Conceivability, Possibility and the Resurrection of Material Beings
Atkinson (Thomas)
Source: International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 80 (2):115-132 (2016)
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In his 1998 postscript to "Van Inwagen (Peter) - The Possibility of Resurrection" Peter van Inwagen argues that the scenario he describes by which God might resurrect a human organism, even though probably not true, is still conceivable and, consequently, ‘serves to establish a possibility’, namely, the metaphysical possibility of the resurrection of material beings.
  2. Van Inwagen, however, has also argued in favour of ‘modal1 scepticism’ [van Inwagen in, God, knowledge and mystery: essays in philosophical theology, Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1995b, pp. 11–12; van Inwagen in, Philos Stud 92:67–84, 1998a2]. That is, he thinks that we should limit all our claims about what is possible to ‘ordinary propositions about everyday matters’, 1998a).
  3. In this paper I argue that van Inwagen’s modal3 argument as found in ‘The Possibility of Resurrection’ is inconsistent with his modal4 scepticism as found in ‘Modal5 Epistemology’. In consequence, I argue that, given his modal6 scepticism, the task van Inwagen set himself in ‘The Possibility of Resurrection’ has not been achieved.


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