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Eric Steinhart
William Paterson University of New Jersey
  1.  47
    Skeptical and Spiritual Atheisms.Eric Steinhart - manuscript
    Skeptical atheism is deeply concerned with the development of a true atheistic belief-system which competes with allegedly false theistic belief-systems. Spiritual atheists are concerned with building a successful atheistic culture to compete with an allegedly dysfunctional theistic culture. These atheisms are compared in terms of their epistemologies, metaphysics, axiologies, eschatologies, soteriologies, prosocial activities, and individual practices. Skeptical atheism is likely to remain a perpetually marginal community. Spiritual atheism may become a significant alternative to theism.
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  2. Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Mathematics.Eric Steinhart - 1999 - International Studies in Philosophy 31 (3):19-27.
    Nietzsche has a surprisingly significant and strikingly positive assessment of mathematics. I discuss Nietzsche's theory of the origin of mathematical practice in the division of the continuum of force, his theory of numbers, his conception of the finite and the infinite, and the relations between Nietzschean mathematics and formalism and intuitionism. I talk about the relations between math, illusion, life, and the will to truth. I distinguish life and world affirming mathematical practice from its ascetic perversion. For Nietzsche, math is (...)
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  3.  86
    Neoplatonic Pantheism Today.Eric Steinhart - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):141-162.
    Neoplatonism is alive and well today. It expresses itself in New Thought and the mind-cure movements derived from it. However, to avoid many ancient errors, Neoplatonism needs to be modernized. The One is just the simple origin from which all complex things evolve. The Good, which is not the One, is the best of all possible propositions. A cosmological argument is given for the One and an ontological argument for the Good. The presence of the Good in every thing is (...)
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  4.  44
    Infinitely Complex Machines.Eric Steinhart - 2007 - In Intelligent Computing Everywhere. Springer. pp. 25-43.
    Infinite machines (IMs) can do supertasks. A supertask is an infinite series of operations done in some finite time. Whether or not our universe contains any IMs, they are worthy of study as upper bounds on finite machines. We introduce IMs and describe some of their physical and psychological aspects. An accelerating Turing machine (an ATM) is a Turing machine that performs every next operation twice as fast. It can carry out infinitely many operations in finite time. Many ATMs can (...)
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  5.  40
    NETMET: A Program for Generating and Interpreting Metaphors.Eric Steinhart - 1995 - Computers and Humanities 28 (6):383-392.
    Metaphors have computable semantics. A program called NETMET both generates metaphors and produces partial literal interpretations of metaphors. NETMET is based on Kittay's semantic field theory of metaphor and Black's interaction theory of metaphor. Input to NETMET consists of a list of literal propositions. NETMET creates metaphors by finding topic and source semantic fields, producing an analogical map from source to topic, then generating utterances in which terms in the source are identified with or predicated of terms in the topic. (...)
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  6. Why Numbers Are Sets.Eric Steinhart - 2002 - Synthese 133 (3):343-361.
    I follow standard mathematical practice and theory to argue that the natural numbers are the finite von Neumann ordinals. I present the reasons standardly given for identifying the natural numbers with the finite von Neumann's. I give a detailed mathematical demonstration that 0 is {} and for every natural number n, n is the set of all natural numbers less than n. Natural numbers are sets. They are the finite von Neumann ordinals.
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  7.  35
    Nietzsche on Identity.Eric Steinhart - 2005 - Revista di Estetica 28 (1):241-256.
    I gather and constructively criticize Nietzsche’s writings on identity. Nietzsche treats identity as a logical fiction. He denies that there are any enduring things (no substances); he denies that there are any indiscernible things in any respect (no universals, no bare particulars). For Nietzsche, the world consists of durationless events bearing non-universal properties and standing to one another in non-universal relations. Events are bundles of tropes. Nietzsche even denies self-identity. His events are self-differing trope-bundles. I link Nietzsche’s denial of self-identity (...)
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  8.  32
    Analogical Truth-Conditions for Metaphors.Eric Steinhart - 1994 - Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 9 (3):161-178.
