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Profile: Bruce Reichenbach (Augsburg College)
  1. Bruce Reichenbach (1984). The Divine Command Theory and Objective Good. In Rocco Porreco (ed.), Georgetown Symposium on Ethics. University Press of America 219-233.
    I reply to criticisms of the divine command theory with an eye to noting the relation of ethics to an ontological ground. The criticisms include: the theory makes the standard of right and wrong arbitrary, it traps the defender of the theory in a vicious circle, it violates moral autonomy, it is a relic of our early deontological state of moral development. I then suggest how Henry Veatch's view of good as an ontological feature of the world provides a context (...)
     
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  2. Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach & David Basinger (2008). Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. OUP USA.
    What is the status of belief in God? Must a rational case be made or can such belief be properly basic? Is it possible to reconcile the concept of a good God with evil and suffering? In light of great differences among religions, can only one religion be true? The most comprehensive work of its kind, Reason and Religious Belief, now in its fourth edition, explores these and other perennial questions in the philosophy of religion. Drawing from the best in (...)
     
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  3. Bruce Reichenbach (2014). God and Good Revisited: A Case for Contingency. Philosophia Christi 16 (2):319-338.
    Treatments of God's goodness almost always appeal to the traditional Christian doctrine that God is necessarily good, but this introduces the question whether God's goodness properly can be understood as necessary. After considering an ontological conception of God's goodness, I propose that God's goodness is better understood as satisfying six criteria involving moral virtue, intellectual virtue, right actions, right motives, freedom of choice, and freedom of choice with respect to the rightness of the action. I defend the result -- that (...)
     
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  4. Bruce Reichenbach (2004). Explanation and the Cosmological Argument. In Michael Peterson & Raymond vanArragon (eds.), Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Religion. 97-114.
    After writing about the need for explanation and types of explanations, I present three cosmological arguments: the argument from contingency, the kalam cosmological argument, and the inductive argument from the inference to the best explanation. I respond to major objections to each of them.
     
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  5.  41
    Bruce Reichenbach (1976). Natural Evils and Natural Laws. International Philosophical Quarterly 16 (2):179-196.
    CRITIQUES OF THEODICIES FOR NATURAL EVIL, DERIVED FROM NATURAL LAWS, SUGGEST TWO REQUIREMENTS THAT A SUCCESSFUL THEODICY PURPORTEDLY MUST SATISFY. REQUIREMENT (1)-- THAT THE THEIST MUST SHOW THAT IT IS CONTRADICTORY OR ABSURD FOR GOD TO INTERVENE IN THE WORLD IN A MIRACULOUS FASHION TO ELIMINATE NATURAL EVIL--IS MET BY SHOWING THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO CREATE A WORLD GOVERNED BY DIVINE MIRACULOUS INTERVENTION. AS FOR REQUIREMENT (2) -- THAT THE THEIST MUST SHOW THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR (...)
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  6.  39
    Bruce Reichenbach (2010). Religious Realism. In Melville Stewart (ed.), Science and Religion in Dialogue. Wiley-Blackwell 1034--1052.
    In "Religious Realism," I trace the realism/nonrealism debate in religion, arguing that although religions are psychological and sociological phenomena, they make truth-claims about reality. I develop the epistemic religious nonrealism of Buddhism an contrast it with Christian realism, focusing particularly on Thomas Morris's treatment of the incarnation. In the end I argument that realism matters because of the content of religion, the importance of making truth claims, and for resolving the human predicament.
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  7.  38
    Bruce Reichenbach (2010). Scientific Realism. In Melville Stewart (ed.), Science and Religion in Dialogue. Wiley-Blackwell 1011--1033.
    In "Scientific Realism" I lay out the debate between scientific realism and nonrealism, developing arguments for the respective positions,assessing the views, and ultimately defending realism on the grounds that nonrealists fail to provide an explanation for why science and its predictions work.
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  8.  29
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1982). Evil and a Good God. Fordham University Press.
