Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Paper Uses Street's Darwinian Dilemma Against Plantinga's

Crow, Daniel. "A Plantingian Pickle for a Darwinian Dilemma: Evolutionary Arguments Against Atheism and Normative Realism", Ratio (Article first published online: 10 MAR 2015
DOI: 10.1111/rati.12092). 
Here's the abstract:
Two of the most prominent evolutionary debunking arguments are Sharon Street's Darwinian Dilemma for Normative Realism and Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument against Atheism. In the former, Street appeals to evolutionary considerations to debunk normative realism. In the latter, Plantinga appeals to similar considerations to debunk atheism. By a careful comparison of these two arguments, I develop a new strategy to help normative realists resist Street's debunking attempt. In her Darwinian Dilemma, Street makes epistemological commitments that ultimately support Plantinga's structurally similar argument. If Street succeeds in debunking normative realism, I argue, then she also succeeds in debunking atheism. But atheism is a suppressed premise of the Darwinian Dilemma as well as a commitment of almost all normative anti-realists. If Street's argument entails theism, then the Darwinian Dilemma is internally incoherent and should be abandoned by almost everyone.
And if a copy should find its way into my inbox...
Update: Thanks!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Argument from Love Against Traditional Christian Theism

Hassoun, Nicole. Eternally Separated Lovers: The Argument from Love, Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming). 

Here's the abstract:
A message scribbled irreverently on the mediaeval walls of the Nonberg cloister says this: ‘Neither of us can go to heaven unless the other gets in.’ It suggests an argument against the view that those who love people who suffer in hell can be perfectly happy, or even free from all suffering, in heaven. This paper considers the challenge posed by this thought to the coherence of the traditional Christian doctrine on which there are some people in hell who are suffering and others in heaven who are not suffering. More precisely, it defends the following argument:
1. No one who loves another can be perfectly happy or free from suffering if they know that their beloved is suffering.
2. Anyone in hell suffers (at least as long as they are in hell).
3. Anyone in heaven is perfectly happy or at least free from suffering.
4. There can be no one in heaven who is aware of the fact that his or her beloved is in hell. (1, 2, and 3)
The paper argues that the first premise is eminently plausible and that those who accept the traditional Christian doctrine should endorse the claim that some of those in heaven love people whom they know to be suffering in hell. So, it concludes that there is reason to reject the traditional Christian doctrine.
And if a copy should find it's way to my email, I wouldn't mind it in the least. Update: Thanks!
Although I haven't yet read the article, I've read a persuasive variation on the argument from Thomas Talbott in his book, The Inescapable Love of God. Links to a bunch of his papers and books can be found here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion...

... is due to come out next month. Graham Oppy is the editor. Here's the table of contents.
Introduction Part 1: Theoretical Orientations 1. Feminist Approaches to Religion Beverley Clack 2. Phenomenological Approaches to Religion John Manoussakis 3. Postmodern Approaches to Religion Nick Trakakis 4. New Atheist Approaches to Religion Trent Dougherty and Logan Paul Gage 5. Wittgensteinian Approaches to Religion Genia Schönbaumsfeld 6. Fundamentalist Approaches to Religion Harriet Harris Part 2: Conceptions of Divinity 7. Chinese Conceptions of Divinity Karen Lai 8. Islamic Conceptions of Divinity Imran Aijaz 9. Hindu Conceptions of Divinity Monima Chadha 10. Christian Conceptions of Divinity John Bishop Part 3: Epistemology of Religious Belief 11. Religious Experience Jerome Gellman 12. Religious Faith Mark Wynn 13. Religious Disagreement Bryan Frances 14. Religion and Superstition Ed Feser Part 4: Metaphysics and Religious Language 15. Realism and Anti-Realism Michael Scott 16. Analogy, Metaphor and Literal Language Roger M. White 17. Scientific Interpretation of Religious Texts David Bartholomew 18. Metaphysics and Religion Kevin Hart Part 5: Religion and Politics 19. Religious Pluralism Victoria Harrison 20. Religion in the Public Square Marci Hamilton 21. Religious Tolerance Mehdi Aminrazavi 22. Religious Violence Daniel McKaughan Part 6: Religion and Ethics 23. Religion and Metaethics Michael Smith 24. Religion and Normative Ethics David Oderberg 25. Religion and the Meaning of Life Neil Levy 26. Religion and Suffering Michael Levine 27. Religion and Flourishing Christopher Toner Part 7: Religion and Scientific Scrutiny 28. Religion and Reason Rob Koons 29. Religion and Cognitive Science Todd Tremlin 30. Religion and Science Sahotra Sarkar 31. Religion and Metaphysical Naturalism Neil Manson. Index
Further details here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

