Anselm Ramelow God


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Inhaltsangabe zu „God“ von Anselm Ramelow

Philosophia Basic Philosophical Concepts
Anselm Ramelow (Editor) GOD Reason and Reality
ISBN 978-3-88405-109-2 © 2014 Philosophia Verlag GmbH. München

Abstracts to the new contributions in this collection

Robert Spaemann
What Do We Mean When We Say “God”?

Before we can answer the question, whether God exists, we need to understand what we mean by this question, i.e. what we mean by “God.” Different relig-ions use the term “God,” yet whether this term has the same referent, depends on its sense. Not all changes of the sense seem to imply a change of reference. The most basic sense seems to aim at a unique and inextricable unity of om-nipotence and goodness, both of which are taken as absolute and yet dependent on each other.

Thomas Joseph White, O.P.
Monotheistic Rationality and Divine Names: Why Aquinas’ Analogy Theory Transcends both Theoretical Agnosticism and Conceptual An-thropomorphism

This essay examines the philosophical thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas’ regard-ing analogical names for God. Aquinas’ philosophical theory of analogy takes its shape from conversations with Aristotle, Proclus, Dionysius and Maimon-ides. The balance Aquinas strikes on analogical names for God seeks to avoid the twin extremes of a theory of divine names that is excessively apophatic, leaning toward agnosticism, and one that is excessively anthropomorphic, un-derstanding God through the prism of a univocalist conceptuality. The poise of this position is applicable in a contemporary context. After Kant and Heidegger it is common place to label all theistic projects as forms of onto-theology, in-evitably dominated by what some have termed “conceptual idolatry.” Mean-while, influential trends in analytic philosophy often seek a clarity regarding the concept of God at the expense of a sufficient acknowledgement of the apo-phatic quality of all natural knowledge of God. Aquinas' arguments provide a way to think about affirmative knowledge of God that is not anthropomorphic and apophatic knowle Theoretical Agnosticism dge of God that is not agnostic. The project of analogical naming of God in the Thomist tradition remains one of enduring value and is formative for avoiding problematic ways of theistic and atheistic thinking.

Lawrence Dewan
Thomas Aquinas, and Knowledge of a God as the Goal of Philosophy

The present paper is meant to recall the Aristotelian doctrine of the natural human desire to know as finding its complete fulfillment in knowledge of the highest cause, otherwise called “a God”. The most truly “philosophical” knowledge will grasp things in the light of the divine, the supreme cause. Phi-losophy as its most philosophical is best understood as “theology” or “divine science”, as Aristotle indicated.
I show how this is seen by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century A.D., but that many, both then as still today, have taken the doctrine of a creator God as nec-essarily involving a doctrine of finite duration of the universe (looking towards the past). Thus, for such people God as creator seems unknowable to someone who allows no temporal beginning of a created universe.
Thomas was able to understand a doctrine of creation of the eternal (in the past) Aristotelian world, and saw that doctrine as professed by Aristotle. He could thus also understand the truth about the highest philosophy being “theol-ogy” (in one quite appropriate meaning of the word).
The god I find Thomas presenting in an Aristotelian philosophical portrait is quite readily viewed as creator and providence, knowing all things other than himself through and through. This does not mean that there is no affirmation by Thomas of a realm of theology “beyond philosophy.” We show at the very outset that one must distinguish between natural and supernatural “theologies.”

Stamatios Gerogiorgakis
Evidence and Principles in Bayesian Theism

I present Bayesian theism, i.e. Richard Swinburne’s arguments for the exis-tence of God and for parts of the Christian faith. I also present the most usual criticisms which Bayesian theism has received, according to which 1) the Bayesian theory of probability is not adequate for the confirmation of scientific hypotheses, but even if it were, 2) some probability grades of the hypotheses, which Bayesian theism seeks to confirm, can be calculated to be inconsistent, implausible or to form poor results, and, finally, 3) the principles which Bayes-ian theism employs are unjustified or inadequate. I also present some argu-ments, with which Swinburne tried to defend Bayesian theism against these accusations. But mainly I aim at showing that the usual criticisms are pointless, especially when one bears in mind that Bayesian theism is essentially based on applying the Carnapian conception of probability on the Bayesian General Division Theorem (GDT). However, this defence of Bayesian theism generates some other problems, which I also briefly sketch.

John F. X. Knasas
The “Suppositio” of Motion’s Eternity and the Interpretation of Aquinas’ Motion Proof

The article focuses on Aquinas’ two God proofs from motion at Summa Contra Gentiles I, 13. Is the operative context for the proofs Aristotle’s physics or of Aquinas’ metaphysics? First, I argue that the second proof’s “supposition” of motion’s eternity indicates a metaphysical context. If the context were physics, the eternity of motion would be a necessary conclusion and not a supposition. Study shows that Aquinas has a metaphysics already in place to counter the claim that motion is the only way something can come into being. Second, I argue that the absence of motion’s eternity in the first proof is a sure indication that the proof is metaphysical. As mentioned, on the level of Aristotle’s phys-ics, the eternity of motion is a strict conclusion and so should be considered by any physical proof. In the course of pursuing these two points, the article con-siders the views of the famous natural philosophy Thomists, Vincent Smith and Benedict Ashley.

Paul Thom
Shades of Simplicity

Patricia Curd's notion of predicational monism, as relativised to a given class of predications, is applied to a number of medieval accounts of divine simpli
ity from Boethius to Scotus. Accounts that take simplicity to consist in the absence of composition are distinguished from those that take it to consist in the coincidence of being and what-it-is.

Michael Dodds
The God of Life, the Science of Life, and the Problem of Language

Scripture often attributes to God the quality of "life." But what does it mean to
say that God is living? The very notion of life remains mysterious to us, despite the advances and discoveries of contemporary biology. We can name certain characteristics of life, but we are far from any simple definition of it. How then are we to speak of divine life? Certainly life cannot belong to God in the same way it belongs to a snail or a sparrow. How then do we bend language to speak of divine life? Does the term remain a mere metaphor when applied to God or does it name an essential divine property? And if it names the very being of God, how does it fit with other divine attributes, especially divine immutabil-ity?

William Wainwright
Divine Impassibility

The traditional doctrine of divine impassibility includes two claims: 1) That God isn't causally affected by, or ontologically dependent on, any contingent state of affairs, and 2) God doesn't literally grieve, share our sufferings, and the like. The first claim entails the second but the second doesn't entail the first. Both claims are rejected by a significant number of contemporary theists. I shall argue that they are right to reject the first but that the rejection of the sec-ond may be too hasty.

Linda Zagzebski
Divine Foreknowledge and the Metaphysics of Time

In this paper I argue that when we examine the traditional dilemma of infallible divine foreknowledge and human free will, we uncover a deeper dilemma that has nothing to do with God, infallibility, or free will. Many historically impor-tant ways out of theological fatalism are irrelevant to this problem, which is a dilemma that arises directly within the metaphysics of time. I will then argue that the most reasonable response to the dilemma is to reject the idea that the necessity of the past is a purely temporal modality; in fact, it is not a form of necessity in the formal sense of necessity. Rather, I propose that it reduces to the metaphysical thesis that the past is causally closed. With this interpretation of the necessity of the past, the argument for theological fatalism must be re-vised in a way that has a peculiar and problematic feature.

Anselm Ramelow
The God of Miracles

A God who works miracles is very different from one who does not. It will be my concern to spell out what kind of God a “God of miracles” is, namely a personal God who is a free and omnipotent creator, yet who works in accord with his wisdom, which governs the universe. It will be part of the task to inves-tigate what is presupposed in the notion of miracles, and how we can know that they actually occurred.
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