Archive for the ‘Direct Responses’ Category



Think you’re open-minded? This interesting discussion of open-mindedness, the burden of proof and supernatural beliefs might interest you…

This argument against skepticism about other minds is often credited to Mill. ‘I conclude that other human beings have feelings like me because, first, they have bodies like me, which I know in my own case, to be the antecedent condition of feelings; and because secondly, they exhibit the acts, and other outward signs, which […]

Transcendental Idealism differs from standard (empirical) idealism in that it does not claim that the objects of our experiences would be in any sense only within our minds. Whenever we experience something, that experience is necessarily personal. The object experienced exists independent of our minds, but our perception of it is corrupted by the categories […]

In what way is Kant’s ‘transcendental idealism dependent on ‘things-in themselves’? What problems are there with the doctrine of things in themselves? How might Kant defend this doctrine?

How can we tell when we are dreaming? Some people have such lucid, everyday dreams that they believe they are awake. When they are truly awake, however, they realize their mistake… how?

Is it possible that you are nothing more than a brain in a vat, cleverly linked up to a machine that stimulates your brain in such a way as to make you believe that you are a person with a body who can walk around, talk to other people and do all of the other […]

Kant, like Descartes and Berkeley, asks the following question: how can we distinguish appearances from reality? Rationalists (like Descartes) tried to escape the epistemological confines of the mind by constructing knowledge of the external world, the self, the soul, God, ethics, and science out of the simplest, indubitable ideas possessed innately by the mind while […]

George Berkeley, an anglican Irish bishop, was another of the great philosophers of the early modern period. He was a critic of his predecessors, including Descartes, and advocated a rather extreme form of Idealism.Idealism is the view that everything that exists is either a mind or depends for its existence upon a mind. Berkeley took […]

When Kant wrote about morality, he took up the challenge of sceptical empiricists like Hume. Our field of knowledge, thus emancipated from Humean skepticism, is nevertheless limited to the world of phenomena. All theoretical attempts to know things-in-themselves are bound to fail. This inevitable failure is the theme of the portion of the Critique of […]

Flew was well known for a work entitled ‘Theology and Falsification’ which has become something of required reading for atheists. Here’s a section which is reprinted in this anthology.Theology and FalsificationLet us begin with a parable. It is a parable developed from a tale told by John Wisdom in his haunting and revelatory article ‘Gods’. […]

Direct responses to religious scepticism accept the grounds of criticism, and attempt to offer a response on similar grounds; i.e. offering a rational grounding for a belief, offering ‘evidence’, offering argument. With respect to scepticism regarding the existence of God, there are three main types of argument: ontological, cosmological and teleological. (There are various different […]