Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why Did God Create? What Kind of World is This One? McCall, Piper, and Christianity's Options part 4

            This will be the last blog post in this series. I hope that all who have read any or all of them have found them somewhat interesting, and they might even stimulate some positive thoughts.
            Now in my last post I decided that whatever considerations by which we decided whether or not God “does what is best” it is not really terribly relevant to the bigger point, and really, it wasn’t to the point made in the last post (given we understand “morally right” as “doing and intending what is best in whatever circumstances one finds oneself”). But in this post it could not be more relevant. For, if we reject the divine command ethic, and in light of no alternative except for some standard for what is best that is distinct from God, we fall precisely into Thomas McCall’s trap for us, that is, that we deny divine aseity. And I certainly don’t want to do that, nor intend to, but fear we might be dangerously close to doing it nonetheless. But, let us explore the options as I see them, and then decide whether we have escaped, or whether the this whole series of blogs is how NOT to reason about these issues J
            Now I am going to use two terms that will apply to two distinct, but related, issues that we will be talking about in this last post. We will be talking generally and generically about God’s motivations for creating any world and His criteria for creating any world. In this discussion we then have two issues and also how these issues relate to one another, namely why God creates at all and how God determines what to create. In this discussion I will use two broad categories to throw out some ideas, and the two terms for distinguishing and connecting the various relationships between God’s motivation and a criterion for creation, are “Himself” and “others” (this is going to be a fairly brief post, by the way, just in case some reader is getting concerned for the space I am using to say what I am "going to" write about).
            Now with this basic groundwork laid, I am assuming that everyone has been powerfully convinced by my last post (just kidding) that if God is omnibenevolent, then He must create the a world that is not possible (or feasible, as we shall see) that there be a better one. And we will just take for granted that God is omnibenevolent. With these qualifications made, I see at least four possible ways to look at the relationship of why God creates and how God creates, or, God’s motivation for creation and His criterion for how He creates a world in which there is none better. The first I will speak of is the one it seems that McCall in his first article sees as Piper’s position. That is, that the motivation that God has for creating is for Himself, and the criteria by which He creates a good world is concerning Himself (His glory, let’s say). In this instance, one may rightly call God’s aseity into question, although, I must say, I cannot see how it is necessarily the case that this position leads to undermining God’s aseity. On this position, it is merely irrelevant to appeal to the suffering in the world as a problem for this being a world in which it is not possible that there be a better, for, the creature’s happiness or misery isn’t intrinsically a part of the criteria or motivation. Another position would be that God’s motivation for creating is Himself, but the criteria by which He creates (the criteria for a best possible world) is other’s outside Himself (their good). Maybe a reader can supply me with an example of a group or person who holds to this view. Since I don’t have someone or some-group off the top of my head, I will move on. Third, there are those who believe that God’s motivation for creating is others, and the criterion for the creating (a good world) is Himself, that is, that He is maximally glorified. This seems to be Piper’s actual position according to his article. Thus, the good of this world for the redeemed is God being most glorified in them when they are most satisfied in Him. For the damned, though it grieves God in a way (in itself), in another way it glorifies Him and thus, it seems, adds to the qualitative and quantitative joy, delight, etc, of all the rest of creation. It is hard to see how this works for the damned, but nevertheless it is an option (Piper doesn’t say that this is exactly how His position works by the way, and so I am just giving a possibility on this view). The final option I wish to discuss is that the motivation for creating the world on God’s part is others, and the criteria for determining a world is others. This is the view of several Wesleyan Arminians that I know. God creates to share His love with others, and the world is good only if the persons He creates freely love Him, and are one with His inner-Trinitarian life. In this case, one could appeal to molinism (a position that I am interested in) and say that this is the best feasible world in which this criterion is satisfied.
Out of the four, all might be possible so that aseity is held consistently with omnibenevolence, but the best options to me seem to be 1, 3, and 4. Three seems hardest out of this group because of the issue of the damned, but, given Calvinism, this is not really an issue. And so, given one accepts Calvinism, we can affirm via 3, omnibenevolence and aseity (because “others” doesn’t, though it could have, referred to the whole human race). Option 1 seems impersonal and narcissistic of God, but it has being consistent going for it (so God’s a tyrant, but we don’t have a problem with either aseity or omnibenevolence, omnibenevolence being defined as Him doing what is best for Himself, say, to maximize His glory). The fourth option also allows us to keep aseity and omnibenevolence, and also allows God to grant each person freedom. The tragedy of this world is the tragedy of human freedom. A fault of this position is just that it suggests that even though it is logically possible that there is a world better than this one (more saved, less pain suffering and evil) it is not feasible.
All of these options still doesn’t help us with the issue of telling the person on the street that it is either not possible or not feasible that there be a world that it is better than this one. But that may have to be the price we pay for being consistent and holding a high view of God.