    It has often been said that metaphors are based on analogies, but the nature of this relation has never been made precise. This article rigorously and formally specifies two semantic relations that do obtain between some metaphors and analogies. We argue that analogies often provide conditions of meaningfulness and truth for metaphors. An analogy is treated as an isomorphism from a source to topic domain. Metaphors are thought of as surface structures. Formal analogical conditions of meaningfulness and truth are fully (...)
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  9. Naturalistic Theories of Life After Death.Eric Steinhart - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (2):145-158.
    After rejecting substance dualism, some naturalists embrace patternism. It states that persons are bodies and that bodies are material machines running abstract person programs. Following Aristotle, these person programs are souls. Patternists adopt four-dimensionalist theories of persistence: Bodies are 3D stages of 4D lives. Patternism permits at least six types of life after death. It permits quantum immortality, teleportation, salvation through advanced technology, promotion out of a simulated reality, computational monadology, and the revision theory of resurrection.
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  10.  23
    Generating and Interpreting Metaphors with NETMET.Eric Steinhart - 2005 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 4 (2).
    The structural theory of metaphor (STM) uses techniques from possible worlds semantics to generate and interpret metaphors. STM is presented in detail in The Logic of Metaphor: Analogous Parts of Possible Worlds (Steinhart, 2001). STM is based on Kittay’s semantic field theory of metaphor (1987) and ultimately on Black’s interactionist theory (1962, 1979). STM uses an intensional calculus to specify truth-conditions for many grammatical forms of metaphor. The truth-conditional analysis in STM is inspired in part by Miller (1979) and Hintikka (...)
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  11. Royce's Model of the Absolute.Eric Steinhart - 2012 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (3):356-384.
    At the end of the 19th century, Josiah Royce participated in what has come to be called the great debate (Royce, 1897; Armour, 2005).1 The great debate concerned issues in metaphysical theology, and, since metaphysics was primarily idealistic, it dealt considerably with the relations between the divine Self and lesser selves. After the great debate, Royce developed his idealism in his Gifford Lectures (1898-1900). These were published as The World and the Individual. At the end of the first volume, Royce (...)
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  12. Theological Implications of the Simulation Argument.Eric Steinhart - 2010 - Ars Disputandi 10:23-37.
    Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Argument (SA) has many intriguing theological implications. We work out some of them here. We show how the SA can be used to develop novel versions of the Cosmological and Design Arguments. We then develop some of the affinities between Bostrom's naturalistic theogony and more traditional theological topics. We look at the resurrection of the body and at theodicy. We conclude with some reflections on the relations between the SA and Neoplatonism (friendly) and between the SA and (...)
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  13. Logically Possible Machines.Eric Steinhart - 2002 - Minds and Machines 12 (2):259-280.
    I use modal logic and transfinite set-theory to define metaphysical foundations for a general theory of computation. A possible universe is a certain kind of situation; a situation is a set of facts. An algorithm is a certain kind of inductively defined property. A machine is a series of situations that instantiates an algorithm in a certain way. There are finite as well as transfinite algorithms and machines of any degree of complexity (e.g., Turing and super-Turing machines and more). There (...)
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  14.  42
    Digital Theology: Is the Resurrection Virtual?Eric Steinhart - 2012 - In Morgan Luck (ed.), A Philosophical Exploration of New and Alternative Religious Movements. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. pp. 133 - 152.
    Many recent writers have developed a rich system of theological concepts inspired by computers. This is digital theology. Digital theology shares many elements of its eschatology with Christian post-millenarianism. It promises a utopian perfection via technological progress. Modifying Christian soteriology, digital theology makes reference to four types of immortality. I look critically at each type. The first involves transferring our minds from our natural bodies to superior computerized bodies. The second and third types involve bringing into being a previously living (...)
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  15.  95
    Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism.Eric Steinhart - 2008 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 20 (1):1-22.
    Teilhard is among the first to seriously explore the future of human evolution. He advocates both bio-technologies (e.g. genetic engineering) and intelligence technologies. He discusses the emergence of a global computation - communication system (and is said by some to have been the first to have envisioned the Internet). He advocates the development of a global society. He is almost surely the first to discuss the acceleration of technological progress to a Singularity in which human intelligence will become super-intelligence. He (...)
