Monday, July 30, 2007

Where I Stand

Browsing around the Web I recently came across this post at Fides Quaerens Intellectum and thought I would put together a summary of my current philosophical outlook.

  • Trinitarian theism - God exists and is essentially tri-personal.
  • A-theory of time - There is an objective 'now'. The totality of reality is non-constant.
  • Presentism - Whatever exists, exists now. Past things are no more. Future things are not yet.
  • Indeterminism - Not all events are determined by prior events + causal laws.
  • Incompatibilism - Free will (in a morally significant sense) is incompatible with determinism.
  • Libertarianism - Free will (in a morally significant sense) requires that at some point in the aetiology (causal ascestry) of one's choices one have had the ability to choose either of two or more incompatible options.
  • Modal actualism - Non-actual possibilia do not exist.
  • Endurantism - Things persist by being wholly present at each of the several moments at which they exist.
  • Anti-physicalism/Anti-reductionism - The mental cannot be reduced or explained in wholly physical terms. I am more than my body.
  • Both internalist and externalist dimensions of justification are essential for knowledge.
  • Degrees of knowledge - "Knowledge" is an analogical concept. One doesn't have to have ideal knowledge (infallibility, deductive certainty, omniscience, or what have you) in order to have knowledge of a genuine and important sort.
  • Fallibilism - It is conceivable that we are mistaken about nearly everything that we think we know.
  • Personal probability - For epistemological purposes, the most basic probabilities are credences (personal degrees of belief). There are no such things as Keynesian logical probabilities.
  • Mental content is internal - Pace Putnam, meanings are "in the head".
  • Commonsensism - The mere fact that something seems to be true is, in the absence of defeaters, adequate justification for believing it to be true.
  • Foundherentism - Susan Haack's ugly term for a position that combines foundationalism and coherentism. Instead of the pyramid or the raft, her metaphor is the crossword puzzle!
Philosophy of Language
  • Propositions are the fundamental truth-bearers, not sentences.
  • Propositions are abstract, not concrete.
  • Correspondence theory of truth - Aristotle put it best: To say of what is that it is, or to say of what is not that it is not, is to speak the truth.
  • Serious tensing - I "take tense seriously". Tenseless discourse is parasitic upon tensed discourse.
  • Conceptual metaphor theory - According to recent cognitive linguistics, nearly all abstract thought is deeply metaphorical.
  • Moral realism - There are mind-independent moral facts. They are non-natural.
  • Moral objectivism - Moral facts are not relative either to individuals or to cultures/societies.
  • Virtue ethics - Neither strict utilitarianism nor strict deontologism is correct. Becoming a virtuous person should be the focus, more so than particular actions and choices.
Philosophical Style and Method
  • Analytic - Strive for clarity, precision, and rigor.
  • Systematic - A philosopher should always keep an eye on the big picture and work towards a comprehensive and unified metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc.
  • Pragmatic - From my extensive reading of Peirce I've acquired the habit of asking, with respect to any philosophical concept or distinction, what "conceivable practical experiences" could signify that it applies.
  • Dead philosophical heroes - Charles S. Peirce, Bernard Lonergan, Thomas Reid, Plato, Aristotle, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Truth Conditions of Tensed Propositions

I am an A-theorist with respect to the metaphysics of time. An A-theorist is one who believes that there is an objective 'now' or, what amounts to the same thing, that the totality of reality undergoes change. The opposite of the A-theory of time is called the B-theory. According to the B-theory, reality is constant and unchanging. There may be temporal relations between different parts of reality, but reality itself, taken as a whole, is a static block.

There are several reasons why I'm an A-theorist despite the fact that the B-theory is the philosophical fashion nowadays. One argument in particular that seems persuasive to me is this one:
  1. There are true tensed propositions.
  2. If there are true tensed propositions then there are tensed facts that make those propositions true.
  3. Therefore, there are tensed facts. (from 1 and 2)
  4. If there are tensed facts then there is an objective 'now'.
  5. Therefore, there is an objective 'now'. (from 3 and 4)
Needless to say, this argument is controversial, especially premise 2. Premise 4 is a platitude, a straightforward consequence of the notion of a 'tensed fact'. (The notion of tense has to do with the relation of things to the present or 'now'.)

