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Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

In a recent and very engaging presentation at UNF, Chris Tucker asked for an argument that shows perception is trustworthy that does not already assume that perception is trustworthy, where perception includes vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, and proprioception.  It was intended to be a trick question as any argument for one type of perception will depend on another.  For example, when asked how I can trust my hearing – e.g. that who I heard speaking at the lecture was Chris Tucker and not a recording being played in the background- I can respond that I watched him speak with my very own eyes.  So it seems that we are left with basic faculties of perception to form rational beliefs that cannot themselves be verified as trustworthy by argument or experience independent of those faculties.  If this is so, argued Tucker, then a common argument against the use of religious experiences to make religious beliefs rational employs inconsistent standards – higher standards are set for religious beliefs than perceptual.  I would like to look more closely at Tucker’s objection and consider a way of responding by arguing that the standards for religious beliefs are not higher than those of perceptual beliefs and that perceptual experiences are supported for reasons independent of those experiences. (more…)

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There is a side-conversation in the comments section of another post  discussing religious experiences and their veracity in affirming the existence of a supernatural or religious ’cause’ of such experiences. This side-conversation reminded me of the discussion of cross-checking procedures beteen Alston and Fales, and so I would like to open up a seperate post for discussion on this topic. Below is an exposition of the largest problem I see with the cross-checking procedure theory.

What I propose is that any attempt to utilize intrapersonal religious experiences in order to justify or prove a specific religious position interpersonally must necessarily fail by virtue of a fundamental disconnect. What’s more, the poverty of cross-checking when applied to transcendent religious experiences is not surprising given the very content of such experiences. By attempting to use the personal to prove the general, the intrapersonal to prove the interpersonal, the profundity of the religious experience is lost and becomes fodder for philosophical skeptics. First I shall begin by discussing the type of transcendent religious experience to which I am referring and by citing specific examples. After that I shall introduce the current discussion surrounding the veracity of religious experiences that has carried on between authors such as Alston and Fales, paying specific attention to the concept of cross-checking. From there I shall argue how, based on the intrapersonal nature of these transcendent religious experiences, cross-checking must be re-evaluated as a verification tool. (more…)

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It was never the people who complained of the universality of human rights, nor did the people consider human rights as a Western or Northern imposition. It was often their leaders who did so.
Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General

When considering the subject of human rights it seems to me most likely that an individual would begin by considering how she would like to be treated by others. After all it is in herself, excepting perhaps her children, in which she has the greatest interest, has made the greatest investment, and is the greatest stakeholder. This question is of primary concern to the individual almost from the moment of birth. Only after a careful consideration of self-interest would the question of how others should then be treated reasonably arise.

It is because humans have been created with an overarching sense of self interest that God links the standard for our behavior in all aspects of life to it.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for these sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matt 7:12, NIV) 1

The “others” referred to being the individuals within her immediate sphere. Given an increase in intellect and maturity, that number may progressively expand until she should arrive at the question, “How then should all the people of the world rightly be treated?” 2 The influence of family and cultural traditions may have a profound impact upon such reasoning depending upon the individual’s strength of intellect and character. The normative claims that we make regarding what comprises right and just conduct of humans toward each other subsequently gives rise to all the specific definitions of human rights and responsibilities. (more…)

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I though this might be relevant for those working on Environmental Ethics, Philosophy of Religion, and/or Moral Psychology. Best of Luck!

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On behalf of the Gonzaga University Faith and Reason Institute and Whitworth College’s Weyerhaeuser Center for Faith and Learning, I am pleased to announce a call for papers for the inaugural “Faith, Film, and Philosophy” one-day conference to be held at Gonzaga University (Spokane, WA) this coming September 29. The conference will be held in conjunction with a series of three public talks to be held on the evenings of September 27-29.

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here and here, compliments of our friends at R-P-E.

There are also interesting discussions for students both of Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas” as well as of brain damage and moral reasoning.

– Rico Vitz

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on the Four Noble Truths and on Not-Self (Anatta) are available from our friends at R-P-E.

– Rico Vitz

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