Baylor – Georgetown – Notre Dame conference 2014
August 18, 2014 — 12:01

Author: Alexander Pruss  Category: News  Tags:   Comments: 0

The 2014 Baylor/Georgetown/Notre Dame Philosophy of Religion Conference will be held at Georgetown University October 9 through October 11.  All sessions will be held in New North 204.  Below is the schedule.  Please contact Mark Murphy ( if you plan to attend.  Please also let him know if you need conference hotel information.  And if it would help you to get funding to attend the conference if you served as a chair for one of the sessions, let him know that, also.

Thursday, October 9

7-8:30 PM   Karen Stohr (Georgetown), “Hope for the Hopeless” (Commentator: Micah Lott, Boston College)

8:30 PM Reception in New North 204

Friday, October 10

9:00-10:25 Kathryn Pogin (Northwestern), “Redemptive or Corruptive? The Atonement and Hermeneutical Injustice” (Commentator: Katherin Rogers, Delaware)

10:35-12  Neal Judisch (Oklahoma), “Redemptive Suffering” (Commentator: Siobhan Nash-Marshall, Manhattanville)

12-2:30   Lunch on own

2:30-3:55  Christian Miller (Wake Forest), “Should Christians be Worried about Situationist Claims in Psychology and Philosophy?” (Commentator: Dan Moller, Maryland)

4:05-5:30  Chris Tucker (William and Mary), “Satisficing and Motivated Submaximization (in the Philosophy of Religion)” (Commentator: Kelly Heuer, Georgetown)

Saturday, October 11

9:00-10:25 Julia Jorati (Ohio State), “Special Agents: Leibniz on the Similarity between Divine and Human Agency” (Commentator: Kristin Primus, Georgetown/NYU)

10:35-12  Kris McDaniel (Syracuse), “Being and Essence” (Commentator: Trenton Merricks, UVA)

12-2:30 Lunch on own

2:30-3:55  Meghan Page (Loyola (MD)/Baylor), “The Posture of Faith: Leaning in to Belief” (Commentator: Mark Lance, Georgetown)

4:05-5:30  Charity Anderson (Baylor), “Defeat, Testimony, and Miracle Reports” (Commentator: Andy Cullison, SUNY-Fredonia)

BGND2014 is organized by Mark Murphy (Georgetown), Jonathan Kvanvig (Baylor), and Michael Rea (Notre Dame). 

Religious Epistemology Discussion (Plantinga & Sosa)
July 6, 2013 — 13:59

Author: Andrew Moon  Category: Existence of God Links Problem of Evil Religion and Life Religious Belief  Tags:   Comments: 0

Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t know about this religious epistemology discussion that happened earlier this year. It is in three parts: Sosa opening criticism, Plantinga response w/discussion, and more discussion.
Other participants I recognized included the following: Michael Tooley, Richard Fumerton, Linda Zagzebski, Trenton Merricks, Louise Antony, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Mark Murphy, and Meghan Sullivan. It was exhilarating to watch top rate philosophers discuss these fascinating topics!

First BGND Conference
July 28, 2011 — 13:21

Author: Jon Kvanvig  Category: News  Tags:   Comments: 1

BGND Phil of Religion Conference, hosted by Georgetown University
Conference begins Thursday evening, 10/6, and runs through Saturday evening, 10/8
*Speakers (with commentators):*
Mark Henninger, SJ (Patrick Toner)
Oliver Crisp (Tom Senor)
Meghan Sullivan (Lorraine Keller)
Terence Cuneo (Karen Stohr)
Christina van Dyke (Thomas Williams)
Trenton Merricks (Todd Buras)
Hud Hudson (Blake Roeber)
Alex Pruss and Trent Dougherty (Stephen Grimm)
Lara Buchak (Mark Lance)
Please let Mark Murphy know if you’ll be attending so that he can make sure the room size is appropriate. Email him at

Divine command theory
March 4, 2011 — 13:19

Author: Alexander Pruss  Category: Divine Command  Tags: , , ,   Comments: 12

The following simple and valid argument came out of discussions with Mark Murphy (who has a forthcoming book that contains related arguments, though perhaps not this one).

According to the identity version of Divine Command Metaethics (IDCM), to be obligated to A is to be commanded to A by God (or to be willed to A by God or to be commanded to A by a loving God–details of this sort won’t matter). But:

  1. If p explains x’s being F, and to be F is the same as to be G, then p explains x’s being G.
  2. My being commanded by God to follow Christ explains my being obligated to follow Christ.
  3. It is not the case that my being commanded by God to follow Christ explains my being commanded by God to follow Christ.
  4. Therefore, it is false that to be obligated to A is the same as to be commanded by God to A. (By 1-3)

And so IDCM is false.

The argument more generally shows that no normative-level answer to a “Why am I obligated to A?” question can provide a property identical with being obligated. Thus, sometimes at least the answer to “Why am I obligated to A?” is that Aing maximizes utility. Hence, by an exactly parallel argument, being obligated to A is not the same as having A as one’s utility maximizing option.

The argument is compatible with constitution versions of DCM on which the property of being obligated to A is constituted by the property of being commanded to A. But such theorists then have the added complication of explaining what the constitution relation means here, over and beyond bidirectional entailment (after all, many non-divine-command theorists will agree that necessarily x is obligated to A iff God wills x to A).

Congrats to Mark Murphy on Endowed Chair
January 12, 2011 — 7:40

Author: Trent Dougherty  Category: Uncategorized  Tags:   Comments: 3

Mark Murphy (ND, 1993 Alasdair MacIntyre) has received an endowed chair as a result of a truly impressive philanthropic gift to Georgetown University.
Mark is a great guy and I’m really happy for him, even if this messes up certain plans in my own quarter.