CFP: ESPR 2018 Conference (28-31 August, Prague)
January 29, 2018 — 14:15

Author: Yujin Nagasawa  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

CALL FOR PAPERS

The European Society for Philosophy of Religion

 

Philosophy of Religion in a Pluralistic World

Charles University, Prague

28-31 August 2018

 

CONFERENCE DESCRIPTION

Few parts of the inhabited world are unaffected by religious diversity. This has often been regarded as a philosophically, sociologically, and politically challenging fact, rather than as something to be celebrated. Within the philosophy of religion, in particular, religious diversity has typically been regarded as standing in need of a theoretical explanation that will defuse the challenge it seems to present to prevailing belief systems. This conference invites exploration of philosophical responses to religious diversity, and investigation of the epistemological, metaphysical, and socio-political questions that it raises.

 

Sub-theme 1: Philosophical Responses to Religious Diversity

In the last several decades it has become common-place to regard inclusivism, exclusivism and pluralism as the main forms of response to religious diversity. Is it time to move beyond these familiar categories, or are they still theoretically useful today? Within the philosophy of religion, one widely influential form of religious pluralism – Hickean pluralism, which posits a single noumenal Reality lying behind all the world’s major religious traditions – has dominated the discussion since the 1990s. However, it faces serious philosophical problems and other forms of pluralist theory have been developed which seek to avoid these. How might religious pluralism, as a theoretical response to religious diversity, best be articulated?  What is the relation between it, as a philosophical response, and other approaches to religious diversity?

 

Sub-theme 2: Epistemological Challenges of Religious Diversity

The fact that the world contains a  number of diverse systems of religious belief and practice raises epistemological issues that fall centrally within the range of concerns covered by the philosophy of religion. What are the implications of religious diversity for the ways we might think about the truth, reasonableness, or justification of religious claims? To what extent ought religious diversity undermine confidence in all religious belief systems? Does persistent disagreement about core religious claims among adherents of different religious traditions suggest that none of them are justified in their beliefs? Does diversity fatally erode the view that any religious claims are true? To what extent, if any, does religious diversity undermine claims made on the basis of religious experience? Might the phenomenon of cognitive penetration feature in an explanation of religious diversity? Does reflection on religious diversity suggest that philosophical approaches that do not focus on traditional epistemological notions like ‘truth’ and ‘justification’ are more salient in the religious domain?

 

Sub-theme 3: The Metaphysics of Religious Diversity

Religious diversity challenges philosophers of religion, and scholars in cognate disciplines, to explore different conceptions of the divine. How might philosophy of religion have to change in response to this challenge? Do the diverse religions of the world exhibit any common features in their ways of conceiving the Ultimate? Does the diverse religious experience of humankind point to an underlying Reality beyond all particular religious conceptions, as John Hick has claimed? How might the various conceptions of the divine that are advanced by different religious traditions be related to such an underlying Reality? Does a religious pluralist need to posit such a Reality to make sense of the idea that all major world religions are equally capable of putting their adherents on the path to the religious goal, however that is conceived? Is the distinction between personal and impersonal conceptions of the Ultimate the most fundamental one, or might other categorical distinctions be equally important to consider, such as causal and acausal, transcendent and non-transcendent?

 

Sub-theme 4: The Socio-theoretic Implications of Religious Diversity

How should the facts of religious diversity in different parts of the world impact philosophical reflection on the relation of religion and politics, religion and law, religion and the state, and the relation of religious organisations to each other? How are understandings of concepts such as freedom of religion, secularisation, and religious neutrality, affected by the way we think about religious diversity? How might theological or religious ethics assimilate the facts of diversity? How might doctrinal perspectives on religious diversity be fruitfully combined with sociological ones? To what extent does reasonable pluralism (as advocated by Rawls and Habermas) still offer an adequate response to the current societal challenges of religious diversity?

 

INVITED SPEAKERS

Scott Appleby (University of Notre Dame)

Mikel Burley (University of Leeds)

Tomáš Halík (Charles University, Prague)

Victoria Harrison (University of Macau/traveling from Britain)

Roger Pouivet (Universite de Lorraine)

Alister E. McGrath (University of Oxford)

Marianne Moyaert (VU University Amsterdam)

Ivana Noble (Charles University, Prague)

Christian Polke (University of Goettingen)

Mikael Stenmark (University of Uppsala)

Philipp Stoellger (University of Heidelberg)

 

Call for Short Papers

Scholarly short papers (with a reading time of 20 minutes) are invited on the above topics connected to the conference theme. In order to submit your proposal, please, send the abstract (max. 15 lines) to espr2018@ff.cuni.cz.

