•  1754
    St. Thomas Aquinas on Intelligent Design
    Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 85 79-97. 2011.
    Recently, the Intelligent Design (ID) movement has challenged the claim of many in the scientific establishment that nature gives no empirical signs of having been deliberately designed. In particular, ID arguments in biology dispute the notion that neo-Darwinian evolution is the only viable scientific explanation of the origin of biological novelty, arguing that there are telltale signs of the activity of intelligence which can be recognized and studied empirically. In recent years, a number of…Read more
  •  1002
    I wrote the following essay in early 2006 while still a member of the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod. On the Vigil of Pentecost in A.D. 2007 (May 25th) I was formally received into the fellowship of the Roman Catholic Church at the parish of St. Louis the King of France in Austin, Texas.
  •  379
    A new look at the cosmological argument
    American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (2). 1997.
    The cosmological argument for God’s existence has a long history, but perhaps the most influential version of it has been the argument from contingency. This is the version that Frederick Copleston pressed upon Bertrand Russell in their famous debate about God’s existence in 1948 (printed in Russell’s 1957 Why I am not a Christian). Russell’s lodges three objections to the Thomistic argument.
  •  322
    Introduction
    In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism: New Essays, Oxford University Press. 2010.
    In this introduction, before summarizing the contents of the volume, the authors characterize materialism as it is understood within the philosophy of mind, and they identify three respects in which materialism is on the wane.
  •  198
    The Waning of Materialism (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2009.
    This is a sustained critique of materialism. The contributors offer arguments from conscious experience, rational thought, the interaction of mind and body, and the unity and persisting identity of human persons, and develop a wide range of alternatives.
  •  193
    Functionalism without physicalism: Outline of an emergentist program
    Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design 2 (3-3). 2003.
    The historical association between functionalism and physicalism is not an unbreakable one. There are reasons for finding some version of a functional account of the mental attractive that are independent of the plausibility of physicalism. I develop a non-physicalist version of func- tionalism and explain how this model is able to secure genuine emergence of the mental, despite Kim’s arguments that such emergence theories are incoherent. The kind of teleological emergence of the mental required …Read more
  •  107
    A staunch hylomorphism involves a commitment to a sparse theory of universals and a sparse theory of composite material objects, as well as to an ontology of fundamental causal powers. Faint-hearted hylomorphism, in contrast, lacks one or more of these elements. On the staunch version of HM, a substantial form is not merely some structural property of a set of elements—it is rather a power conferred on those elements by that structure, a power that is the cause of the generation and persistence …Read more
  •  94
    Teleology as higher-order causation: A situation-theoretic account
    Minds and Machines 8 (4): 559-585. 1998.
    Situation theory, as developed by Barwise and his collaborators, is used to demonstrate the possibility of defining teleology (and related notions, like that of proper or biological function) in terms of higher order causation, along the lines suggested by Taylor and Wright. This definition avoids the excessive narrowness that results from trying to define teleology in terms of evolutionary history or the effects of natural selection. By legitimating the concept of teleology, this definition als…Read more
  •  90
    Materialism—the view that all of reality is wholly determined by the very, very small—and extreme nominalism—the view that properties, kinds, and qualities do not really exist—have been the dominant view in analytic philosophy for the last 100 years or so. Both views, however, have failed to provide adequate accounts for the possibility of intentionality and of knowledge. We must therefore look to alternatives. One well-tested alternative, the hylomorphism of Aristotle and the medieval scholasti…Read more
  •  82
    Objects of Intention: A Hylomorphic Critique of the New Natural Law Theory
    with Matthew B. O’Brien
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 86 (4): 655-703. 2012.
    The “New Natural Law” Theory (NNL) of Germain Grisez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and their collaborators offers a distinctive account of intentional action, which underlies a moral theory that aims to justify many aspects of traditional morality and Catholic doctrine. In fact, we show that the NNL is committed to premises that entail the permissibility of many actions that are irreconcilable with traditional morality and Catholic doctrine, such as elective abortions. These consequences follow p…Read more
  •  77
    The logical treatment of the nature of religious belief (here I will concentrate on belief in Christianity) has been distorted by the acceptance of a false dilemma. On the one hand, many (e.g., Braithwaite, Hare) have placed the significance of religious belief entirely outside the realm of intellectual cognition. According to this view, religious statements do not express factual propositions: they are not made true or false by the ways things are. Religious belief consists in a certain attitud…Read more
  •  67
    Defeasible reasoning, special pleading and the cosmological argument
    Faith and Philosophy 18 (2): 192-203. 2001.
