Submissions are invited for The Paradise Project Essay Proposal Contest. Authors of winning essay proposals will have expenses paid to present full drafts of their essays at a Project Conference on April 24-25, 2015 in Newport News, VA, and final drafts of their essays will be included in a book manuscript that will be submitted for publication to a world-class press in early fall 2015. A cash prize of $1500 will also be given to the author of each winning proposal. It is the intention of the Project co-organizers, Dr. Ryan Byerly (Regent University) and Dr. Eric Silverman (Christopher Newport University), to offer at least four awards.
The aim of the Paradise Project is to produce an edited collection of essays in analytic philosophy of religion that address philosophical questions about heaven arising across a wide variety of sub-disciplines within philosophy including epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, and metaphysics. Confirmed contributors to the Project thus far include:
Submissions for the contest are welcome from philosophers at any career stage. To submit a proposal, send either a 3-5 page (excluding references) detailed abstract of the paper you intend to write, or a draft of a full paper of no more than 10,000 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should be suitable for blind review, and must be sent by December 15th, 2014.
Some sample questions which essay writers may wish to address are as follows:
Epistemology: Will human persons in paradise be infallible? Will they be omniscient? Will they continue to inquire? Will they exercise perfect epistemic autonomy, or will they still trust the testimony of others? Will they exercise intellectual virtues? If so, which ones? How should the beatific vision be construed epistemically? Is it rational to hope for eternal life?
Ethics: Are there some moral virtues that cannot be exercised in paradise—virtues such as perseverance, generosity, contrition, or forgivingness? How does the answer to the foregoing question affect the value of life in paradise? Is eternal life in paradise good and/or meaningful? If so, what makes it good and/or meaningful?
Social and Political Philosophy: What kinds of relationships—e.g., marriage—will continue in paradise? What kinds of political structures will be in place? Will there be a “natural” world; and, if so, what will be the relationship of human beings to this “natural” world? How will resources be distributed? What, if anything, do our answers to these questions tell us about how social and political institutions should be shaped now?
Metaphysics: Is human life in paradise embodied? Is it an embodiment in bodies that are numerically identical to human bodies in earthly life? Will human persons in paradise have free will? Will they maintain personal identity across time? Will they be temporal entities at all? Will human persons retain distinct identities in paradise?
Philosophy of Language: Will the inhabitants of paradise all use the same language? Is doing so necessary for them to achieve maximum mutual understanding? Will humans employ propositional representations at all?
Metaphilosophy: To what extent can reflecting on utopian ideals guide our philosophical reflection about paradise? Should thinking about utopia inform our thinking about paradise in the same way that, according to advocates of perfect being theology, thinking about perfection should inform our thinking about theology proper?
These questions are only representative. Essay proposals addressing other important philosophical questions about life in paradise are also encouraged.
The Paradise Project is funded by a grant from the Immortality Project at University of California, Riverside. The Immortality Project is funded by the John Templeton Foundation.