Please, include information about your institutional affiliation and your academic qualifications (doctoral student, Ph.D., Professor, etc.)

 

Deadline for submissions is April 15th 2018

By the end of April 2018, you will receive notification about whether your paper has been included in the conference (if you need an earlier decision in order to be able to apply for funding, please state that clearly as you submit your abstract and submit the abstract as early as possible).

 

Inquiries should be directed to espr2018@ff.cuni.cz

 

For further information about the conference, please, go to the conference webpage:

https://cspf.ff.cuni.cz/en/conferenceESPR

or to the ESPR website:

http://www.philosophy-of-religion.org

2018 Pantheism and Panentheism Summer Stipend Programme
January 26, 2018 — 15:37

Author: Yujin Nagasawa  Category: Uncategorized  Comments: 0

The Pantheism and Panentheism Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, welcomes applications for summer stipends from scholars and writers who wish to spend the summer writing a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, a reputable magazine (if they wish to write for a popular audience), or an edited collection to be published by a leading academic publisher. We offered £1000 each to 10 applicants in the summer of 2017 (see FUNDED PROJECTS for details on the output of the recipients) and we will offer 9 awards of £1000 in the summer of 2018. Co-authors are welcome to apply together but they will be awarded only one joint stipend of £1000. This is a non-residential grant that allows grant recipients to work on their project anywhere they wish.

The deadline is 15 April 2018.

For the application procedure please see the project website.

CFA: 4th Annual Theistic Ethics Workshop
January 24, 2018 — 14:20

Author: Chris Tucker  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Comments: 0

Fourth Theistic Ethics Workshop

Wake Forest University
October 4-6, 2018

Invited Speakers:

William J. FitzPatrick (University of Rochester)
Kristen Irwin (Loyola University Chicago)
Christian B. Miller (Wake Forest University)
Connie S. Rosati (University of Arizona)
Neal Tognazzini (Western Washington University)

Goal: Contemporary philosophy of religion has been richly informed by important work in metaphysics and epistemology. At the same time, there has not been nearly as much work done at the intersection of philosophy of religion and meta-ethics or normative theory. To help inspire more good work in this area, Christian Miller (Wake Forest), Mark Murphy (Georgetown), and Chris Tucker (William and Mary) have been organizing a series of annual workshops on theistic ethics for the past three years.

Logistics: The fourth workshop will be held at the Graylyn Conference Center at Wake Forest University (www.graylyn.com), one of the nicest conference facilities in the country. We will begin with dinner and the first paper on Thursday, October 4 and conclude at the end of the day on Saturday, October 6, 2018. There will be five invited papers and four spots for submitted papers. All papers will have 40 minutes for presentation and at least 40 minutes for discussion.

Themes: “Theistic ethics” is to be understood broadly to include such topics as divine command and divine will theories, God and natural law, ethics and the problem of evil, moral arguments for a theistic being, infused and acquired virtues, the harms and benefits of theistic religions, specific ethical issues in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, and many other topics as well.

Applying: Those interested in participating should submit an abstract of up to 750 words and a current C.V. to Christian Miller at millerc@wfu.edu by May 1, 2018. Word or PDF file formats only. Please prepare abstracts for anonymous review.  For although the organizers seek to have a balanced program both in terms of topics and presenters, the initial stage of review will be done anonymously. Submitters to a previous year’s workshop, whether successful or unsuccessful, are welcome to apply to this year’s workshop.

Questions about the workshop should be sent to millerc@wfu.edu. Notification will be made by June 1, 2018. If your abstract is selected, we will cover all of your expenses for the workshop, including travel (this includes international travel). Co-authors are welcome, but only one author’s expenses can be covered. You do not have to send your paper in advance of the workshop, and it certainly can be a work in progress.  When there is more information to give, it will be posted here: http://college.wfu.edu/philosophy/miller/fourth-theistic-ethics-workshop/.

