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Showing posts from April, 2012

Forthcoming from OUP: The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology

Here's the blurb:
Innovative handbook mapping the current and ongoing revival of interest in this cross disciplinary area of studyClear volume structure with thirty-eight original essays ordered into five thematic sections, engaging historical, theological, philosophical, scientific, and cultural/aesthetic perspectives on natural theologyRefuses easy definitions of the scope of natural theology, and encompasses the breadth of debate over the issues involvedThe Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology is the first collection to consider the full breadth of natural theology from both historical and contemporary perspectives and to bring together leading scholars to offer accessible high-level accounts of the major themes. The volume embodies and develops the recent revival of interest in natural theology as a topic of serious critical engagement. Frequently misunderstood or polemicized, natural theology is an under-studied yet persistent and pervasive presence throughout th…

Brian Leiter's Forthcoming Book on the Preferential Treatment of Religion in Law and Society

Brian Leiter's Why Tolerate Religion? (Princeton UP) is due to come out in November 2012. Here's the blurb:

This provocative book addresses one of the most enduring puzzles in political philosophy and constitutional theory--why is religion singled out for preferential treatment in both law and public discourse? Why, for example, can a religious soup kitchen get an exemption from zoning laws in order to expand its facilities to better serve the needy, while a secular soup kitchen with the same goal cannot? Why is a Sikh boy permitted to wear his ceremonial dagger to school while any other boy could be expelled for packing a knife? Why are religious obligations that conflict with the law accorded special toleration while other obligations of conscience are not?

In Why Tolerate Religion?, Brian Leiter argues that the reasons have nothing to do with religion, and that Western democracies are wrong to single out religious liberty for special legal protections. He offers …

Law's New F&P Article on Evidence, Miracles, and the Existence of Jesus

Stephen Law has kindly posted his recent paper, "Evidence, Miracles, and the Existence of Jesus", Faith & Philosophy 28:2 (April 2011), pp. 129-151. Here's the abstract:

The vast majority of Biblical historians believe there is evidence sufficient to place Jesus’ existence beyond reasonable doubt. Many believe the New Testament documents alone suffice firmly to establish Jesus as an actual, historical figure. I question these views. In particular, I argue (i) that the three most popular criteria by which various non-miraculous New Testament claims made about Jesus are supposedly corroborated are not sufficient, either singly or jointly, to place his existence beyond reasonable doubt, and (ii) that a prima facie plausible principle concerning how evidence should be assessed – a principle I call the contamination principle – entails that, given the large proportion of uncorroborated miracle claims made about Jesus in the New Testament documents, we should, in…

Forthcoming from OUP: From Morality to Metaphysics: The Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments

This looks like it might well be a moral argument for theism worth reading, as it includes a serious attempt to address the most plausible contemporary secular accounts of ethics. At least in this regard, it looks to follow in the footsteps of Adams in his Finite and Infinite Goods.

Here's the blurb:
Original work at the intersection of philosophy of religion and ethical theory A distinctive argument for theismEngages with a wide range of leading secular philosophersFrom Morality to Metaphysics offers an argument for the existence of God, based on our most fundamental moral beliefs. Angus Ritchie engages with a range of the most significant religious moral philosophers of our time, and argues that they all face a common difficulty which only theism can overcome.

The book begins with a defence of the 'deliberative indispensability' of moral realism, arguing that the practical deliberation human beings engage in on a daily basis only makes sense if they take the…

Today's Psychology Lesson

Short introduction to the original Milgram Experiment.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Your Newest Favorite Thing

Part I:

Part II:

Also: you can follow Henri on Twitter.

You're welcome.

A tip of the hat to T.M. and W.M. (not related)

Quote of the Day

One has, I think, to go through a conceptual turn-around in general ontology somewhat like the one Newton executed for physics. Aristotelian physics made motion problematic and rest unproblematic. The question then was: "Why is there motion (here, or there, or at all) rather than rest? Newton saw that motion was no more problematic than rest. What had to be explained was change: from motion to rest, or conversely. Similarly, in general ontology one has to understand that existence is, in general, no more problematic than non-existence. Existence isn't somehow "harder" or inherently less likely than non-existence.

-Dallas Willard, "Language, Being, God, and the Three Stages of Theistic Evidence", in Moreland, J.P. and Kai Neilsen, Does God Exist? The Great Debate (Prometheus, 1993).

Call for Submissions for the 2011 Excellence in Philosophy of Religion Prize

Call for Submissions for the 2011 Excellence in Philosophy of Religion Prize
The 2011 Excellence in Philosophy of Religion Prize attempts to identify the three best papers published in 2011 in the areas of philosophy of religion or philosophical theology. A panel of three expert reviewers will select three winners. Each winner will receive an award of $2,000. Papers should have a date of publication of 2011. (If the actual paper will not appear until 2012, that is acceptable, as long as the official publication date of the journal issue or book is 2011.) Preference will be given to papers that are published in academic forums (e.g., peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes). Entries will be judged on quality of argumentation, clarity of exposition, the significance of the positions argued for, and the degree to which the paper advances the discussion on the topic in question. Entries are limited to one per person. Self-nominations are encouraged. Nominations of a paper by so…

A Short Dialogue on Plantinga's Free Will Defense (Revised and Expanded a Bit)

A. There is at least one metaphysically possible world at which every single person God could've created suffers from transworld depravity (TWD).[1]

B. How could that be?

A. We can support the thesis as follows: (1) Each creaturely essence is transworld depraved at some possible world or other. Therefore, (2) there's bound to be one possible world at which every creaturely essence is transworld depraved.

B. Why think that? First, the notion of transworld depravity relies on the notion of counterfactuals of creaturely (libertarian) freedom (CCFs). But there are powerful reasons to think that the notion of a CCF is incoherent.

Second, (1) would entail that no possible creature is essentially morally perfect. But if you allow that a god could be essentially morally perfect, then there is pressure on the proponent of the free will defense to give a principled basis for why a created being cannot be essentially morally perfect as well.

Finally, the inference from (1) to (2) comm…