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noo:K REVIEWS in which God fails to be a being, I do not see why his special ontological status should preclude his being a moral agent. I can see reasons for thinking that anything which is not a being in the first way cannot be a moral agent, but none of those reasons applies to God. I think it is false, then, that God is not a moral agent. But suppose for a moment that Davies's claim is after all right and that God is not a moral agent. What follows for the problem of evil' Davies thinks that if God is not a moral agent, " the problem of evil . . . cannot even get off the ground" (p. 22). I think that if God is not a moral agent, the problem of evil does not need to get off the ground because Davies has already given the proponents of the argument from evil everything they want. If God is not a moral agent, he is a fortiori not morally perfect. In that case there is no entity which is omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect; and this is just what proponents of the argument from evil seek to show. So it seems to me that Davies's treatment of the problem of evil begins with an inadequate appreciation of contemporary work and a misunderstanding of Thomistic thought and ends with his own implausible solution which would be a Pyrrhic victory for theism if it succeeded. Davies has a good grasp of current philosophical literature and an awareness of the complexities of classical theism. That there is much to disagree with in the book should perhaps be laid to Davies's credit, because he has boldly tried to bring together these two different traditions into what should be a fruitful union. I do not think he has succeededthe difficulties I find in his chapter on the problem of evil are representative of difficulties throughout the book-but I think his approach is the most promising one for contemporary philosophy of religion. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, Virginia ELEONORE STUMP 1'he Foundations of Knowing. By RODERICK M. CHISHOLM. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982. Pp. viii + 216. $29.50. (cloth); $10.95 (paper). The author has collected papers representative of his views in theory of knowledge; these set out and defend the foundationalist position: that some beliefs are to be held on their own authority and that the ultimate account of the authority upon which beliefs rest is in terms of the self- 182 :SOOK nEVIEWS authorising. The final section of the book is a lucid and perceptive discussion of the history of epistemology in the United States. Central to the author's claim is his definition of knowledge as justified (true) belief and its dependence upon self-authorization for the account of justification. Here the reviewer finds two disquieting difficulties. Firstly, in the author's view whatever is known has a non-defective evidence base appropriately related to it. For an evidence base to be nondefective in the author's sense, it can make evident no falsehoods which might mar its power to confer warrant. Yet it may be questioned whether any evidence base does not authorise the acceptance of some such falsehoods save in the case of what is, in the author's sense, directly evident. Descartes optimistically thought not and blamed doxastic error on the will. But neither he nor the author offers a proof, and so the question remains, in the reviewer's opinion, an open one. Secondly, if the author's special account of knowledge is correct, then the belief we all hold of our own persistence through time cannot be certain -i.e., cannot possess the author's highest degree of epistemic warrant -unless we assume that whatever exists persists through time; and surely God on the traditional theistic view would be a counterexample here. Yet if we cannot be certain of our own persistence, what can it mean for us to be certain, as the author allows, that we are now in given affective or sensory states, or that specific a priori axioms are true? Otherwise the volume is well written and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 131-132
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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