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  16. Supermachines and Superminds.Eric Steinhart - 2003 - Minds and Machines 13 (1):155-186.
    If the computational theory of mind is right, then minds are realized by machines. There is an ordered complexity hierarchy of machines. Some finite machines realize finitely complex minds; some Turing machines realize potentially infinitely complex minds. There are many logically possible machines whose powers exceed the Church–Turing limit (e.g. accelerating Turing machines). Some of these supermachines realize superminds. Superminds perform cognitive supertasks. Their thoughts are formed in infinitary languages. They perceive and manipulate the infinite detail of fractal objects. They (...)
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  17. The Revision Theory of Resurrection.Eric Steinhart - 2008 - Religious Studies 44 (1):63-81.
    A powerful argument against the resurrection of the body is based on the premise that all resurrection theories violate natural laws. We counter this argument by developing a fully naturalistic resurrection theory. We refer to it as the revision theory of resurrection (the RTR). Since Hick’s replica theory is already highly naturalistic, we use Hick’s theory as the basis for the RTR. According to Hick, resurrection is the recreation of an earthly body in another universe. The recreation is a resurrection (...)
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  18.  51
    Digital Metaphysics.Eric Steinhart - 1998 - In Terrell Ward Bynum & James Moor (eds.), The Digital Phoenix: How Computers Are Changing Philosophy. Blackwell. pp. 117--134.
    I discuss the view, increasingly common in physics, that the foundational level of our physical reality is a network of computing machines (so that our universe is ultimately like a cellular automaton). I discuss finitely extended and divided (discrete) space-time and discrete causality. I examine reasons for thinking that the foundational computational complexity of our universe is finite. I discuss the emergence of an ordered complexity hierarchy of levels of objects over the foundational level and I show how the special (...)
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  19.  71
    On the Plurality of Gods.Eric Steinhart - 2013 - Religious Studies 49 (3):289-312.
    Ordinal polytheism is motivated by the cosmological and design arguments. It is also motivated by Leibnizian–Lewisian modal realism. Just as there are many universes, so there are many gods. Gods are necessary concrete grounds of universes. The god-universe relation is one-to-one. Ordinal polytheism argues for a hierarchy of ranks of ever more perfect gods, one rank for every ordinal number. Since there are no maximally perfect gods, ordinal polytheism avoids many of the familiar problems of monotheism. It links theology with (...)
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  20.  96
    A Mathematical Model of Divine Infinity.Eric Steinhart - 2009 - Theology and Science 7 (3):261-274.
    Mathematics is obviously important in the sciences. And so it is likely to be equally important in any effort that aims to understand God in a scientifically significant way or that aims to clarify the relations between science and theology. The degree to which God has any perfection is absolutely infinite. We use contemporary mathematics to precisely define that absolute infinity. For any perfection, we use transfinite recursion to define an endlessly ascending series of degrees of that perfection. That series (...)
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  21.  54
    Spirit.Eric Steinhart - 2017 - Sophia 56 (4):557-571.
    Many religions and religious philosophies say that ultimate reality is a kind of primal energy. This energy is often described as a vital power animating living things, as a spiritual force directing the organization of matter, or as a divine creative power which generates all things. By refuting older conceptions of primal energy, modern science opens the door to new and more precise conceptions. Primal energy is referred to here as ‘spirit’. But spirit is a natural power. A naturalistic theory (...)
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  22.  84
    Structural Idealism.Eric Steinhart - 1994 - Idealistic Studies 24 (1):77-105.
    Structural idealism uses formal and computational techniques to describe an idealist ontology composed of God and a set of finite minds. A finite mind is a system of private intentional worlds. An intentional world is a connectionist hierarchy of intentional objects (propositions, concepts, sensible things, sensations). Intentional objects, similar to Leibnizian monads, are computing machines. To escape the egocentric predicament, Leibnizian relations of (in)compossibility exist between finite minds, linking them together into a constraint-satisfaction network, thereby coordinating their private intentional worlds.