    I argue that the atheological claim that the existence of pain and suffering either contradicts or makes improbable God's existence or his possession of certain critical properties cannot be sustained. The construction of a theodicy for both moral and natural evils is the focus of the central part of the book. In the final chapters I analyze the concept of the best possible world and the properties of goodness and omnipotence insofar as they are predicated of God.
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  9.  31
    Bruce Reichenbach (2010). Experience and the Unobservable. In Melville Stewart (ed.), Science and Religion in Dialogue. Wiley-Blackwell 1053--1077.
    In "Experience and the Unobservable" I argue that scientific and religious theories generate ideas or experiments about new data that can be used to discriminate between and test theories, and that a pragmatist account of truth can be used to supplement the correspondence account of truth. I note that science uses "observation differently than does philosophy, and that religion's use of "observation" is closer to that of science than of philosophy.
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  10.  42
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1970). Divine Necessity and the Cosmological Argument. The Monist 54 (3):401-415.
    An analysis of the use of "necessary" in the cosmological argument reveals that the criticism of it, i.e., that its conclusion is self-contradictory because no existential proposition can be logically necessary, is due to the mistaken contention that the necessity involved is logical rather than conditional necessity.
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  11.  29
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1980). Mavrodes on Omnipotence. Philosophical Studies 37 (2):211 - 214.
    In an earlier issue of "Philosophical Studies" George Mavrodes provided a general definition of omnipotence. I argue that his general definition is inadequate because it fails to exclude from being omnipotent beings who have finite abilities but who possess their limited abilities necessarily.
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  12.  50
    Bruce Reichenbach (2012). Religious Experience as an Observational Epistemic Practice. Sophia 51 (1):1-16.
    William Alston proposed an understanding of religious experience modeled after the triadic structure of sense perception. However, a perceptual model falters because of the unobservability of God as the object of religious experience. To reshape Alston’s model of religious experience as an observational practice we utilize Dudley Shapere’s distinction between the philosophical use of ‘observe’ in terms of sensory perception and scientists’ epistemic use of ‘observe’ as being evidential by providing information or justification leading to knowledge. This distinction helps us (...)
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  13.  44
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1999). Inclusivism and the Atonement. Faith and Philosophy 16 (1):43-54.
    Richard Swinburne claims that Christ’s death has no efficacy unless people appropriate it. According to religious inclusivists, God can be encountered and his grace manifested in various ways through diverse religions. Salvation is available for everyone, regardless of whether they have heard about Christ’s sacrifice. This poses the question whether Swinburne’s view of atonement is available to the inclusivist. I develop an inclusivist interpretation of the atonement that incorporates his four features of atonement, along with a subjective dimension that need (...)
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  14.  21
    Bruce Reichenbach (1987). Hasker on Omniscience. Faith and Philosophy 4 (1):86-92.
    I contend that William Hasker’s argument to show omniscience incompatible with human freedom trades on an ambiguity between altering and bringing about the past, and that it is the latter only which is invoked by one who thinks they are compatible. I then use his notion of precluding circumstances to suggest that what gives the appearance of our inability to freely bring about the future (and hence that omniscience is incompatible with freedom) is that, from God’s perspective of foreknowledge, it (...)
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  15.  46
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1987). Euthanasia and the Active-Passive Distinction. Bioethics 1 (1):51-73.
    I consider four recently suggested difference between killing and letting die as they apply to active and passive euthanasia : taking vs. taking no action; intending vs. not intending the death of the person; the certainty of the result vs. leaving the situation open to other possible alternative events; and dying from unnatural vs. natural causes. The first three fail to constitute clear differences between killing and letting die, and "ex posteriori" cannot constitute morally significant differences. The last constitutes a (...)
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  16.  24
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1979). Must God Create the Best Possible World? International Philosophical Quarterly 19 (2):203-212.