 Supported by generous funding from the Carswell Fund of the Wake Forest University Philosophy Department

SCP Graduate Student Cross-Training Fellowship Program
October 25, 2017 — 10:59

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

The Society of Christian Philosophers invites applications for its second round of the Graduate Student Cross-Training (GSCT) Fellowship Program, with fellowships to begin fall 2018. The GSCT Fellowship program is intended to equip graduate student members of the Society of Christian Philosophers with an opportunity to take up to one academic year to develop competency in an empirical science connected with their research. The 2017-2018 fellows are: Allison Thornton (Baylor, biology), Isaac Wilhelm (Rutgers, physics), Vivek Mathew (Cornell, cognitive science and psychology), Eddy Chen (Rutgers, physics), and Hayden Kee (Fordham, developmental psychology).

Fellowships. Up to five fellowships will be awarded. Each GSCT Fellowship will provide recipients with a stipend of $30,000, plus $2,000 for the home institution’s overhead costs and an additional research fund for the applicant of $2,000. This fund can support the purchase of books, journal subscriptions, or travel to disciplinary conferences, subject to the following conditions: (a) any books or journal/articles subscriptions must be for the purposes of cross-training in an empirical discipline; and (b) any travel costs must be for the purposes of traveling to a professional meeting, conference, or workshop in the cross-training discipline. The Society of Christian Philosophers will contract with recipients’ home institutions for the award monies, and the fellows’ home institutions will administer the award on behalf of the Society of Christian Philosophers. The home institution will be expected to continue providing fringe benefits and tuition support. At the end of the fellowship period, each fellow will submit a 5-page narrative summary of their fellowship experience.

Course of Study. Acceptable courses of study might include a plan to audit undergraduate and graduate-level courses, take up residence in a laboratory, or earn a degree in an empirical science. Fellows will be expected to undertake their study at their home institution, but study at another institution may be warranted in rare instances. All fellows must have a faculty mentor in their cross-training discipline.

Eligibility Requirements. The following requirements must be met for an application to be eligible for consideration:

  1. Applicant is a member in good standing of The Society of Christian Philosophers.
  2. Applicant is enrolled in a terminal philosophy PhD program at an accredited university.
  3. Applicant has reached ABD status, or will do so by June 1, 2018.
  4. Eligible scientific disciplines for cross-training are psychology, cognitive science, biology, physics, genetics, neuroscience, and astronomy. Cross-training in mathematics, logic, environmental science, economics, medicine, and political science will not be supported (with the exception of behavioral economics). Proposals expressing an interest in cross-training for the purposes of research in political philosophy, in philosophy of law, or in applied ethics, where this includes bioethics, environmental ethics, sexual ethics, medical ethics, and business ethics, are not eligible.
  5. John Templeton Foundation employees, officers, and Trustees are not eligible.

Full details can be found here: http://kevintimpe.com/gsct.html

Religious Studies Postgraduate Essay Prize
September 8, 2017 — 18:38

Author: Yujin Nagasawa  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , ,   Comments: 0

Submissions are invited for the Religious Studies Postgraduate Essay Prize, which is sponsored jointly by Cambridge University Press and the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion. The winning entry will be published in Religious Studies, and the winner awarded £300.
The Prize is an international prize, and open to all those who are registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of submission. The topic of the essay should be in the philosophy of religion and must be no longer than 8,000 words in length. The judges reserve the right not to award the Prize if no submission of sufficient merit is received. All entries will be considered for publication in Religious Studies.
Essays should be submitted via the journal’s electronic system. A special submission area will be established for entries to the Essay Prize. The author’s name and contact details should not be included on the paper, but submitted separately.
The closing date for entries is 31 December 2017.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/religious-studies/article/religious-studies-postgraduate-essay-prize/AA9C19F5BABEB8CD91ED938C245F530C/core-reader

 

In Memoriam: Marilyn McCord Adams (1943-2017)
March 23, 2017 — 16:38

Author: Michael Bergmann  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Comments: 6

Christina Van Dyke shares the following:

Marilyn McCord Adams passed away early morning on March 22, 2017. She was an uncompromisingly fierce person: in her scholarship, in her pursuit of justice for the marginalized, in her wickedly awesome sense of humor, and in her love for God, Bob (her husband), and her friends.

Marilyn was a prodigious scholar and an enormously influential figure in both medieval philosophy and the philosophy of religion; she held positions at a number of top research institutions and was one of the founding members of the Society of Christian Philosophers. (See Daily Nous for a short summary of her life and work: http://dailynous.com/2017/03/22/marilyn-mccord-adams-1943-2017/)

Yet perhaps the most important legacy Marilyn leaves behind is her impact on the lives of those around her. Her heartfelt work on God and horrendous evils, her devoted ministry as an Episcopal priest, her tireless support of junior scholars–especially those on the margins of philosophy, her witness for women in a field with few role models, and her ability to combine incisive criticism with dry wit and an irresistible laugh are all just parts of what made her such an important person to so many of us.

