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  1. Believing Without Evidence: Pragmatic Arguments for Religious Belief in Life of Pi.Alberto Oya - 2020 - In Adam T. Bogard (ed.), Critical Insights: Life of Pi. New Jersey, USA: pp. 136-147.
    The aim of this essay is to show that Yann Martel’s Life of Pi can be read as illustrating what philosophers usually name as pragmatic arguments for religious belief. Ultimately, this seems to be the reason why, in the short prologue that accompanies the novel, Martel claims Life of Pi to be “a story to make you believe in God”. To put it briefly, these arguments claim that even conceding that the question of whether to believe that God exists or (...)
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Pascal's Wager
  1. Infinite Prospects.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & Yoaav Isaacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    People with the kind of preferences that give rise to the St. Petersburg paradox are problematic---but not because there is anything wrong with infinite utilities. Rather, such people cannot assign the St. Petersburg gamble any value that any kind of outcome could possibly have. Their preferences also violate an infinitary generalization of Savage's Sure Thing Principle, which we call the *Countable Sure Thing Principle*, as well as an infinitary generalization of von Neumann and Morgenstern's Independence axiom, which we call *Countable (...)
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  2. Decyzje w sytuacjach niepewności normatywnej.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2020 - Przeglad Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria 29 (2):53-72.
    Etycy nie poświęcali dotąd wiele uwagi niepewności, koncentrując się często na skrajnie wyidealizowanych hipotetycznych sytuacjach, w których zarówno kwestie empiryczne (np. stan świata, spektrum możliwych decyzji oraz ich konsekwencje, związki przyczynowe między zdarzeniami), jak i normatywne (np. treść norm, skale wartości) były jasno określone i znane podmiotowi. W poniższym artykule – który jest rezultatem projektu dotyczącego różnych typów decyzji w sytuacjach niepewności związanej z postępem w naukach i technologiach biomedycznych – przedstawię analizę sytuacji niepewności normatywnej, czyli takich, w których podmiot (...)
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  3. Infinite Prospects.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & Yoaav Isaacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    People with the kind of preferences that give rise to the St. Petersburg paradox are problematic---but not because there is anything wrong with infinite utilities. Rather, such people cannot assign the St. Petersburg gamble any value that any kind of outcome could possibly have. Their preferences also violate an infinitary generalization of Savage's Sure Thing Principle, which we call the *Countable Sure Thing Principle*, as well as an infinitary generalization of von Neumann and Morgenstern's Independence axiom, which we call *Countable (...)
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  4. Non-Archimedean Preferences Over Countable Lotteries.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2020 - Journal of Mathematical Economics 88 (May 2020):180-186.
    We prove a representation theorem for preference relations over countably infinite lotteries that satisfy a generalized form of the Independence axiom, without assuming Continuity. The representing space consists of lexicographically ordered transfinite sequences of bounded real numbers. This result is generalized to preference orders on abstract superconvex spaces.
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  5. Salvaging Pascal’s Wager.Elizabeth Jackson & Andrew Rogers - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):59-84.
    Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning succeeds, giving us a (...)
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  6. Pascal’s Wager and the Origins of Decision Theory: Decision-Making by Real Decision-Makers.James Franklin - 2018 - In Paul Bartha & Lawrence Pasternack (eds.), Pascal's Wager. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 27-44.
    Pascal’s Wager does not exist in a Platonic world of possible gods, abstract probabilities and arbitrary payoffs. Real decision-makers, such as Pascal’s “man of the world” of 1660, face a range of religious options they take to be serious, with fixed probabilities grounded in their evidence, and with utilities that are fixed quantities in actual minds. The many ingenious objections to the Wager dreamed up by philosophers do not apply in such a real decision matrix. In the situation Pascal addresses, (...)
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  7. Surreal Decisions.Eddy Keming Chen & Daniel Rubio - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):54-74.
