Justin McBrayer (Fort Lewis College) is an excellent young philosopher. He's also an up-and-comer in philosophy of religion, with special focus on the skeptical theist response to the problem of evil (We've noted his overview of recent work on skeptical theism in Philosophy Compass, and his IEP entry on the topic on otheroccasions). His most recent contribution makes an advance in the discussion by applying recent work on epistemic contextualism (and also, in this case, Schaeffer's contrastivism) to the topic. The paper can be found here.
A while back, I complained about the strange dearth of work in philosophy of religion that applies the recent hot topic of contextualism in epistemology. It's nice to see that things are starting to change in that regard.
Over at the Secular Outpost, Graham Oppy recently noted a series of exchanges he's been having with J.P. Moreland on the argument from consciousness for theism. One of Oppy's main points in the post is that a naturalist can (a la Chalmers) take consciousness or proto-conscious representational properties as fundamental features of the natural world, thereby undercutting the argument from consciousness. As Oppy puts it:
The most important point to note -- vis a vis this discussion -- I think, is this: The worst case for the naturalist is one in which 'conscious state' is an ideological primitive, with an ideologically primitive connection to 'neural state' (or the like). But, for theists like Moreland, 'conscious state' is evidently an ideological primitive -- for, of course, Moreland thinks that God is conscious, and does not suppose that God's consciousness is explained in terms of something else -- and the connection between consciousness and th…
"I’ll conclude with a brief comment on the exceedingly low standard Bill [Craig] sets for a “good” philosophical argument. The premises don’t even need to be “plausible,” he says – “just more plausible than their opposites.” But surely, when you don’t know enough even to say, “This is plausible,” you don’t have a foundation on which to build an argument for a conclusion that you can believe! To see just how bad the problem is, suppose that each of the logically independent premises Bill needs to get all the way to the conclusion that a personal God created the universe meets this low standard. By way of illustration, suppose that there are just four logically independent premises, and make the very generous assumption that the probability is two to one in favor of each of them. Then the probability that all of them are true is less than 0.2, and the probability that at least one of them is false is greater than 0.8! Imagine a ladder with four rungs, and suppose that the probabili…
Killeen Chair Conference on Religious Disagreement
Hosted by St. Norbert College, Green Bay, Wisconsin April 14th through 15th, 2012
The organizing committee for the Killeen Chair of Theology & Philosophy announces a conference on the epistemology of religious disagreement, to be held at St. Norbert College on April 14-15, 2012.
Keynote Speakers: Michael Bergmann (Purdue) Thomas Kelly (Princeton) Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern)
Additional Speakers: Nathan King (Whitworth) Jonathan Matheson (North Florida) Andrew Moon (Missouri) Tim Pickavance (Biola)
The organizing committee invites the submission of papers for two or three additional speakers. Papers should relate in some way to the epistemic significance of religious disagreement, and each should be suitable for a thirty-five minute presentation (roughly 3,500 words).
Papers should be prepared for blind review and submitted electronically. Please send your file attached to an e-mail mes…
I recently realized that last month marked this blog's 5th anniversary. I'm still enjoying it quite a bit, so I plan on continuing for the foreseeable future. Thanks to all of you for visiting and/or commenting.
... is the name of a new book by R. Scott Smith (Biola). Here is the blurb:
Philosophical naturalism is taken to be the preferred and reigning epistemology and metaphysics that underwrites many ideas and knowledge claims. But what if we cannot know reality on that basis? What if the institution of science is threatened by its reliance on naturalism?
R. Scott Smith argues in a fresh way that we cannot know reality on the basis of naturalism. Moreover, the "fact-value" split has failed to serve our interests of wanting to know reality. The author provocatively argues that since we can know reality, it must be due to a non-naturalistic ontology, best explained by the fact that human knowers are made and designed by God. The book offers fresh implications for the testing of religious truth-claims, science, ethics, education, and public policy. Consequently, naturalism and the fact-value split are shown to be false, and Christian theism is shown to be true.
Timothy Pawl (St. Thomas) provides an extremely clear explication of Aquinas's five proofs of God's existence, as well as key objections and replies, in "The Five Ways", forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Aquinas (ed. Brian Davies and Eleonore Stump).