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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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: 1

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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Science, Philosophy, and Religious Commitment: Catholic engagement in philosophy of science
February 16, 2016 — 13:32

Author: Tim Pawl  Category: News Uncategorized  Tags: , , , , ,   Comments: 0

Science, Philosophy, and Religious Commitment:

Catholic engagement in philosophy of science

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

26 – 28 June 2016

The aim of this conference is to cultivate sober perspective and insight into the history and current state of engagement with philosophy of science among Catholic intellectuals with an eye to “What now?” sorts of questions. We hope to begin to articulate, explore, and evaluate a variety of approaches to philosophy of science present in Catholic thought over the last 150 years (roughly from John Henry Newman to the present). These approaches include explicit philosophies of science, as well as ones implicit in and shaping theological work, hierarchical church documents and actions, and evaluations of the relevance of the special sciences to metaphysics, philosophy of nature, and theology.

The conference is interested to explore a broad range of issues, approaches, and figures and aims to cultivate productive cross-fertilization, collaboration, and exploration among philosophers, theologians, and scientists today.

Speakers:

Paul Allen (Concordia University)

Nicanor Austriaco, OP (Biology, Providence College)

Stephen Barr (University of Delaware)

Gianfranco Basti (Pontifical Lateran University)

Robert Deltete (Seattle University)

David Diekema (Seattle Pacific University)

Flavia Marcacci (Pontifical Lateran University)

Patrick McDonald (Seattle Pacific University)

Meghan Page (Loyola University Maryland)

Anne Peterson (University of Utah)

Lidia Obojska (Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities)

Brendan Sweetman  (Rockhurst University)

Nicholas Teh  (University of Notre Dame)

Free and open to the public. (Registration will be required.)

Future information, including schedule and registration, will be posted at the conference website.

Questions or inquiries? Contact Peter Distelzweig.

Hosted and sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Philosophy. Cosponsored by the Terrence J. Murphy Institute, the Science and Theology Network, and the International Research Area on Foundations of the Sciences at the Pontifical Lateran University.

Coorganized by Peter Distelzweig (University of St. Thomas) and Karen Zwier (Drake University).

CFP: Meta-Philosophy of Religion & Meta-Theology
January 13, 2016 — 4:36

Author: Martín Montoya  Category: News  Tags: , , , , , ,   Comments: 0

META-PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION & META-THEOLOGY

We are delighted to announce the new journal TheoLogica, a peer-reviewed international journal. TheoLogica is a multidisciplinary research journal focused on philosophy of religion and theology (analytic theology, natural theology, philosophical theology), exploring philosophical and theological topics with the standards of conceptual clarity and rigorous argumentation, which are recognized (in particular but not exclusively) in the analytic tradition. The Journal adopts the Open Access Journal (free access) in order to promote research and development of philosophy of religion and theology in the Spanish-speaking academy. In order to contribute equally to international scientific discussions held in several languages, articles and reviews written in Spanish, French, English, Italian and German are accepted.

We invite submissions for the first issue of the journal: Meta-philosophy of religion & Meta-theology. The authors will be expected to discuss the nature, methods and aims of philosophy of religion and/or theology from a metaphilosophical or metatheological perspective. The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of possible research topics:

  • What are philosophy of religion and/or analytic theology? What are their subject, their methods and aims?

Nature:

  • Is theology continuous with philosophy and with science? Can it be called a science and in what sense?

Methods:

  • What are the ultimate sources of theology (Scripture, Councils, Tradition, Reason, etc.) and their relative roles? What is the relationship between Scripture and the analytical style of philosophizing? What is the epistemological status of the Scripture in these disciplines?
  • What is the place of argumentation in the methodology of theology?
  • Is there such a thing as theological knowledge? What are the epistemic sources of theological knowledge?

Aims:

  • Is theological knowledge necessary? Are there epistemic conditions for Salvation?

 

  • Do philosophy of religion and theology aim at Wisdom? How is this sapiential dimension to be fostered? Is the analytic style a hindrance for this aim?

 

Deadline for sending the paper: April 30st, 2016

Full papers should be submitted via our website: http://revistatheologica.com, or send your paper to: managingeditor.theologica@gmail.com. Visit the TheoLogica homepage for a description of the journal and instructions to authors.

Toronto Philosophy of Religion Work-in-Progress Group
January 5, 2016 — 14:03

Author: Klaas Kraay  Category: News  Tags: , , ,   Comments: 0

For the past few years, I have organized a lively philosophy of religion work-in-progress group at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto.

– If you would like to be added to the mailing list for this group, please email me: kraay@ryerson.ca

– If you are (or plan to be) in the Toronto area this semester, and would like to present a paper to this group, please let me know.

– If you would like to present a paper to this group via Skype this semester (we have an 80″ screen in our department’s meeting room!) please let me know.

Klaas Kraay
Department of Philosophy
Ryerson University
www.ryerson.ca/~kraay

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 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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Toronto Philosophy of Religion Work-in-Progress Group
August 24, 2015 — 4:20

Author: Klaas Kraay  Category: News  Tags: , , ,   Comments: 0

For the past few years, I have organized a lively philosophy of religion work-in-progress group at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto.

– If you would like to be added to the mailing list for this group, please email me: kraay@ryerson.ca

– If you are (or plan to be) in the Toronto area this semester, and would like to give a paper to this group this upcoming academic year, please let me know.

– If you would like to give a paper to this group via Skype this upcoming academic year (we have the technology!) please let me know.

Klaas Kraay
Department of Philosophy
Ryerson University
www.ryerson.ca/~kraay

Philosophers and their religious practices part 11: The Wesley experience
August 3, 2015 — 5:28

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

This is the eleventh 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 parts1, 2, 3, 456789 and 10. 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 David McNaughton, currently Professor of Philosophy at Florida State, having previously been Professor at Keele University. He is a member of the Church of England, and a regular attender at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Tallahassee, Florida.

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

I was brought up agnostic, but my parents sent me to Methodist Sunday School (for as long as I wished) so I might find out for myself. After considerable prayer and heart-searching I joined the Methodist Church around 1960 and stayed there for ten years, including being a very active member of the Methodist Society at my undergraduate university. I did my graduate work at Magdalen College Oxford and attended College Chapel, at the end of which I was received into the Church of England.

 

Shortly thereafter I drifted away from Christianity, eventually becoming both sceptical and slightly hostile until my mid-30s when I began slowly to re-evaluate my position. Strong influences here were C. S. Lewis and William James, as well as teaching philosophy of religion with Richard Swinburne. I remained a highly sympathetic agnostic until 2004, when I decided to recommit to the church.

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