    Although expected utility theory has proven a fruitful and elegant theory in the finite realm, attempts to generalize it to infinite values have resulted in many paradoxes. In this paper, we argue that the use of John Conway's surreal numbers shall provide a firm mathematical foundation for transfinite decision theory. To that end, we prove a surreal representation theorem and show that our surreal decision theory respects dominance reasoning even in the case of infinite values. We then bring our theory (...)
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  8. Wagering with and Without Pascal.Daniel Collette & Joseph Anderson - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (1):95-110.
    Pascal’s wager has received the attention of philosophers for centuries. Most of its criticisms arise from how the wager is often framed. We present Pascal’s wager three ways: in isolation from any further apologetic arguments, as leading toward a regimen intended to produce belief, and finally embedded in a larger apology that includes evidence for Christianity. We find that none of the common objections apply when the wager is presented as part of Pascal’s larger project. Pascal’s wager is a successful (...)
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  9. Wagering Against Divine Hiddenness.Elizabeth Jackson - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4):85-108.
    J.L. Schellenberg argues that divine hiddenness provides an argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, for if God existed he would not allow non-resistant non-belief to occur, but non-resistant non-belief does occur, so God does not exist. In this paper, I argue that the stakes involved in theistic considerations put pressure on Schellenberg’s premise that non-resistant non-belief occurs. First, I specify conditions for someone’s being a resistant non-believer. Then, I argue that many people fulfill these conditions because, given (...)
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  10. Taking Stock of Infinite Value: Pascal’s Wager and Relative Utilities.Paul Bartha - 2007 - Synthese 154 (1):5-52.
    Among recent objections to Pascal's Wager, two are especially compelling. The first is that decision theory, and specifically the requirement of maximizing expected utility, is incompatible with infinite utility values. The second is that even if infinite utility values are admitted, the argument of the Wager is invalid provided that we allow mixed strategies. Furthermore, Hájek has shown that reformulations of Pascal's Wager that address these criticisms inevitably lead to arguments that are philosophically unsatisfying and historically unfaithful. Both the objections (...)
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  11. Napad na Pascala.Nick Bostrom - 2015 - Analiza I Egzystencja 31:135-138.
    Gdzieś w ciemnej uliczce... Bandyta: Ej ty, dawaj portfel! Pascal: A niby dlaczego miałbym to zrobić? Bandyta: Bo w przeciwnym razie cię zastrzelę. Pascal: Ale przecież nie masz broni. Bandyta: A niech to! Wiedziałem, że zapomniałem o czymś. Pascal: No to zapomnij też o moim portfelu. Miłego wieczoru. Bandyta: Stój! Pascal: Co znowu? Bandyta: Jest interes do zrobienia... Co ty na to, żebyś jednak oddał mi portfel? W zamian obiecuję przyjść do ciebie jutro i dać ci dwukrotność kwoty, którą w (...)
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  12. No Exception for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):121-143.
    This paper defends a principle I call Equal Treatment, according to which the rationality of a belief is determined in precisely the same way as the rationality of any other state. For example, if wearing a raincoat is rational just in case doing so maximizes expected value, then believing some proposition P is rational just in case doing so maximizes expected value. This contrasts with the popular view that the rationality of belief is determined by evidential support. It also contrasts (...)
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  13. Cognitive Bias, the Axiological Question and the Epistemic Probability of Theistic Belief.Dan Linford & Jason Megill - 2018 - In Mirosław Szatkowski (ed.), Ontology of Theistic Beliefs. De Gruyter. pp. 77-92.
    Some recent work in philosophy of religion addresses what can be called the “axiological question,” i.e., regardless of whether God exists, would it be good or bad if God exists? Would the existence of God make the world a better or a worse place? Call the view that the existence of God would make the world a better place “Pro-Theism.” We argue that Pro-Theism is not implausible, and moreover, many Theists, at least, (often implicitly) think that it is true. That (...)
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  14. Wagering on Pragmatic Encroachment.Daniel M. Eaton & Timothy Pickavance - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 8:96-117.
