Philosophers and their religious practices: Part 21, Shaping Philosophy of Religion by Religious Practices
June 2, 2016 — 1:58

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

This is the twenty-first 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 12345678910111213141516171819 and 20. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

This interview is with Kevin Timpe, who will be the Jellema Chair of Christian Philosophy starting this fall.

Can you tell me something about your current academic position and work, and your religious affiliation/self-identification? 

I’m actually in transition this summer. We’re in the process of moving to Grand Rapids, MI where I’ll be the W. H. Jellema Chair in Christian Philosophy at Calvin College starting this coming fall. I just finished my seventh year at Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho, and before that I taught for six years at the University of San Diego in southern California. As you can tell from this, I’ve been at a number of fairly different Christian universities over the course of my career.

I’m joked a few times that I’ve gone from teaching in a Catholic school to a Wesleyan school and now to a Reformed school without substantively changing my philosophical or religious views, but I actually think there’s a fair bit of truth in that description. I have a strong affinity for what my friend and frequent co-author Tim Pawl calls ‘conciliar Christianity’. I lean toward the medievals (more so than toward modern or postmodern theologians) in a lot of my theological views, which helps explain why I have many Catholic sympathies. A few of my papers have drawn heavily on parts of Augustine’s and Aquinas’s thought. Some of my views are a little unusual for a Protestant, such as my thinking that purgatory fits very nicely with what I think about character formation and a recent paper of mine exploring a particular understanding of limbo. Last year for a paper on grace, I read a fair bit of Maximus the Confessor and would love to engage his thought more in the coming years.

In terms of research, most of my early work focused on issues relating to the metaphysics of free will and various issues in the philosophy of religion. At the University of San Diego, I taught a general-education ethics course entitled “Virtues and Vices” that got me thinking more about virtue ethics, particularly about the connections between our actions and our moral character. Though initially primarily a teaching interest, I came to write some on moral character and virtue, and eventually edited a collection (with Craig Boyd) entitled Virtues and Their Vices (OUP, 2014). A little over a year ago, I started a new research project on philosophy of disability, largely as the result of having a disabled child and having to do some significant advocating for him once he entered elementary school. Though my other interests remain, I think that disability (including how it intersects with agency) will be the primary focus of my research for the next few years.

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Philosophers and their religious practices part 20: Using philosophy to help share the Gospel
May 24, 2016 — 14:13

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

This is the twentieth 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 123456789101112131415161718 and 19. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

This interview is with Tyler Dalton McNabb, PhD student and tutor at the University of Glasgow.

Can you tell me something about your current academic position and work, and your religious affiliation/self-identification? 

I am currently a tutor at the University of Glasgow. I also teach online as an Adjunct Instructor at Southeastern University. Given that I’ll be turning in my PhD thesis in a few weeks, I am currently looking for a full-time position. Speaking of my PhD thesis, now might be a good time to address my work. My thesis and recent publications pertain to defending both Plantinga’s proper functionalism and his Reformed epistemology.

I grew up in Texas and like all good Protestant Texans, I was raised a Southern Baptist. My family wasn’t the most devout family (though they were one of the most loving!) though. We would go to church off and on and there were times where we went a very long time without going. This being so, there was still a sense of needing to honour Christ in one’s actions.

This would change a bit in my senior year of high school where I began to struggle with doubt. I found myself convinced (and I am still convinced) of the following conditional: if atheism is true, then nihilism is true. I started really asking the ‘big’ questions about God’s existence and the resurrection of Jesus.

Though I always felt naturally inclined to just believe that God exists, I didn’t have a good argument (which I thought I had to have) for believing in theism or Christianity. One day, I told God that if He wouldn’t reveal Himself to me that I would become a nihilist. That night, through the internet, I came across what theologians call ‘Messianic prophecy’ and I found myself believing that passages like Isaiah 53 spoke of Jesus. I immediately believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that the Bible was God’s Word. The next day, being that I was already late to school, I figured that I would pull over and take out my Bible. I prayed to God and asked Him if Jesus was indeed the Second Person of the Trinity. I did that unpardonable sin and randomly flipped open the Bible. As Providence would have it, I read a verse that to me, clearly reflected Jesus’ deity. It was from this point on that I began to have a great love for God and I immediately felt convicted to share the Gospel with strangers. In total, from the time of getting right with God to starting my street evangelism career, there was about 2 months.

