Thursday, October 07, 2010

Jason Pratt develops his version of the AFR

Among other things, in a book he wrote in the early 2000s, called Sword to the Heart. He will be publishing it on CADRE.


Jason Pratt said...

Specifically, Section Two ("Reason and the First Person", which I'm beginning to post up as of yesterday) primarily focuses on a version of the AfR, arriving at some kind of theism.

Section One (already posted up, "How Should I Be A Sceptic") is a set of field-leveling chapters--my goal there was to develop metaphysics as far as possible while keeping as many different kinds of belief on board as possible (theist and nontheistic). It's the second longest set of chapters.

Section Three (not already posted up, "Creation and the Second Person") analyzes theistic naturalism (i.e. pantheism) vs. theistic supernaturalism, as well as questions of aseity, especially in light of a serious challenge to the conclusion of the argument of the previous Section. (Fwiw, this is where I arrive at supernaturalistic theism and binitarianism.)

Section Four (mostly posted up already, "Ethics and the Third Person", the longest set of chapters) considers strengths and weaknesses of three (or four?) basic theories of ethical grounding, and then synchs back into the developing argument from SecThree. I don't suppose I'm spoiling much to say that this is where I also arrive at trinitarian theism. {g} This is also, incidentally, how I first came to believe that orthodox trinitarian theism logically implies some kind of Christian universalism as a corollary (although I don't talk about it very directly, leaving it as an exercise for the reader. Or for another book. {g!})

Section Five (not posted yet, "The Story of Passion and Atonement") will pull together the developed positions from SecFour (and earlier material) to consider what God may reasonably be expected to do if these other things are true, in regard to creation and in regard to human sin.

Victor's link goes to the most updated table of contents at the Cadre Journal, which already features a bunch of links to previously posted chapters. I'll be reposting and updating the SecFour chapters along the way, once I get to them. Sometime next year, doubtless. But ideally I want to finish posting SecFive by Easter.


Edward T. Babinski said...

I don't understand what consciousness is (and whether there's only one type or level of consciousness), nor how it functions.

But it seems to me that a lot of what we do and think is not done at the highest levels of reasoning or logic.

Once a worldview is fully formed and integrated into someone's brain-mind even rational arguments take on the form of automatic responses.

Perhaps that constitutes a further argument in favor of universalism? Because how can people be held eternally accountable for the beliefs they acquire given limited lifetimes and limited acquisition of knowledge, or be eternally blamed or praised for tending to stick to their beliefs once their brain-minds have incorporated them?

Jason Pratt said...

There's a very significant difference between "a lot" and "all", Ed.

{{Once a worldview is fully formed and integrated into someone's brain-mind even rational arguments take on the form of automatic responses.}}

You're talking about habits, which are quite different from instincts in how they get into place. A habit can be intentionally set into place by the person doing the behavior. Fencing, as I happen to personally be aware (being a fencing instructor), is a particularly sharp example of this. {g}

I discuss those distinctions (in various variations) with some thoroughness in my work.

{{Because how can people be held eternally accountable for the beliefs they acquire...}}

I have never once EVER claimed that people are accountable in final judgment simply for the beliefs they acquire. Which I will suppose you recall, since you often bring up something like this to which I have always replied along the same line. I never believed in damnation by mere error of belief, including before I was a universalist. I have always (since I was old enough to have some idea about the issues) believed in damnation for choosing to hold to what the person himself has enough light to see to be sin, including after I have become a universalist.

The latter situation is not mere error of belief. Nor is it simply habitual momentum (although it contributes to habitual momentum.)

Anyway, when I talk about sin and God's condemnation, including in SttH, I mainly focus on myself and on my sinning. Not on other people.


IlĂ­on said...

It is my policy to (almost never) continue reading anything once I notice that it is written in "gender inclusive language."

Jason Pratt said...

Not sure why that's relevant here, Il. (Maybe you thought you were aiming at another post and commented here by accident?)

But for what it's worth, I used the phrase "he or she" exactly four times in the original 780 page draft of SttH, and I doubt I've increased that frequency much in subsequent drafts. Nor do I attempt pronoun combinations like (s)he. (I can't even guess how to combine prepositional versions of that. Himmur...?)

I do switch back and forth between gender sets when talking about different topical examples; but that's only because I think of such examples as distinct narrative characters, so I go back and forth assigning them gender pronouns for convenience. I have a horror of using feminine pronouns as simply neuter (the way we often use masculine pronouns in English, since we don't have a neuter personal pronoun set), precisely because I am more concerned about female degenderization than about male--so if linguistically one gender has to be sacrificed, it ought to be ours. {g} (Although I just did a search through the text of the first three entries I've put up in SecTwo and didn't find any feminine pronouns.)

I actually wrote a side-chapter at the end of SecTwo where, among other things, I talk about various reasons why I refuse to use gender inclusive pronouns for God (as well as, incidentally, how I use gender pronouns in my nonfiction work). Unless I'm being broadly and briefly speculative at the moment about God's characteristics, so as not to salt the pizza in favor of one or another concept ahead of time, I never use the feminine when talking about God; and I always use masculine personal pronouns when talking positively about God.

(Strictly speaking, I suspect I'm more consistently masculine when talking about God than the Bible itself is. {wry g})

I'm having to make guesses about what your problem is; you may have been talking about something else than my work. But since I'm quite staunch about when and how I use gender language, I thought I should clarify details.


Jason Pratt said...

I suppose I should add that, very rarely, I am talking about an actual person: the woman for whose sake I embarked on that huge galumphing work.

So, when I wrote on the first page "all of my writing is in honor (and love) of the positive sceptic: the one who questions in search of (perhaps better) answers, and who is willing to believe whatever can be found to be true--even if she doesn’t yet know what that is"; I wasn't only using a feminine pronoun as a random character reference for narrative purposes. I was talking, somewhat obliquely, about her, too.

Not that that's supposed to be obvious--it would only have that special meaning for her. But I was curious as to when I used my first case of narrative gender for topical examples, and (quite appropriately!) that very first usage had a special double meaning behind it.

To which I could also add that Christians have long had a tradition of considering all souls feminine in comparison to God, especially in regard to God's providential and saving love of His creation. I am extremely far from the first Judeo-Christian author to use that poetic (and even philosophic) conceit.

{bowing in her direction under God} {s!}


Jason Pratt said...

Whoops, I forgot to link to that first page: here. I'm guessing this is what Il was complaining about?--that I used a feminine pronoun there?

Meanwhile, wouldn't it be more productive to (for example) compare and contrast what I'm doing in SttH (especially in that first section) with some kind of outsider test that's been topically relevant here for the past few weeks? {g}