    Lately, there has been an explosion of literature exploring the the relationship between one’s practical situation and one’s knowledge. Some involved in this discussion have suggested that facts about a person’s practical situation might affect whether or not a person knows in that situation, holding fixed all the things standardly associated with knowledge (like evidence, the reliability of one’s cognitive faculties, and so on). According to these “pragmatic encroachment” views, then, one’s practical situation encroaches on one’s knowledge. Though we won’t (...)
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  15. Animal Interrupted, or Why Accepting Pascal's Wager Might Be the Last Thing You Ever Do.Sam Baron & Christina Dyke - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):109-133.
    According to conventionalist accounts of personal identity, persons are constituted in part by practices and attitudes of certain sorts of care. In this paper, we concentrate on the most well-developed and defended version of conventionalism currently on offer (namely, that proposed by David Braddon-Mitchell, Caroline West, and Kristie Miller) and discuss how the conventionalist appears forced either (1) to accept arbitrariness concerning from which perspective to judge one's survival or (2) to maintain egalitarianism at the cost of making “transfiguring” decisions (...)
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  16. The Enigma Of Probability.Nick Ergodos - 2014 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 2 (1):37-71.
    Using “brute reason” I will show why there can be only one valid interpretation of probability. The valid interpretation turns out to be a further refinement of Popper’s Propensity interpretation of probability. Via some famous probability puzzles and new thought experiments I will show how all other interpretations of probability fail, in particular the Bayesian interpretations, while these puzzles do not present any difficulties for the interpretation proposed here. In addition, the new interpretation casts doubt on some concepts often taken (...)
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  17. The Many Gods Objection to Pascal’s Wager.Lawrence Pasternack - 2012 - Philo 15 (2):158-178.
    The Many Gods Objection (MGO) is widely viewed as a decisive criticism of Pascal’s Wager. By introducing a plurality of hypotheses with infinite expected utility into the decision matrix, the wagerer is left without adequate grounds to decide between them. However, some have attempted to rebut this objection by employing various criteria drawn from the theological tradition. Unfortunately, such defenses do little good for an argument that is supposed to be an apologetic aimed at atheists and agnostics. The purpose of (...)
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  18. Mixed Strategies, Uncountable Times, and Pascal's Wager: A Reply to Robertson.Kenny Easwaran & Bradley Monton - 2012 - Analysis 72 (4):681-685.
    Pascal’s Wager holds that one has pragmatic reason to believe in God, since that course of action has infinite expected utility. The mixed strategy objection holds that one could just as well follow a course of action that has infinite expected utility but is unlikely to end with one believing in God. Monton (2011. Mixed strategies can’t evade Pascal’s Wager. Analysis 71: 642–45.) has argued that mixed strategies can’t evade Pascal’s Wager, while Robertson (2012. Some mixed strategies can evade Pascal’s (...)
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  19. Pragmatic Arguments in the Qur'an for Belief.M. Shahid Alam - manuscript
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  20. Mixed Strategies Can't Evade Pascal's Wager.Bradley Monton - 2011 - Analysis 71 (4):642-645.
    I defend Pascal's Wager from a particular way of evading it, the mixed strategy approach. The mixed strategies approach suggests that Pascal's Wager does not obligate one to believe in God, because one can get the same infinite expected utility from other strategies besides the strategy of believing in God. I will show that while there's nothing technically wrong with the mixed strategy approach, rationality requires it to be applied in such a way that Pascal's Wager doesn't lose any force.
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  21. Logic and Theism.Graham Oppy - 2006 - Philo 9 (1):73-91.
    This paper is a critical review of Howard Sobel’s ’Logic and Theism’. I discuss his analyses of ontological arguments, cosmological arguments, teleological arguments, and arguments from evil, and comment upon his accounts of Pascal’s wager and Hume on miracles. My overall judgment is that this is the very best book on arguments about the existence of God that has yet appeared.
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  22. Two Caricatures, I: Pascal's Wager.James Franklin - 1998 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 44 (2):109 - 114.
