Novels and thought experiments can be pathways to different kinds of knowledge. We may, however, be hard pressed to say exactly what can be learned from novels but not from thought experiments. Headway on this matter can be made by spelling out their respective conditions for epistemic failure. Thought experiments fail in their epistemic role when they neither yield propositional knowledge nor contribute to an argument. They are largely in the business of ‘knowing that’. Novels, on the other hand can be an epistemic success by yielding ‘knowledge how’. They can help us to improve our competences.
Theodore the Studite resolved the logical problem posed by the second Iconoclasm in an explicitly paraconsistent way, when he applied to Jesus the definition of the human hypostasis while stating that there is no human hypostasis in Jesus. Methodologically he was following, albeit without knowing, Eulogius of Alexandria. He, in turn, was apparently followed by Photius, but in a confused manner.
Margaret Boone Rappaport and Christopher Corbally
The authors present an evolutionary model for the biological emergence of religious capacity as an advanced neurocognitive trait. Using their model for the stages leading to the evolutionary emergence of religious capacity in Homo sapiens, they analyze the mechanisms that can fail, leading to unbelief (atheism or agnosticism). The analysis identifies some, but not all types of atheists and agnostics, so they turn their question around and, using the same evolutionary model, ask what keeps religion going. Why does its development not fail in one social group after another, worldwide? Their final analysis searches for reasons in important evolutionary changes in the senses of hearing, vision, and general sensitivity on the hominin line, which together interact with both intellectual and emotional brain networks to achieve, often in human groups, variously altered states of consciousness, especially a numinous state enabled in part by a brain organ, the precuneus. An inability to experience the numinous, consider it important, or believe in its supernatural nature, may cleave the human population into those with belief and those with unbelief.
Free will is a very hot issue in several theoretical settings, but less in theology, or at least not as much as use to be in former times, when the discussions on sinfulness, grace and freedom were igniting a long season of controversies, especially in the Reformation time. Even in ecumenical dialogue apparently free will does not play a great role, since the reached consensus seems quite peaceful and agreement dominates over discussion. However, some theological insights, especially Karl Rahner reflections, are still worthy to consider and possibly theological anthropology should pay more attention to the current debate and its consequences for the way we understand human nature and its relationship with God.
This article provides a detailed description of robotic weapons and unmanned systems currently used by the U.S. Military and its allies, and an ethical assessment of their actual or potential use on the battlefield. Firstly, trough a review of scientific literature, reports, and newspaper articles, a catalogue of ethical problems related to military robotics is compiled. Secondly, possible solutions for these problems are offered, by relying also on analytic tools provided by the new field of roboethics. Finally, the article explores possible future developments of military robotics and present six reasons why a war between humans and automata is unlikely to happen in the 21st century.
Gettier’s Paradox is considered a most critical problem for the presumably obvious philosophical view that knowledge is justified true belief. Such a view of knowledge, however, exposes the poverty of analytic philosophy. It wrongly assumes, for example, that knowledge must be conscious and explicit, and, to make matters worse, linguistic, as illustrated in Donald Davidson’s writings. To show why this philosophical view is wrong I will point to arguments by Ruth Barcan Marcus and, principally, Paul Churchland, as well as to work by the neuroscientist Paul Reber on intuitive knowledge. We will see, then, that much of our knowledge is neither explicit nor conscious, let alone linguistic. I will suggest that an approach that pays attention to biology is more likely to succeed in developing a proper account of our cognitive abilities. Thus, Gettier’s paradox becomes a mere curiosity.
Hans Van Eyghen
Recently, Del Ratzsch proposed a new version of the design argument. He argues that belief in a designer is often formed non-inferentially, much like perceptual beliefs, rather than formed by explicit reasoning. Ratzsch traces his argument back to Thomas Reid (1710-1796) who argues that beliefs formed in this way are also justified. In this paper, I investigate whether design beliefs that are formed in this way can be regarded as knowledge. For this purpose, I look closer to recent scientific study of how design beliefs are formed. I argue that the science strongly suggest that people easily form false beliefs. As a result, design beliefs can only constitute knowledge if subjects have additional reasons or evidence for design.
Matthew Williams and Martin Braddock
The development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) is and will profoundly reshape human society, the culture and the composition of civilisations which make up human kind. All technological triggers tend to drive a hype curve which over time is realised by an output which is often unexpected, taking both pessimistic and optimistic perspectives and actions of drivers, contributors and enablers on a journey where the ultimate destination may be unclear. In this paper we hypothesise that this journey is not dissimilar to the personal journey described by the Kubler-Ross change curve and illustrate this by commentary on the potential of AI for drug discovery, development and healthcare and as an enabler for deep space exploration and colonisation. Recent advances in the call for regulation to ensure development of safety measures associated with machine-based learning are presented which, together with regulation of the rapidly emerging digital after-life industry, should provide a platform for realising the full potential benefit of AI for the human species.