American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 77, No. 3, Summer 2003

Article excerpt

Common Sense, Metaphysics and the Existence of God, JOHN HALDANE

Being dedicated to the memory of the great Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, who died in the month it was given, this Aquinas lecture begins with some reflections on the relationship between the anti-scientistic, anti-Cartesian position argued for by Anscombe and her teacher Wittgenstein, and the outlook of Thomas Aquinas. It then proceeds to explore the familiar Thomistic idea that philosophical reflection provides the means to establish the existence of God. Drawing in part on Aquinas, but also and perhaps unexpectedly on the idealism of Berkeley and on the semantic intuitionism of Michael Dummett (a former student of Anscombe), the author argues that theism follows both from the assumption of realism and from the assumption of antirealism, and that this fact reveals something of the complexity involved in the claim that God both creates and knows the world. Finally, the author examines the relationship between Aristotelian-Thomistic pluralistic realism and the attempt by John McDowell to fashion a position that lies between Platonism and reductive naturalism.

The Question of Pantheism in the Second Objections to Descartes's Meditations, JULIE R. KLEIN

Through a close analysis of texts from the Second Objections and Replies to the Meditations, this article addresses the tension between the pursuit of certainty and the preservation of divine transcendence in Descartes's philosophy. Via a hypothetical "atheist geometer," the Objectors charge Descartes with pantheism. While the Objectors' motivations are not clear, the objection raises provocative questions about the relation of the divine and the human mind and about the being of created or dependent entities in Descartes's metaphysics. Descartes contends that there are real, eternal essences present in the human intellect as innate ideas. The author argues that this claim implicates him in pantheism, not merely univocity. In the course of the analysis, the author considers recent interpretations by Wells, Marion, and Hatfield.

Rachels on Darwinism and Theism, JOHN LEMOS

In his book, Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (1990), James Rachels argues that the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection undermines the view that human beings are made in the image of God. By this he means that Darwinism makes things such that there is no longer any good reason to think that human beings are made in the image of God. Some other widely read and respected authors seem to share this view of the implications of Darwinism, most notably Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. Unlike Dawkins and Dennett, Rachels gives a detailed argument for this view about the implications of Darwinism. In this article the author explains Rachels's argument and critically engages with it, arguing that he does not sufficiently well consider all of the options that are open to the theist in defending the view that human beings are made in the image of God.

Commitment, Justification and the Rejection of Natural Theology, BRENDAN SWEETMAN

This paper considers two related claims in the work of D. …