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Showing posts from September, 2011

U.S. Debt: Which President Did Best?

A tip of the hat to The Brooks Blog.

Probability in the Philosophy of Religion

Jake Chandler (University of Leuven) and Victoria S. Harrison (University of Glasgow) have co-edited what looks to be an excellent new book: Probability in the Philosophy of Religion (OUP, forthcoming).

Here's the blurb:

*A fresh approach to philosophy of religion
*Covers a range of key topics in the field
*Brings together prominent philosophers of science, epistemologists, and philosophers of religion

Probability theory promises promising to deliver an exact and unified foundation for inquiry in epistemology and philosophy of science. But philosophy of religion is also fertile ground for the application of probabilistic thinking. This volume presents original contributions from twelve contemporary researchers, both established and emerging, to offer a representative sample of the work currently being carried out in this potentially rich field of inquiry. Grouped into five parts, the chapters span a broad range of traditional issues in religious epistemology. The first th…

ANNOUNCEMENT: The 2012 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology

The 2012 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology

Recent PhDs and current graduate students are invited to apply to participate in the 2012 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, a three-week long seminar organized by Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers) and Michael Rota (University of St. Thomas). The seminar will be held at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, from June 17th to July 6th, 2012. Participants will receive a stipend of $3000, as well as room and board.

Topics and speakers:

Dualism and Materialism Chris Hill (Brown)
Hud Hudson (Western Washington)
Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers)

Freedom and Foreknowledge Linda Zagzebski (Oklahoma)
David Hunt (Whittier)

The Atonement Eleonore Stump (Saint Louis University)
Michael Rea (Notre Dame)

Quote for the Day

"It is somewhat misleading to characterize theorists like Adams and Craig as providing a theistic foundation for objective morality. This characterization can easily give the impression that, on their approaches, all objective ethical facts are explained by God. But this is not at all the case. What is really going on is that some objective ethical facts are explained by appeal to other basic ethical facts (some of which are also supernatural facts). Adams, Craig, and I all agree, then, that objective morality is somehow built into reality. We all posit a moral foundation of substantive, metaphysically necessary brute ethical facts. They also see divinity as built into reality, whereas I do not. But it is a mistake to think that on their approaches, the divinity that is built into reality provides a complete external foundation for objective morality. On both types of views, the bottom floor of objective morality rests ultimately on nothing.

The ethical shopping list of Adams, Cra…

Kraay on Theistic Multiverse Hypotheses

Although multiverse hypotheses were once commonly resisted by theistic philosophers, a number of such philosophers now see them as having great theoretical utility in natural theology and philosophical theology. As noted on other occasions, Klaas Kraay has written extensively on the relationship between theism and multiverse hypotheses. It's therefore worth pointing out that he has kindly posted his "The Theistic Multiverse: Problems and Prospects" (which is a chapter in the forthcoming book, Scientific Approaches to Philosophy of Religion (Ed. Yujin Nagasawa, Palgrave MacMillan). The chapter is at once an excellent overview of the topic, and a contribution to the current debate.

Many of his other papers can be found here.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Winners of the 2010 Excellence in Philosophy of Religion Prize

The 2010 Excellence in Philosophy of Religion Prize attempts to
identify the three best papers, in English, published in 2010 in the
areas of philosophy of religion or philosophical theology. Out of
forty-four submissions, our selection panel has chosen the following
three winners:

W. Matthews Grant , “Can a Libertarian hold that Our Free Acts are
Caused by God?” Faith and Philosophy 27:1 (January 2010): 22-44.

David M. Holley , “Treating God’s Existence as an Explanatory
Hypothesis” American Philosophical Quarterly 47:4 (October 2010):

Yujin Nagasawa, “The Ontological Argument and the Devil,”
Philosophical Quarterly 60 (October 2010): 72-91.

For more information on this award, including instructions for
submitting a paper for the 2011 prize, go to

Things, Stuff, and the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument (draft)

A key move in standard Leibnizian cosmological arguments is the claim that:

(UCB) The universe -- or (if the universe doesn't exhaust physical reality) all physical reality -- is a contingent being.

Now the primary means of support for UCB is a conceivability-possibility inference. Richard Taylor's use of such an inference is representative in this regard. Thus, he argues that for any object in the universe, we can imagine that it fails to exist (e.g., a six-foot-in-diameter translucent sphere). But if imaginability is evidence of possibility, then this is evidence that for any arbitrary object in the universe (whether a stamp or a solar system), it's possible for it not to exist. But we can just as easily imagine the whole universe failing to exist. Therefore, we can say with equal justification that the universe can fail to exist, in which case it's a contingent being.

Is the line of reasoning above for the contingency of the universe a good one? One might think not…

Mazzy Star - I'm Gonna Bake My Biscuit

Monty Python - Argument Clinic

A classic.

Free Electronic Sample Issue of International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

Here. Articles in the issue include:

-Xu, Yingjin. "The troublesome explanandum in Plantinga’s argument against naturalism"

-Earl, Dennis. "Divine intimacy and the problem of horrendous evil"

-Snapper, Jeff A. "Paying the cost of skeptical theism"

-Crockett, Clayton. "Review of Nick Trakakis' The End of Philosophy of Religion"

ANNOUNCEMENT: 2012-2013 Fellowships and Grants: The Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame

The Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame, with generous support from the Templeton Foundation, announces the following fellowships and grants available for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Center for Philosophy of Religion Fellowships

There are five residential fellowships for the 2012 - 2013 academic year: the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship ($60,000), awarded to a distinguished senior scholar; up to two Research Fellowships ($40,000 - $50,000, depending on rank); the Frederick J. Crosson Fellowship ($45,000) reserved for foreign scholars and those outside the field of philosophy; and one Visiting Graduate Fellowship ($20,000) awarded to a graduate student in philosophy with research interests in the philosophy of religion. For further details, including application requirements, visit All materials must be received by February 1, 2012.

Analytic Theology Course Awards

These course awards provide funding for the development and impleme…

New Philosophy of Religion Articles in Philosophy Compass

The August 2011 issue of Philosophy Compass is now out, and it contains several articles in philosophy of religion:

Naturalistic Explanation for Religious Belief (pages 552–563)
David Leech and Aku Visala

Anselmian Theism (pages 564–571)
Yujin Nagasawa

Teaching & Learning Guide for: Logic and Divine Simplicity (pages 572–574)
Anders Kraal

Now if the articles by Nagasawa and Leech & Visala should somehow find themselves in my inbox, I wouldn't mind it in the least. Just sayin'...

UPDATE: Thanks!