    Pascal’s wager and Leibniz’s theory that this is the best of all possible worlds are latecomers in the Faith-and-Reason tradition. They have remained interlopers; they have never been taken as seriously as the older arguments for the existence of God and other themes related to faith and reason.
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  23. The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal.James Franklin - 2001 - Baltimore, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    How were reliable predictions made before Pascal and Fermat's discovery of the mathematics of probability in 1654? What methods in law, science, commerce, philosophy, and logic helped us to get at the truth in cases where certainty was not attainable? The book examines how judges, witch inquisitors, and juries evaluated evidence; how scientists weighed reasons for and against scientific theories; and how merchants counted shipwrecks to determine insurance rates. Also included are the problem of induction before Hume, design arguments for (...)
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  24. Construing Faith as Action Won't Save Pascal's Wager.Steve Petersen - 2006 - Philo 9 (2):221-229.
    Arthur Falk has proposed a new construal of faith according to which it is not a mere species of belief, but has essential components in action. This twist on faith promises to resurrect Pascal’s Wager, making faith compatible with reason by believing as the scientist but acting as the theist. I argue that Falk’s proposal leaves religious faith in no better shape; in particular, it merely reframes the question in terms of rational desires rather than rational beliefs.
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  25. Pascal's Wager and the Persistent Vegetative State.Jim Stone - 2007 - Bioethics 21 (2):84–92.
    I argue that a version of Pascal's Wager applies to the persistent vegetative state with sufficient force that it ought to part of advance directives.
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Pragmatic Arguments for Theism, Misc
  1. Unamuno and James on Religious Faith.Alberto Oya - 2020 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 39 (1):85-104.
    The aim of this paper is to argue against the received view among Unamuno scholars that Miguel de Unamuno was defending a sort of pragmatic argument for religious faith and that his notion of religious faith as “querer creer” (“wanting to believe”) is to be identified with William James’s “the will to believe”. As I will show in this paper, one of the aspects that makes Unamuno’s reasoning philosophically relevant is his ability to formulate a non-pragmatist defense of religious faith (...)
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  2. Review of The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief. By Joseph Hinman. [REVIEW]Lantz Fleming Miller - 2014 - Studies in Religion 43 (3):529-531.
    The ongoing debates about what rationality consists in remain unsettled and leave plenty of interpretation for what is rational in belief formation and action. Hinman risks a large step in seeming to assume that it is rational not to contravene scientific theories and findings and irrational to disallow this openness. These -- possibilities lending a potential for deistic beliefs not to be inconsistent with rationality. The presumed scientific approach to allowing a rationality in such belief revolves around the development of (...)
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  3. What Does the Happy Life Require? Augustine on What the Summum Bonum Includes.Caleb Cohoe - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 8:1-41.
    Many critics of religion insist that believing in a future life makes us less able to value our present activities and distracts us from accomplishing good in this world. In Augustine's case, this gets things backwards. It is while Augustine seeks to achieve happiness in this life that he is detached from suffering and dismissive of the body. Once Augustine comes to believe happiness is only attainable once the whole city of God is triumphant, he is able to compassionately engage (...)
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  4. “The Rejection of Radical-Foundationalism and -Skepticism: Pragmatic Belief in God in Eliezer Berkovits’s Thought”.Nadav Berman, S. - 2019 - Journal of the Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought 1 (2019):201-246.
    Faith has many aspects. One of them is whether absolute logical proof for God’s existence is a prerequisite for the proper establishment and individual acceptance of a religious system. The treatment of this question, examined here in the Jewish context of Rabbi Prof. Eliezer Berkovits, has been strongly influenced in the modern era by the radical foundationalism and radical skepticism of Descartes, who rooted in the Western mind the notion that religion and religious issues are “all or nothing” questions. Cartesianism, (...)
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  5. A new name for some old ways of thinking: pragmatism, radical empiricism, and epistemology in W.E.B. Du Bois’s “Of the Sorrow Songs”.Walter Scott Stepanenko - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 87 (2):173-192.
