Sunday, December 07, 2008

John Hawthorne's Critique of the Fine-Tuning Design Argument

John Hawthorne is another "star" philosopher (currently at Oxford) who is also a Christian.[1] However, he's not a fan of the fine-tuning design argument. Here is a paper on religious belief he's discussed with undergraduates, in which he offers a good criticism of the argument.

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[1] Some philosophical lore: I mentioned Dean Zimmerman a few posts ago. Well, John Hawthorne, Dean Zimmerman, and Ted Sider were known as "The Syracuse Three": the young stars seemed inseparable when they were all faculty at Syracuse in the late 90s-2002, or thereabouts. They hung out all the time, and discussed each other's papers as they were drafting them for publication. I'm not absolutely certain, but I think they were all originally Christians (however, Ted Sider -- son of Christian writer and activist Ron Sider -- seems to have left the fold. See his paper, "Hell and Vagueness", in Faith and Philosophy). All the top philosophy programs wanted (and still want) them. But it seemed that you couldn't hire one of them without hiring the other two. In fact, Rutgers hired the three of them in the mid 2000s. However, the Three have recently been separated: Zimmerman's the only one of the Three left at Rutgers, as Hawthorne has recently taken a position at Oxford, and Sider has recently taken a position at NYU.

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