From the moment news of her death began to spread, people started sharing stories of what Marilyn meant to them and the many ways in which she shaped their lives. Anyone who wants to should feel free to share their stories below in the comments: some losses are easier to bear in community, and it seems clear that this is one of them.

As mentioned above, Marilyn was one of the founding members of the Society of Christian Philosophers, and she remained active in the Society throughout her life. The liturgy here: http://societyofchristianphilosophers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/McCordAdamsLiturgy.pdf is one she wrote for the Service of Lament, which the SCP hosted at the 2015 Central APA, included here because it captures so much of what she thought Christian philosophers should stand for. May it continue to call us to justice and compassion as we mourn her absence and celebrate her life.

 

RIP Marilyn McCord Adams
March 23, 2017 — 1:33

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

We learned yesterday of the death of Marilyn McCord Adams. She is the second of the SCP giants to fall (the earlier being Bill Alston). No one living, in my view, can fill their shoes. Those of us who studied at their feet first- or second-hand will spend the rest of our lives simply working out the details and promise of what they wrote. And we won’t even get that fully done. They’re just that much better than us.

In 2010, as Justin McBrayer and I were about to begin our religious epistemology colloquium at the Pacific APA, I noticed Marilyn McCord Adams enter the room. My confidence suddenly crashed, as her reputation as a sharp critic preceded her. And, mirabile visu, we had made T-shirts for our session which we intended to hand out. Would she think this was inappropriate? Would she think it was funny? What should we do?!

She turned out to be delightful, of course, and we hit it off from the word go. A few APA’s later, and she would be my commentator on what would be a central chapter of my book on animal pain. She had very incisive comments, of course, delivered with wit and vigor. But at the same time, she provided great suggestions for solutions to the criticisms she made. In order to provide context for the paper, I sent her the book MS and suggested she may want to read the synopsis of the preceding chapter. She then took it upon herself to provide commentary on the whole book! This was supererogatory in excelsis!

Then, after the book was published, as one of the critics at a book symposium on that book at Calvin College put together by Matt Halteman she expanded both the criticisms and the suggestions for addressing them. It was a small workshop, and we spent two full days together in sessions, at meals, and on field trips. She was spry and qui vive. This was just two summers ago, and you’d never think there was a thing wrong with her. When I knew she fell ill about a year ago, it didn’t even occur to me that she could succumb to death so early. It was, frankly, hard to believe it could happen at all.

In between these events were many brief but fruitful encounters. She was witty, tough, compassionate. Her work was bold, creative, imaginative, yet precise down to each analytic detail. I read her work for so many classes: Medieval Philosophy, Free Will, Philosophy of Religion, and others. Her book on horrendous evils was the greatest inspiration for mine. But in addition to her written work being so insightful and rigorous, for me at least it was FUN. And in addition to her writing being fun, SHE was fun. I loved her rough-and-tumble give and take that was never, that I witnessed, in any way uncharitable. She was going to write the blurb for the back of the paperback version of my book, which will now never happen, and instead I’m going to dedicate my book _God, Suffering, and Sainthood_ to her memory in the hope that it will impel me to make it a book worthy of being dedicated to her.

Pax et bonum,
td

CFA: Third Annual Theistic Ethics Workshop
February 27, 2017 — 9:22

Author: Chris Tucker  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

CFA: Third Annual Theistic Ethics Workshop

College of William and Mary
October 5-7, 2017

Confirmed Speakers:
Laura Ekstrom (College of William and Mary)
Dan Moller (University of Maryland)
Mark Murphy (Georgetown University)
Mark Schroeder (University of Southern California)
Rebecca Stangl (University of Virginia)

Goal: Contemporary philosophy of religion has been richly informed by important work in metaphysics and epistemology. At the same time, there has not been nearly as much work done at the intersection of philosophy of religion and meta-ethics or normative theory. To help inspire more good work in this area, Christian Miller (Wake Forest), Mark Murphy (Georgetown), and Chris Tucker (William and Mary) organize a series of annual workshops on theistic ethics.

