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Friday, April 25, 2003

Apologetics without Epistemology?

Consider Plato's Meno. In it, Socrates argues that since it is conceivable that we might be the sort of creatures that receive a kind of pre-aquaintance with the eternal forms before birth and need only to recall them now, we ought not be discouraged by what may be a false dilemma between either already knowing the truth or not being able to know the truth, which in either case would mean that all our philosophical reflection would be worthless. This classic example illustrates Iris Murdock's point that metaphysics can be a guide to ethics, including the ethics of belief policies. Given western thought's inability to recover from Descartes' Demon hypothesis, it doesn't seem that metaphysics may ever lead to justified beliefs about the way the world is. But even if that is true it can beused to help make important decisions, including religious decisions as for example in Pascal's Wager and SK's "Religion B".

The same might be said about the various ways Christian Dogmatic theology traditionally relies on speculative metaphysics to present a coherent, unfalsified statement of biblically mandated beliefs. It may be impossible to establish whether a Christian system of a naturalist system is really rationally to be preferred. This, however, may not necessarily prevent such considerations from supporting a solid decision about where to put one's faith. One important strength about this is that it shows that doctrine really plays an important role in the Christian life after all even when it cannot be verified. It still plays a necessary role in motivating the Christian Faith in practice.

So maybe the best thing to say, however ironic, is that apologetics doesn't require epistemology. I can defend my faith without having to prove that it's true. This can be a viable strength in a sophisticated academic culture were epistemology is seen to be a bankrupt project, to be replaced by either metaphysics or politics. (e.g. Buddy: "How do you justify your beliefs? Dusty: "Sorry, but I don't do epistemology.")

LAME-O, the Ludicrously Attenuated 'Magination Engine Optator!

Okay, here is my universal absolutely free RPG idea that I know everyone else already thought of. There are basicly two rules:

Rule 1: Avoid dice rolls!

All players creatively conceive and communicate their characters and their specific actions in the game narrative and the Game Master conceives and communicates the world setting and specific situations in enough detail such that the resolution of player actions is clearly indicated by the logic of the story.

Rule 2: Roll the dice!

If there is no clear outcome even after detailed exposition, this means that the opposing forces in the story are fairly evenly matched. If so, use the following die mechanic. Every time it comes down to a dice role, the player rolls 3D6 and 1D20 in one throw. If the result on the D20 is greater than the result from the 3D6, the players action was a success. ("20" is a critical success, which means the GM determines some further good result for the player at the GM's discretion. "1" is a critical failure, which means the GM determines some further adverse consequence for the player.) In opposed action rolls, the comparative quality of success is determined by the differences between the D20 result and the 3D6 result of each contestant.

You can find some free real RPGs right here.
After a month long hiatus, which did me a lot of good, my friends and I are back to slogging through HackMaster's "Little Keep on the Border Lands" suppliment, which we are doing by email. After spending last semester settling into the Keep and connecting with the adventure hook (which also involved a touch of fevered teen romance, several flesh eating parakeets, and the burnt corpse of sow left on the table with a knife burried into its chest (aka dinner), they are now exploring the temple of the demon and have come face to face with the Player's Handbook. Further details as events warrant. D'&u

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Well, I was looking at all my friends and noticed they had their own blogs and I figured, "Hey! I want some too!" So welcome to my blog.