Stephen Grover offers an interesting version of the Mere Addition Paradox (‘Mere Addition and the Best of all Possible Worlds’, Religious Studies, 1999) against Swinburne’s brief argument (The Existence of God, Oxford, 1979, 114 ff.) that there is no best world. Swinburne’s argument goes this way.
… take any world W . Presumably the goodness of such a world.will consist in part in it containing a finite or infinite number of conscious beings who will enjoy it. But if the enjoyment of the world by each is a valuable thing, surely a world with a few more conscious beings in it would be a yet more valuable world W’ . . . I conclude that it is not, for conceptual reasons, plausible to suppose that there could be a best of all possible worlds, and in consequence God could not have overriding reason to create one.
There are good reasons to deny that Swinburne’s argument shows anything like there is no best world. Still, the argument does not suffer from the Mere Addition Paradox (MAP).
William Hasker has interesting things to say about the consequences of the standard view that God cannot permit a single instance of gratuitous evil. I won’t fuss the metaphysical issue of the nature of gratuitous evil, but it’s really worth thinking hard about it. I’m interested in Hasker’s claim about what he calls the ‘limited harm principle’, (LH). Here’s the essential argument (EA) for permitting gratuitous evils.
. . . if (LH) is true, and an agent knows it is true, then the agent’s inclination to take moral requirements seriously is likely to be very significantly lessened. But this result is contrary to God’s intention that human beings should place a high priority on fulfilling moral obligations, and should assume major responsibility for the welfare of their fellow human beings. Put more briefly: If we know that God will permit a morally wrong action only if it results in a compensating good, then our motivation to take morality seriously as a guide to life is likely to be seriously impaired.(‘Defining Gratuitous Evil’, Religious Studies, 2010)
To celebrate the publication of the 50th volume of Religious Studies in 2014, and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the journal in 1965, the University of Leeds is hosting a conference, sponsored by Cambridge University Press, on 25th – 27th June, 2014. Invited participants include: Pamela Sue Anderson, Peter Byrne, Victoria Harrison, Brian Leftow, Graham Oppy, John Schellenberg, Stewart Sutherland, Richard Swinburne, and Keith Ward.
The afternoon of 26th will be set aside for submitted short papers, and these are now invited. Abstracts of around 250 words, accompanied by a short CV, should be sent by e-mail attachment to the Editor, Prof. Robin Le Poidevin, email@example.com, no later than 31st January, 2014.
On behalf of Professor Robin Le Poidevin:
The Editorial Board of Religious Studies is very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2012 Religious Studies Postgraduate Essay Prize is Martin Lembke, of Lund University, for his essay ‘Omnipotence and Other Possibilities’, which will be published in the December 2012 issue of the journal. The Prize is sponsored jointly by Cambridge University Press and the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion.
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 Â£300.
The Prize is an international prize, and open to all those who, at time of the deadline, are registered for a postgraduate research degree. The topic of the essay should be in the philosophy of religion and must be no longer than 10,000 words in length. The judges reserve the right not to award the Prize if no submission of sufficient merit is received.
Essays should be submitted in hard copy only (not through the journal’s electronic submission system), in duplicate, and clearly marked ‘Religious Studies Essay Prize’, with the author’s name and contact details in a covering letter but not on the essay. The closing date for entries is 1st December, 2011, and they should be sent to:
Prof Robin Le Poidevin
Editor, Religious Studies
Department of Philosophy
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
I think this is a long-overdue project, and I hope people will mark its significance. I am very excited to learn from this!
This blog is a space promoting the exchange of ideas and work on rigorous philosophy elucidating any aspect of Judaism. By way of example, the type of philosophy encouraged here is that which is done in the journals Faith and Philosophy, Religious Studies, The International Journal of Philosophy of Religion, and The European Journal of Philosophy of Religion.
Anyone who would like to contribute posts to the new blog is encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron Segal, University of Notre Dame (email@example.com)
Sam Lebens, Birkbeck College (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dani Rabinowitz, Oxford University (email@example.com)
We are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the following postgraduate Scholarships for 2011-2012.
We welcome applicants interested in philosophy of religion. We currently have 11 MA students, 2 MPhil students and 3 PhD students in this specific area.
1. AHRC doctoral awards (fees + maintenance) open to UK students and non-UK students who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years for reasons other than education in the following disciplinary areas:
Religious Studies (1)
2. 12 College Doctoral Scholarships (Home/EU or Overseas, fees + maintenance) AHRC equivalent awards, open to UK, EU and international students in all disciplines in arts and law
3. Up to 5 College Doctoral Overseas Scholarships (full-fees only)
4. Up to 2 College MA/MPhil Overseas Scholarships (full-fees only)
5. 2 fee remission (Home/EU) Scholarships in any Masters/MPhil Programme in Philosophy, Theology and Religion
6. Dinshaw Bursary for Theology/Inter-religious studies (to be confirmed)
For more information please see: