Skip to main content

David O'Connor's Philosophy of Religion Primer

David O'Connor (Seton Hall) has a new(ish) introductory text out on philosophy of religion: God, Evil, and Design.

I was intrigued by this description of the book's approach:

Starting out with no pre-disposition to theism, atheism, or agnosticism, God, Evil, and Design takes up these questions in order to see where an impartial investigation leads. To achieve impartiality, the reader is invited to simulate ignorance insofar as his or her own religious preference is concerned. With this approach, God, Evil, and Design provides both a fresh look at important and controversial issues in philosophy and an excellent introduction to the contemporary debates surrounding them. Lively and non-technical, this book will be accessible to anyone with an interest in these topics.

And while blurbs should of course be taken with very many grains of salt, I was again intrigued by this portion of the blurb from my favorite philosopher of religion:

"For those tired of theistic or atheistic apologetics masquerading as philosophy of religion, this book is highly recommended.”
-Paul Draper, Purdue University

I'm thinking of ordering a copy to use as a secondary text for introductory philosophy of religion courses. Has anyone used it in their classes? Or at least: has anyone read it? If so, I'd by happy to hear your comments!

Btw: O'Connor's Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hume on Religion is a very helpful companion volume for Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, both inside the class and out.


Anthony said…
Just wanted to let you know that I sent you an email to your gmail account re: the O'Connor book.
exapologist said…
Thanks, Anthony!
Wes said…
Let me know what you think of the book when you've had a chance to look it over.
exapologist said…
You bet, Wes.

Popular posts from this blog

Notes on Mackie's "Evil and Omnipotence"

0. Introduction
0.1 Mackie argues that the problem of evil proves that either no god exists, or at least that the god of Orthodox Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, does not exist. His argument is roughly the same version of the problem of evil that we’ve been considering.
0.2 Mackie thinks that one can avoid the conclusion that God does not exist only if one admits that either God is not omnipotent (i.e., not all-powerful), or that God is not perfectly good. 0.3 However, he thinks that hardly anyone will be willing to take this route. For doing so leaves one with a conception of a god that isn’t worthy of worship, and therefore not religiously significant.
0.4 After his brief discussion of his version of the problem of evil, he considers most of the main responses to the problem of evil, and concludes that none of them work.

1. First Response and Mackie's Reply
1.1 Response: Good can’t exist without evil; evil is a necessary counterpart to good.
1.2 Mackie’s reply:
1.2.1 this see…

Notes on Swinburne, "On Why God Allows Evil"

Notes on Swinburne’s “Why God Allows Evil”

1. The kinds of goods a theistic god would provide: deeper goods than just “thrills of pleasure and times of contentment” (p. 90). For example:
1.1 Significant freedom and responsibility
1.1.1 for ourselves
1.1.2 for others
1.1.3 for the world in which they live
1.2 Valuable lives
1.2.1 being of significant use to ourselves
1.2.2 being of significant use to each other

2. Kinds of evil
2.1 Moral evil: all the evil caused or permitted by human beings, whether intentionally or through negligence (e.g., murder, theft, etc.)
2.2 Natural evil: all the rest: evil not caused or permitted by human beings (e.g., suffering caused by hurricanes, forest fires, diseases, animal suffering, etc.)

3. The gist of Swinburne’s answer to the problem of evil: God cannot – logically cannot -- give us the goods of significant freedom, responsibility and usefulness without thereby allowing for the possibility of lots of moral and natural evil. This is why he has al…