Premise 1 has been denied by many B-theorists. Bertrand Russell, Willard Quine, and others argued that there are no tensed propositions. The justification for this claim was supposed to lie in the fact that all tensed propositions could be translated salve significatione (without loss of meaning) into tenseless propositions. If that were true, then tense could be safely eliminated.

But during the 1970's and 1980's, in large measure as a result of the work of Richard Gale, B-theorists generally abandoned this strategy. The problem, which Gale and others pointed out, is that tense conveys meaning. For example, it is quite a different thing to be told "A bomb is about to go off (future tense) in the UNLV philosophy department" and "A bomb goes off (tenseless) in the UNLV philosophy department". The former tells me that the bomb has not yet gone off but soon will. (So maybe I should run for cover.) But the latter tells me nothing as to whether the bomb's going off is in the distant past, recent past, present, near future, or distant future. It can't guide my action in the same way because it contains less information. So, pace Russell et al., tense cannot be eliminated without loss of meaning.

Another way to deny Premise 1 is to concede that there are tensed propositions, but deny that any of them are true. I don't know of anyone who has defended this position, but it is a theoretical possibility. One problem with it is that is flies in the face of commonsense. Every natural language known to us has a system of tenses, and speakers of those languages routinely make tensed claims, and many of these claims would be regarded by other competent speakers of those languages as true. Thus, "The Allies won (past tense) WWII" is true; "George W. Bush is (present tense) the President of the U.S." is true; and "The sun will shine (future tense) on the Earth tomorrow" is true. It takes quite a bit of sophistication (sophistry?) to evade the force of commonsense on this point.

Today, the target of choice for nearly all B-theorists is Premise 2. Proponents of the so-called "new" B-theory of time concede that there are true tensed propositions and that they cannot be translated salva significatione into tenseless propositions, but they deny that there have to be tensed facts to make these propositions true. They argue, in other words, that tensed propositions have purely tenseless truth conditions. There are different versions of this strategy (e.g., the "date theory" and the "token-reflexive theory"), but all of them are variations on the same two-part strategy. Given a generic tensed proposition like "It (was, is, will be) the case that E, we generate tenseless truth conditions by
  • replacing 'was', 'is', and 'will be' with relations like 'earlier than', 'simultaneous with', and 'later than', respectively
  • specifying as the relata of those relations (i) the event spoken of, E, and (ii) a designated time, e.g., this date, the time of this utterance, etc.
For example, on this view, the truth conditions of "Caesar was assassinated" may be given as follows: "Caesar is (tenseless) assassinated earlier than 07/25/2007."

For my part, I don't think this strategy works. (B-theorists, of course, will beg to differ.) As I see it, to claim that "Caesar was assassinated" is to claim that this event has already happened, that it is past. But a claim is true if and only if what is claimed to obtain does obtain. Since the claim is that this event is past, it is true if and only if the event is past. It's being 'earlier than' some date, whether specified referentially (e.g., 07/25/2007) or token-reflexively (e.g., "the time of this utterance"), is not enough, for in neither case does it require the event to be past, as claimed.

Let me put this another way. Because "Caesar is (tenseless) assassinated earlier than 07/25/2007" is tenseless it gives us no information about whether 07/25/2007 is past, present, or future. As I am writing this, I know that that date has just recently become past. But that knowledge comes from outside the tenseless proposition. In and of itself, the tenseless proposition is perfectly compatible with any of three differently tensed propositions:
  • Caesar was assassinated.
  • Caesar is being assassinated.
  • Caesar will be assassinated.
If satisfying the tenseless truth conditions suffices for the truth of the first tensed proposition then, by reasons of parity, it should also suffice for the truth of the other two and thus of all three. But it can't. These tensed propositions are mutually incompatible. So satisfying tenseless truth conditions cannot suffice for the truth of any tensed proposition.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Reply to Ian on Assertion and Probability

In response to an earlier post of mine, Ian Spencer has continued to press me to clarify and defend an argument I make in a recent paper to the effect that unqualified claims about the future (i.e., ones which say that something "will" or "will not" happen) normally carry a high degree of "causal force" as a part of their semantic content. More specifically, I argue that the strict and unqualified predictive use of "will" and "will not" connotes that the event spoken of is inevitable or, in Arthur Prior's apt phrase, now-unpreventable. What Ian doubts is that this causal force is actually part of the semantic content of such claims:
... Yes, Sally should be interpreted to believe that A is probable when she predicts it, but that doesn't mean that when she asserts the proposition that it will happen that what she is asserting is ... that it is probable. In order to make a claim of any kind at all, whether about past or present or future, if I'm making a genuine assertion and what I'm asserting is by my lights assertible, I will take it that what I am asserting is probable - but in no case does that necessarily mean that what I am asserting is that something is probable. ...