I ended up going to a theologically liberal Baptist college after high school and I was quickly forced to again confront scepticism. I began to study apologetics which would eventually lead me to philosophy. I ended up going to Israel to share the Gospel and there, I would be forced to put what I learned into action. At the end of the trip, I felt God asking or calling me to share and defend my faith on a larger scale. I told God that as long as I didn’t lose my faith in the process that I would accept His call. And while I didn’t lose my faith, I did struggle with great doubt for about a year soon after. This was partly due to having Cartesian epistemology. Though through this time I had a couple of occasions where I did feel God’s presence in incredible ways. I believe God let me experience His presence like this in order to preserve my faith during this time of doubt. It was eventually through the work of William Lane Craig and especially Alvin Plantinga (surprising to you, I’m sure) that the season of doubt ended and my desire to be a professional philosopher began.

While I now feel very confident in my Christian faith, I have struggled with which Christian tradition I should belong to. In fact, I have now had the pleasure of belonging to almost all of the main Christian traditions. I believe that, my warrant for my belief that Christianity is true is very high, while my belief in the so called ‘secondary doctrines’ carries significantly lower warrant (though still enough for knowledge, I think). Because of this, I feel most comfortable calling myself an Evangelical Christian before anything else. The struggle hasn’t prevented me from evangelism or pursuing a long philosophy career though. Fast forward to current times, I am not only teaching philosophy, but I am using philosophy to help share the Gospel through open air preaching and personal evangelism.

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William L. Rowe Memorial Conference (Update)
May 9, 2016 — 10:39

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

The “William L. Rowe Memorial Conference” will be held on July 26 – July 27, 2016 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.  This conference celebrates the life and career of William Rowe, who taught at Purdue University for 43 years and was one of the preeminent philosophers of religion in the past century.

The speakers and commentators will be:

Kevin Corcoran: “The Presence (or Absence) of Theistic Experience and the Preservation (or Loss) of Religious Faith: An Exploration”

  • Commentator: Timothy O’Connor

Jeff Jordan: “The ‘Loving Parent’ Analogy”

  • Commentator: Scott Davison

John Schellenberg: “The Religiously Sensitive Atheist”

  • Commentator: Beth Seacord

Eleonore Stump: “Atonement and Shame”

  • Commentator: Evan Fales

William Wainwright: “Rowe, Tillich and Religious Symbols”

  • Commentator: William Hasker

Erik Wielenberg: “Rowe’s Evidential Argument and the Demise of Skeptical Theism”

  • Commentator: Michael Bergmann

Stephen Wykstra: “On the Importance of Being a Version: New Uses for Rowe’s Distinction between Restricted and Expanded Theism”

  • Commentator: Bruce Russell

The conference will begin at 1:00pm on Tuesday, July 26, and end at 5pm on Wednesday, July 27th. A banquet in honor and remembrance of Professor Rowe will be held on the 26th.

Registration is at:

www.conf.purdue.edu/rowe

The conference is being organized by Paul Draper (Purdue University), Bertha Alvarez Manninen (Arizona State University, West Campus), Jack Mulder (Hope College), and Kevin Sharpe (St. Cloud State University) and is sponsored by Purdue University (Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts, and Religious Studies), The Society of Christian Philosophers, and The University of Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion.

2016 SCP Eastern Regional Meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers (and Panel Discussion of Pascal’s Wager)
April 26, 2016 — 12:48

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

October 20-22, 2016

Rutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ

Conference Theme: Acquiring Faith

Call for Papers

Submissions exploring any topic in the philosophy of religion, and more generally topics of interest to theistic philosophers, are welcome. Papers on the conference theme will be given special consideration. The theme should be interpreted broadly. It includes not only consideration of the viability, legitimacy, and rationality of Pascalian approaches to acquiring faith, but a variety of other issues including, for example, the importance of various putative elements of faith (e.g., affect, trust, belief) and how else these may or may not be acquired.  Submissions are encouraged from all philosophers with interests in these topics — Christians and non-Christians, including members of other religious traditions. Submissions should be 3,000 words or less and prepared for blind review (please send a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file with no identifying ‘marks’). Include a cover letter with your name, institutional affiliation, email address, paper title, and an abstract of 150 words or less. Submissions are due by July 15, 2016. Please send your paper to 2016scpconference@gmail.com. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within one week of your submission, please re-submit.

The SCP offers a $500 prize for the best graduate student paper. For a paper to be eligible, it must be submitted by July 15, 2016. The $500 award will be presented publicly at the conference. If you are a graduate student and would like your paper to be considered for the prize, please indicate that you are a graduate student in your submission email.

The conference will culminate in a round-table panel discussion of Pascal’s Wager, with our Plenary Speakers as participants.