    When William James published Pragmatism, he gave it a subtitle: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. In this article, I argue that pragmatism is an epistemological method for articulating success in, and between, a plurality of practices, and that this articulation helped James develop radical empiricism. I contend that this pluralistic philosophical methodology is evident in James’s approach to philosophy of religion, and that this method is also exemplified in the work of one of James’s most famous (...)
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  6. Equal Treatment for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1923-1950.
    This paper proposes that the question “What should I believe?” is to be answered in the same way as the question “What should I do?,” a view I call Equal Treatment. After clarifying the relevant sense of “should,” I point out advantages that Equal Treatment has over both simple and subtle evidentialist alternatives, including versions that distinguish what one should believe from what one should get oneself to believe. I then discuss views on which there is a distinctively epistemic sense (...)
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  7. Plutarch's Epicurean Justification of Religious Belief.Jason W. Carter - 2018 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 56 (3):385-412.
    In his dialogue, 'Non posse suaviter vivi secundum Epicurum', Plutarch of Chaeronea criticizes Epicurus for not believing that the gods are provident over human affairs and for not believing that our souls survive death. However, Plutarch’s arguments are striking in that they do not offer any theoretical justification for believing either of these religious claims to be true; rather, they aim to establish that we are practically justified in adopting them if we follow Epicurus’s rule that the goal of belief (...)
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  8. Christian Witness in the 21 Century - Incarnantional Engaged Approach.Edvard Kristian Foshaugen - 1997 - Dissertation, Free State University
    Research for this study was served by the hypothesis that the Christian’s lifestyle and witness in a postmodern world will depend on the definition and practice of worship and spirituality. The Old Testament reveals a spirituality that has ‘Yahweh’ involved in all aspects of life. Awareness and experience of the presence of God is linked to obedience to God. New Testament spirituality implies imitation of Christ and an effort to obey Christ's twofold command: to love God and neighbor as self. (...)
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  9. W. K. Clifford and William James on Doxastic Norms.Alberto Oya - 2018 - Comprendre 20 (2):61-77.
    The main aim of this paper is to explain and analyze the debate between W. K. Clifford ("The Ethics of Belief", 1877) and William James ("The Will to Believe", 1896). Given that the main assumption shared by Clifford and James in this debate is doxastic voluntarism –i.e., the claim that we can, at least in some occasions, willingly decide what to believe–, I will explain the arguments offered by Bernard Williams in his “Deciding to Believe” (1973) against doxastic voluntarism. Finally, (...)
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  10. Introducció. El debat entre W. K. Clifford i William James.Alberto Oya - 2016 - Quaderns de Filosofia i Ciència (2):123-127.
    In this paper I comment on the debate between W. K. Clifford ("The Ethics of Belief", 1877) and William James ("The Will to Believe", 1896). I argue that both authors assume doxastic voluntarism -i.e., the claim that we can, at least in some occasions, willingly decide what to believe- and I argue that doxastic voluntarism is unacceptable.
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  11. El argumento vertebrador del Sentimiento Trágico de la Vida, de Miguel de Unamuno.Alberto Oya - 2017 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía (70):199-207.
    En su Sentimiento Trágico de la Vida, Miguel de Unamuno argumenta que necesitamos creer en Dios y que esta necesidad es suficiente para justificar la adopción de la creencia religiosa. El objetivo de este artículo es reconstruir y analizar el argumento de Miguel de Unamuno, el cual constituye, sin lugar a dudas, el eje vertebrador del Sentimiento Trágico de la Vida. En este artículo, defenderé: primero, que el argumento no puede usarse para justificar la adopción de la creencia religiosa; segundo, (...)
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  12. Pragmatic Skepticism.Susanna Rinard - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Pragmatic responses to skepticism have been overlooked in recent decades. This paper explores one such response by developing a character called the Pragmatic Skeptic. The Pragmatic Skeptic accepts skeptical arguments for the claim that we lack good evidence for our ordinary beliefs, and that they do not constitute knowledge. However, they do not think we should give up our beliefs in light of these skeptical conclusions. Rather, we should retain them, since we have good practical reasons for doing so. This (...)
