Here is a sample of two of the student papers that will be featured at the Northeast Florida Student Philosophy Conference this weekend. If time permits, I’ll post more ‘samplers’ later in the week.
“The Impact of Chalmers’ Theory of Consciousness on the Theistic Argument from Consciousness”
Abstract: Theistic philosophers have put forward many arguments for the existence of God. Besides the traditional cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments there are moral arguments, arguments from religious experience, arguments from miracles, and so forth. The topic of this paper is the little discussed “argument from consciousness,” especially as it is formulated by theist Richard Swinburne. After an exposition describing Swinburne’s argument I will examine philosopher of mind David Chalmers’ proposed fundamental principle of consciousness, the double-aspect theory of information, and describe its impact on the argument from consciousness, specifically whether it undermines or provides support for the argument from consciousness. I conclude that the double-aspect theory of information, if correct, would make theism more probable, facilitating a good inductive argument for theism from consciousness.
“How to Motivate the Maxim that ‘Ought Implies Can’ to Defend the Principle of Alternate Possibilities”
Abstract: In this paper, I discuss David Copp’s argument for the principle of alternate possibilities (PAP). Copp thinks that the Maxim that ‘ought implies can’ provides strong support for PAP, and gives two motivations for thinking the Maxim is true. John Martin Fischer thinks both PAP and the Maxim are false, and attempts to counter both of the motivations Copp provides for the Maxim. I will argue that Fischer is unsuccessful and that the Maxim does support PAP. But I will also argue that Copp’s compatibilist position faces a serious worry, so I will suggest a way for Copp to revise his position in a way that is sympathetic to Fischer’s own semi-compatibilist position.