Monday, May 26, 2008

Possibly Obvious

The Spiritual Resources of Weekend Fisher have recently been for those dealing with dying; and they're v.g.i. ... b.t.w. though, Jean Kazez ended an article on dealing with dying (People Don't Die, Do they?) on this thoughtful note:
We still haven’t had to cope with a major loss. But, when the time comes, we will cope with our feelings without any waffling. “He had a wonderful life. We’ll always remember him. He’s a part of us.” These platitudes don’t remove the pain of loss, but they’re the truth, as some of us see it. There’s no place but here. We think.
What I don't get is how those so-called platitudes (trite or banal remarks) aren't more like waffle (evasive or vague speech). Was his life really full of wonders (and how could that have been possible); and will they always remember him? But I can't even make sense of his being (present tense) a part of them. Of course, it's important what valued others think of one, and so one's sense of who one is is already bound up with one's sense of what such people think of one; but surely that would not make one part of them, not even if there was nothing else left (and not even if they are their thoughts, and one is present in propositions about oneself, and their thoughts are propositional).
......I also suspect that (re no place but) "here" refers either to all that the speaker's location is part of (which might include parallel universes, or even transcendental realms) or else only to the known part (and the presumption that that is all there is is rather arrogant), so that much of the force of Jean's thought might arise via equivocation (or waffle) ...a bit like saying that only physical things exist, and then defining "physical" so that if there was a transcendental creator of the Big Bang, ex nihilo and deliberately, for example, then that God would be a purely physical thing (which is—tellingly?—as good a defence of Physicalism as many professional philosophers can manage nowadays).
......On a deeper note, to end my facile post (since logic is concerned with truth, which is concerned with what there is), the following, from a letter from Stephen Bilynskyj to Peter van Inwagen (taken from page eleven of the latter's The Problem of Evil), belies nicely the idea that having the hope of Heaven encourages thoughtlessness.
As a pastor, I believe that some sort of view of providence which allows for genuine chance is essential in counseling those facing what I often call the “practical problem of evil”. A grieving person needs to be able to trust in God's direction in her life and the world, without having to make God directly responsible for every event that occurs. The message of the Gospel is not, I believe, that everything that occurs has some purpose. Rather, it is that God's power is able to use and transform any event through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Omniscience and the Odyssey theodicy

Mawson argues in Divine Eternity (forthcoming in Int.J.Phil.Rel.) that Open theism (that God's future is to some extent open) implies that God is not omniscient and hence not omnipotent either, whence God's goodness would be, to some extent, a matter of luck! So in Omniscience and The Odyssey Theodicy I defend Open theism against that charge—hopefully introducing to a wider world (this world is so odd) my yearling theodicy (that we asked to be born because we wanted to be the instruments of a scientific investigation into God’s uniqueness) as part of that defence (since evil is less of a problem for theism if we asked to be born, which we could more plausibly have done if God is everlasting rather than timeless).

Sunday, May 11, 2008


(a) The Best Visual Illusion of 2008 appears today (also interesting, a Window-shade illusion; not to mention the checkerShadow). [b] Almost stimulating, was simulated sex with a snail (an easy illusion, since Isabella looks like a bank manager); also awesomely, Galaxies collide. <c> How science works (comically), and how it categorically does not (lolly); also, the nature of the Catastrophe (more lolly).

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Haiku; by who?

......Yellow butterfly
fluttering—fluttering on
......over the ocean.

The best haiku ever (at least in translation)—I read it years ago and cannot now recall who wrote it (and Google was unusually unenlightening); does anyone out here know?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Talk

The final bit of my tryptich, a modern-physical instantiation of Levy's Paradox, will be appearing (in a graduate session) at the Joint Sessions in Aberdeen in July (dream come true :-)