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INFORMATION ABOUT THE ISSUE:

The date of the publication:
2019-03-15
The number of pages:
115
The issue:
8:1
Commentaries:
0
The Authors
Lluis Oviedo, Hans Van Eyghen, Basil Lourié, Rico Vitz, Tudor Petcu, Matthew Williams, Martin Braddock, Riccardo Campa, Margaret Boone Rappaport, Christopher Corbally, Tony Milligan, Gonzalo Munévar,

CURRENT ISSUE:

AI Case Studies: Potential for Human Health,
Space Exploration and Colonisation and a Proposed Superimposition
of the Kubler-Ross Change Curve on the Hype Cycle

The development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) is and will
profoundly reshape human society, the culture and the composition of
civilisations which make up human kind. All technological triggers tend to
drive a hype curve which over time is realised by an output which is often
unexpected, taking both pessimistic and optimistic perspectives and actions of
drivers, contributors and enablers on a journey where the ultimate destination
may be unclear. In this paper we hypothesise that this journey is not dissimilar
to the personal journey described by the Kubler-Ross change curve and
illustrate this by commentary on the potential of AI for drug discovery,
development and healthcare and as an enabler for deep space exploration and
colonisation. Recent advances in the call for regulation to ensure development
of safety measures associated with machine-based learning are presented
which, together with regulation of the rapidly emerging digital after-life
industry, should provide a platform for realising the full potential benefit of AI
for the human species.

De Bello Robotico. An Ethical Assessment
of Military Robotics

The Author: Riccardo Campa,
This article provides a detailed description of robotic weapons and unmanned
systems currently used by the U.S. Military and its allies, and an ethical
assessment of their actual or potential use on the battlefield. Firstly, trough a
review of scientific literature, reports, and newspaper articles, a catalogue of
ethical problems related to military robotics is compiled. Secondly, possible
solutions for these problems are offered, by relying also on analytic tools
provided by the new field of roboethics. Finally, the article explores possible
future developments of military robotics and present six reasons why a war
between humans and automata is unlikely to happen in the 21st century.

How an Advanced Neurocognitive Human Trait
for Religious Capacity Fails to Form

The authors present an evolutionary model for the biological emergence of
religious capacity as an advanced neurocognitive trait. Using their model for
the stages leading to the evolutionary emergence of religious capacity in Homo
sapiens, they analyze the mechanisms that can fail, leading to unbelief (atheism
or agnosticism). The analysis identifies some, but not all types of atheists and
agnostics, so they turn their question around and, using the same evolutionary
model, ask what keeps religion going. Why does its development not fail in
one social group after another, worldwide? Their final analysis searches for
reasons in important evolutionary changes in the senses of hearing, vision, and
general sensitivity on the hominin line, which together interact with both
intellectual and emotional brain networks to achieve, often in human groups,
variously altered states of consciousness, especially a numinous state enabled
in part by a brain organ, the precuneus. An inability to experience the
numinous, consider it important, or believe in its supernatural nature, may
cleave the human population into those with belief and those with unbelief.

Dealing with Free Will in Contemporary Theology:
is It Still a Question?

The Author: Lluis Oviedo,
Free will is a very hot issue in several theoretical settings, but less in theology,
or at least not as much as use to be in former times, when the discussions on
sinfulness, grace and freedom were igniting a long season of controversies,
especially in the Reformation time. Even in ecumenical dialogue apparently
free will does not play a great role, since the reached consensus seems quite
peaceful and agreement dominates over discussion. However, some theological
insights, especially Karl Rahner reflections, are still worthy to consider and
possibly theological anthropology should pay more attention to the current
debate and its consequences for the way we understand human nature and its
relationship with God.

Are Design Beliefs Safe?

The Author: Hans Van Eyghen,
Recently, Del Ratzsch proposed a new version of the design argument. He
argues that belief in a designer is often formed non-inferentially, much like
perceptual beliefs, rather than formed by explicit reasoning. Ratzsch traces his
argument back to Thomas Reid (1710-1796) who argues that beliefs formed in
this way are also justified. In this paper, I investigate whether design beliefs
that are formed in this way can be regarded as knowledge. For this purpose, I
look closer to recent scientific study of how design beliefs are formed. I argue
that the science strongly suggest that people easily form false beliefs. As a
result, design beliefs can only constitute knowledge if subjects have additional
reasons or evidence for design.

Thought Experiments and Novels

The Author: Tony Milligan,
Novels and thought experiments can be pathways to different kinds of
knowledge. We may, however, be hard pressed to say exactly what can be
learned from novels but not from thought experiments. Headway on this matter
can be made by spelling out their respective conditions for epistemic failure.
Thought experiments fail in their epistemic role when they neither yield
propositional knowledge nor contribute to an argument. They are largely in the
business of ‘knowing that’. Novels, on the other hand can be an epistemic
success by yielding ‘knowledge how’. They can help us to improve our
competences.

Biology and Gettier’s Paradox

The Author: Gonzalo Munévar,
Gettier’s Paradox is considered a most critical problem for the presumably
obvious philosophical view that knowledge is justified true belief. Such a view
of knowledge, however, exposes the poverty of analytic philosophy. It wrongly
assumes, for example, that knowledge must be conscious and explicit, and, to
make matters worse, linguistic, as illustrated in Donald Davidson’s writings.
To show why this philosophical view is wrong I will point to arguments by
Ruth Barcan Marcus and, principally, Paul Churchland, as well as to work by
the neuroscientist Paul Reber on intuitive knowledge. We will see, then, that
much of our knowledge is neither explicit nor conscious, let alone linguistic.
I will suggest that an approach that pays attention to biology is more likely to
succeed in developing a proper account of our cognitive abilities. Thus,
Gettier’s paradox becomes a mere curiosity.

Theodore the Studite’s Christology
Against Its Logical Background

The Author: Basil Lourié,
Theodore the Studite resolved the logical problem posed by the second
Iconoclasm in an explicitly paraconsistent way, when he applied to Jesus the
definition of the human hypostasis while stating that there is no human
hypostasis in Jesus. Methodologically he was following, albeit without
knowing, Eulogius of Alexandria. He, in turn, was apparently followed by
Photius, but in a confused manner.

Reflections on the Inaugural Conference
of the International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA)

The interview of Tudor Petcu with Rico Vitz.

Rico Vitz is the Professor and Chair of the Department of
Philosophy at Azusa Pacific University, and serves as the
Executive Vice President-Treasurer of the Hume Society. He
is the author of Reforming the Art of Living: Nature Virtue and
Religion in Descartes’s Epistemology (Springer), and the
editor of The Ethics of Belief (Oxford) and of Turning East:
Contemporary Philosophers and the Ancient Christian Faith
(St Vladimir’s Seminary Press). He is a member of St. Peter
the Apostle Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Pomona,
California, U.S.A.

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