    I ARGUE THAT THE NOTION OF THE BEST POSSIBLE WORLD IS MEANINGLESS AND THEREFORE A CHIMERA, BECAUSE FOR ANY WORLD WHICH MIGHT BE SO DESIGNATED, THERE COULD ALWAYS BE ANOTHER WHICH WAS BETTER, EITHER IN BEING POPULATED BY BEINGS WITH BETTER OR A GREATER QUANTITY OF GOOD CHARACTERISTICS, OR ELSE BY BEING MORE OPTIMIFIC.
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  17.  36
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1975). The Cosmological Argument and the Causal Principle. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (3):185 - 190.
    I reply to Houston Craighead, who presents two arguments against my version of the cosmological argument. First, he argues that my arguments in defense of the causal principle in terms of the existence being accidental to an essence is fallacious because it begs the question. I respond that the objection itself is circular, and that it invokes the questionable contention that what is conceivable is possible. Against my contention that the causal principle might be intuitively known, I reply to his (...)
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  18.  26
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1988). The Law of Karma and the Principle of Causation. Philosophy East and West 38 (4):399-410.
    If, as I argue, the law of karma is a special application of the causal law to moral causation, then one has to account for the differences between the two laws. One possibility is to distinguish between "phalas" (immediate effects actions produce in the world) and "samskaras" (invisible dispositions or tendencies to act or think), and to suggest that karma produces the latter but not the former. This subjectivist account, however, raises questions concerning the relation between a person's "samskaras" and (...)
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  19.  14
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1984). Omniscience and Deliberation. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 16 (3):225 - 236.
    I argue that if deliberation is incompatible with (fore)knowing what one is going to do at the time of the deliberation, then God cannot deliberate. However, this thesis cannot be used to show either that God cannot act intentionally or that human persons cannot deliberate. Further, I have suggested that though omniscience is incompatible with deliberation, it is not incompatible with either some speculation or knowing something on the grounds of inference.
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  20.  12
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1981). The Deductive Argument From Evil. Sophia 20 (1):221--227.
    First, I consider J.L. Mackie's deductive argument from evil, noting that required modifications to his premises, especially those dealing with what it is to be a good person and omnipotence, do not entail that God would be required to eliminate evil completely. Hence, no contradiction exists between God's existence, possession of certain properties, and the existence of evil. Second I evaluate McCloskey's arguments against reasons for evil often suggested by the theist: that evil is a means to achieving the good, (...)
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  21.  30
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (2006). Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing. [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 23 (1):107-111.
    I review Copan's and Craig's book, in which they present the kalam cosmological argument for God's existence, and Rundle's book refuting the existence of God. The latter argues that theological language has no empirical cash value and hence cannot assist in explanation. Further, since the only genuine substances are material, there is no place for God in explaining the universe. The universe simply necessarily is.
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  22. Bruce Reichenbach (1987). Buddhism, Karma, and Immortality. In Paaul Badham & Linda Badham (eds.), Death and Immortality in the Religions of the World. Paragon House Publishers 141-157.
    I first discuss the Buddhist concept of the self as lying between nihilism and substantialism, understood in terms of sets of skandhas and later momentariness. I then discuss the role of karma as a causal nexus that brings the skandhas into a state of co-ordination and whether this role is subjective or objective. Finally, I discuss the import of this view that there is no substantial self but only momentary events of various discrete sorts on the meaning and possibility of (...)
     
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  23. Bruce Reichenbach (1981). William Lane Craig: "The Kalam Cosmological Argument". [REVIEW] The Thomist 45 (2):338.
    Reviews William Craig's book, "The Kalam Cosmological Argument," which first gives the Islamic background to the kalam argument and then develops Craig's own modernization of the argument, using both philosophical and scientific sources.
     
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  24. Bruce R. Reichenbach (1972). The Cosmological Argument: A Reassessment. Springfield, Ill.,Thomas.
    The book adapts St. Thomas's Third Way of demonstrating the existence of God in light of contemporary issues in philosophy. Major topics in this study are causation, the principles of causation and sufficient reason, logical and real necessity, causation of the cosmos, and non-dependency of the cosmological on the ontological argument.
