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Search Results: 1 - 10 of 326336 matches for " Randall S. Firestone "
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The Epistemological Double Standard Inherent in Christian Metaphysical Beliefs  [PDF]
Randall S. Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.43033
Abstract: This paper uses comparative religion to critique Christian claims of possessing exclusively true metaphysical beliefs. In so doing, this paper takes a different approach than most other challenges to Christian metaphysical beliefs. Instead of directly responding to Christian arguments supporting their views, this paper challenges the Christian by pointing out that their grounds for rejecting the metaphysics of other religions will necessarily undermine the grounds of their own beliefs. Specifically, the paper takes the metaphysical beliefs of Hinduism, which has a metaphysics that appears both significantly different from and contrary to Christian dogma, and demonstrates that the same types of epistemological arguments that a Christian would almost certainly have to use against a Hindu can just as fruitfully be used to demonstrate the weaknesses, inconsistencies, and lack of evidential foundation that are prevalent in Christian metaphysical beliefs.
Naturalistic vs Supernatural Explanations: “Charting” a Course away from a Belief in God by Utilizing Inference to the Best Explanation  [PDF]
Randall S. Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.43034
Abstract: The article critiques the seven major arguments supporting a belief in God. The arguments are presented as Inferences to the Best Explanation with the use of charts. The charts graphically demonstrate that naturalistic explanations are being ignored by the theist, who favors inherently unverifiable supernatural explanations over naturalistic ones. The paper also discusses why metaphysical beliefs should not be trusted, and how such beliefs differ from scientific beliefs. The paper concludes that the arguments for the existence of God fail because the naturalistic explanations are the best explanations and should be accepted over the supernatural explanation of God. To the extent that the charting of all seven arguments is new, it should be a helpful explanatory tool, especially for students.
Why the Bible Cannot and Should Not Be Taken Literally  [PDF]
Randall S. Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.43035

This paper argues that there are at least five reasons why the claim that the Bible is to be taken literally defies logic or otherwise makes no sense, and why literalists are in no position to claim that they have the only correct view of biblical teachings. First, many words are imprecise and therefore require interpretation, especially to fill in gaps between general words and their application to specific situations. Second, if you are reading an English version of the Bible you are already dealing with the interpretations of the translator since the earliest Bibles were written in other languages. Third, biblical rules have exceptions, and those exceptions are often not explicitly set forth. Fourth, many of the Bible’s stories defy logic and our experiences of the world. Fifth, there are sometimes two contrary versions of the same event, so if we take one literally then we cannot take the second one literally. In each of these five cases, there is no literal reading to be found. Furthermore, this paper sets forth three additional reasons why such a literalist claim probably should not be made even if it did not defy logic to make such a claim. These include The Scientific Argument: the Bible contradicts modern science; The Historical Argument: the Bible is historically inaccurate; and The Moral Argument: the Bible violates contemporary moral standards.

Aliens, Humans, Animals, & Luck: Animal Treatment & Human Morality  [PDF]
Randall S. Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2016, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2016.63026
Abstract: This paper proposes two thought experiments to demonstrate that our current treatment of animals is immoral. The first thought experiment involves aliens coming to earth and doing to us what we do to animals—eating us, confining us in farms and zoos, doing experiments on us, etc. Drawing on the latest scientific research on the abilities of animals, this thought experiment seeks to show that there are more relevant similarities between human beings and animals than most people realize, and that the differences between us and many other animals are not morally relevant. Moreover, this thought experiment attempts to appeal primarily to our sense of justice by tapping into our emotions for ourselves rather than to the usual approach which appeals to our emotions for animals. The second thought experiment is similar to the first, but more centrally emphasizes the idea of luck. It will, in part, take an approach recommended by Donald VanDeVeer to employ Rawl’s veil of ignorance to mask not only our natural and social starting places, but also our species—whether we are human or of another species. However, one serious objection made to VanDeVeer’s approach will be circumvented, namely, that it is difficult to imagine ourselves as an animal. Rather, we will imagine that evolution has made it so we are not the smartest and most powerful species on earth. This thought experiment invites us to ask ourselves that if there were only two species to consider and we were the less advanced of the two, would we still not expect to be treated with dignity and respect? Both analogies ultimately challenge us to ask the following question: What principles of justice would we choose to govern the interactions between species if we were not the most intelligent and powerful species on earth?
An Argument for Libertarian Free Will: Hard Choices Based on either Incomparable or Equally Persuasive Reasons  [PDF]
Randall S. Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2017, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2017.71005
This articles proposes that the best explanation for hard choices, which are choices made when there are either incomparable options or equally appealing options, is the presence of libertarian free will; and that the two main alternatives, determinism and random choice, do not provide us with very compelling explanations. In the case of determinism, this is because the reasons supporting each option do not dictate or necessitate that we choose that option, and therefore any decision is necessarily underdetermined by the reasons for each option. Random choice fares no better since any choice made when the options are incomparable or equally appealing is supported by reasons and therefore is not random at all. As such, we should believe in free will. The article further reviews some of the current neuroscientific studies and explains how they do not show the absence of free will. The paper further argues that science likely could never prove that we do not have free will since showing that any decision is reflected or caused by our brain neurons firing does not show that the ultimate decision was not arrived at after a free will consideration of the issues. Lastly, the article suggests that the best way to view free will is as an attribute and ability that is always present, and as such there is no such thing as partial free will. Accordingly, we are fully responsible for the decisions we make and the actions we take. However, external and internal influences, especially those that lurk in our subconscious and of which we are not consciously aware, do mitigate our blameworthiness and praiseworthiness for those decisions.