Why Did God Create? What Kind of World is This One? McCall, Piper, and Christianity's Options part 3

           Okay, so last time I laid out why and how Piper views this world as the best possible one, and how that it is not in spite of but because of the proportion of evil and suffering in this world that we can say that it is in fact the best possible world (or one of or from the set of best possible worlds). Piper says, and McCall in his last article recognizes that Piper says, that God could have refrained from creating this world, that is, God is a se and therefore needs nothing outside the Trinitarian life. However, says Piper, if god creates, He must create in such a way as to glorify Himself maximally or He will be considered an idolater.
            Now obviously many will disagree with Piper, and many will, with McCall, call this whole scheme of theology into question. But, without defending Piper’s scheme (and this is important to me that everyone understand that I am not defending Piper, and one can miss my broader purpose if they miss this), I want to show how this is an important issue to consider and is tough for all involved in the process of theologizing. Let me quote from Piper’s article to show this idea:

            “The question of aseity arises for me because a huge part of my theological burden is the answer to the question why God created the universe. I recall wrestling in the Spring of 1971 in a class at Fuller Seminary with the dilemma of, on the one hand, thinking of God’s creation as purposeful (and therefore giving the impression that he depended on the accomplishment of that purpose to be complete or happy) or, on the other hand, thinking of God’s creation as unpurposeful (and therefore, apparently, whimsical and capricious). In the first case, we would sacrifice his aseity, in the second, we would sacrifice his wisdom.
            “I point this out to emphasize how difficult this problem is for all of us. The problem is not unique to one theological tradition” (Piper, 2008).

            I think that I agree with John Piper on this point. Perhaps I don’t agree with him so much on the issue of God’s aseity (as I will make a passing reference to in the next post), but I do agree with him about the issue of the relationship between why God creates and how God creates. My ideas of the relationship between why and how (mainly just the options and a brief consideration of the implications of what each particular option means) will be considered in the next post. There is no question, if you are a Christian theist of the traditional type (creedal), that God creates. But how, or in what way concerning quality, does God create? Is this the best world God could have created? That, as we will see, depends on one’s criterion. Now Piper’s second case, where the world is unpurposeful (or whimsical), is one which, as Piper points out, one could call into question God’s wisdom, and no doubt rightly so. But I want to call into question God’s omnibenevolence given that this is not the best possible world (or one of the set of best possible worlds, or, if you don’t like that phrase, one of the worlds that it is not possible there be a better). My argument is going to be very simple, but I think that it will have the desired affect. Let us define what it means for God to be omnibenevolent. According to Alvin Plantinga, in God, Freedom, and Evil, for any being to be omnibenevolent that being “could perhaps always do what is morally right, so that it would not be possible for it to be exceeded along those lines” (91). Now let me add to this. In order for a being to do what is morally right, that being most do and intend what is best in the circumstance that being finds him/her/itself. Now for a being to be omnibenevolent, that being must do what is best in every circumstance that being is in. Let me say here, right off the bat, that the idea of “best” is sort of slippery when it comes to God, for, is there a standard distinct from God that determined what is best? I have questions and some unresolved issues with divine command ethics, but just for the sake of appeasing those who might bring up this point, let us just give any reader what standard of ethic God recognizes. To be honest, this issue is somewhat irrelevant to the larger point.
            Now most traditional believers in God believe that God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent. But if God is omnibenevolent, God always does what is best. God created this world, and in creating this world, it would follow that He created a world in which it is not possible that there be a better. But this world not only had the possibility of sin and evil and suffering, but God knew that it would actually have sin and evil and suffering. Then a world that actually has sin and evil and suffering is a world in which it is not possible to be better. Therefore this world (the actual one) is a world in which it is not possible that there be a better world. Simply, if God always does what is best, and God created this world, then it follows that this world is a best possible world. So this “dilemma” is a little different from Piper’s. In this one, we either deny that God is omnibenevolent and that this is not a world in which it is not possible that there be a better, or we affirm both that God is omnibenevolent and that this world is a world in which it is not possible that there be a better. The latter option is good for affirming a traditional conception of God, but bad in the sense that we must explain exactly how this world, with huge amounts of evil and suffering and sin, is a world in which it is not possible that there be a better one. Now this at first may bother some Christian theists, but please do not be alarmed, this issue is not new or novel. There are good answers to this problem, and the issue really boils down to (in a large way) what is the criterion by which we understand “do and intend what is best.” Piper gives us one of these options by saying that the criteria that determines what a “best” world is, is that God is maximally glorified. In such a world, the existence of evil and suffering is just a means or avenue by which God is maximally glorified, and even though God hates evil in itself, in relation to Him being maximally glorified it is part of the world in which He is glorified the most (that is, the most possibly, so that it is not possible for Him to be glorified more in a creation or world). So our last post on this topic will be one on the criterias for creating and those of creation (a best world).  

