trinitarian conception of God. The idea, spelled out in the Athanasian Creed, is that there is one God in three divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Each person is God, and yet there is exactly one God, despite the fact that the Persons are numerically distinct from one another. How is this possible? How can Christians convince Jews and Muslims that their position is logically tenable and does not collapse into tritheism, and thus into polytheism to the detriment of the divine unity and transcendence?