As someone who feels they engage with issues of real controversy daily it is hard to underestimate the frustration of seeing debates one regards as long-settled inflame people again and again month after month. Presently, one such issue has been brought to the fore by Non-Prophet Week, a week of charitable giving by the non-religious, 29 October – 4 November. This is the third annual incarnation of the event organised by the British Federation of Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Student Societies (AHS). Read the rest of this entry
The following is another essay I wrote back in 2008.
Does Plato Provide A Good Argument For the Immortality of the Soul?
Plato (423 – 347 BC) provides several arguments for his claim that the soul is immortal, and for various reasons none of these are convincing. Their fundamental flaw is that the existence of a kind of soul to which the arguments apply is presupposed. Most of the arguments are found in his Socratic dialogue Phaedo (of which the Recollection Argument is also found in the Meno, but I do not cover that version here) and a further important one is found in the last book of The Republic (another Socratic dialogue). Read the rest of this entry
Are the Conditions of Belief, Truth and Justification Necessary and Sufficient for Knowledge?
This is an essay I wrote back in 2008. I evaluate the ‘standard analysis’ of the conditions for knowledge in the light of Gettier’s counter-examples. I cover three possible solutions: 1) redefining the conditions of knowledge (I follow especially Nozick’s conditional theory as advocated by Dancy, 1985), 2) explaining away Gettier’s refutation (particularly following Fogelin, as elaborated in Williams, 2001), and 3) radical scepticism. These positions each have merits in their own ways, but it is the conditional theory that is most plausible and as a result the elaboration of the standard analysis found in the question above should be rejected. Read the rest of this entry