Can atheism be properly basic?
March 21, 2015 — 4:44

Author: Rik Peels  Category: Atheism & Agnosticism Uncategorized  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   Comments: 28

I’ve recently been wondering whether atheism – the belief that God does not exist – could be properly basic. By that, I mean whether it could be a belief that is not based on arguments, but nonetheless formed by a reliable mechanism that is truth-oriented.

I doubt whether atheism could be properly basic. If I am right, then, in order for atheism to be warranted (or maybe even merely rational; see below), atheism has to be based on arguments—whereas, perhaps, such a thing is not required for theism.

Now, here’s my line of thought. It seems we need to consider two mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive scenarios: one in which God exists and one in which he does not.

We can be rather short about the first scenario. If God exists, then it seems impossible that humans have a truth-oriented reliable mechanism that produces the basic belief that God does not exist. Such a mechanism could never be both truth-oriented and reliable, for all of its deliverances – each instance of the basic belief that God does not exist – would be false.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, part 5 – The ethics and justice of mitzvot
March 20, 2015 — 15:38

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religious Belief  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

This is the fifth installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices. In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. Follow the links for parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

The fifth interview is with Anya Topolski, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leuven.

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A Theistic Dilemma
March 17, 2015 — 14:02

Author: Michael Almeida  Category: Concept of God Existence of God Free Will Problem of Evil Uncategorized  Tags: , , ,   Comments: 2

Here’s a dilemma that might be worrisome for theists. It’s, in any case, a worry for me. Consider, first, the thesis in  (1).

1. Possibly, God actualizes a morally perfect possible world or a morally very good possible world.

Most of us believe that (1) is true, indeed, many of us believe that (1) is necessarily true. But if we affirm (1), we have to deny (2).

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Philosophers and their religious practices, part 4: The embodiment of the sacraments
March 17, 2015 — 5:27

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life Religious Belief  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 2

This is the fourth installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices. In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work (follow these links for parts 1, 2 and 3). The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited, except for some occasional shortenings (indicated by ellipses).

The fourth interview is with Jennifer Frey, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina.

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What do philosophers think about personhood and the afterlife?
March 15, 2015 — 8:47

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Afterlife  Tags: ,   Comments: 2

To help me find out, please fill out this survey. Note, this survey is specifically for people who are philosophers (including graduate students)  https://surveys.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_eRiMII67vCsFOPH

The survey is conducted for my Immortality Project grant The philosophy and psychology of afterlife beliefs. I’ll post a digest of the results on this blog.

Philosophers and their religious practices, part 3: The SCP is my Church
March 11, 2015 — 8:45

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 23

This is the third installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices (see here and here for previous installments). In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers  about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. I have interviewed (and am in the course of interviewing) agnostics, theists and atheists, hopefuls and skeptics. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited, except for some occasional shortenings (indicated by ellipses)

The third interview is with H.E. Baber, who is a full professor at the University of San Diego.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, part 2: Philosopher and priest
March 6, 2015 — 14:41

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

This is the second installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices (part 1 is here). In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers who are religious practitioners—they go to church or temple, pray, utter blessings, engage in stoic meditation, read the Torah, serve in the capacity of priest—about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. I have interviewed (and am in the course of interviewing) agnostics, theists and atheists, hopefuls and skeptics. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured.

The present interview is with Leigh Vicens, who is an assistant professor of philosophy at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD where she have been since 2012. This year she is on leave as a research fellow at Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion. She is also an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church.

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No Optimal Illusion
March 5, 2015 — 12:04

Author: Michael Almeida  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: ,   Comments: 17

Some theists say that, if there is a best world, then God must actualize it; but if there is no best possible world, then God can actualize a bettered world w. A bettered world w is a world for which there is a better actualizable world w’. The thought that God cannot actualize a bettered world when there is no best world is what we might call an optimal illusion.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, Part 1: Homilies for a hoping agnostic
March 2, 2015 — 2:23

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 4

[cross-posted at The Philosophers’ Cocoon] This is the first installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices. Curiously, there’s relatively little attention for religious practices, with most work in philosophy of religion strongly focusing on beliefs (this is changing thanks to excellent work by Terence Cuneo, Howard Wettstein, Sarah Coakley and others, but this work is still decidedly in the minority).

In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers who are religious practitioners—they go to church or temple, pray, utter blessings, engage in stoic meditation, read the Torah, serve in the capacity of priest—about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. I have interviewed (and am in the course of interviewing) agnostics, theists and atheists, hopefuls and skeptics. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited, except for some occasional shortenings (indicated by ellipses)

The first interview is with Marcus Arvan, who is an assistant professor at the University of Tampa. Arvan self-identifies as a hoping Agnostic and attends Catholic mass weekly.

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The Continuant Argument
February 27, 2015 — 12:05

Author: Michael Almeida  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: ,   Comments: 0

I listed five false consequences of the standard view of personhood. Let me offer the continuant argument that I’m not a person. I mean, of course, that I am not essentially a person in the standard sense of personhood. I’d like to know where the argument goes wrong. I can’t see any place where it does. It’s actually a simple argument.

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