• Political Philosophy,  Politics

    On Property Acquisition

    According to some, there are no natural rights to property. You can pursue goods all you like, but your rights to them don’t go with the acquisition. You’d need some form of social construction for that, and, if the society was against you, the society could chose not to grant you any rights. Moreover, there’d be nothing you could do about it. There certainly wouldn’t be any moral ground for your complaint. According to some adherents of this view, John Locke’s famous arguments for property acquisition are to be confined to the dustbin. For example, according to one objector, Locke’s labor-mixing argument for the acquisition of private property is unsound.…

  • Apologetics

    In Defense of Defense: Challenges to Apologetics, pt. 2

    The second challenge to apologetics is skepticism. The Skeptic suggests that even if there are mind-independent truths, we cannot know what they are.  The problem with being a skeptic is that if one doesn’t think one can know the truth, then one won’t be inclined to defend it. No one is prepared to die for something that could very well turn out false.  There are many ways to be a skeptic. One might suggest that we can always find ways to doubt what we believe. Perhaps you are a brain in a vat. How would you know that you are not merely a brain being stimulated in ways that bring…

  • Apologetics

    In Defense of Defense: Challenges to Apologetics, pt. 1

    Some say that apologetics is dead. We don’t have to argue anymore, we just have to persuade. What we need the power of a good story, not the plodding of old-fashioned teaching.  Now, I’m not against a powerful story. My early faith was deeply influenced by the stories of Nicky Cruz, and other people who experienced the transforming power of God. My own story contains great experiences of the reality of God.  The point is: you can’t argue with a story. You can no more defend a story than you can do mathematical calculations on a feeling. Stories might give you psychological reasons to believe something; they may be powerful enough to…

  • Education,  Theology

    Truth and Theological Method.

    How should we do theology? The answer to this question comprises a theological method. A theological method describes how one goes about doing theology. Theological Reflection (TR) is a recently developed theological method. Its roots are in theologies that stress a particular cultural context as the starting point for theology. Over the last few decades, TR has become more mainstream, making its way into seminaries and influencing some in the evangelical community. In this post I want to explain the method of TR and argue that to make it the dominant method for the theological task is a mistake. TR Begins and Ends with Experience All methods have to start…

  • Apologetics,  Ben Holloway

    Replying to a Skeptic Without Becoming One

    A skeptic might make the following claims: (A) What we believe is determined by our psychology, sociology, and autobiography. (B) There is no normative, universally applicable method for arriving truth. If (A) is true, then we cannot be objective about what is true or false. If (B) is true, then we are not obliged to believe anything on the basis of someone’s evidence or reasoning. Apologists are supposed to show that claims such as “God exists” or “Jesus rose from the dead” are true and that those who believe such things are rational to do so. Moreover, apologists must assume that it is possible to come to believe these claims…

  • Human Nature,  Mind

    If Intentionality, then Not Physicalism

    You and I believe, hope, fear, and have all sorts of other intentional thoughts. We think about things. If physicalism is true, then none of us have intentional thoughts. Since we plainly do, physicalism is false. Physicalism is the view that all existent entities are describable by theories of physics. On physicalism, one cannot provide a description of a soul. Thus, souls do not exist. Same goes for abstract objects, divine beings, and inbuilt purposes. But what about those mental states of intentional thoughts? Can they be described in purely physical terms? The answer is: no. Here’s one reason why. I believe that the best days are sunny. Me believing…

  • Ben Holloway,  Economics,  Human Nature,  Politics

    On The Communist Manifesto

    In order to understand Marx, you must understand Hegel. But no one can understand Hegel. Ergo… Okay, so perhaps we don’t have to completely understand Hegel but merely get a rough grasp of what he was saying. Hegel was born in 1770, taught philosophy at the University of Jena until it was closed down in 1806 after Napoleon overcame the Prussian army, and taught at the University of Heidelberg from 1816 until his death from cholera in 1831. Hegel’s greatest contribution to philosophy is his view of history. Hegel thought that the flow of history has its own internal logic. The logical process of history is like the maturing of a spirit. Just…

  • AI,  Human Nature,  Mind

    Thinking Machine: No Such Thing

    By thinking, I mean something more than the capacity to calculate or process information. What I mean by thinking is something like having a thought about something. I guess the best place to start thinking about thinking is me. I think I am a thinking thing. As such, I think about stuff. I believe, hope, entertain, consider, fear, and wish all the time. That’s what I mean by thinking. And a machine cannot do it, not now and not ever. By a machine I mean a material object composed of physical parts arranged in such a way as they perform a certain set of functions. Old fashioned clocks are made…