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  13. A PHILOSOPHICAL ENQUIRY INTO THE SCANDAL OF EVIL AND SUFFERING.Edvard Kristian Foshaugen - 2004 - Baptis Journal South Africa (q):q.
    In 1 Peter 1:3-7 we read that the Christians were facing persecution because of their faith and the author reminds them that every trial is a test of their faith. The trials and consequential suffering can be withstood because they are able to look forward to an inheritance – eternal life with God. Christians can endure all trials and suffering because of the hope of glory and ultimate joy. There is a grace afforded by God in the presence to match (...)
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  14. Vernünftiges und vernünftig Vermutetes zu Gehirn, Geist und Gott.Paul Gottlob Layer - 2005 - In Wolfgang Achtner, Hermann Düringer, Hubert Meisinger & Wolf-Rüdiger Schmidt (eds.), Gott - Geist - Gehirn. Religiöse Erfahrungen im Lichte der neuesten Hirnforschung. Frankfurt a.M., Germany: Haag + Herchen Verlag. pp. 134-161.
    Anlaß zum vorliegenden Artikel gab eine Tagung zum Thema „Gott-Geist-Gehirn“, bei der im Dialog zwischen Theologen und Neurowissenschaftlern Beziehungen zwischen diesen drei Begriffen diskutiert wurden. Aus biologischer Sicht sind es vor allem Hirnleistungen, welche uns spezifisch zum Menschen machen. Die Entstehung der Hirnstrukturen während der Embryonal- und Postnatalperiode wird im ersten Teil behandelt, deren Verständnis essentiell ist. Im zweiten Teil werden physiologische Fähigkeiten des menschlichen Gehirns am Beispiel des visuellen Systems in sehr verkürzter Weise dargestellt, um zu untersuchen, inwieweit physiologische (...)
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  15. Can Fictionalists Have Faith?Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (2):215-232.
    According to non-doxastic theories of propositional faith, belief that p is not necessary for faith that p. Rather, propositional faith merely requires a ‘positive cognitive attitude’. This broad condition, however, can be satisfied by several pragmatic approaches to a domain, including fictionalism. This paper shows precisely how fictionalists can have faith given non-doxastic theory, and explains why this is problematic. It then explores one means of separating the two theories, in virtue of the fact that the truth of the propositions (...)
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  16. What Is Mormon Transhumanism?Lincoln Cannon - 2015 - Theology and Science 13 (2):202-218.
    Mormon transhumanism is the idea that humanity should learn how to be compassionate creators. This idea is essential to Mormonism, which provides a religious framework consistent with naturalism and supportive of human transformation. Mormon transhumanists are not limited to traditional or popular accounts of religion, and embrace opportunities and risks of technological evolution. Although usually considered secular, transhumanism has some religious origins and sometimes functions as religion. Accelerating change contextualizes a Mormon transhumanist narrative of common expectations, aspirations, and parallels between (...)
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  17. No Exception for Belief.Susanna Rinard - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1):121-143.
    This paper defends a principle I call Equal Treatment, according to which the rationality of a belief is determined in precisely the same way as the rationality of any other state. For example, if wearing a raincoat is rational just in case doing so maximizes expected value, then believing some proposition P is rational just in case doing so maximizes expected value. This contrasts with the popular view that the rationality of belief is determined by evidential support. It also contrasts (...)
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  18. Prudential Arguments, Naturalized Epistemology, and the Will to Believe.Henry Jackman - 1999 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 35 (1):1 - 37.
    This paper argues that treating James' "The Will to Believe" as a defense of prudential reasoning about belief seriously misrepresents it. Rather than being a precursor to current defenses of prudential arguments, James paper has, if anything, more affinities to certain prominent strains in contemporary naturalized epistemology.
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