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41. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 4
Chris Daly

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42. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 4
Daniel Hutto

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43. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 4
T. Parent

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44. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 4
Miklós Márton, János Tözsér

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Our paper consists of three parts. In the first part we explain the concept of mental fictionalism. In the second part, we present the various versions of fictionalism and their main sources of motivation.We do this because in the third part we argue that mental fictionalism, as opposed to other versions of fictionalism, is a highly undermotivated theory.

45. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 4

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46. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 4

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47. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Justin L. Barrett, Ian M. Church

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Recent work in cognitive science of religion (CSR) is beginning to converge on a very interesting thesis—that, given the ordinary features of human minds operating in typical human environments, we are naturally disposed to believe in the existence of gods, among other religious ideas (e.g., see Atran [2002], Barrett [2004; 2012], Bering [2011], Boyer [2001], Guthrie [1993], McCauley [2011], Pyysiäinen [2004; 2009]). In this paper, we explore whether such a discovery ultimately helps or hurts the atheist position—whether, for example, it lends credence to atheism by explaining away religious belief or whether it actually strengthens some already powerful arguments against atheism in the relevant philosophical literature.We argue that the recent discoveries of CSR hurt, not help, the atheist position—that CSR, if anything, should not give atheists epistemic assurance.
48. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
John Teehan

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The problem of evil is a central issue in the philosophy of religion, for countless believers and skeptics alike. The attempt to resolve the dilemma of positing the existence of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, creator while recognizing the presence of evil in the world has engaged philosophers and theologians for millennia. This article will not seek to resolve the dilemma but rather to explore the question of why there is a problem of evil. That is, why is it that gods are conceived in ways that give rise to this dilemma? The topic will be approached using insights into the religious mind being developed by the disciplines contributing to the Cognitive Science of Religion. The thesis to be developed is that this problem is a product of natural cognitive processes that give rise togod-beliefs, beliefs that are shaped by evolved moral intuitions.
49. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Jason Marsh

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Problem one: why, if God designed the human mind, did it take so long for humans to develop theistic concepts and beliefs? Problem two: why would God use evolution to design the living world when the discovery of evolution would predictably contribute to so much nonbelief in God? Darwin was aware of such questions but failed to see their evidential significance for theism. This paper explores this significance. Problem one introduces something I call natural nonbelief, which is significant because it parallels and corroborates well-known worries about natural evil. Problems one and two, especially when combined, support naturalism over theism, intensify the problem of divine hiddenness, challenge Alvin Plantinga’s views about the naturalness of theism, and advance the discussion about whether the conflict between science and religion is genuine or superficial.
50. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Steven Horst

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This article examines the notions of “intuitive” and “counterintuitive” beliefs and concepts in cognitive science of religion. “Intuitive” states are contrasted with those that are products of explicit, conscious reasoning. In many cases the intuitions are grounded in the implicit rules of mental models, frames, or schemas. I argue that the pathway from intuitive to high theological concepts and beliefs may be distinct from that from intuitions to “folk religion,” and discuss how Christian theology might best interpret the results of studies in cognitive psychology of religion.
51. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Adam Green

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Rather than being in inherent conflict with religion or operating on planes that do not intersect, the cognitive science of religion (CSR) can be used to renovate a religious understanding of the world. CSR allows one to reshape the perspectives of Aquinas and Calvin on the natural knowledge of God. The Christian tradition affirms that all human beings have available to them some knowledge of God. This claim has empirical import and thus invites scientific investigation and clarification. A CSR-inspired lens allows one’s theological reflections to move from paradigms that focus on the cognitive reach of a domain-general power of human thought to a paradigm focused on different ways of relating to another person. The case study of the natural knowledge of God presented here models a productive way of relating CSR and religious perspectives from within a faith tradition.
52. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Paul Draper, Ryan Nichols

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Work in philosophy of religion exhibits at least four symptoms of poor health: it is too partisan, too polemical, too narrow in its focus, and too often evaluated using criteria that are theological or religious instead of philosophical. Our diagnosis is that, because of the emotional and psychosocial aspects of religion, many philosophers of religion suffer from cognitive biases and group influence. We support this diagnosis in two ways. First, we examine work in psychology on cognitive biases and their affective triggers. This work supports the view that, while cognitive biases are no doubt a problem in all inquiry and in all areas ofphilosophy, they are particularly damaging to inquiry in philosophy of religion. Second, we examine work in social and evolutionary psychology on religious sociality and its attendant emotions. This work establishes that the coalitional features of religion are correlated with group bias, and we contend that this bias is also harmful to inquiry in philosophy of religion. We close by offering both a prognosis and recommendations for treatment.
53. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Konrad Talmont-Kaminski

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Religious beliefs, it has been noted, are often hard to disprove. While this would be a shortcoming for beliefs whose utility was connected to their accuracy, it is actually necessary in the case of beliefs whose function bears no connection to how accurate they are. In the case of religions and other ideologies that serve to promote prosocial behaviour this leads to the need to protect belief systems against potentially disruptive counterevidence while maintaining their relevance. Religions turn out to be particularly adept at this because of the use they make of existing cognitive by-products to make them plausible without exposingthem overly to investigation.
54. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 3
Robert Audi

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55. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Ian Rumfitt

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56. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Martin Stokhof

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This paper discusses a number of methodological issues with mainstream formal semantics and then investigates whetherWittgenstein’s later work provides an alternative approach that is able to avoid these issues.
57. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Terence Horgan

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58. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Anil Gupta

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59. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 2
Laureano Luna

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The Monist’s call for papers for this issue ended: “If formalism is true, then it must be possible in principle to mechanize meaning in a conscious thinking and language-using machine; if intentionalism is true, no such project is intelligible.”We use the Grelling-Nelson paradox to show that natural language is indefinitely extensible, which has two important consequences: it cannot be formalized and model theoretic semantics, standard for formal languages, is not suitable for it. We also point out that object-object mapping theories of semantics, the usual account for the possibility of nonintentional semantics, do not seem able to accountfor the indefinitely extensible productivity of natural language.
60. The Monist: Volume > 96 > Issue: 1
Roberta De Monticelli

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Lynne Baker’s Constitution Theory seems to be the farthest-reaching and yet the most subtly elaborated antireductive metaphysics available today. Its original theoretical contribution is a nonmereological theory of material constitution, which yet has a place for classical and Lewisian mereology (this formalized version of Materialism). Constitution Theory hence apparently (i) complies with modern natural science, and yet (ii) rescues the concrete everyday world, and ourselvesin it, from ontological vanity or nothingness, and (iii) does it by avoiding dualism. Why, then, does it meet so many opponents—or rather, why are its many opponents so stubbornly resisting the very idea of constitution, in Baker’s form? One of the most resisted claims is (iii). Is unity without identity—the feature distinguishing the relation between constituting and constituted things—the only nondualist way to oppose reductionism? What would be the price to pay for unity with identity—without reduction? What I (jokingly) call the Unitarian Tradition, going back to Plato, keeps working out the original Platonic way of constructing acomplex object as a Unity comprising a Collection, as opposed to the Aristotelian suggestion of opposing Collections and Substances. For once you have split things apart ontologically, unifying them again may prove a very hard task.