Philosophy of religion, as practiced by religious believers, is often confused with apologetics. (Perhaps it is even so confused, on occasion, by some of its practitioners.) Indeed, if we use the term ‘apologetics’ more broadly, to include not just the giving of an apologia (defense) of religion, but of just any belief system, then we could say that philosophy in general is often confused with apologetics. This is, I think, a serious mistake. The philosopher, qua philosopher, is up to something quite different than the apologist, qua apologist. The ‘qua’ clauses are necessary, because of course the same person may engage in both philosophy and apologetics and, as will emerge, it is even possible to do both at the same time, but as activities they have fundamentally different aims. I will try, in this post, to clarify this difference and explain why it matters.
On behalf of Professor Godehard Bruentrup:
Participation by application only (limited availability)
Submit your registration to: analytic.theology(at)hfph.de
Successful registration is completed only after receiving a confirmation email from the conference organizers. No advance payments necessary.
Conference fee: 60 Euros (reduced rate for students 30 Euros).
There is a limited number of rooms available in the conference center (FÃ¼rstenried Palace). 73 Euros per night, including meals. Ask for reservation of a room with your registration.
Payment will be made upon arrival at the registration desk.
Apply early, availability is strictly limited!
As part of its spring open submission cycle, the John Templeton Foundation welcomes online funding inquiries in the areas of philosophy and theology. The submission window is February 1 to April 16, 2012. 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, visit http://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
Details here. Looks like the kind of thing those who work in philosophical theology could compete for.
I got back last night from the third LOGOS conference (and there’s more to come), which was hosted this year by Notre Dame and organized by Mike Rea and his team as part of the Analytic Theology Project. The general theme was Scripture, Revelation, and Canon, and more specifically, the question was posed whether (very roughly, cut me some slack here) the methods analytic philosophers apply when doing, for relevant example, philosophical theology, can be fruitfully applied in broader horizons within theology, especially to the more specific topics of the conference.
An example of this kind of research project can be found in Crisp and Rea’s _Analytic Theology: New Essays in Philosophical Theology. (As far as I know, Mike Rea coined the term.) In his key note speech William J. “Billy” Abraham issued a grave but friendly challenge to the project of analytic theology. It included a raft of challenges facing analytic theologians (I’ll see if I can’t get Billy to put up a draft). He was explicit that he was not at all suggesting that these challenges couldn’t be met–in fact he seemed to be optimistic about it–but they are still bridges that must be crossed on the way to building a viable analytic theology. I think many of them have in fact already been met in the process of developing the philosophical theology of the last few decades. I’ll wait to comment more on that until I can see if I can get a draft of Billy’s paper. But I think the main challenge is this–and this may overlap considerably with Billy’s concerns.
Analytic philosophers have made great strides in their treatment of core theological issues such as the trinity and incarnation. But it is time to branch out to concerns which might be even more complex in a way: revelation, inspiration, the normativity of tradition, and the individuation of ecclesial bodies. Swinburne is the only analytic philosopher/theologian who has treated any of these issues in much detail that I can think of (please post other instances you are aware of). Most analytic philosophers reject flat-footed verbal plenary inspiration, but what do they put in its place? These are the sorts of questions which were treated at LOGOS and which need to be treated in the next several decades of analytic theology.
[MM: See William Abraham’s Turning Philosophical Water into Theological Wine]
In case you missed it, Tom Senor reviews Moser’s The Evidence For God: Religious Knowledge Reexamined for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
…The Evidence for God is daring and provocative. Among the important topics it deals with are naturalism, fideism, natural theology, and the role that volition plays in our ascertaining evidence of God’s existence.
The book begins with a parable around which the entire monograph revolves. Imagine that you are hiking in a vast and remote wilderness area that is accessible only to hikers. To your great dismay, you discover that you are hopelessly lost: you have no method of determining either your exact location or a promising route back to civilization. The woods are filled with dangers (e.g., poisonous snakes, hungry carnivores, and potentially freezing temperatures) and you have no means of communication with the outside world. Worse still, you have only a meager supply of food and water. You’ve had one bit of good fortune: you’ve come across an old, dilapidated shack that contains a barely functional ham radio. The battery in the radio still has a bit of juice, although you doubt it will last long once the radio is turned on. In short, your situation is dire but not hopeless. What is your best bet for survival?