When I try to formalize your argument, I get something like this:
1. If X ... asserts that it will be the case that p then X believes that p is probable.
2. If (1) then (if X ... asserts that it will be the case that p then ... X is ... asserting is that p is probable)
3. So if X ... asserts that it will be the case that p then ... X is [asserting] that p is probable.

But why think (2) is true?
This is a fair question. Below is my answer. Note that instead of using 'p' to denote a putative future event, as Ian does, I prefer to reserve 'p' for the proposition asserted and denote the putative future event with an 'e' instead.
  1. If X asserts the proposition p="Event e will occur at time t (=tomorrow)", then X posits a future-tensed state-of-affairs, viz., its being the case today that e be going to occur tomorrow.
  2. A proposition is true at a given time iff the state-of-affairs that would be posited were p asserted obtains at that time. (E.g., "I am sitting" is now true iff my sitting obtains now.)
  3. Hence, p is true iff the future-tensed state-of-affairs its being the case today that e be going to occur tomorrow obtains today. (1,2)
  4. There is nothing that its being the case today that e be going to occur tomorrow could plausibly consist in other than present powers and dispositions.
  5. These powers and dispositions suffice to make it true today that p iff they necessitate e's occurring tomorrow, i.e., they render e's occurring tomorrow now-unpreventable.
  6. Hence, to assert p is to posit its being now-unpreventable that e occur tomorrow. (1,3,4,5)
  7. To assert p one must believe p. In other words, one must believe that what one posits in asserting p is the case.
  8. Hence, in asserting p, X believes that it is now-unpreventable that e occur tomorrow. (6,7)
Clarificatory note. Ordinary language in not normally very strict or precise. Often when we say "will happen" all we mean is "will probably happen". In (1) I take p to be asserted without hedging or qualification of any sort. In other words, "Event e will occur at time t" is to be interpreted strictly and literally. What my argument is intended to show is that when we are speaking strictly, "will happen" is equivalent to "will definitely happen".

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Open Theology & Science - Week 3 Recap

Here's my third and final recap on the 3-week "Open Theology & Science" conference that I attended in the Boston area. This is coming a few days late because my time is precious right now, so I'm going to 'cheat' a bit and link to a series of blog posts on the conference by my good friend and fellow conference participant, Greg Boyd.

Monday, July 2: Presentation by Dr. Warren Brown, Professor of experimental neuropsychology at Fuller Seminary. (Greg's summary)

Tuesday, July 3: Presentation on "Forgiveness" by Dr. Everett Worthington, Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (Greg's summary)
My comments: One of the most interesting presentations of the seminar.
Tuesday's Debate between John Sanders, Professor of Theology at Hendrix College, and John Jefferson Davis, Professor of Theology at Gordon Conwell Seminary (Greg's summary)
My comments: Yes, it was a frustrating debate. Sanders was gentlemanly, gave a clear presentation of his position, and did his best to respond to the barrage of questions that Davis threw at him. Davis, on the other hand, had made no effort to acquaint himself with the actual writings of an open theist, like John Sanders. He was also quite rude, taking every opportunity he could to hog the microphone. When asked a question he would almost always respond with a question. As for his positive position, he never developed it beyond giving vague slogans. "Libertarian free will is DEEPLY FLAWED" - Why exactly? "God exercises a posteriori, bi-lateral determination" - Huh? Davis presented this idea as his own unique modification of Calvinism, but under examination it turns out to be just verbal repackaging.
Thursday, July 4: Presentation on the Mind-Body Problem by William Hasker, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Huntington College (Greg's summary)
My comments: Hasker only clear illustration of his idea of "emergent dualism" is to point to how a magnet gives rise to a magnetic field. It's a useful analogy because the field seems to have causal powers of its own, independent of the magnet. I doubt, however, that this view works at the end of the day and so, for my part, I prefer something more like Thomistic dualism. One problem with the magnet analogy is that it's way too simple to show how it is possible for substantial "self" to emerge out of a functioning brain. For one thing, magnetic fields don't seem to have near enough structure to capture the depth of human cognition. Another problem that I have is an ethical one. If the "self" emerges out of the brain, then it's hard to avoid the consequence that individuals with "better brains" are going to have intrinsically better selves, which naturally leads to a moral stratification in which smarter people are intrinsically more valuable than others. In other words, I worry that any sort of emergentist position fatally undermines the idea that "all persons are created equal". If Hasker's right, that may be a bullet we have to bite, but I'd rather not go there if possible.
Friday, July 5 - Presentation by Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne (Greg's summary)
My two cents: Polkinghorne is a sharp guy. I really enjoyed his presentation. One of these days I'll get around to reading some of his books!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Comments on a Recent Paper