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  23.  91
    Pantheism and Current Ontology.Eric Steinhart - 2004 - Religious Studies 40 (1):63-80.
    Pantheism claims: (1) there exists an all-inclusive unity; and (2) that unity is divine. I review three current and scientifically viable ontologies to see how pantheism can be developed in each. They are: (1) materialism; (2) Platonism; and (3) class-theoretic Pythagoreanism. I show how each ontology has an all-inclusive unity. I check the degree to which that unity is: eternal, infinite, complex, necessary, plentiful, self-representative, holy. I show how each ontology solves the problem of evil (its theodicy) and provides for (...)
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  24. On the Number of Gods.Eric Steinhart - 2012 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72 (2):75-83.
    A god is a cosmic designer-creator. Atheism says the number of gods is 0. But it is hard to defeat the minimal thesis that some possible universe is actualized by some possible god. Monotheists say the number of gods is 1. Yet no degree of perfection can be coherently assigned to any unique god. Lewis says the number of gods is at least the second beth number. Yet polytheists cannot defend an arbitrary plural number of gods. An alternative is that, (...)
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  25.  71
    Survival as a Digital Ghost.Eric Steinhart - 2007 - Minds and Machines 17 (3):261 – 271.
    You can survive after death in various kinds of artifacts. You can survive in diaries, photographs, sound recordings, and movies. But these artifacts record only superficial features of yourself. We are already close to the construction of programs that partially and approximately replicate entire human lives (by storing their memories and duplicating their personalities). A digital ghost is an artificially intelligent program that knows all about your life. It is an animated auto-biography. It replicates your patterns of belief and desire. (...)
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  26. Ontology in the Game of Life.Eric Steinhart - 2012 - Axiomathes 22 (3):403-416.
    The game of life is an excellent framework for metaphysical modeling. It can be used to study ontological categories like space, time, causality, persistence, substance, emergence, and supervenience. It is often said that there are many levels of existence in the game of life. Objects like the glider are said to exist on higher levels. Our goal here is to work out a precise formalization of the thesis that there are various levels of existence in the game of life. To (...)
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  27.  59
    The Singularity Beyond Philosophy of Mind.Eric Steinhart - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (7-8):131-137.
    Thought about the singularity intersects the philosophy of mind in deep and important ways. However, thought about the singularity also intersects many other areas of philosophy, including the history of philosophy, metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of religion. I point to some of those intersections. Singularitarian thought suggests that many of the objects and processes that once lay in the domain of revealed religion now lie in the domain of pure computer science.
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  28.  72
    Peirce's Omega Point Theory.Eric Steinhart - manuscript
    An Omega Point Theory says that reality is making progress from some initial state to some final state. It moves from some Alpha Point (the initial state) to some Omega Point (the final state). The progress is an increase in some quality. For example, reality is making progress from the chaotic to the orderly; or it is making progress from the simple to the complex; or from the mindless to the mental; or from evil to good. Here we focus on (...)
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  29.  38
    Beyond Proportional Analogy: A Structural Model of Analogical Mapping.Eric Steinhart - 1994 - Pragmatics and Cognition 2 (1):95-129.
    A model of analogical mapping is proposed that uses five principles to generate consistent and conflicting hypotheses regarding assignments of elements of a source domain to analogous elements of a target domain. The principles follow the fine conceptual structure of the domains. The principles are: (1) the principle of proportional analogy; (2) the principle of mereological analogy, (3) the principle of chain reinforcement; (4) the principle of transitive reinforcement; and (5) the principle of mutual inconsistency. A constraint-satisfaction network is used (...)
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  30.  23
    Eupraxia as a Religion of Nature.Eric Steinhart - 2016 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 37 (3):228-247.
    Many writers advocate the development of new and more naturalistic religions.1 Perhaps these new religions will emerge from religious naturalism. Peters believes that religious naturalism “could lead to a new significant form of organized religion with a structured community, ritual practices, and ways of moral living.”2 However, at the present time, religious naturalism is not a nature-centered religion. The features mentioned by Peters are mainly missing.3 At the present time, the most significant effort to derive a nature-centered religion from religious (...)
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