     
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  25.  9
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1978). Monism and the Possibility of Life After Death. Religious Studies 14 (1):27 - 34.
    Two objections have been raised against the re-creationist thesis that the individual human person can be re-created after death. The objection that the re-created person would not be the same person as the deceased because he would lack spatial-temporal continuity with that person I answer by showing that spatial-temporal continuity with that person is not a necessary condition for all cases of personal identity. To the objection that the decision to call the re-created individual the same as the deceased either (...)
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  26.  17
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1989). Karma, Causation, and Divine Intervention. Philosophy East and West 39 (2):135-149.
    I explore various ways in which the karma we create is believed to affect our environment, which in turn is instrumental in rewarding or punishing us according to our just deserts. I argue that the problem of explaining naturalistically the causal operation of the law of karma and of accounting for the precise moral calculation it requires point to the necessity of a theistic administrator. But this option faces a serious dilemma when attempting to specify the relation of God to (...)
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  27. Bruce R. Reichenbach (1990). The Law of Karma a Philosophical Study. Macmillan Press and University of Hawaii Press.
    The book examines what advocates of the law of karma mean by the doctrine, various ways they interpret it, and how they see it operating. The study investigates and critically evaluates the law of karma's connections to significant philosophical concepts like causation, freedom, God, persons, the moral law, liberation, and immortality. For example, it explores in depth the implications of the doctrine for whether we are free or fatalistically determined, whether human suffering can be reconciled with cosmic justice, the nature (...)
     
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  28.  10
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1988). Evil and a Reformed View of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 24 (1/2):67 - 85.
    Generally the theist's defense against the argument from evil invokes the libertarian ideal. But this route is not open to compatibilist Reformed theologians. They must show either that God's possibly creating humans with a more perfect nature is either an impossibility or that his doing so violates some fundamental principle of value. I argue that the compatibilist Reformed theologian is unsuccessful in both. Specifically, in the latter case, there is no ground for thinking that redemption and its associated evil (as (...)
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  29.  21
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (2010). The Triumph of God Over Evil; Problems of Evil and the Power of God. [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 27 (2):212-218.
    I review two contrasting books. Whereas Hasker constructs what he takes to be a successful theodicy, invoking an eschatology where there will be a world of fulfilled human lives engulfed in intimacy with God, Keller undertakes a critique not only of the free-will/soul-making theodicy, but of a more broadly conceived problem of evil, including issues of divine hiddenness and miracles.
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  30.  5
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1978). Monism and the Possibility of Life After Death: BRUCE R. REICHENBACH. Religious Studies 14 (1):27-34.
    Traditionally, when persons were viewed as a psycho-physical unity, life after death was deemed quite impossible, particularly in the face of universal human mortality and inevitable bodily corruption. However, some modern anthropologically monistic philosophers, including most notably John Hick, have argued that life after death is possible Two objections have been raised against the re-creationist thesis that the individual human person can be re-created after death. The objection that the re-created person would not be the same person as the deceased (...)
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  31.  2
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1992). On Obligations to Future Generations. Public Affairs Quarterly 6 (2):207-225.
    I argue that "obligation" is a referential notion, flowing from actual or potential relationships. Applied to future persons, our relationship with them is established by virtue of the significant effects that our acts will have on them, and this in turn provides the basis of our obligation to them. Referential problems arise particularly in the types of cases where alternative acts bring different people into existence, for here there is no clear referent of the obligation. In such cases a theistic (...)
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  32.  8
    Bruce Reichenbach (1980). Basinger on Reichenbach and the Best Possible World. International Philosophical Quarterly 20 (3):343-345.
    I reply to David Basinger who, in an article printed in the same issue, develops objections to my original argument (IPQ XIX, 203-212) that it makes no sense to inquire whether God could create the best possible world since the concept of a best possible world is a meaningless notion. I argue that if the number of possible worlds is infinite, there cannot be an upper limit to this order, and without an upper limit, there can be no best possible (...)