William Mann's God, Modality, and Morality... a collection of papers (including one new one) that reflect the mature thought of someone who has been working in philosophy of religion for nearly half a century. Here's the blurb:
Suppose that God exists: what difference would that make to the world? The answer depends on the nature of God and the nature of the world. In this book, William E. Mann argues in one new and sixteen previously published essays for a modern interpretation of a traditional conception of God as a simple, necessarily existing, personal being. Divine simplicity entails that God has no physical composition or temporal stages; that there is in God no distinction between essence and existence; that there is no partitioning of God's mental life into beliefs, desires, and intentions. God is thus a spiritual, eternal being, dependent on nothing else, whose essence is to exist and whose mode of existence is identical with omniscience, omnipotence, and perfectly goodness. 
In metaphysical contrast, the world is a spatial matrix populated most conspicuously by finite physical objects whose careers proceed sequentially from past to present to future. Mann defends a view according to which the world was created out of nothing and is sustained in existence from moment to moment by God. The differences in metaphysical status between creator and creatures raise questions for which Mann suggests answers. How can God know contingent facts and necessary truths without depending on them? Why is it so easy to overlook God's presence? Why would self-sufficient God create anything? Wouldn't a perfect God create the best world possible? Can God be free? Can we be free if God's power is continuously necessary to sustain us in existence? If God does sustain us, is God an accomplice whenever we sin? 
Mann responds to the Euthyphro dilemma by arguing for a kind of divine command metaethical theory, whose normative content lays emphasis on love. Given the metaphysical differences between us, how can there be loving relationships between God and creatures? Mann responds by examining the notions of piety and hope. 
The book is due to come out in June. Further details here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Betenson's New Critique of Craig's Arguments Against Atheistic Meaning

Betenson, Toby. "Fairness and futility", International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (forthcoming), pp. 1-11.

Here's the abstract: 
William Lane Craig argues that both God and immortality are required for life to have meaning; life is futile without either of the two. I argue that combining William Lane Craig’s arguments for the futility of life without God or immortality, together with a plausible amendment to his working definition of ‘futility’, entails the counterintuitive conclusion that life is futile if God does exist. Craig says that God must exist as a guarantor of ultimate justice, and that this ultimate ‘fairness’ is necessary for life to have meaning. I will argue that this ultimate ‘fairness’ entails that our lives are futile, since, given the existence of God, our actions are causally irrelevant to the achievement of the satisfaction of the ‘Good’. This discussion serves to pinpoint a major flaw in Craig’s reasoning: the claim that events of merely ‘relative’ significance do not have the potential to counter the futility of life.
And if a copy should find its way into my inbox...

UPDATE: Thanks!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Review of Wielenberg's Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism

Terence Cuneo reviews Wielenberg's important book for NDPR.

Hanna's New Paper on Philosophical Success, Failure, and the Problem of Evil

In "Philosophical Success" (Phil. Studies, forthcoming), Hanna responds to van Inwagen's account of philosophical failure and its use to defeat the problem of evil. Here's the abstract:
Peter van Inwagen proposes a criterion of philosophical success. He takes it to support an extremely pessimistic view about philosophy. He thinks that all philosophical arguments for substantive conclusions fail, including the argument from evil. I’m more optimistic on both counts. I’ll identify problems with van Inwagen’s criterion and propose an alternative. I’ll then explore the differing implications of our criteria. On my view, philosophical arguments can succeed and the argument from evil isn’t obviously a failure.
(We noted Fischer & Tognazzini's nice paper on the topic on another occasion.)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wielenberg's Entry on Atheism and Morality... The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Interacts with most recent key work on divine command theory and the Euthyphro Dilemma (e.g., Morriston, Baggett & Walls, Pruss et al.).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Debate: "What Difference Would - or Does - God's Existence Make?"

Speakers: Dr. Peter van Inwagen, Duke University.
Dr. Ronnie de Sousa, University of Toronto. 
Date/Time: Friday, March 6th, 4:00-5:30 pm (reception to follow)
Location: Oakham Lounge, 63 Gould Street, Ryerson University
Registration: To register to attend, click on the link below.

Monday, February 16, 2015

John Russell Roberts' Nice New Paper on Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing

Roberts, John Russell. "Axiarchism and Selectors", Faith & Philosophy 31:4 (October 2014), pp. 412-421. The mention of the notion of selectors reveals that it interacts in crucial ways with Derek Parfit's important paper, "Why Anything? Why This?". Here's the abstract:
This essay offers a defense of Axiarchism’s answer to the question, “Why does the world exist?” against prominent objections leveled against it by Derek Parfit. Parfit rejects the Axiarchist answer while abstracting from it his own Selector strategy. I argue that the abstraction fails, and that even if we were to regard Axiarchism as an instance of a Selector hypothesis, we should regard it as the only viable one. I also argue that Parfit’s abstraction leads him to mistake the nature and, thereby, the force of Axiarchism’s claim to being an ultimate explanation. Finally, I defend the Axiarchist’s claim that the good could not fail to rule.