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Forthcoming Phil. of Rel. Articles in Philosophy Compass

Colin, James. ‘Semantic Inferentialism and the Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism’ 

Provisional abstract: Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism makes the case that the conjunction of evolutionary theory and naturalism cannot be rationally believed, as, if both evolutionary theory and naturalism were true, it would be highly unlikely that our cognitive faculties are reliable. I present Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism and survey a theory of meaning espoused by Robert Brandom, known as semantic inferentialism. I argue that if one accepts semantic inferentialism, as it is developed by Brandom, then Plantinga’s motivation for the evolutionary argument against naturalism is undermined.

Scrutton, Anastasia. ‘Divine passibility: God and emotion’

Provisional abstract: While the impassibility debate has traditionally been construed in terms of whether God suffers, recent philosophy of religion has interpreted it in terms of whether God has emotions more generally. This article surveys the philosophical literature on divine im/passibility over the last twenty-five years, outlining major arguments for and against the idea that God has emotions. It argues that questions about the nature and value of emotions are at the heart of the im/passibility debate. More specifically, it suggests that presuppositions about the dichotomy between emotions and reason (or the ‘heart and the head’) have negatively impacted the debate. It contends that the debate can only move forwards in response to serious reflection on our affective lives, aided by historical and anthropological as well as contemporary philosophical perspectives.

Loose, Jonathan. ‘The Metaphysics of Constitution and Accounts of the Resurrection’

Provisional Abstract: Some Christian materialists have argued for the possibility of resurrection given that persons are constituted by bodies, and constitution is not identity. Baker’s constitutionist view claims superiority over animalist alternatives, but offers only circular accounts of both personal identity over time and personhood. Corcoran’s alternative approaches these questions differently, but makes use of Zimmerman’s ‘Falling Elevator Model’ of resurrection, which is rendered incoherent by its reliance on contingent identity. A recent constitutionist revision of this model succeeds only in exchanging incoherence for absurdity. Despite difficulties for such resurrection accounts, the idea of constitution as a sui generis relation remains attractive among philosophers and Christian materialists in particular. However, Wasserman’s deflationary view combines with problems such as extensionality, indiscernibility and the explosion of reality to provide reason to worry that constitution might be just identity after all. If so, then the metaphysics of constitution cannot provide a convenient route between animalism and immaterialism when explaining the possibility of resurrection.

Persyzk, Ken. ‘Recent Work on Molinism’

Provisional Abstract: Molinism reappeared on the philosophical stage in the 1970s, after it was unwittingly ‘rediscovered’ by Alvin Plantinga in his Free Will Defence against the ‘Logical’ Argument from Evil. The Molinist notion of middle knowledge has been the subject of intense debate ever since. This essay surveys the main contours of this debate. After briefly describing Molinism and its motivation, I sketch the main ‘theoretical’ and ‘practical’ objections that have been given against it, as well as the main lines of reply.

Madden, James. ‘Thomistic Hylomorphism and Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Religion’ 

Provisional Abstract: Contemporary philosophers of mind tend to accept some version of either dualism or physicalism when considering the mind-body problem. Likewise, recent philosophers of religion typically assume that we must work within these two categories when considering problems related to the possibility of bodily resurrection. Recently, some philosophers have reintroduced the Thomistic version of hylomorphism. In this article, we will consider the distinctive doctrines of Thomistic hylomorphism and how they can be used to address concerns about both the mind-body problem and the possibility of resurrection. We will see in both cases that hylomorphism allows for a novel version of emergent property dualism that is both metaphysically plausible and allows us to recognize the irreducibility of mental states and the possibility of resurrection without ignoring the fact of human embodiment. We will also discuss the currently lively debate among Thomistic hylomorphists who advocate opposed corruptionist and survivalist versions of the afterlife.

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Notes on Mackie's "Evil and Omnipotence"

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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.
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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…