Monday, November 02, 2009

Stephen Maitzen's New Paper on God and Morality

We've noted Stephen Maitzen's excellent work in philosophy of religion on another occasion, but I'd like to note that he has since written and posted some more nice papers. His most recent paper, "Ordinary Morality Implies Atheism" (European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 2 (2009): 107-126) can be found here. Links to most of his other papers can be found here.

Btw, some time soon, I'd like to get a discussion going on his novel argument in "Anselmian Atheism", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. LXX, No. 1 (January 2005), pp. 225-239.


smaitzen said...

Dear Ex-Apologist,

Many thanks for your kind words about my work and for drawing attention to a couple of my papers. With regard to "Ordinary Morality Implies Atheism," I'd like to know whether folks think I adequately defend the principle on which I base my argument, theodical individualism (TI). The only direct attacks on TI that I know of are van Inwagen's and Swinburne's, neither of which I find persuasive.

With regard to "Anselmian Atheism," the key step in the argument, I think, is premise (1). Beyond what I say in the article, I've defended (1) in a few email exchanges I've had with other philosophers. I welcome any comments your readers may have.


Steve Maitzen

Melchizedk Cohen said...

Dr. Maitzen's paper was highly informative and intriguing. While I am stil a firm Christian after reading it,(In my opinion he made that a good case against Calvinism but not all christian denominations and certianially not all religon), It find that the paper certainally made me review my faith and challange myself as to ehat I personally believe that morality is. I recently missed a debate on this paper at Acadia University recently and while Dr. Maitzen was kind enough to give me the times for the podcast(for which I now publically thank him) , I have unforseeably found myself unable to listen to the debate due to lack of access to the proper and adaquate equiptment If anyone could give me a link to the debate so I could watch it I would be highly grateful

Laus Tibi Iesu Christi
Melchizedk Cohen

smaitzen said...

Dear Mr. Cohen,

Thanks for your interest in my paper. If EastLink TV gives us a copy of the debate and permission to post it online, I'll make sure to put a link to the video on the website for Acadia University Department of Philosophy.


Steve Maitzen

smaitzen said...

Mr. Cohen: Regarding the substance of your previous comment, please note that my target wasn't all religion but traditional theism in particular. Given the dizzying variety of things that go by the label "religion," no one could argue against all of that.

You say that I make a good case against Calvinism but not against Christianity more generally. But my argument never needs or assumes the Calvinist doctrine that humans lack free will, and I can even grant (what I don't in fact believe) that humans have libertarian free will. My argument never assumes that God causes our actions, let alone that God causes our free actions. It assumes only that whatever occurs is something that God, being omniscient and omnipotent, allows to occur. Add in God's moral perfection, and it follows that whatever involuntary suffering God allows an innocent child to endure is suffering that's necessary for the child's overall benefit. That result, I argue, destroys any moral obligation on our part to prevent the child's suffering. No specifically Calvinist, or even specifically Christian, assumptions are needed to establish that conclusion. --SM

smaitzen said...

For those who may be interested, Jerome Gellman’s critique of my article will soon appear in EJPR, along with my reply, which is available here. I don’t think I’m authorized to post Gellman’s article as well, but my reply quotes it at length and, I believe, captures the debate between us.

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