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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 77, No. 3, Summer 2003.

Common Sense, Metaphysics and the Existence of God, JOHN HALDANE

Being dedicated to the memory of the great Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, who died in the month it was given, this Aquinas lecture begins with some reflections on the relationship between the anti-scientistic, anti-Cartesian position argued for by Anscombe and her teacher Wittgenstein, and the outlook of Thomas Aquinas. It then proceeds to explore the familiar Thomistic idea that philosophical reflection provides the means to establish the existence of God. Drawing in part on Aquinas, but also and perhaps unexpectedly on the idealism of Berkeley and on the semantic intuitionism of Michael Dummett (a former student of Anscombe), the author argues that theism follows both from the assumption of realism and from the assumption of antirealism, and that this fact reveals something of the complexity involved in the claim that God both creates and knows the world. Finally, the author examines the relationship between Aristotelian-Thomistic pluralistic realism and the attempt by John McDowell to fashion a position that lies between Platonism and reductive naturalism.

The Question of Pantheism in the Second Objections to Descartes's Meditations, JULIE R. KLEIN

Through a close analysis of texts from the Second Objections and Replies to the Meditations, this article addresses the tension between the pursuit of certainty and the preservation of divine transcendence in Descartes's philosophy. Via a hypothetical "atheist geometer," the Objectors charge Descartes with pantheism. While the Objectors' motivations are not clear, the objection raises provocative questions about the relation of the divine and the human mind and about the being of created or dependent entities in Descartes's metaphysics. Descartes contends that there are real, eternal essences present in the human intellect as innate ideas. The author argues that this claim implicates him in pantheism, not merely univocity. In the course of the analysis, the author considers recent interpretations by Wells, Marion, and Hatfield.

Rachels on Darwinism and Theism, JOHN LEMOS

In his book, Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (1990), James Rachels argues that the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection undermines the view that human beings are made in the image of God. By this he means that Darwinism makes things such that there is no longer any good reason to think that human beings are made in the image of God. Some other widely read and respected authors seem to share this view of the implications of Darwinism, most notably Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. Unlike Dawkins and Dennett, Rachels gives a detailed argument for this view about the implications of Darwinism. In this article the author explains Rachels's argument and critically engages with it, arguing that he does not sufficiently well consider all of the options that are open to the theist in defending the view that human beings are made in the image of God.

Commitment, Justification and the Rejection of Natural Theology, BRENDAN SWEETMAN

This paper considers two related claims in the work of D. Z. Phillips: that commitment to God precludes a distinction between the commitment and the grounds for the commitment, and that belief and understanding are the same in religion. Both these claims motivate Phillips's rejection of natural theology. The author examines these claims by analyzing the notion of commitment, discussing what is involved in making a commitment to a worldview, why commitment is necessary at all in religion, levels of commitment, and commitment and justification. The author shows that Phillips fails to distinguish between adopting a hypothesis, where justification would be germane, and committing to the hypothesis after one has adopted it, where justification is not so pressing. This failure fatally undermines his rejection of natural theology.

The Unshredded Scotus: A Response to Thomas Williams, ALLAN B. WOLTER, O.F.M.

Thomas Williams has developed a radical interpretation of Duns Scotus's voluntarism using an earlier interpretation of the author's as a foil. He argues that the goodness of creatures and the rightness of actions are wholly dependent on the divine will, apart from any reference to the divine intellect, human nature, or any principle other than God's own arbitrary will. The author explains how his interpretation fails to account for the roles that essential goodness and divine justice play in divine volition. The unmitigated voluntarism that Williams develops does not conform to the full range of authentic Scotistic texts. Despite the interest Williams's voluntarism may have if taken as a theoretical position, it does not do justice to the nuance and speculative depth of Scotus's actual understanding of the divine will, whose creative artistry is repugnant to arbitrary volition. The author is grateful to Williams for the provocation to develop further the richness of Scotus's voluntarism.

Nancy Davis and the Means-End Relation: Toward a Defense of the Doctrine of Double Effect, P. A. WOODWARD

In her paper, "The Doctrine of Double Effect: Problems of Interpretation," Nancy Davis attempts to find an interpretation of the means--end relationship that would provide a foundation for the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) and its reliance on the distinction between what an agent intends or brings about intentionally and what that agent merely foresees will result from his action, but does not intend (or bring about intentionally). Davis's inability to find such an interpretation lessens the plausibility of the view that the DDE is an acceptable moral doctrine. In the present paper, it is suggested that Davis's inability to find an interpretation of the means--end relationship that will support the DDE results from her assumption that an agent must intend to produce whatever he produces intentionally. Borrowing an argument from Michael Bratman, this article shows that Davis's assumption is false. That realization paves the way toward a defense of the DDE.
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Title Annotation:Philosophical Abstracts
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Critical Essay
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:947
Previous Article:Williams, Thomas, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus.
Next Article:American Catholic Philsosophical Quarterly Vol. 77, No. 4, Fall 2003.

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