Philosophers and their religious practices, part 8: religious naturalism
April 16, 2015 — 14:52

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life Religious Belief  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 2

This is the eighth 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, 456 and 7. 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 Eric Steinhart, full Professor of Philosophy at William Paterson University.

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

I was raised as a conservative Evangelical Protestant (many of my close male family members are conservative Evangelical ministers). When I was young I was extremely immersed in my Christianity. But I essentially left Christianity when I was 18. However, I maintained a vaguely Christian theology for a long time. By the time I was in my 40s I had completely lost interest in classical theism.

Much of my interest in philosophy of religion has been driven by a series of religious or mystical experiences. I have had five or six of these. Of them, three have been overpowering, ego-shattering experiences, while three have been gentler. But all have been profoundly moving. None of them have involved God. Other philosophers, such as Wittgenstein, Hick, and Plantinga have reported their own mystical experiences. So it’s worth thinking more about how such experiences inspire philosophies.

I would not say that I really gained much new knowledge during these experiences. The content of my experiences was shaped by what I had already studied and found interesting in philosophy, theology, and mathematics. I already thought that reality was a certain way, but my thoughts were merely very abstract outlines of that way. During my mystical experiences, I saw with intense vividness that reality is this way. Much of what I have written philosophically is an effort to verbally express the content of these visions. I regard all these efforts as failures. The vision really is ineffable.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, part 6: An eastward-looking Anglican
April 2, 2015 — 10:42

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life Religious Belief  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 1

This is the sixth 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, 4 and 5. 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 Steven Horst, Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, part 4: The embodiment of the sacraments
March 17, 2015 — 5:27

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life Religious Belief  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 2

This is the fourth 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 these links for parts 1, 2 and 3). The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited, except for some occasional shortenings (indicated by ellipses).

The fourth interview is with Jennifer Frey, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, part 3: The SCP is my Church
March 11, 2015 — 8:45

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 25

This is the third installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices (see here and here for previous installments). In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers  about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. I have interviewed (and am in the course of interviewing) agnostics, theists and atheists, hopefuls and skeptics. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited, except for some occasional shortenings (indicated by ellipses)

The third interview is with H.E. Baber, who is a full professor at the University of San Diego.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, part 2: Philosopher and priest
March 6, 2015 — 14:41

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

This is the second installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices (part 1 is here). In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers who are religious practitioners—they go to church or temple, pray, utter blessings, engage in stoic meditation, read the Torah, serve in the capacity of priest—about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. I have interviewed (and am in the course of interviewing) agnostics, theists and atheists, hopefuls and skeptics. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured.

The present interview is with Leigh Vicens, who is an assistant professor of philosophy at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD where she have been since 2012. This year she is on leave as a research fellow at Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion. She is also an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church.

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Philosophers and their religious practices, Part 1: Homilies for a hoping agnostic
March 2, 2015 — 2:23

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Religion and Life  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 4

[cross-posted at The Philosophers’ Cocoon] This is the first installment of a series of interviews I am conducting with academic philosophers about their religious practices. Curiously, there’s relatively little attention for religious practices, with most work in philosophy of religion strongly focusing on beliefs (this is changing thanks to excellent work by Terence Cuneo, Howard Wettstein, Sarah Coakley and others, but this work is still decidedly in the minority).

In this series of interviews, I ask philosophers who are religious practitioners—they go to church or temple, pray, utter blessings, engage in stoic meditation, read the Torah, serve in the capacity of priest—about their religious practices and the influence on their philosophical work. I have interviewed (and am in the course of interviewing) agnostics, theists and atheists, hopefuls and skeptics. The contributors are in various stages of their career, tenured and untenured. Interviews were conducted through e-mail and responses are not edited, except for some occasional shortenings (indicated by ellipses)

The first interview is with Marcus Arvan, who is an assistant professor at the University of Tampa. Arvan self-identifies as a hoping Agnostic and attends Catholic mass weekly.

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The Question of God’s Perfection
February 4, 2015 — 9:29

Author: Matthew Mullins  Category: News  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

The Herzl Institute, Jerusalem
December 20-23, 2015

Philosophers often describe theism as the belief in the existence of a “perfect being” — a being that is said to possess all possible perfections, so that it is all-powerful, all-knowing, immutable, perfectly good, absolutely simple, and necessarily existent, among other qualities. However, there are reasons to question whether this conception of God’s nature is appropriate as a basis for Jewish theology, and indeed, for religious belief more generally. This conference seeks to bring together philosophers, theologians, scholars of Bible and scholars of rabbinic literature to take a fresh look at this notion of God as perfect being, asking whether it is consistent with Judaism’s foundational texts, or whether it needs to be revised or replaced by a theology that is better suited to Jewish thought.

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Toronto Philosophy of Religion Work-in-Progress Group
January 6, 2015 — 9:19

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

For the past couple of 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, please let me know.

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

 

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

2015 SCP Pacific Regional Conference – Call for Papers
December 29, 2014 — 16:09

Author: Michael Almeida  Category: News  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

The 2015 Conference of the Society of Christian Philosophers (Pacific Region)

March 20-21, 2015

Hosted by Azusa Pacific University

Keynote Speakers

  • Linda Zagzebski (University of Oklahoma),
  • Robert Audi (University of Notre Dame)

 

Theme: Religious Epistemology in the 21st Century

Advances in technology and interfaith dialogues lead to questions about who or what to trust. Such questions include, for example:

  • How does one decide who (or what) is an expert?
  • How does technology help or hinder inter-faith dialogues?
  • Is there a “virtue epistemology” for surfing the web for information?
  • How can one remain justified in one’s own religious beliefs if one has good reason to believe that a Google search would return millions of arguments against those beliefs?

We invite submissions exploring any topic of interest to Christian philosophers, but those dealing explicitly with the conference theme may be given preference. The conference organizers intend to bring together a wide range of topics and ideas with the hope of fostering a rich and broad discussion among those interested in Christianity and philosophy. We welcome participation from both Christians and non-Christian philosophers as presenters and participants.

Papers (no more than 3000 words) are due by January 15th (extended from January 1st), 2014. Please include professional contact information and an abstract with your paper. Submit them to: pacificscp2015@gmail.com. We intend to notify those accepted by Jan 22nd, 2015.

Student Prizes

Graduate and undergraduate students who wish to be considered for the SCP’s prize for the Best Graduate Student Paper or Best Undergraduate Student Paper must submit a final draft of their papers by January 1st, 2014. Each winner will receive a $400 award, which will be presented publicly at the conference. In your submission email, please indicate that you are a graduate student or undergraduate student.

Results of my survey on religious disagreement
December 10, 2014 — 7:57

Author: Helen De Cruz  Category: Atheism & Agnosticism Religious Belief  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 0

Religious disagreements are conspicuous in everyday life.  Most societies, except perhaps for theocracies or theocracy-like regimes, show a diversity of religious beliefs, a diversity that young children already are aware of. One emerging topic of interest in the social epistemology of religion is how we should respond to religious disagreement. How should you react if you are confronted with someone who seems equally intelligent and thoughtful, who has access to the same evidence as you do, but who nevertheless ends up with very different religious beliefs? Should you become less confident about your beliefs, or suspend judgment? Or is it permissible to accord more weight to your own beliefs than to those of others?

In November and December 2014, I surveyed philosophers about their views on religious disagreement. I was not only interested in finding out what philosophers think about disagreements about religious topics in the profession (for instance, do they consider other philosophers as epistemic peers, or do they take the mere fact of disagreement as an indication that the other can’t be right?), but also in the influence of personal religious beliefs and training. I present a brief summary of results below the fold; a longer version can be found here.

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