Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2012

Alter and Nagasawa's Explication and (Partial) Defense of Russellian Monism

As longtime readers of this blog know, I'm sympathetic to Russellian monism. Torin Alter and Yujin Nagasawa provide a clear explication and partial defense of the view in "What is Russellian Monism?", Journal of Consciousness Studies 19, pp. 67-95.  Here's the abstract:

Russellian monism offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship 
between the physical and the phenomenal. For example, on one version of the view, 
phenomenal properties are the categorical bases of fundamental physical properties, 
such as mass and charge, which are dispositional. Russellian monism has prominent 
supporters, such as Bertrand Russell, Grover Maxwell, Michael Lockwood, and David 
Chalmers. But its strengths and shortcomings are often misunderstood. In this paper 
we try to eliminate confusions about the view and defend it from criticisms. We 
present its core and distinguish different versions of it. We then compare these 
versions with traditional theories, such as physicalism, dualism,…

J.L. Schellenberg's New Website

Leading philosopher of religion J.L. Schellenberg has an excellent new website. The site includes several new papers not available elsewhere, recent notes on divine hiddenness, access to the trilogy (now available in paperback!), and information about his forthcoming book, Evolutionary Religion (with OUP), among other things. Check it out!

UPDATE: Schellenberg has kindly added an extract from Evolutionary Religion.

Lovering on Immoral Theistic Belief

Lovering, Rob. "On the Morality of Having Faith that God Exists", Sophia 51:1 (2012), 17-30.

Abstract: Many theists who identify themselves with the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) maintain that it is perfectly acceptable to have faith that God exists. In this paper, I argue that, when believing that God exists will affect others, it is prima facie wrong to forgo attempting to believe that God exists on the basis of sufficient evidence. Lest there be any confusion: I do not argue that it is always wrong to have faith that God exists, only that, under certain conditions, it can be.

New Paper on the Cosmological Argument

Gustavo E. Romero and Daniela Perez. "New remarks on the cosmological argument", International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 72:2 (October 2012), 103-113.
Abstract:We present a formal analysis of the Cosmological Argument in its two main forms: that due to Aquinas, and the revised version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument more recently advocated by William Lane Craig. We formulate these two arguments in such a way that each conclusion follows in first-order logic from the corresponding assumptions. Our analysis shows that the conclusion which follows for Aquinas is considerably weaker than what his aims demand. With formalizations that are logically valid in hand, we reinterpret the natural language versions of the premises and conclusions in terms of concepts of causality consistent with (and used in) recent work in cosmology done by physicists. In brief: the Kalam argument commits the fallacy of equivocation in a way that seems beyond repair; two of the premises adopt…

Announcement: Workshop on Religious Epistemology, Contextualism, and Pragmatic Encroachment

Workshop on Religious Epistemology, Contextualism, and Pragmatic Encroachment

Oxford University 13 &14 March 2013
The New Insights and Directions in Religious Epistemology project at Oxford University invites the submission of papers related to the application of contextualism and pragmatic encroachment to any question in the philosophy of religion or analytic theology.

Papers should be suitable for blind review and be no longer than 3000 words in length. Submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter including the name, affiliation, and contact details of the author.

Papers should be submitted to

Submission deadline is January 15, 2013.

Trisel's New Papers on Divine Silence and on the Value of Unintended Lives

Trisel, Brooke Alan. "God's Silence as an Epistemological Concern", Philosophical Forum 43:4 (2012), 383-393.

Here's the abstract:
Throughout history, many people, including Mother Teresa, have been troubled by God’s silence. In spite of conflicting interpretations of the Bible, God has remained silent. If God exists and he created humanity as a means to fulfilling a purpose, then one would think that God would have clarified his purpose and our role by now. To help God carry out his purpose, we would need to have a clear understanding of our role. Thus, by failing to clarify our role, God would be undermining himself in achieving the purpose he conceived, which would not make sense. Is there a good reason that explains God’s silence or is God’s silence evidence that humanity was not created by God as a means to fulfilling a purpose? I will argue for the latter view. In the companion article “Intended and Unintended Life,” I will then argue that one’s life can be meani…

Quote of the Day

...why may not the material universe be the necessarily existent Being, according to this pretended explication of necessity? We dare not affirm that we know all the qualities of matter; and for aught we can determine, it may contain some qualities which, were they known, would make its non-existence appear as great a contradiction as that twice two is five. I find only one argument employed to prove that the material world is not the necessarily existent being; and this argument is derived from the contingency both of the matter and the form of the world. 'Any particle of matter', it is said, 'may be conceived to be annihilated; and any form may be conceived to be altered. Such an annihilation or alteration, therefore, is not impossible'. But it seems a great partiality not to perceive, that the same argument extends equally to the Deity, so far as we have any conception of him; and that the mind can at least imagine him to be non-existent, or his attributes to be alt…

Hooray for Sanity (Again)

U of Colorado (Boulder) Philosopher Michael Huemer on Irrationality in Politics and How to Stop It

PSR Poll

Hi gang,

I'm taking a poll. For those who accept a strong version of PSR (i.e., one that requires a sufficient reason for the existence of both objects and states of affairs). What is the basis for your acceptance of PSR? (i) Rational intuition? (ii) Phenomenal conservatism? (iii) Inference to the best explanation? (iv) Enumerative induction? (v) Reflective equilibrium? Is it (vi) a presupposition of reason? Is it (vii) properly basic? Something else? If your answer is (iii), (iv), or (v), please explain the data that a strong version of PSR aims to explain. Inquiring minds want to know.