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  33.  16
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (2002). Body and Soul. [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 19 (1):112-116.
    A review of Moreland and Rae's defense of Thomistic anthropological substance dualism and its application to issues in medical ethics such as physician assisted suicide, patients in a persistent vegetative state, comatose people, and anencephalic infants.
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  34. Bruce Reichenbach (1978). Is Man the Phoenix? A Study of Immortality. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
    TWO QUESTIONS BASIC TO THE STUDY OF PERSONAL IMMORTALITY ARE EXPLORED. FIRST, WHAT MUST HUMAN PERSONS BE LIKE IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE POSSIBLE THAT THEY CAN LIVE SUBSEQUENT TO THEIR DEATH? BOTH PLURALISTIC AND MONISTIC ACCOUNTS OF THE HUMAN PERSON ARE PRESENTED, EVALUATED IN DETAIL, AND SHOWN TO BE COMPATIBLE WITH THE ASSERTION OF PERSONAL LIFE AFTER DEATH. IN ANSWERING THE SECOND QUESTION--WHAT GOOD REASONS CAN BE GIVEN FOR MAINTAINING A BELIEF IN LIFE AFTER DEATH--I EVALUATE BOTH PHILOSOPHICAL (...)
     
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  35.  5
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1993). The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Philosophy 31 (1):133-135.
    Review of Zagzebski's book, which develops a defense of the position that freedom is compatible with divine foreknowledge. After critiquing previous attempts at reconciliation, including Boethius, Ockham, and Molina, she develops her own view that the relation between God's knowledge and human existence must accord with human models of knowing.
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  36.  16
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1997). The Problem of Hell. [REVIEW] International Studies in Philosophy 29 (2):134-136.
    This review of Jonathan Kvanvig's "The Problem of Hell" notes his rejection of the strong thesis that God consigns people to eternal hell. Rather, he argues that since God is good, he will want to preserve both being and rational choice, and that the burden of choosing to be with God or to not to exist is our choice.
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  37.  17
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1980). The Inductive Argument From Evil. American Philosophical Quarterly 17 (3):221 - 227.
    First I employ Bayes's Theorem to give some precision to the atheologian's thesis that it is improbable that God exists given the amount of evil in the world (E). Two arguments result from this: (1) E disconfirms God's existence, and (2) E tends to disconfirm God's existence. Secondly, I evaluate these inductive arguments, suggesting against (1) that the atheologian has abstracted from and hence failed to consider the total evidence, and against (2) that the atheologian's evidence adduced to support his (...)
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  38.  14
    Bruce Reichenbach (1988). Fatalism and Freedom. International Philosophical Quarterly 28 (3):271-285.
    I critique one recent argument for theological fatalism as confusing bringing about with altering the past. Questions remain concerning the basis for God's beliefs about the future. I evaluate two. One, which appeals to middle knowledge, faces several problems, including specifying how propositions of middle knowledge are true and how God can have this knowledge. The other, which contends that one can in certain cases bring about the past, I clarify and defend. Finally, I explore the implications of both views (...)
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  39.  3
    Bruce Reichenbach (1980). Why Is God Good? Journal of Religion 60 (1):51-66.
    I explore two positions on divine goodness: God is good because of his nature or is good because of his acts. The first is advanced by Thomas Aquinas through two basic arguments: that God is good because of his being as pure act, and that God is good because of God's desirableness. Goodness predicated because of being runs into conflict with divine freedom. The second leads to the view that God freely wills to do the good and as such could, (...)
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  40.  8
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1987). Philosophy and Miracle. [REVIEW] International Philosophical Quarterly 27 (4):454-456.
    Review of David and Randall Basinger's "Philosophy and Miracle," in which they discuss the definition of miracle, the possibility of miracles, recognition of miracles, and the role of miracles in the problem of evil.