The Character Development Defense to the Argument from Evil Is Logically Inconsistent  [PDF]
Randall S. Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2018, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2018.85031
Abstract: The Argument from Evil is usually considered the strongest argument against the belief in the Judeo-Christian conception of a perfect God. It states that a perfectly good, omniscient, and omnipotent God would not allow the degree of evil which exists in the world. This paper describes why the theist’s strongest response to this argument, widely known as the Soul-Making Theodicy and which this paper calls the Character Development Defense, rests on a logical contradiction. The argument proffered here reformulates an earlier argument made by B.C. Johnson which has been largely ignored in the philosophical literature. Specifically, the Character Development Defense asks humans to develop their character and thereby to take moral actions which benefit others, including mankind as a whole, but at the same time states that we need all the suffering in the world in order to give us ample opportunities for character development. If we follow the logic of this defense to its conclusion, then we should both help others to improve the world, but also not help them because that takes away the opportunities people need to develop their characters. This paper also reviews the literature in this area so it can be seen how the current argument takes a quite different approach. Lastly, the paper addresses five possible objections, and then replies to each objection.
Oversimplification in Philosophy  [PDF]
Randall S. Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2019, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2019.93025
Abstract: This paper maintains that oversimplification has been a common and recurring problem in philosophy that has not only been ignored, but has also gone largely unnoticed. The paper sets forth various examples of oversimplification which include the one sentence moral tests proposed by Kant and Mill, moral ideas such as psychological egoism and Nietzsche’s will to power which oversimplify the complexity and variety of moral motivations, the Naturalistic Fallacy whereby it is claimed that what is natural is thereby good, various monisms beginning with the pre-Socratics and including Hegel, and our modern-day preferred method of oversimplification by the use of analogical arguments. The paper argues that these oversimplifications have come at considerable expense as they have often kept us trapped in dead-end and counterproductive theories and perspectives which have taken us away from truth and understanding instead of toward them.
Nietzsche’s Best Life: The Ten Greatest Attributes of the Ubermensch, & a Comparison to Aristotle’s Virtuous Person  [PDF]
Randall Firestone
Open Journal of Philosophy (OJPP) , 2017, DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2017.73020
Abstract: The paper first outlines the 10 primary attributes of the Ubermensch, Nie-tzsche’s ideal person, with numerous quotations. Those attributes are self-determination, creativity, becoming, overcoming, discontent, flexibility, self-mastery, self-confidence, cheerfulness, and courage. The paper then compares Nietzsche’s Ubermensch with Aristotle’s virtuous person. Nietzsche describes more of an attitude towards life and a process of living which are similar to a means as compared to Aristotle’s objective character traits which are goals or ends in themselves. The paper concludes that Nietzsche does a better job of describing the best human life—one that is dynamic, passionate, and unique; consisting of self-growth and creativity; and filled with new experiences, insights, and adventures.
Divine Authority And Mass Violence: Economies Of Aggression In The Emergence Of Religions
Reuven Firestone
Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies , 2010,
Abstract: From a social science perspective, a major purpose of religion is to organize the behavior of the community of believers in order to maximize its success as a collective. The underlying premise of this lecture is that religious authority will sanction violence and aggression when they are assessed to be an effective means of realizing the goals of the collective. Conversely, when violence and aggression become unhelpful or counter- productive for realizing community goals they are forbidden. This phenomenology of religion and violence is applied to the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to demonstrate that none of these religions is inherently more or less apt to engage in violence. Their use of belligerent and irenic behaviors are more profoundly influenced by historical context and social needs than by theology.
Good night, sleep tight: the time is ripe for critical care providers to wake up and focus on sleep
Randall S Friese
Critical Care , 2008, DOI: 10.1186/cc6884
Abstract: Most physicians, if not all, readily support the notion that achieving an adequate amount of quality sleep is essential for speedy recovery from acute illness, and promptly send their patients home with a prescription for adequate rest. However, when these acute illnesses require hospital admission, the importance of attaining adequate rest takes a back seat secondary to the necessities of running a hospital ward.The practice of active sleep disruption is no more apparent than in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting, where lighting, noise, and frequent nocturnal assessments/treatments prevent acutely ill patients from attaining sleep of adequate quality. The time has come for critical care providers to give credence to the significance of 'prescribing' sleep in the inpatient setting, just as we prescribe antibiotics, nutrition support, deep venous ulcer prophylaxis, mechanical ventilation, gastric ulcer prophylaxis, and physical therapy.In a previous issue of Critical Care, Bourne and coworkers [1] reported the results of a small randomized clinical trail in which they investigated the use of melatonin as a means to promote sleep in the critical care environment. Although the demonstrated effect of melatonin on sleep efficiency (as measured by bispectral index) was small, the study is extremely important. Most literature on sleep and recovery from illness provides either a description of the abnormal sleep patterns that occur in the ICU setting [2-4] or a review of the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation, with suggestions on ways to improve sleep in ICU patients [5-7]. Few authors have scientifically evaluated a potential way to promote sleep, as have Bourne and colleagues.Research into the effects of active sleep promotion in the ICU is lacking. As we continue to improve the quality of critical care interventions, we must not overlook the importance of supporting the body's basic needs, namely nutrients, exercise, and sleep. The causes of sleep deprivation in
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