Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Robert Audi's Forthcoming Book

Robert Audi's Rationality and Religious Commitment is due to come out in September. It looks as though it will be an important contribution to the field, building off of his prior work in philosophy of religion and, perhaps especially, his important and influential work in epistemology and ethics. I'm willing to bet that it will prove to be among the most important book-length defenses of rational theistic belief in recent years (although whether it will be considered as such is another matter). I look forward to giving it a careful read.

Here's some basic information about the book from the OUP website:

-Powerful defence of religion as a rational way of living
-Offers a fuller understanding of what it means to be religious
-Major new work from one of America's leading philosophers
-Clearly written: accessible to non-specialists
-Shows that religion is not incompatible with a scientific worldview

Rationality and Religious Commitment shows how religious commitment can be rational and describes the place of faith in the postmodern world. It portrays religious commitment as far more than accepting doctrines--it is viewed as a kind of life, not just as an embrace of tenets. Faith is conceived as a unique attitude. It is irreducible to belief but closely connected with both belief and conduct, and intimately related to life's moral, political, and aesthetic dimensions.

Part One presents an account of rationality as a status attainable by mature religious people--even those with a strongly scientific habit of mind. Part Two describes what it means to have faith, how faith is connected with attitudes, emotions, and conduct, and how religious experience may support it.

Part Three turns to religious commitment and moral obligation and to the relation between religion and politics. It shows how ethics and religion can be mutually supportive even though ethics provides standards of conduct independently of theology. It also depicts the integrated life possible for the religiously committed--a life with rewarding interactions between faith and reason, religion and science, and the aesthetic and the spiritual.

The book concludes with two major accounts. One explains how moral wrongs and natural disasters are possible under God conceived as having the knowledge, power, and goodness that make such evils so difficult to understand. The other account explores the nature of persons, human and divine, and yields a conception that can sustain a rational theistic worldview even in the contemporary scientific age.

And here's the table of contents:

Part I: Epistemological Foundations: Rationality, Justification, and Knowledge
1: Rationality in Thought and Action
2: Justification, Knowledge, and Reasonableness
Part II. The Dimensions of Rational Religious Commitment
3: Belief, Faith, Acceptance, and Hope
4: The Elements of Religious Commitment
5: Experiential and Pragmatic Grounds for Religious Commitments
6: Religious Commitment and Moral Obligation
Part III. The Rationality of Religious Commitment in the Postmodern World
7: Religious Integration and Human Flourishing
8: Internal Challenges to the Rationality of Religious Commitment
9: The Problem of Evil
10: The Challenge of Naturalism

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