Why Did God Create? What Kind of World is This One? McCall, Piper, and Christianity's Options part 2

     Last time I wrote very generally about the main theme of (at least) the first two articles by McCall and Piper. But one thing that seems to me to sort of bother McCall is that Piper argues that this world is the best possible world that God could have created. This world, with all its evil (moral and natural), is the best possible world according to Piper (or at least McCall’s interpretation of Piper). Now, that seems odd. Couldn’t there have been a better world than this one? Piper’s answer is, no! Why? Because this world gives God maximal glory, and that because God’s mercy and wrath according to election are clearly and fully revealed, His mercy is revealed on the vessels of mercy and His wrath is revealed on the vessels of wrath. Now in order for this to be the best possible world it must also be said that it is not possible that God’s mercy and wrath be revealed, or displayed, in any way that is clearer or better than the way they are displayed and are being displayed in this world. Now to get the full effect of this, please do the following: please go out to the worst neighborhood you can, or go to some ICU at your local hospital, and tell everyone that you come across that it is not even possible that there be a better world than this one. The highest percentage of the responses, verbal and non-verbal, should tell you how that sounds to many, many people. If one goes to the poorest country on earth, and tells the citizens of that country that it is not even possible that there be a better world, even an illiterate person living in that country will tell you that he or she can think of some way that this world could be better, thus disproving forever the notion that this is a world in which it is not even possible to be better, right? Wrong! Notice that the criterion determining which world is good or bad is not, on Piper’s (or at least McCall’s understanding of Piper’s) view, to have anything to do, ultimately, on the happiness of misery of creatures. The criterion instead is about whether or not God is maximally glorified in and by His creation, and not whether His creation is happy or miserable.
Now, one might ask, what on earth is the term “ultimately” doing in the previous paragraph? Either God does or doesn’t take creaturely happiness or misery as part of the criteria of what makes a good or bad world, right? There is no middle option. Is this just another of Sam’s ways of not sounding too extreme? No, this time at least, it is not. The term “ultimately” here is to notice that Piper believes that the Bible does indicate that God is sensitive toward creaturely well being. God is genuinely sad at the pain of the creature, He is genuinely sad when sinners reject Him, and He genuinely hates that which is evil and loves that which is good. How is this so, since, this world is the best possible one and He chose to create it, and this world is the best possible in fact because God is maximally glorified? Piper makes a distinction between a thing in itself and a thing in relation (as we all, so it seems to me at the moment, should). God in fact hates the evil in itself, He pities, genuinely and consistently, the suffering and evil that befalls His creation and specifically His conscious creatures. He has real remorse and sorrow over people going to hell. But He ordains these things happen, and brings it about (by whatever means, like I said earlier, I don’t follow Piper so I can’t say exactly how his determinism works) that in relation to sin and evil He can most glorify Himself in His creation, and thereby, constitute that this is in fact the best of all possible worlds, and also, that the best of all possible worlds must have the amount of suffering and evil that it does have. So in the narrow lens of God’s love and nature, he genuinely pities the evil and suffering of creatures, and that many will go into hell (ordained). But He does not decree or determine which world is good or best or great on that account, for even though He recognizes that these things are bad in themselves, He still sees them in relation to the bigger picture. And the big picture indicates that these things are the means by which He in creation and by creation will be most glorified. And because He being most glorified is what makes a world one in which it is not possible that there be a better, the sin in this relation is a good thing though in itself it is awful.
Now, I can see my Arminian friends being repulsed by this. Now before you allow yourself to get red under the collar, and your eyes start bulging out of your head, and you write a very bold and powerful refutation of my post and blog, let me say that I am not endorsing all or everything or anything in Piper’s position. I am merely laying it out to the best of my recollection what Piper is saying. Unfortunately this blog post is already too long, and so I will have to continue with these thoughts in my next post.