Ian Spencer, a philosophy Ph.D. grad student at UC Davis, has commented on my paper (coauthored with Greg Boyd and Tom Belt) "Open Theism, Omniscience, and the Nature of the Future", which recently came out in Faith and Philosophy (Fall 2006 issue). In this post I'd like to address some of his concerns. I'll take short quotes from him and comment on them in turn.
One of things they do is to argue that the future's causal openness ... is incompatible with the denial of semantic openness for associated future-tensed sentences (a sentence is semantically open if it is neither determinately true nor determinately false).
This is inaccurate in two respects. First, our concern is not with future-tensed sentences but with propositions about the future. Sentences and propositions are not the same things. Sentences are physical things (typically strings of words or sounds) that can express a proposition. Propositions are semantically complete units of meaning that can have a truth value. Second, we say that a proposition about the future is 'semantically open' [I now prefer to say 'alethically open'] iff neither the 'will' nor the 'will not' variants of it are true and the corresponding 'might and might not' proposition is true. Thus, a proposition about a state of affairs X obtaining at future time t is semantically open iff neither nor is true (they may both be false) and is true.
They argue for this incompatibilism by arguing that 'will' in normal cases has 'causative force' - when we utter such future-tensed sentences we are indicating that there is some (high, perhaps) causal probability that what we are saying is going to occur. And supposedly that shows that if the future is causally open then such sentences cannot be semantically closed. ... Why think the causative force must show up in the semantics? After all, there's a very important distinction between saying and indicating - when I say that p, I am also indicating that I believe that p, but 'p' in my mouth doesn't have anything about me in its semantics. So 'It will be the case that p' may very well indicate something causal without that showing up in the semantics at all.
Why think that predictive propositions about the future have 'causal force' as part of their semantic content? We argue for this in some detail in the paper, but the gist of it is that to make a genuine prediction (as opposed to a mere guess) about the future is to make an assertion about the future. An assertion must express a sincere belief that the future to going to turn out a certain way rather than otherwise. And, we argue, such a belief must involve the conviction that the predicted event is at least probable in light of what is the case at the (putative) time the prediction is made. In other words, to genuinely predict that something 'will' happen is at least to say that it 'will probably' happen. That's what we mean by saying that predictions have 'causal force'.

Ian seems willing to concede that predictive uses of 'will' may indicate that the predicted event is believed to be probable, but he denies that this need amount to saying that the predicted event is probable. True enough, but the significance of this observation hinges upon an ambiguity in the notion of 'saying'. It is correct that for me to say (i.e., utter the sentence) "p is true" indicates that I believe that p, but does not necessarily say (i.e., assert the proposition) . But for that matter, it need not even amount to saying (asserting the proposition) that p. After all, I might be lying or joking when I utter "p is true". Now, the focus in my paper is on what it means to assert a proposition about the future. To do so in a way that could communicate to others, I have to utter a sentence like "X will obtain". But I could also utter that same sentence without having any intent to assert . Again, I might be lying or joking. So the issue of what an apparently predictive utterance like "X will obtain" cannot be settled by looking at the linguistic meaning of the words. We have to interpret the words, and apart from context, the basic principle that we have to work with is the principle of charity.

The principle of charity says that a person S’s utterances ought to be interpreted, provided it is textually and contextually plausible to do so, in such a way that we take them to reflect a coherent set of beliefs that is reasonable in light of the experiences and evidence available to S. In other words, before concluding that S is saying something stupid or talking nonsense, we should give S the benefit of the doubt and try to interpret S’s utterances in such a way that whatever claims we impute to S seem like they would be assertible for her. Thus, if S seems to make a claim that is not assertible for S in the context, then we should either (i) impute to S a different claim, one that does seem assertible for her in the context, (ii) impute to S additional beliefs so that the claim does become assertible for her, or (iii) construe S’s utterance as something other than a claim.

Given the principle of charity, any genuine predictive utterance must express the speaker's belief that the predicted event is probable with respect to state of the world at the (putative) time the prediction is made. If Sally says before a roulette wheel is spun, "The ball will land on 20", that is either because she really believes that it is likely to do (in which case she has made a genuine prediction, one that has a high degree of causal force), or it is not a genuine prediction about roulette wheel. Perhaps she is really making a different claim, like the autobiographical "I hope the ball lands on 20". Or perhaps she is not making a claim at all but engaging in an illocutionary speech act (e.g., placing a bet on 20).
In fact, their whole argument seems to trade on a confusion between evidence or conditions of rational assertibility on the one hand and truth conditions or semantics on the other.
This is a misunderstanding of our position. We do not base meaning and truth conditions on the speaker's evidence but on the speaker's beliefs, irrespective of their evidential grounding. In other words, when we speak of assertibility, what we have in mind is not epistemic or 'warranted' assertibility but merely psychological assertibility - the platitude that to assert p you have to believe p.
But let's say 'will' does function in the way the authors suggest. This tells us nothing about tenseless sentences that don't use 'will'. So you can still have sentences about the future with determinate truth values so long as you don't use 'will'. Or if that's not kosher, we could decide to use 'will' stripped of its causal significance and so still have sentences about the future with determinate truth values even in the face of causal openness.
These comments puzzle me. Tenseless propositions cannot be about the future. 'Future' is an inherently tensed concept, so for a proposition to be about the future as such it must be tensed. Tenseless propositions can be construed as disjunctively tensed - either was, or is, or will be - but, again, that doesn't give you a claim about the future. Since predictions are essentially about the future, we can't use these propositions to make predictions. As for the idea of stripping 'will' of any causal force, that is what Ockhamists do. For them, to say that X will happen just means that X does happen at some time subsequent to the (putative) time when the prediction is made. But if the argument of our paper is correct, then to strip the causal force of 'will' is to strip the proposition of its predictive character. This suggestion therefore fails to engage with our argument.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Open Theology & Science - Week 2 Recap

Continuing coverage of a 3-week "Open Theology and Science" conference being held in the Boston area. For my week 1 recap, see here.

On Monday (6/25) we drove out to Concord, MA. We started out at the Concord Museum, which covers the life and work of the major figures of the Transcendentalist movement, including Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, and Hawthorne,
all of whom lived in or near Concord. At the museum we heard a lecture by Dr. Ross Stein, a chemist at the Harvard Medical School. An atheist up until a few years ago, Dr. Stein became convinced by the astounding complexity of even the simplest form of life that the problem of abiogenesis (the origin of life) could not be solved apart from the influence of a supernatural directing intelligence (i.e., God). In light of the problem of evil, however, Dr. Stein opts for process theism. He reasons that if God can unilaterally intervene in the world, then he ought to have intervened more often, hence it must be impossible for God to unilaterally intervene in the world. In process thought, God can 'lure' events in a certain direction, but all events retain a degree of self-determination that God cannot override, even if he wants to. Dr. Stein tried to sketch how process theism might be able to account for abiogenesis, though he freely admitted that in sketching his account he was practicing theology and philosophy "without a license".

Tuesday's speaker was Jeffrey Schloss, a biologist at Westmont University. Dr. Schloss showed himself to be extremely well-informed both on the current state of evolutionary biology and on its relevance to ongoing theological and philosophical debates. He marshalled an impressive array of evidence in favor of 'directionality' in evolution - the idea that natural selection can be expected to select in favor of larger, more intelligent beings. Dr. Schloss was quick to point out, however, that establishing directionality does not by itself settle the debate over whether evolution is more friendly to theism or to atheism, though he himself is a theist.