Logistics: The third workshop will be held at the campus of William and Mary. We will begin with dinner and the first paper on Thursday, October 5th and conclude at the end of the day on Saturday, October 7th, 2017. There will be five invited papers and four spots for submitted papers. All papers will have 40 minutes for presentation and at least 40 minutes for discussion.

Themes: “Theistic ethics” is to be understood broadly to include such topics as divine command and divine will theories; God and natural law; ethics and the problem of evil; moral arguments for a theistic being; infused and acquired virtues; the harms and benefits of theistic religions; what mainstream moral theories imply about divine action; specific ethical issues in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam; and many other topics as well.

Applying: Those interested in participating should submit an abstract of up to 750 words and a current C.V. to Chris Tucker (cstucker@wm.edu) by May 1, 2017. Word or PDF file formats only. Please prepare abstracts for anonymous review.  For although the organizers seek to have a balanced program both in terms of topics and presenters, the initial stage of review will be done anonymously.  Questions about the workshop should be sent to the cstucker@wm.edu.

Notification will be made by June 1, 2017 at the latest. If your abstract is selected, we will cover your accommodation, meals at the conference, and travel expenses of up to $1200 (and possibly more). Co-authors are welcome, but only one author’s expenses can be covered. You do not have to send your paper in advance of the workshop, and it certainly can be a work in progress.

Supported by generous funding from William and Mary’s philosophy department, Theresa Thompson ‘67, William and Mary Arts and Sciences, and the Carswell Fund of the Wake Forest University Philosophy Department

Virtual Colloquium: Michelle Panchuk, “The Shattered Spiritual Self: Philosophical Reflections on Religious Trauma, Worship, and Deconversion”
February 3, 2017 — 6:00

Author: Kenny Pearce  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 2

This week’s Virtual Colloquium paper is “The Shattered Spiritual Self” by Michelle Panchuk. Dr. Panchuk received her PhD from the University of South Carolina in 2016, and is currently a research fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion. Her previous work, some of which has been published in International Philosophical Quarterly, has focused on the relationship between classical theism and the metaphysics of universals. Currently, she is working on a monograph on the topic of religious trauma.


The Shattered Spiritual Self

Philosophical Reflections on Religious Trauma, Worship, and Deconversion

Michelle Panchuk

In this paper I argue that we should understand religious trauma as a kind of transformative experience that diminishes the individual’s capacity to engage in religious life, and that this diminished capacity is sometimes so severe that it constitutes an all-things-considered reason for the individual to deconvert, whether or not she maintains the beliefs associated with her former religion. In the first section I provide an introduction to trauma in a general sense. In the second I suggest two criteria that trauma must meet to count as religious trauma and then sketch a working definition of it. In the third section I narrow the scope of discussion to the non- cognitive effects of religious trauma and analyze two case studies relative to those effects. In the final section I argue that the non-cognitive effects of religious trauma may place worship out of reach of some survivors of religious trauma, and that this can give them an all-things-considered reason to deconvert. Even if this last argument fails to persuade the reader, I believe that this paper will successfully demonstrate that religious trauma is a kind of experience that deserves serious philosophical and theological consideration.

In its most severe forms trauma has devastating effects on the individual’s ability to function and flourish. Trauma theorists divide the effects of trauma into two categories: the epistemic/cognitive effects and the non-cognitive—emotional and physiological—effects. Examples of the former are things like believing oneself to be fundamentally unsafe in the world, while examples of the latter include intrusive memories, hyperarousal, hypervigilance, and sleep disturbances. At least two conditions must be met for an experience to count as religiously traumatic. First, the trauma must be inflicted by some aspect of the religion, and second, its effects must have a religious object. The fact that only a portion of the individuals who experience trauma more generally develop a post-traumatic disorder suggests that only a portion of those who endure a religiously traumatic experience will develop religiously significant post- traumatic distress, but there simply isn’t enough research to say exactly how common it is. It is enough for our current purposes that religious trauma exists, and as I will show below, raises philosophical questions about religious faith in those cases. Thus, I will define religious trauma as: any traumatic experience of the divine being, religious community, religious dogma, or religious practice that transforms the individual, either epistemically or non-cognitively, in such a way that her ability to participate in religious life is significantly diminished.

According to our definition, trauma is a kind of lived experience. It does not result from theoretical reasoning when someone contemplates the ontological argument and infers that it is invalid. The experience itself transforms the individual, and that transformation involves both epistemic and non-cognitive changes. Epistemically, the subject gains knowledge of what the experience is like, which would have been impossible for them to gain otherwise. Though this is knowledge gained, we may include it as an aspect of the shattered self because it does not involve propositions inferred from the experience. Personally, they may experience a range of changes in their values, preferences, and non-cognitive responses to religious life. For the most part, these results are outside of the individuals’ conscious control.

