Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pearce's New Cosmological Argument

In "Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency" (Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 8, forthcoming) Kenny Pearce exploits recent work on the metaphysics of grounding to develop an intriguing new version of the cosmological argument. The paper also won the 2016 Sanders Prize in philosophy of religion. Happy reading!

Friday, May 05, 2017

Schellenberg's New Two-Part Series on Recent Work on the Hiddenness Argument ...

...with Philosophy Compass. The first article focuses on objections to Schellenberg's hiddenness argument. The second discusses new work that expands the scope of the discussion, including work on Maitzen's argument (on hiddenness and the demographics of theism), some new hiddenness-related problems, and also work that might provocatively be described as seeking to reclaim the hiddenness topic for theology.   

Also of note in the new issue are the papers on Pascal's Wager and on epistemic externalism in the philosophy of religion.

Happy reading!

Review of Sterba (ed.) Ethics and the Problem of Evil

Michael Ruse reviews the book for NDPR.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ruloff's Recent Paper on Propositional Platonism and Theistic Conceptualism

Colin Ruloff does excellent work in (among other areas) philosophy of religionSome of his recent work concerns arguments surrounding theistic conceptualism. (See, for example, his "Divine Thoughts and Fregean Propositional Realism", International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76:1 (2014), pp. 41-51). His most recent paper on the topic is "On Propositional Platonism, Representation, and Divine Conceptualism", European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8:4 (2016), which addresses arguments from Gould and Davis against propositional platonism and for theistic conceptualism. Here is the abstract:
Gould and Davis (2014) have recently argued for the claim that Propositional Platonism is mistaken since it is not able to explain how a proposition comes to bear its representational properties. But, say Gould and Davis, if Propositional Platonism is mistaken, then Divine Conceptualism must be true and we should therefore identify propositions with the contents of a divine mind, i.e., God. In this paper, I argue that Gould and Davis’ argument against Propositional Platonism fails since it depends upon a number of assumptions that the Propositional Platonist need not accept.

And if a copy should find its way to my inbox...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Crummett's Intriguing New Paper on Insect Suffering and the Problem of Evil

Recent work on the functional neurobiology of insects seems to suggest that insects may well be conscious, and some philosophers are starting to grapple with the potential ethical implications of this research. Dustin Crummett is one such philosopher. In his new paper, "The Problem of Evil and the Suffering of Creeping Things" (International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, forthcoming), Crummett explores the implications of insect suffering for the problem of evil. Here's the abstract:


Even philosophers of religion working on the problem of non-human animal suffering have ignored the suffering of creatures like insects. Sensible as this seems, it’s mistaken. I am not sure whether creatures like these can suffer, but it is plausible, on both commonsensical and scientific and philosophical grounds, that many of them can. If they do, their suffering makes the problem of evil much worse: their vast numbers mean the amount of evil in the world will almost certainly be increased by many, many orders of magnitude, the fact that disproportionately many of them live lives which are nasty, brutish, and short means that the proportion of good to evil in the world will be drastically worsened, and their relative lack of cognitive sophistication means that many theodicies, including many specifically designed to address animal suffering, would apply to their suffering only with much greater difficulty, if at all. Philosophers of religion should therefore more seriously investigate whether these beings can suffer and what, if anything, could justify God in allowing as much.
 And if a copy should find it's way to my inbox...

UPDATE: Thanks!

Friday, January 13, 2017

CfP: The Pantheism and Panentheism Project Summer Stipend Program

Submission deadline: April 15, 2017

Details

The Pantheism and Panentheism Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, welcomes applications for summer stipends from scholars and writers who wish to spend the summer writing a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, a reputable magazine (if they wish to write for a popular audience), or an edited collection to be published by a leading academic publisher. We offer £1000 each to 10 applicants in the summer of 2017 and 9 awards of £1000 each in the summer of 2018. Co-authors are welcome to apply together but they will be awarded only one joint stipend of £1000.

Application Process:

Applicants are required to submit the following items electronically:

· A curriculum vitae

· An project abstract of no more than 200 words

· A project proposal of 1000-1500 words

Please email all of the above as a single PDF document by 15 April 2017 to spinozawhitehead@gmail.com

The Pantheism and Panentheism Project focuses on the following three main problems. Applicants are required to address at least one of these problems directly or indirectly from a philosophical, historical, theological or scientific perspective. It is not required that applicants defend pantheism or panentheism. Applications from critics of these views are also welcome.

· The problem of personality: Pantheism and panentheism say that the cosmos is identical with, is constituted by, or is part of God. This appears to suggest that, contrary to the classical theistic view, God is not a person or a personal being. Critics claim that this is problematic because a concept of God that is non-personal does not seem to be adequate for theological discourse. Can pantheists and panentheists respond to this problem by developing a plausible account of personhood that makes the pantheistic or panentheistic God qualify as a person or a personal being?

· The problem of unity: Classical theists maintain the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, according to which God created the cosmos out of nothing. This doctrine entails that God is ontologically distinct from the cosmos. Classical theists face the following intractable question: How could God, who is understood by classical theists as an incorporeal, timeless, changeless being, create the cosmos, which consists of matter, time and space, out of nothing? Pantheists and panentheists avoid such a question by maintaining that the cosmos is not ontologically distinct from God. Yet it is not very clear how the cosmos, which includes an extremely large number of entities, can be considered a single, unified entity that can be described as divine. Can pantheists and panentheists coherently maintain that the cosmos is a unified whole?

· The problem of evil: Classical theists face the problem of evil because they maintain that the cosmos, which includes apparently pointless pain and suffering, was created by an all-powerful and all-good God. One of the main virtues of pantheism and panentheism is that they do not face this problem. Since they do not postulate the existence of an all-powerful and all-good God the problem of evil for classical theists cannot be directed at them. However, pantheism and panentheism do face a variation on the same problem: How could the cosmos be identical with or be part of God if it contains apparently gratuitous pain and suffering?

Selection Criteria:

The selection criteria are (i) the quality of the abstract, (ii) relevance to the project topics and (iii) the applicant’s publication track record.

Project Leaders:

Andrei Buckareff (Marist College, USA) 

andrei.buckareff@marist.edu

Yujin Nagasawa (University of Birmingham, UK)

Y.Nagasawa@bham.ac.uk

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