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Showing posts from June, 2009

Steven Law's Reply to Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument from Naturalism

As we've noted on otheroccasions, Stephen Law has been working on a reply to Plantinga's EAAN. He has since completed and submitted it for publication, and It has recently been accepted at Religious Studies. Stephen has kindly posted the penultimate draft of the article as a blog post, here.

P.S., he also has a paper on the problem of evil forthcoming in the same journal. Here is a link to the penultimate draft.

Michael J. Murray and Paul Bloom on Psychology, Biology, and Belief in God

A quick note before I head off to Father's Day festivities:

Last month, Michael J. Murray and Paul Bloom had a discussion at bloggingheads on issues related to Murray's new book, The Believing Primate: mainly, psychological and evolutionary explanations of belief in God, and whether they undermine the rationality (and perhaps the warrant) of theism.

P.S., Here is a short piece by Murray that discusses several atheistic arguments from psychology of religion.

End of the Quarter

Hi gang,

It's finals week where I teach, and tomorrow I administer my last final exam for the quarter. After that, I'm off to the beach for a vacation with family and friends. As such, posting will probably be light for about a week or so. Until then, be well!


DePoe's Forthcoming Piece on the Problem of Religious Disagreement

As we've noted on otheroccasions, the problem of religious disagreement is a potential hot topic in philosophy of religion, as the slightly broader topic of reasonable disagreement is currently "hot" in epistemology. Here is another relevant data point in this regard: John DePoe (Ph.D. candidate, University of Iowa) has recently written a paper on the topic. Here is a link.

P.S. He has a number of other interesting papers in philosophy of religion (scroll down a little to find them).

Wielenberg's Recent Paper on Non-Naturalistic, Non-Theistic Ethics

If you don't know already, Philosopher's Digest is an excellent new philosophical resource. As the site's title suggests, philosophers write short but careful summaries of recent articles of note in their respective areas of specialization (including philosophy of religion), and offer worries or criticisms of their arguments to indicate their strengths and weaknesses.

Recently at PD, John Milliken posted a digest of Erik Wielenberg's recent paper, “In Defense of Non-Natural, Non-Theistic Moral Realism” (Faith and Philosophy 26:1 (January 2009), pp. 23-41). The paper argues that moral truths are necessary truths, and that moral facts are non-natural facts (which is my own view, for what it's worth). He further argues that the criticisms of Wainwright, Moreland, and Craig to this sort of view would, if cogent, apply with equal force to their own, theistic accounts of ethics.

Recent Mischaracterizations of Aquinas' Five Ways

A number of contemporary non-theists have criticized Aquinas' Five Ways (e.g., Dawkins, Hitchens, et al.). However, in "On Misinterpreting the Thomistic Five Ways" (Sophia 48:1 (Feb., 2009), pp. 15-34), Joseph A. Buijs argues that, whether or not Aquinas' arguments are unsound, common contemporary criticisms of them are based on misunderstandings. The article is currently available for free viewing, here.

Modal Epistemology and the Cosmological Argument

William Rowe formulates the Leibnizian cosmological argument (roughly) as follows:

1. Either everything can be a dependent being, or there is a self-explanatory being.
2. Not everything can be a dependent being.
3. Therefore, there is a self-explanatory being (from 1 and 2)

A common objection is that the argument depends on the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), and that there are successful undercutting and rebutting defeaters for PSR. We've discussed those sorts of worries on other occasions (here, for example), but here I want to discuss a variation on a different criticism that goes back at least to Hume: suppose we grant, at least arguendo, that the argument's sound. The worry is that the argument still doesn't get us to theism. For the necessary or self-explanatory being might, for aught we know, be the universe, and not the god of theism.

In reply, a number of proponents of the argument add premises that, when conjoined to the other premises, entail that the nec…

Joshua Rasmussen's Defense of the Cosmological Argument

While we're on the topic of the cosmological argument: Joshua Rassmussen is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at Notre Dame. He has recently written a number of nice papers on the cosmological argument. See especially the following three papers:

(i) "From States of Affairs to a Necessary Being", Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)

(ii) "From a Necessary Being to God", International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (forthcoming).

(iii) "A New Argument for a Necessary Being"

The pre-print versions can be found at his webpage, here. As he states, do not copy or share.

P.S., he has a nice, thorough critique of Craig's kalam cosmological argument at his site. See his paper, "Kalam Calamity".

Craig on the Kalam Argument in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology

I'm starting to go through the new Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Skimming William Lane Craig's chapter on the kalam argument, it looks as though Craig, again, has chosen not to address WesMorriston'scriticisms of his arguments against the existence and traversability of actual infinites (although, to his credit, he does attempt to deal with Morriston's criticisms of the causal premise). Given that Morriston's criticisms are the most forceful in the literature, and given that, arguably, the force of the argument hangs on the cogency of those arguments, this is disappointing.

If I were to submit an article to a journal that failed to mention - let alone address -- the most important and well-known criticisms of my position, I'd get a rejection letter with no comments.

Slow Posting

Hi gang,

Sorry for the dearth of posts as of late. The causes are many (post-dissertation defense partying and bliss, lots of paperwork associated with formatting and filing the final copies of my dissertation (finished today -- woo-hoo!), end-of-quarter grading, family and friends catch-up time, etc., etc.). I hope to get back into the swing of things in a week or so.

All the best,