Why Did God Create? What Kind of World is This One? McCall, Piper, and Christianity's Options part 1

Alright, it is time for something new. I want to quickly give some thoughts I’ve had while looking at three articles that I've been reading this past week. Now the blogs on these articles are liable to change, as all opinions here expressed are, but especially on these particular articles because I have not put the time or energy into understanding them as I did with Cohen, and as I have with other writings (I am working through an article much more carefully right now that I hope to blog about later on). If anyone who reads the posts concerning these articles, and my thoughts related to them, and sees anything wrong in the reasoning or any misunderstanding of the material, please comment a correction.
Now, which articles am I speaking of? Well, this past week I have been reading three articles on God’s sovereignty (and things related to it) from Trinity Journal. The first and last articles are from Thomas McCall of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), and the middle article is by John Piper, who is Pastor for Preaching and Vision at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The main issue that is raised in McCall’s first article, in which Piper responds in his, is Piper’s concept of God’s sovereignty and how Piper’s view undermines God’s aseity. Why, you might ask, is McCall calling into question Piper on his view of sovereignty and how is that view undermining God’s aseity? Well, according to McCall, Piper is arguing that this world must exist in order for God to be maximally glorified. Piper rejects this as what he intends, but acknowledges that some things he has said in his published work seem to suggest this conclusion.
Now I, without reading much of Piper, could see fairly clear (before I even read Piper’s response) that Piper was not saying what McCall was saying Piper was saying. I could see that McCall’s “Modal Argument” did not follow if one merely added the term “ad extra” after one of the crucial premises and then adjusted the premises following that one accordingly. And from what I can remember, that was sort of the big argument that was suppose to prove that Piper is undermining God’s aseity, because in that argument, God needed the world in order to be maximally glorified. McCall took Piper to be saying that essentially God needed the world in order to be maximally glorified, whereas Piper was saying that if God was to create, which He could refrain from because of His aseity, but nevertheless, if God created He must create such and such a world. The world that Piper said God must create would of course be the best possible world (or one of the set of best possible worlds, we shall look at this idea later). Let me say a caveat right now that might be leading some astray. I am not a Piper Calvinist, a follower of Piper, or anything of the sort. For the last ten years I have been back and forth over whether a form of Calvinism is what I believe or a form of Arminianism. Right now I have come from being a die hard Calvinist to sort of re-evaluating again what I really believe (that is, which form of orthodox Christianity I believe). That is to say that I really don’t know which I believe is correct (maybe neither) and so I am open to either side, therefore I am not defending Piper out of some loyalty to his theological position.
It is clear from Piper’s response that he is not saying that God needs the world in order to be maximally glorified essentially, and McCall in the last article in this series acknowledges that. The posts, though speaking of God’s sovereignty, and the differences between a Reformed view of sovereignty (which, though it is very tempting, I will not give McCall’s definition of that view of sovereignty and that because it would distract the direction of these posts) and a more simple view (one that is minimally required for all Christians everywhere), has a related theme that is very important to me and probably many people. It is this theme which I want to talk about in my next post.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stewart Cohen on Epistemic Contextualism part 3 (Closing Considerations)

