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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Philosophers and their religious practices part 14: Experiencing the presence, love, and forgiveness of God through the liturgy.
September 11, 2015 — 5:31

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

This is the fourteenth 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, 45678910, 1112 and 13. 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 Michael Rea, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame.  Most of his work to date has been in metaphysics and philosophy of religion.  The project that is currently occupying most of his time is a book, and a corresponding set of lectures, on the hiddenness of God.

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

When people ask me about my religious upbringing, I usually say that I grew up in a liberal PC-USA church with a renegade conservative Calvinist youth minister. That characterization is misleading in certain respects, but there is more truth than falsehood in it.  Probably the best way to illustrate the divide is with a story.  The church was (and still is) located in Redondo Beach, California—just a couple of blocks from the ocean, and just 26 miles by boat from Catalina Island, where we held our summer youth camps every year. Our camp was popular; every year some 100+ high school students attended; many would commit or recommit their lives to Christ around the campfire at the end of the week, and the ranks of our youth group were accordingly swollen for months afterward.  Some of the students at camp thought that it would be extremely cool to be baptized in the ocean right there at camp; and so one year, our youth minister—not yet ordained, and not yet even a seminary graduate—obliged them.  (“See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”)  Predictably, the youth minister was brought before the elders of the church. His defense appealed to scripture: Philip did not wait to be ordained by the Presbyterian Church before baptizing his Ethiopian convert; so why should he?  The response from one of the elders was, “Don’t bring the Bible into this.”

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Philosophers and their religious practices part 13: The tremendous liberation of the Sabbath
September 8, 2015 — 6:33

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

This is the thirteenth 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, 45678910, 11, and 12. 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 Samuel Lebens, a post-doctoral research fellow in the philosophy department at Rutgers, as part of their Center for Philosophy of Religion, directed by Dean Zimmerman. Before that, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame. His PhD was in early analytic philosophy and the intersection between metaphysics and philosophy of language.

Can you say something about your current religious affiliation/self-identification – please feel free to say something about your religious upbringing or history, or anything else that might be relevant to your current religious affiliation?

I am an Orthodox Jew. I grew up in a traditional Jewish household in England.

As is the case with many British Jews, we affiliated with Orthodoxy but weren’t all that devout in our observance. For instance, Orthodox Judaism forbids driving on the Sabbath, but, like many British Jews, we would drive almost every week to the Orthodox synagogue, and a hide our car nearby, and we wouldn’t drive to the Reform synagogue, even though they allowed driving on the Sabbath!

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In Memoriam: William L. Rowe (1931-2015)
August 22, 2015 — 10:23

Author: Michael Bergmann  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 22

Paul Draper shares the following:

It is with great sadness that I inform you that my friend, William Rowe, died this morning (August 22nd, 2015). As most of you know, he was a philosopher of religion and metaphysician, best known for his work on the cosmological argument, the problem of evil, and Thomas Reid’s theory of agent causation. What follows is a brief summary of some of his accomplishments.

Rowe earned his Ph.D. in 1962 at the University of Michigan under William P. Alston and wrote a dissertation—the basis for his first book (1968)—on Paul Tillich’s philosophical theology. He taught at Purdue University from 1962 to 2005 and, in 1986-7, was President of the American Philosophical Association’s Central Division.

Rowe wrote a second book (1975) focusing mainly on Samuel Clarke’s version of the cosmological argument for the existence of a necessary being. Hume had attacked this sort of argument by claiming that if each member of an infinite series of dependent beings is explained by another member of that series, then the entire series is explained. Rowe rejects Hume’s claim on the grounds that explaining each dependent being in terms of another leaves unexplained why the collection of all dependent beings has any members at all. He nevertheless finds Clarke’s argument unpersuasive because it depends on a dubious principle of sufficient reason.

Beginning in 1979 with his famous paper “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism,” Rowe published numerous papers defending an argument from evil against theism. Rowe denies that a logical incompatibility between God’s existence and known facts about evil can be established. He maintains instead that theists face an evidential problem of evil. In Rowe’s distinctive argument, however, the crucial evidence is not that our world contains horrendous evils, but that we cannot even conceive of any goods that justify God’s allowing those evils.

Rowe’s most recent book (2004) challenges the view that God is both free and perfectly good. For either there is a best of all possible worlds or there isn’t. If there is, then a perfectly good God must create it and so is not free. If there is not, then no matter which world God freely chooses to create, it is possible to create a better one, which, Rowe argues, implies that God is not perfectly good.

Bill Rowe was much more than a great thinker. He was a warm and extraordinarily gracious man, a mature and beautiful soul who had a gift for making others feel welcome and at ease. He will be sorely missed both by those who had the great fortune of knowing him personally and by those who know him only through his brilliant philosophical work.

Paul Draper
Purdue University