Plenary Speakers & Panel Participants:

Laurie Paul (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Daniel Garber (Princeton University) 

Alan Hájek (Australian National University)

Lara Buchak (University of California, Berkeley)

Philosophers and their religious practices part 19: On Bringing pentecost to Pentecostalism and Diving Deep in Philosophy
March 16, 2016 — 17:06

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

This is the nineteenth 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 1234567891011121314151617 and 18. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

This interview is with J. Aaron Simmons, Associate Professor in philosophy at Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina.

Can you tell me something about your current academic position and work, and your religious affiliation/self-identification?

Currently, I am an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. I have been at Furman for five years and prior to coming here I held positions at Hendrix College, The University of the South (Sewanee), and Vanderbilt University.

Most of my work is in philosophy of religion and occurs in light of phenomenology and existentialism. That said, I have also done work in political philosophy, environmental philosophy, and the history of philosophy (especially focusing on the thought of Søren Kierkegaard, Emmanuel Levinas, and the “new phenomenology” of Michel Henry, Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Louis Chrétien, and Jean-Luc Marion).

In general, there are two questions that keep me up at night and continue to cause me to get up every morning and keep working. The first is “What are the possibilities for and the fate of determinate religious belief and identity in postmodernism?” The second is “How might philosophers stop calling for the overcoming of the so-called analytic/continental divide and simply do constructive work that no longer reinforces the divide?” Ultimately, these two questions dovetail together in my thinking and writing.

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William L. Rowe Memorial Conference
February 13, 2016 — 8:26

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

We are pleased to announce the “William L. Rowe Memorial Conference” to be held July 26 – July 27, 2016, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.  The conference will celebrate the life and career of William Rowe, a long time professor of Philosophy at Purdue University and one of the preeminent philosophers of religion in the past century.

The speakers will be:

  • Michael Bergmann
  • Kevin Corcoran
  • Scott Davison
  • Evan Fales
  • William Hasker
  • Jeff Jordan
  • Timothy O’Connor
  • Bruce Russell
  • John Schellenberg
  • Beth Seacord
  • Eleonore Stump
  • William Wainwright
  • Erik Wielenberg
  • Stephen Wykstra

On the evening of July 26, the organizers will host a banquet in honor of Rowe and have invited members of his family to participate.

The conference is being organized by Paul Draper (Purdue University), Bertha Alvarez Manninen (Arizona State University, West Campus), Jack Mulder (Hope College), and Kevin Sharpe (St. Cloud State University) and is sponsored by Purdue University (Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts, and Religious Studies), The Society of Christian Philosophers, and The University of Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion.

Additional information, including a complete schedule of events and registration information, will be sent out in the near future.

Philosophers and their religious practices part 18: Being a Shia Muslim Philosopher – Double Consciousness, Resistance, & Spirituality
January 9, 2016 — 16:24

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

This is the eighteenth 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 12345678910111213141516 and 17. The contributors  The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

This interview is with Saba Fatima, assistant professor at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.

Can you tell me something about your current academic position and work, and your religious affiliation/self-identification?

I am an Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the Philosophy Department. I am also the current Religious Studies Advisor. Among other courses, I teach contemporary Islamic social & political thought, and philosophy of race. My research interests include non-ideal theory, philosophy of race, and feminist philosophy. I employ the tools these sub-fields provide me to better understand the current political context surrounding Muslims. My teaching and research interests were influenced quite a bit by own experiences.

I am a Muslim. I belong to the Shia sect (Fiqh-e-Jafria) of Islam. I grew up in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Early in my life, I didn’t realize we were Shia. I have a faint memory from when I was a kid, realizing one day that we were Shia and being very scared in school. I thought that ‘they’ would come take me away. It was of course unfounded fear of a child, but even as a child, I knew that Saudi Arabia was far from a friendly place for Shia Pakistani expats to work. Our family would host and attend religious gatherings in secret because of fear of persecution. The government still sees Shias as polluters of Islam, and has a contentious political relationship with Shias (within its own borders and elsewhere).

When I moved to Karachi, Pakistan, I never discussed my religious identity. Because my school friends did not know, anti-Shia sentiment would occasionally rear its head. However, it was certainly not anywhere as terrible as Saudi Arabia. Since our extended family had lived there for many years, our neighbors knew we were Shia, but they were friendly and it was a non-issue. When I came to the United States for my undergraduate studies, I again encountered anti-Shia sentiment in the immigrant Muslim communities. This is all, of course, one (very important) aspect of who I am and what my upbringing has been like. For example, one cannot escape anti-Muslim sentiment in the West, or sexist attitudes, both within religious community and the wider society. Even as an adolescent, I always had strong feminist tendencies, but I remain wary of feminist threads which drown out women of color voices or justify imperialism. These experiences were fundamental in my decision to pursue graduate studies in Philosophy and they continue to guide my research.

