Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fine-Tuned for Pantheism?

In his book, Immortality Defended, John Leslie argues (in his Chapter 5) that the characteristics of our world can serve as evidence for his model of pantheism. Recall that Leslie thinks our world is one of many called forth from possibility into actuality by the creative power of the Good. These worlds can also be characterized as those worthy of being thought about by a divine mind.

This position can be thought of as intermediate between a non-theistic concrete modal realism (David Lewis’ model), where all metaphysically possible worlds exist, and classical theistic models where a personal deity creates our world alone (although some modern thinkers allow for a personal God to create many worlds, too.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

John Leslie: Immortal Pantheist

I read philosopher John Leslie’s Immortality Defended (2007).  It is an admirably brief book (supplemented with many suggestions for further reading) which outlines and defends a model of pantheism. The discussion of immortality is actually only a small part of the story (the fourth chapter of a five chapter book) and Leslie’s ideas about that topic follow fairly naturally once the pantheistic stage is set. My summary and comments are below (also to be continued in a follow-up post), but note they only capture a small portion of the rich and provocative arguments to be found in the book.  FYI, a good NDPR entry on the book is here.

Friday, July 02, 2010

UK Fetal Awareness Metastudy

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released an updated report on fetal awareneess with a focus on pain (summary here, pdf of full report here, hat tip: Parableman). Its key conclusion is that there is no fetal pain prior to 24 weeks of gestation. This is because “connections from the periphery to the cortex are not intact before 24 weeks” and “most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception.”