Alright, to finish this topic so that I can move on to other articles or thoughts, I will just use Cohen’s own words and then give my best shot at pointing out some difficulties. In light of what has been said in the last two posts of this series, Cohen writes, “I have argued that whether S knows that q depends, in part, on intersubjective standards. This raises the question of how precisely those standards are determined. In particular, which social group sets the standards? …
Perhaps…it is our own social group that sets the standards. But surely a moron society would not use our standards. And a genius society would surely make their epistemic assessments according to standards consonant with their superior reasoning powers. Is ‘knowledge,’ then, ambiguous between various concepts each based on a different standard? This would entail an indefinite number of concepts of knowledge…
A better way to view matters is to suppose that attributions of knowledge are indexical or context-sensitive. The standards that apply are determined by the context of attribution…
This raises the question which social group of the attributor (A) is the relevant group. Is it the society at large in which A lives? … his professional circles? Perhaps the standards that apply are determined by A’s own reasoning ability (in which case they are not intersubjective at all). I am not sure how to decide this. Presumably, the standards are variably determined in all these ways, although it is unclear which mechanisms govern the shifts” (578-579).
Now this means that the context that is the relevant one for the attributions, themselves determine whether the attributor has good reasons. How do we determine which contextual standards apply, well, says Cohen, it is the intention of the attributor that makes the difference. So if I intend moron standards, and I myself don’t have an evident defeater, then I can be said to know. But, if I intend genius standards, and I don’t have any evident defeaters, if the genius society does have evident defeaters, then I don’t know (see page 580 first paragraph).
I have a few issues with this position, first, it is somewhat confusion because earlier in the paper Cohen says that someone cannot have good reasons without having intersubjectively good reasons, but then later says that someone can have subjectively good reasons (say the smartest man ever) that are not intersubjectively good reasons. For example, there may be some intersubjectively evident undermining defeater for some knowledge attribution, but some super genius has a subjectively evident (yet intersubjectively opaque) restoring defeater, that is, a defeater that itself undermines the undermining defeater, that only he sees (and is a good reason). Is this person justified or not justified in believing the conclusion based upon the subjectively good reason, though the subjectively good reason is intersubjectively a non-good reason (that is, an ideally good but not permissibly good reason)? Well, the answer to me seems unclear, and in fact it seems as if Cohen sort of goes back and forth, though I think in the end he would say that such a person is justified. But if that is the case, if context-sensitivity is not important in every instance of knowledge, then it is not a necessary condition for justification. If that is the case, it seems Cohen is wrong when he asserts that there is a context component to knowledge.
The last one I have (though there are more than these two) is with what Cohen has just said. Cohen writes, “A better way to view matters is to suppose that attributions of knowledge are indexical or context-sensitive. The standards that apply are determines by the context of attribution.” Then two paragraphs down Cohen gives some of these (they are listed above) determining contexts, namely, society at large, professional circles, and one’s own reasoning ability. Cohen then says, “Presumably, the standards are variably determined in each of these ways, although it is unclear which mechanisms govern the shift” (emphasis added). First, in this scheme, why should we think that any ‘mechanism’ governs the shifting contexts? Second, Cohen seems to be saying that context determines that attribution or denial of knowledge, and then he is saying that the context that determines the truth-value of knowledge attributions is itself variably determined, that is, shifts and changes in different circumstances. That is, the context that determines the justification for some knowledge attribution on some reason in this scheme is itself context-sensitive, and we don’t know (and perhaps can’t determine) what makes the shifts among these various contexts. So the justification of the attribution on the reason shifts under these various contexts, and we can’t really know what mechanism governs these shifts. But if that is the case, what confidence do we have that we actually can recognize when these shifts have taken place? My question then is, how is this an escape from skepticism? It seems as if this scheme is running us into skepticism, because we can be so unclear about whether our belief is justified. Does anyone see a flaw or have an suggestions on this topic?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stewart Cohen on Epistemic Contextualism part 2 (Clarification and Expansion)