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Philosophers and their religious practices part 17: Islamic philosophy and the individuality of religious experience
January 4, 2016 — 16:17

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

This is the seventeenth 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. Follow the links for parts 1, 2,3,45678910, 1112131415 and 16. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

This interview is with Hossein Dabbagh, research associate at Universität Luzern, Switzerland, and adjunct lecturer at Institute for Cognitive Science Studies, Iran.

Can you tell me something about your current academic position and work?

I’m a Muslim trainee-philosopher born in Iran. I studied BSc in Business and Economics and MA in Islamic and Western philosophy at the University of Tehran and Shahid Beheshti University, Iran. I spent my doctoral journey in moral philosophy at the University of Reading and Oxford under the supervision of Prof. Stratton-Lake, Prof. Hooker and Dr. Rini. My thesis was on “Mind, Epistemology and Neuroethics: A Defence of Epistemological Intuitionism”. Currently, I’m doing research on “Ethics of Migration” and “Compassion in Islamic and Christian Theology” for the department of Theological Ethics and Christian Social Ethics at Universität Luzern. I’m also an associate researcher and adjunct lecture on “Metaphor and Cognition” and “Neuroethics” at Institute for Cognitive Science Studies.

The areas that I’m working on are mostly normative ethics, applied ethics, moral epistemology (esp. intuitionism), moral psychology, neuroethics, metaphor, philosophy of religion, Islamic mysticism and philosophy of Persian music. In 2015, I established “School of Rumi” as an online charity institute for teaching ethics, mysticism and religion. In 2014, my book, Metaphor and Science, has been published in Persian. I have also published a Persian translation of James Brown’s The Laboratory of the Mind. My recent publications in English are, among others, “Success of Public Knowledge Management in the Light of Rossian Ethics” (2013), “Medical Ethics in Qiṣāṣ Punishment” (2015), “Ontological Nominalism and Analytic Philosophy” (2015) and “Playing with the “Playing God”” (forthcoming).

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Philosophers and their religious practices part 16: Heart, soul, mind, and strength
December 5, 2015 — 7:02

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life Religious Belief  Tags: , , , , ,   Comments: 1

This is the sixteenth 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. Follow the links for parts 1, 2, 3,45678910, 11121314 and 15. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

This interview is with Kristen Irwin, an assistant professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Can you tell me something about your current academic work, and your religious affiliation/self-identification?

I specialize in the early modern period, particularly the seventeenth century. My 2010 dissertation was on the nature and function of reason and belief in the thought of Pierre Bayle, but I have broad interests in the treatment of rationality, religious beliefs, and moral beliefs by modern philosophers. I also dabble in contemporary philosophy of religion and metaethics.

My religious affiliation is… not entirely straightforward! My most obvious identification is as a follower of Jesus Christ in the sense indicated by traditional statements of Christian belief such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, interpreted in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. Beyond that, however, things get… complicated. I’ve found that I’m a bit of an oddball, religiously speaking: With respect to religious practices, I have a deep appreciation for—maybe even a love of?—traditional liturgy, and I find a certain freedom and invitation in its privileging of embodiment in one’s interaction with God. At the same time, I value the spontaneity and sincerity of more contemporary forms of worship, and acknowledge the vitality and authenticity of those practices. I also tend to shy away from the hierarchical authority structures generally associated with groups that adopt traditional liturgical practices, especially in light of the ways that this authority has been misused and abused, to the detriment both of those within the church, and outside of the church.

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Philosophers and their religious practices part 15: A life-affirming Judaism
September 17, 2015 — 13:46

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life Religious Belief Teaching  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 1

This is the fifteenth 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. Follow the links for parts 1, 2, 3, 45678910, 111213 and 14. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited.

This interview is with Gilah Kletenik, who is currently a doctoral student, studying Jewish Philosophy, in the Hebrew and Judaic Studies Department at New York University. Her specific area is modern Jewish Philosophy and her research interests focus on phenomenology, philosophy of language, aesthetics and political theology.

 

Could you tell me something about your current religious affiliation/self-identification?

You ask about my “religious” upbringing and affiliation. This word, “religious,” while ubiquitous and obviously familiar, actually reverberates within my Jewish ears as somewhat alien. I will begin by elaborating on this further, so as to contextualize the ensuing response to your line of inquiry and our broader conversation.

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