This is the tenth 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, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. 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 James Faulconer, professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University. His area specialization is on contemporary European philosophy, particularly Heidegger and French thought from approximately 1960 to the present.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
Analytic Theology Summer School & Conference in Innsbruck (Austria)
Summer School: July 24 – August 2, 2014
Conference: August 4, 2014 – August 6, 2014
In recent decades, an increasing number of philosophers in the analytic tradition have begun to produce exciting philosophical work on topics relating directly to systematic theology. The Analytic Theology Project is a multinational four-year endeavor that contributes to this development in a creative way. The project funds systematic research promoting a long overdue interdisciplinary cooperation between analytic philosophers and theologians. It thus explores the intersection of both fields and seeks to establish links between the traditions of classical European theology and analytic thinking. Against this background the project is organizing a summer school (with a call for papers) and an international conference on Divine Action in the World. The language of both events is English.
A basic claim of theistic belief systems is that God engages in relationship with his creation. One way to understand this relationship is provided by talk about God’s actions. This includes not only his creating, sustaining, and bringing to perfection of the world, but also his intervention in the course of its history. Talk of God’s action in the world, however, is open to many interpretations, since it raises numerous questions about the causal structure of reality, laws of nature, and human free will. Coming to grips with these and similar questions is crucial for properly engaging with any theistic belief system. In our conference, internationally renowned philosophers and theologians will discuss these questions and give new and innovative answers.
In my view, the cosmological argument from contingency is the most powerful philosophical argument for the existence of God. By a ‘philosophical’ argument, in this context, I mean a way of giving reasons for something that does not depend on detailed empirical investigation, or on idiosyncratic features of a particular individual’s experience or psychology. Thus I do not hold that the argument from contingency is the best reason anyone has for believing in God. I think, for instance, that some people have had religious experiences which provide them with stronger reasons than the argument from contingency could, even making very generous assumptions about their ability to grasp the argument.
This belief of mine, about the relative strengths of the arguments, goes rather against the grain of current discussions. I think the recent philosophy of religion literature overestimates the power of the fine-tuning argument and the first cause argument, and underestimates the power of the argument from contingency.
As part of its fall open submission cycle, the John Templeton Foundation welcomes online funding inquiries in the areas of philosophy and theology. The submission window is August 1 to October 1, 2013. Proposed philosophical projects need not have religion or theology as a focus. To submit an online funding inquiry, please visit http://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/our-grantmaking-process.
Please note that the Templeton Foundation does not normally provide dissertation fellowships through this open submission process. For more information on the kinds of projects that the Foundation can support, visithttp://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/core-funding-areas/science-and-the-big-questions.
A list of Foundation grants in the areas of philosophy and theology can be found here: http://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/grant-search/results/taxonomy%3A5
Call for Proposals and Applications:
Saint Louis University announces a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation to explore the subject of intellectual humility. The project will focus on a variety of philosophical and theological issues relevant to the topic of intellectual humility, including: virtue epistemology; regulative epistemology; peer disagreement; intellectual humility, intellectual autonomy and deference to authority; religious pluralism; divine hiddenness; intellectual humility and theological method; biases, heuristics, dual-process theories and evolution; intersubjectivity and mind reading.
This project will fund a variety of activities, including a competition for up to 16 research grants in philosophy and theology, for research between June 2014 to May 2015.
26th of Aug.-06th Sept. 2013 at Mainz
Philosophical Perspectives on Theological Realism
Call for Papers
In recent decades, an increasing number of philosophers in the so called “analytic tradition” have begun to produce exciting philosophical work on topics belonging traditionally to the provenance of systematic theology. The Analytic Theology Project is a multinational four-year endeavor that contributes to this development in a creative way. It funds systematic research to promote long overdue interdisciplinary cooperation among analytic philosophers and theologians. All research initiatives aim at examining the traditional questions of theology from the perspectives of contemporary Christian theology and analytic philosophy. In this way new advances at the intersection of both fields shall be explored. Moreover, the project will critically reflect on possible limits of analytic approaches and will consider the value of complementary philosophical approaches for theological research.
Among the main grant activities for achieving the goals of the project are three 10-day Summer Schools, the first of which has been carried out successfully at Munich in 2012. These seminars provide younger scholars with a survey of methods of analytic philosophy and theology as well as training in key topics in Analytic Theology. In addition the seminars aim to develop professional relationships among younger scholars in the interest of long-term collaboration and mutual intellectual support as their careers progress.
Call for Papers
Workshop on Religious Epistemology and the Safety Condition for Knowledge
Oxford University 12 & 13 June 2013
The New Insights and Directions in Religious Epistemology project at Oxford University invites the submission of papers related to the application of the safety condition for knowledge to any question in the philosophy of religion or analytic theology.
Keynote Speakers: Timothy Williamson (Oxford)
Duncan Pritchard (Edinburgh)
Papers should be suitable for blind review and be no longer than 4000 words in length. Submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter including the name, affiliation, and contact details of the author.
Papers should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submission deadline is 15 April, 2013.
Partial funding is available to support travel and accommodation expenses for speakers.
Further details of the New Insights project can be found at www.newinsights.ox.ac.uk
This workshop is made possible by the John Templeton Foundation
The Philosophy Department at Fordham University has announced its three-year “Varieties of Understanding” project lead by Stephen Grimm.
The project will sponsor research in psychology, philosophy, and theology that will examine the various ways in which human beings understand the world, how these various types of understanding might be improved, and how they might be combined with one another to produce an integrated understanding of the world.
For more details, and for information on how to apply for funding, please see the project website: www.varietiesofunderstanding.com
The project is supported by a 3.56 million dollar grant from the John Templeton Foundation, with additional support from the Henry Luce Foundation, Fordham University, and the University of California, Berkeley.