Tuesday evening we had a debate between two biblical scholars on whether God has exhaustive definite foreknowledge. Defending the NO position was Dr. Karen Winslow, professor of Old Testament theology at Azusa Pacific University. Defending the YES position was Dr. Randall Tan, a professor of New Testament theology at Kentucky Christian University. Given the different specialities of the participants (OT vs. NT), there was not a lot of interaction between the two debaters. Both agreed that humans have libertarian free will, and both pointed to passages in the Bible that they believed supported their position, but there was little in the way of detailed debate over particular passages. During the Q&A session, Dr. Tan seemed to be shifting between Molinism and the simple foreknowledge explanations of how God comes by his foreknowledge. All in all, I think Karen's presentation was a little more clear, but time constraints limited either of them from really developing their respective positions.

On Wednesday morning we had no speaker. Instead, we broke up into small groups to discuss our respective research projects. After that, we had a free-for-all on the problem of evil. The process theists in the group argued that they have a strong edge over classical theism because on their view it is metaphysically impossible for God to unilaterally intervene in the world. Consequently, all evil is blamable on creatures and we avoid the apparent unfairness of God's selectively intervening in some cases but not in others. The classical theists in the group argued that the advantages of process theism over classical theism are largely illusory. Either God's 'luring' or 'persuasive' power is very great (God's almost always gets what he wants) or it is not. If it is very great, then the theodicy problem reemerges in nearly the same form as it does for the classical theist (why doesn't God do more?). If it is very limited, then we can have little or no assurance that God will ever be able to overcome evil. In short, any advantages vis-a-vis the problem of evil that are gained on the front end by denying God's omnipotence are balanced by disadvantages on the back end (God's inability to redeem the evil in the world and replace it with good).

On Thursday morning we heard a presentation by Brown University cell biologist Kenneth R. Miller critiquing the Intelligent Design movement. Miller's presentation was very slick and rhetorically powerful, though most of the philosophers in the audience (myself included) thought that he was being unfair to the ID position. The way Miller frames the debate, ID proponents have to 'prove' that naturalistic evolution cannot explain everything in the biological world. In the absence of a strict disproof, argues Miller, ID is a 'science-stopper'. The problem with Miller's approach, however, is it by no means clear that ID, charitably construed, faces such a high burden of proof or results in such deleterious consequences for science. As I tried unsuccessfully to point out to Miller, the sophisticated ID advocate is making a 'inference to the best explanation', an inference that is inductive and therefore inherently fallible. So construed, the issue is not one of strict proof or disproof, but of how strong the case is for design as the best explanation on a case-by-case basis. As a fallible mode of inference, any conclusion of design is in principle revisable and/or open to supplementation by naturalistic explanations. So construed, ID is not at all a science-stopper but rather, if anything, a science-opener. It simply adds a further idea to the discussion without taking anything off the table or specifying in advance what sorts of conclusions have to be arrived at.

Besides his caricature of ID, other things that annoyed several of us about Miller's presentation were his complete failure to define 'evolution' and his continued pronouncements that 'science' can only deal with what is empirically testable. As anyone trained in the philosophy of science knows, there is no standard definition of 'science', no set of necessary and sufficient conditions that adequately demarcate between 'science' and other disciplines.

Finally, Friday's speaker was John Haught, a theologian who accepts a completely naturalistic take on evolution and, following Teilhard de Chardin, is trying to develop a theology of cosmic evolution to preserve a semblance of theistic religion in the face of what he regards as the deliverances of science. Frankly, I was not persuaded by Haught. His discussions of emergence are too metaphorical to provide any assurance that his system can work. And his dismissal of ID. and of classical theism seems to me to be completely unwarranted by the reasons he gave. A number of the participants (notably, John Sanders) also noticed that Haught leaves no role in his allegedly Christian theology for the person and work of Jesus. For him, the Fall, the Incarnation, and the Resurrection refer to pervasive features of the cosmos. For example, the Incarnation refers to God's working out of his purposes through the history of the physical cosmos; whereas the Resurrection refers to the goal of the cosmic evolutionary process in which matter gradually gives rise to a 'noosphere', or spiritual community.

One final thought before closing. It's really struck me at this conference that there's a three-way conversation going on between metaphysical materialists, process theists, and classical theists. Materialists and process theists tend to gang up against classical theists in the name of "science" while making heavy wind of the problem of evil. Process theists and classical theists tend to gang up against materialists by opposing the atheism and barren reductionism of the latter. And both materialists and classical theists tend to gang up against process theists as fuzzy-thinking "have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too" types.