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  41.  15
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (2003). The Hermeneutic Circle and Authoral Intention in Divine Revelation. Sophia 42 (1):47-59.
    In his recent book on revelation, Jorge Gracia rejects the authorial intention view of textual interpretation, arguing that the only interpretation that makes sense for texts regarded as divinely revealed is theological interpretation. Both his position and the authorial view face the problem of the Hermeneutical Circle. I contend that the arguments he provides in his own defense do not successfully avoid the circularity present in his own view. His thesis about expected behavior might provide resources for a solution, but (...)
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  42.  2
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1975). Books in Review. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (3):191.
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  43.  6
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1979). Price, Hick, and Disembodied Existence. Religious Studies 15 (3):317 - 325.
    In his "Death and Eternal Life" John Hick criticizes H.H. Price's view of disembodied existence after death on the grounds that (1) Price cannot consistently hold that this world is a public or semi-public world, the joint product of a group of telepathically-interacting minds, and that this world is formed by the power of individual desire, and (2) in a world that is the product of the individual's desires, moral progress is impossible. I argue that there is no contradiction in (...)
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  44.  5
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1988). The Only Wise God. [REVIEW] International Philosophical Quarterly 28 (3):340-342.
    Review of William Lane Craig's "The Only Wise God," in which he defends divine foreknowledge by invoking God's middle knowledge.
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  45.  1
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1979). Price, Hick, and Disembodied Existence: BRUCE R. REICHENBACH. Religious Studies 15 (3):317-325.
    In an attempt to make the idea of surviving one's own death in a disembodied state intelligible, H. H. Price has presented a possible description of what the afterlife might be like for a disembodied self or consciousness. Price suggests that the world of the disembodied self might be a kind of dream or image world. In it he would replace his present sense-perception by activating his image-producing powers, which are now inhibited by their continuous bombardment by sensory stimuli, to (...)
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  46.  3
    Bruce R. Reichenbach (1982). On Disembodied Resurrected Persons: A Reply. Religious Studies 18 (2):225 - 229.
    In reply to P. Gooch ("Religious Studies, 17), who contends that it "is legitimate to conclude that a Pauline resurrection body is ontologically the same as a disembodied real person," I argue that he has failed to establish his view, either by his analysis of "soma" or of Paul's seed analogy in I Corinthians 15, and further that this identification is inconsistent with the Pauline concept of a future resurrection.
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  47.  3
    Bruce Reichenbach (1994). Kenneth C. Bailey 1924-1993. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 67 (4):135 - 136.
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  48. Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach & David Basinger (2014). Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings. Oxford University Press Usa.
    Incorporating twelve new readings, Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, Fifth Edition, presents eighty-two selections grouped into fourteen thematic sections, providing instructors with great flexibility in organizing their courses. While it deals primarily with the Western and analytic traditions in philosophy, the book also incorporates readings representing continental, Asian, and Islamic perspectives. The selections are enhanced by substantial section introductions, study questions, suggested readings, and an extensive glossary at the end of the book. The fifth edition includes a new section, "Atheism (...)
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  49. Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach & David Basinger (2006). Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings. OUP Usa.
    The new, third edition of Philosophy of Religion: Selected Reading includes 74 classic and contemporary readings on the subject, including 13 new essays. It covers the standard subjects but also tackles more unusual topics often requested by instructors. Although the focus of the book is on the Western tradition, it also includes continental, feminist, and Asian writings.
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  50. Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach & David Basinger (2012). Reason & Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press Usa.
    Reason and Religious Belief, now in its fifth edition, explores perennial questions in the philosophy of religion. Drawing from the best in both classical and contemporary discussions, the authors examine religious experience, faith and reason, the divine attributes, arguments for and against the existence of God, divine action, Reformed epistemology, religious language, religious diversity, and religion and science.Revised and updated to reflect current philosophical discourse, the fifth edition offers new material on neuro-theology, the "new Atheism," the intelligent design movement, theistic (...)
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