    This is a reply to a paper by Graham Oppy in the July, 1999 issue of this journal, “Koons’ Cosmological Argument.” Recent work in defeasible or nonmonotonic logic means that the cosmological argument can be cast in such a way that it does not presuppose that every contingent situation, without exception, has a cause. Instead, the burden of proof is shifted to the skeptic, who must produce positive reasons for thinking that the cosmos is an exception to the defeasible law of causality. I show how…Read more
  •  63
    Skepticism and the principle of sufficient reason
    Philosophical Studies 1-21. forthcoming.
    The Principle of Sufficient Reason must be justified dialectically: by showing the disastrous consequences of denying it. We formulate a version of the Principle that is restricted to basic natural facts, which entails the obtaining of at least one supernatural fact. Denying this principle results in extreme empirical skepticism. We consider six current theories of empirical knowledge, showing that on each account we cannot know that we have empirical knowledge unless we all have a priori knowle…Read more
  •  56
    Three-valued (strong-Kleene) modal logic provides the foundation for a new approach to formalizing causal explanation as a relation between partial situations. The approach makes fine-grained distinctions between aspects of events, even between aspects that are equivalent in classical logic. The framework can accommodate a variety of ontologies concerning the relata of causal explanation. I argue, however, for a tripartite ontology of objects corresponding to sentential nominals: facts, tropes (…Read more
  •  53
    Paradoxes of Belief and Strategic Rationality
    Cambridge University Press. 1992.
    This book develops a framework for analysing strategic rationality, a notion central to contemporary game theory, which is the formal study of the interaction of rational agents and which has proved extremely fruitful in economics, political theory and business management. The author argues that a logical paradox lies at the root of a number of persistent puzzles in game theory, in particular those concerning rational agents who seek to establish some kind of reputation. Building on the work of …Read more
  •  50
    To understand Aristotle’s conception of form, we have to see clearly the relationship between his account and Plato’s Theory of Forms. I offer a novel interpretation of Aristotle’s Moderate Realism, in which forms are simple particulars that ground the character and mutual similarity of the entities they inform. Such an account has advantages in three areas: explaining (1) the similarity of particulars, (2) the synchronic unity of composite particulars, and (3) the diachronic unity or persistenc…Read more
  •  50
    In this wide-ranging philosophical work, Koons takes on two powerful dogmas--anti-realism and materialism.
  •  48
    Defeasible reasoning
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
  •  47
    Although the notion of common or mutual belief plays a crucial role in game theory, economics and social philosophy, no thoroughly representational account of it has yet been developed. In this paper, I propose two desiderata for such an account, namely, that it take into account the possibility of inconsistent data without portraying the human mind as logically and mathematically omniscient. I then propose a definition of mutual belief which meets these criteria. This account takes seriously th…Read more
  •  45
    In "The Compatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism" (Dec. 2003) , Brian Holtz offers two objections to my argument in "The Incompatibility of Naturalism and Scientific Realism" (in Naturalism: A Critical Appraisal , edited by William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland, Routledge, 2000). His responses are: (1) my argument can be deflected by adopting a pragmatic or empiricist "definition" of "truth", and (2) the extra-spatiotemporal cause of the simplicity of the laws need not be God, or any o…Read more
  •  44
    Logic and Theism
    Faith and Philosophy 23 (3): 356-360. 2006.
  •  44
    Springs of Action
    Review of Metaphysics 46 (4): 861-863. 1993.
  •  43
    Taking Pascal’s Wager: Faith, Evidence and the Abundant Life. By Michael Rota (review)
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 91 (2): 328-331. 2017.
  •  42
    Doxastic paradoxes without self-reference
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (2). 1990.
    This Article does not have an abstract