Sunday, September 20, 2009

Neil A. Manson

Neil A. Manson is a philosopher at the University of Mississippi. One of his primary research interests is the design argument, especially the argument from fine-tuning. He is the editor of God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science, and is the author of a number of excellent articles on the topic. Interestingly, although he is now a critic of the argument from fine-tuning, he appears to have once been a proponent it. On this, see his dissertation, Why Cosmic Fine-Tuning Needs to be Explained.

One can find his articles on the argument at his department webpage. For those unfamiliar with the argument, perhaps the best point of entry is his paper on the design argument written for undergraduates. After that, take a look at his Introduction to the God and Design volume. It provides a very clear and helpful overview of the key issues involved in the debate over various versions of the design argument, including the fine-tuning argument. From there, move on to his paper, "There Is No Adequate Definition of 'Fine-Tuned for Life". Then give a careful read to the journal articles.

P.S., if you have access to the journal Philosophy Compass, don't miss his article, "The Fine-Tuning Argument". The paper offers a nice overview of the contemporary state of the debate on the argument. The article is very helpful in particular for getting up to speed on recent discussions of the Multiverse Objection and the Normalization Objection to the argument.

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