Sunday, August 4, 2019
Re-Identifying God in Experience Essay -- Argumentative Persuasive Rel
Re-Identifying God in Experience ABSTRACT: If an alleged experience of God can constitute evidence for GodÃ¢â¬â¢s existence, then it must be possible for God to be a perceptual particular, that is, a substantive, enduring object of perception. Furthermore, if several such experiences are to be cumulative evidence for GodÃ¢â¬â¢s existence, then it must be possible to reidentify God from experience to experience. I examine both a "conceptual" and an "epistemological" argument against these possibilities that is derived from the work of Richard Gale. I argue that neither of these arguments is successful. For God to be a perceptual particular, he must have an inner life; for God to be reidentified across experiences, he need not exist in dimensions analogous to the spatiotemporal. If an alleged experience of God is to provide evidence for God's existence, it must be possible for God to be a perceptual particular: a substantive, enduring object of perception. If several such experiences are to be cumulative evidence for God's existence, it must be possible to re-identify God from experience to experience. I want to examine arguments against each of these possibilities. These arguments are, respectively, a "conceptual" and an "epistemological" argument embedded in the writings of Richard Gale.(1) On Gale's conceptual argument, for us to have a coherent concept of an object, O, as a perceptual particular: (1) We must know what it means for O to exist when not perceived. (2) O must be able to be the common object of different experiences, and (3) We must be able to understand the distinction between numerical and qualitative identity with regard to O. We need these requirements to distinguish perceptual from "phenomenal p... ...1) Richard Gale, On the Nature and Existence of God (Cambridge University Press), pp. 326-343, and Richard Gale, "Why Alston's Mystical Doxastic Practice is Subjective," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994), 869-875. (2) 'Why Alston's," p. 872. (3) P. F. Strawson, Individuals, An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics (London: Methuen, 1964), p. 37. (4) Individuals, p. 81. (5) Individuals, p. 77. (6) Gareth Evans, "Things Without the Mind - A Commentary upon Chapter Two of Strawson's Individuals, in Zak Van Straaten, ed., Philosophical Subjects, Essays Presented to P.F. Strawson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), pp. 76-116. (7) See Jonathan Bennett, Kant's Analytic (Cambridge: 1966), p. 37 (8) See Evans, "Things Without the Mind," pp. 81-82. (9) See Merold Westphal, God, Guilt, and Death (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984).