You might have wondered whether the very useful Philosophy Updates service to which so many of us subscribe and which supplies daily announcements of conferences and calls for papers has principled policies about what sorts of conferences they will and will not announce. It turns out that they do, and it turns out that their policies exclude announcements of conferences like this one, from the Shalem Center in Jerusalem: Philosophical Investigation of Hebrew Bible, Talmud and Midrash. I emailed one of the moderators of Philosophy Updates to find out why they would not announce this conference. I was told that they try to avoid posting ads for conferences that appear to pertain more to theology than to philosophy, and that one part of the policy is to avoid posting ads for conferences that have an explicitly biblical or scriptural focus.
I wonder whether readers of Prosblogion are concerned, as I am, about this policy of excluding what seem to be legitimate (indeed, cutting edge) topics in philosophy of religion. Many of us would like to see philosophy of religion become more interdisciplinary, and also to begin to address a wider variety of philosophical issues arising in connection with religions other than Christianity. Conferences like the one advertised by the Shalem Center are an important part of this new wave. One wonders, too, how many conferences devoted to issues like divine inspiration or meta-theology would survive the cut, since they could easily appear to be ‘too theological’ or ‘too focused on scripture’. No doubt it is a difficult business moderating a service like Philosophy Updates; and the people who have devoted their time–without compensation, as far as I am aware–to that task surely deserve our gratitude. But I, for one, am hopeful that they will find a way to continue what they are doing in a way that would allow them to advertise conferences like this one without taking on too much added burden.
HBU INAUGURAL PHILOSOPHY CONFERENCE
THE VIRTUE REVOLUTION: THE HISTORY OF VIRTUE IN PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY
APRIL 8-9, 2011
Keynote Speaker: David Solomon (University of Notre Dame)
The Philosophy Department at HBU invites papers addressing the topic of virtue in the history of philosophy and theology. We welcome papers on the role of virtue in ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, theology and the history of philosophy. In addition, we will happily consider papers on any philosophical topic. The Philosophy Department at HBU encourages papers from both analytic and continental traditions.
To submit a paper, please send an abstract of between 150-300 words to Dr. Jeff Green at email@example.com. Abstracts should be in an electronic format and prepared for blind review. Participants will have 30-40 minutes to present their papers.
The deadline for submission is January 31, with notification of acceptance by March 1.
In an effort to support excellence in undergraduate philosophy education, some sessions have been reserved for undergraduate paper submissions. Undergraduate students are encouraged to apply by sending a completed paper by January 31 to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to announce that two stipends of $250 each will be available for the best undergraduate papers submitted. Please indicate in your submission that you would like to be considered for this award. HBU students are not eligible for this award.
Dr. David Solomon, W.P. and H.B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame, will be the keynote speaker. His first address, titled “The Virtue Revolution: Moral Philosophy and Cultural Change,” will be on Friday, April 8 at 7:00 pm. The second, titled “Can Virtue Guide Action?,” will be on Saturday, April 9 at 11:30 am. Both talks will be in Belin Chapel on the campus of Houston Baptist University.
Questions? Contact Jeff Green at email@example.com
Oxford University’s M.Phil. and M.St. in Philosophical Theology are programs in analytic philosophy of religion run out of the theology faculty. The M.St. involves a term in philosophy of religion and one in the history of philosophical theology; the M.Phil. adds a further term in philosophy or in the history of theology. Teaching in each subject is by 1:1 tutorial, though students can also attend all lecture-courses and seminars they wish. Tutoring in philosophy of religion is by Brian Leftow. Other Oxford philosophers who have written in or teach the subject include John Hawthorne, Derek Parfit, TJ Mawson, Roger Trigg, Ralph Walker, AW Moore, Tim Bayne, William Mander, Stephen Mulhall and Pamela Anderson. Teaching of other philosophy subjects is by members of the philosophy faculty; teaching in theology subjects draws on Oxford’s strengths in Patristics and 19th-century theology.
The M.Phil. has had good success as a “feeder” Master’s. Since 2002, all students with high marks have gone on to doctoral work in philosophy. Recent graduates are currently at Oxford, Stanford, Notre Dame and Cornell, and have also been offered places by Rutgers, Berkeley, Chapel Hill, UCLA and Yale.
For further information on these courses of study, see the Oxford Theology website or contact Theology’s Director of Graduate Studies (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Brian Leftow (email@example.com).
Recent PhDs and current graduate students in philosophy, theology, or religious studies are invited to apply to participate in the 2011 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology. Twenty participants will be selected; each will receive a stipend of $2,900 and will be provided with accommodations and meals for the duration of the seminar. (Regrettably, funding for travel costs cannot be provided.) Click here for more seminar information and application guidelines.