Thursday, July 10, 2008

Michael C. Rea

...is a young "star" philosopher at Notre Dame who specializes in metaphysics. He's especially known in this field for his work on the problems of material composition -- e.g., the problem of how two or more material things could compose a new thing (I know this sounds like a trivial problem, but believe me, it's a very hard problem. To see why, read Peter van Inwagen's seminal book, Material Beings). However, he is also a Christian, and a young star in the field of philosophy of religion. For example, he is known for using ideas from his work on the nature of material composition to attempt to give a coherent account of the doctrine of the trinity. He's probably best known in recent years for his book, World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism, which, as you may have guessed, is a critique of naturalism (and a very rigorous one at that). I remember reading it in grad school while still a Christian (still with dreams of infiltrating academia and contributing to the "revolution" in philosophy of religion that began with the advent of Alvin Plantinga's work). He has also recently co-authored a primer text in philosophy of religion with Michael J. Murray, (dazzlingly entitled) An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion.

Here is the link to Michael Rea's department webpage. He also has a good many papers online, a number of which are in philosophy of religion, here. He's does excellent and careful work in philosophy of religion, so his work is well worth reading.

P.S., If you download his cv, you'll see that he has a bunch of books and papers in the field of philosophy of religion that are forthcoming.

2 comments:

Ron said...

Good post. I'll have to read some of Rea's stuff. I am curious, are you covering teleological arguments because you think that they are the strongest or the most interesting? (Oe some other reason.)

exapologist said...

Hi Ron,

Thanks!

About the coverage of design arguments: That's an interesting question! I do think it's the most intuitive, in the sense that it starts with an intuition about the order and intricacy of the world that very many people seem to share, and which very many thoughtful people appeal to as the source of their theistic (or quasi-theistic) tendencies. My interest in design arguments is to scrutinize it as carefully as i can, with the hopes of discerning whether that intuition (or the inference from it to a god, or both) is reliable.

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