In most religions, maintaining the relevant set of propositional attitudes is not a sufficient condition for counting oneself an adherent of the religion. What is required beyond the appropriate propositional attitudes, we may call worship in a broad sense (e.g., religious rituals, proper attitudes toward the sacred and the divine, etc). However, there is another sense of ‘worship’ that is much more narrow, referring only to the attitudinal aspects of worship, so we can distinguish between the practice of worship and the attitude of worship, for the sake of simplicity. In this narrow sense, worship involves loving, adoring, revering, and desiring the divine being. Survivors of religious trauma may find themselves unable to worship according to the demands of their religion in both the broad and the narrow senses. If a survivor experiences intrusive memories while engaging in religious rituals, it may become physically and psychologically impossible for her to fulfill them. This would be an obstacle to worship in the broad sense. If, however, she experiences deep revulsion and utter terror toward the divine being, then even worship in the narrow sense may be out of reach, because the proper emotions are partially constitutive of this sense of worship. I argue that not only is the survivor of religious trauma nonculpable for these non-cognitive effects of trauma, but that in cases where they are severe enough to preclude that attitudinal state constitutive of worship, they may constitute and all-things considered reason to deconvert.


The complete paper is available here.

Pantheism and Panentheism Project: Summer Stipend Program (£1000 x 10 awards; non-residential)
January 13, 2017 — 6:09

Author: Yujin Nagasawa  Category: Uncategorized  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 2

Please see the project website for details.

The Pantheism and Panentheism Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, welcomes applications for summer stipends from scholars and writers who wish to spend the summer writing a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, a reputable magazine (if they wish to write for a popular audience), or an edited collection to be published by a leading academic publisher. We offer £1000 each to 10 applicants in the summer of 2017 and 9 awards of £1000 in the summer of 2018. Co-authors are welcome to apply together but they will be awarded only one joint stipend of £1000. This is a non-residential grant that allows grant recipients to work on their project anywhere they wish.

 

Application Process:

Applicants are required to submit the following items electronically:

  • A curriculum vitae
  • An project abstract of no more than 200 words
  • A project proposal of 750-1500 words

Please email all of the above as a single PDF document by 15 April 2017 to   spinozawhitehead@gmail.com

The Pantheism and Panentheism Project focuses on the following three main problems. Applicants are required to address at least one of these problems directly or indirectly from a philosophical, historical, theological or scientific perspective. It is not required that applicants defend pantheism or panentheism. Applications from critics of these views are also welcome.

  • The problem of personality: Pantheism and panentheism say that the cosmos is identical with, is constituted by, or is part of God. This appears to suggest that, contrary to the classical theistic view, God is not a person or a personal being. Critics claim that this is problematic because a concept of God that is non-personal does not seem to be adequate for theological discourse. Can pantheists and panentheists respond to this problem by developing a plausible account of personhood that makes the pantheistic or panentheistic God qualify as a person or a personal being?
  • The problem of unity: Classical theists maintain the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, according to which God created the cosmos out of nothing. This doctrine entails that God is ontologically distinct from the cosmos. Classical theists face the following intractable question: How could God, who is understood by classical theists as an incorporeal, timeless, changeless being, create the cosmos, which consists of matter, time and space, out of nothing? Pantheists and panentheists avoid such a question by maintaining that the cosmos is not ontologically distinct from God. Yet it is not very clear how the cosmos, which includes an extremely large number of entities, can be considered a single, unified entity that can be described as divine. Can pantheists and panentheists coherently maintain that the cosmos is a unified whole?
  • The problem of evil: Classical theists face the problem of evil because they maintain that the cosmos, which includes apparently pointless pain and suffering, was created by an all-powerful and all-good God. One of the main virtues of pantheism and panentheism is that they do not face this problem. Since they do not postulate the existence of an all-powerful and all-good God the problem of evil for classical theists cannot be directed at them. However, pantheism and panentheism do face a variation on the same problem: How could the cosmos be identical with or be part of God if it contains apparently gratuitous pain and suffering?

 

Selection Criteria:

The selection criteria are (i) the quality of the abstract, (ii) relevance to the project topics and (iii) the applicant’s publication track record.