Okay, so in the first blog I was trying to lay out some of the ground work, but I feel that I need to clarify what is being said a little bit more. Let me say that when I first read this article, it took me a little time and reflection to notice that the issue here that Cohen is talking about is NOT about the truth of a given conclusion we believe. Rather, Cohen is talking about our justification in believing some conclusion given some reason. To use an example Cohen gives, if I believe q (the table is red) on the basis of r (the table looks red), then I am justified only if I don’t possess a defeater d (e.g. some reliable source tells me that there are red lights shining on the table). Now this is what Cohen calls the ideal case, when everything is at an optimum, then when confronted with d a subject S will not believe q on the basis of r. Now, from what I understand, Cohen is taking for granted that q is true. It is in fact the case that the table is red. Nevertheless, the fact that the table looks red to me is not a good reason to conclude the table is red because the defeater (a reliable source says that there are red lights shining on the table) undermines the reasonableness of drawing the true conclusion on the basis that the table looks red. If one would draw the conclusion that the table is red on the basis of the table looking red in the light of this obvious defeater, then one would have a true belief about the table looking red, but one would lack a justified true belief about the table, and thus without this justification (the having of good reasons) one would not possess knowledge.  
Let me quickly try to wrap up Cohen’s position (more or less) so that in my last post on this topic I can give some of my personal misgivings about this position. Cohen has made a distinction between ideally good reasons and permissibly good reasons. Cohen has pointed out in his article that though some reasons might be intersubjectively good reasons (with no evident defeaters, let’s say), but it might not be subjectively good reason to some like a super genius. That is, the reason is not ideally good, and that because all parties involved possess a defeater with in their knowledge, but it is just that only the few super geniuses can sort of piece the puzzle together, while the rest of the intersubjective community can’t. This means that some true conclusion is not ideally reached by the intersubjective community’s reason, because they possess but don’t catch the defeater that they have in their knowledge (though the super genius does). Nevertheless, the intersubjective community is in fact justified in believing the true conclusion on their reason. That is, the reason is not ideally good but is permissibly good. Cohen writes, “Why does S know when he possesses an intersubjectively opaque defeater, but fail to know when he possesses an intersubjectively evident defeater? … By believing q [i.e. the true conclusion] in the face of an obvious [intersubjectively obvious] defeater, S fails to comply with intersubjective standards of reasoning. In the former case, no such violation of standards is involved…” (578). I think that is somewhat misleading, because if the intersubjectively opaque defeater is in fact a real defeater ideally, then the intersubjective community does violate the ideal standard. Surely either Cohen missed this, or I am missing something (or forgetting). Nevertheless, it follows from this position that knowledge has a social component. That is, whether someone is justified in believing some attribution of knowledge depends in part upon the community that is being appealed to. And this is the last thing I want to focus on in Cohen’s article, but I’ll do this in my last post since this one is getting too long.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stewart Cohen on Epistemic Contextualism part 1

I have recently been reading an article by Stewart Cohen called "Knowledge and Context." In the article Cohen argues for the context-sensitivity of the justification of knowledge attributions. The article is very interesting, but I find myself disagreeing with its conclusions. Also, I think that not only does Cohen NOT reach his goal of avoiding skepticism (though he may have made steps in avoiding a radical form of skepticism), but I believe that he actually drives us to be skeptical.
In the article Cohen says that a person must have good reasons in order to know. He defines good reasons (ideally) as reasons that are undefeated by the evidence one possesses (575,  The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 8, No. 10, Oct. 1986). He then argues that the relevance of defeaters, for justification, is based upon the context that one is a part of. For instance, Cohen says, "The relevance of a defeater...can range from obvious to very subtle. Suppose in the case imagined that d defeats through a very subtle line of reasoning that would escape all but the most acute intelligence. S believes q only because he is of normal intelligence and so fails to appreciate the defeating effect of d. With the details specified, does S fail to have good reasons? Here we might hesitate, granting that one can have good reasons provided that one does not believe any obvious defeaters" (Cohen, 575). He then defines obvious subjectively, based upon the subject's (S) own reasoning ability, but also intersubjectively, based upon the reasoning ability of a broader social group of which S is a member. By setting the reasoning up in this way, Cohen allows for a few more distinctions. Something can be obvious subjectively but not obvious intersubjectively (for instance, a super genius sees obvious defeaters to some given reason that the rest of us cannot). In this instance defeater is subjectively obvious (or evident) but intersubjectively opaque. So Cohen defines intersubjectively opaque as possessing in a social knowledge, evidence that would defeat some reason for believing something, but then not having the ability or clarity of thought as a community for that defeater to be evident. In the same way, something can be intersubjectively obvious, but subjectively not obvious or opaque. In this case the community possesses some evident defeater for discounting some reason in their knowledge, but some subject in that community is not able to see the defeating "triumph" of the defeater on the reason. Such a one who lacks the ability to see the obviousness of an intersubjective defeater is said by Cohen to be subjectively opaque. More next time.