69 found
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  1. Immortality and Meaning: Reflections on the Makropulos Debate: Mikel Burley.Mikel Burley - 2009 - Philosophy 84 (4):529-547.
    This article reflects upon the debate, initiated by Bernard Williams in 1973, concerning the desirability of immortality, where the latter expression is taken to mean endless bodily life as a human or humanoid being. Williams contends that it cannot be desirable; others have disputed this contention. I discuss a recent response from Timothy Chappell and attempt to pinpoint the central disagreement between Chappell and Williams. I propose that neither side in the debate has firm grounds for its claims, and then (...)
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  2.  33
    Thickening Description: Towards an Expanded Conception of Philosophy of Religion.Mikel Burley - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (1):3-19.
    An increasingly common complaint about philosophy of religion—especially, though not exclusively, as it is pursued in the “analytic tradition”—is that its preoccupation with questions of rationality and justification in relation to “theism” has deflected attention from the diversity of forms that religious life takes. Among measures proposed for ameliorating this condition has been the deployment of “thick description” that facilitates more richly contextualized understandings of religious phenomena. Endorsing and elaborating this proposal, I provide an overview of different but related notions (...)
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  3. Immortality and Boredom: A Response to Wisnewski.Mikel Burley - 2009 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (2):77-85.
    This article contributes to the ongoing debate initiated by Bernard Williams’ claim that, due to the non-contingent finitude of the categorical desires that give meaning to our lives, an immortal life would necessarily become intolerably boring. Jeremy Wisnewski has argued that even if immortality involves periods in which our categorical desires have been exhausted, this need not divest life of meaning since some categorical desires are revivable. I argue that careful reflection upon the thought-experiments adduced by Wisnewski reveals that they (...)
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  4.  26
    Religious Diversity and Conceptual Schemes: Critically Appraising Internalist Pluralism.Mikel Burley - 2019 - Sophia 58 (2):283-299.
    Is a philosophical theory needed to ‘underwrite’ attitudes of toleration and respect in a multicultural and religiously diverse world? Many philosophers of religion have thought so, including Victoria Harrison. This article interrogates Harrison’s theory of internalist pluralism, which, though offering a welcome alternative to other theories, such as John Hick’s ‘pluralistic hypothesis’, nevertheless faces problems. Questioning the coherence of the theory’s account of how the existence of objects of worship can avoid being fully conceptual-scheme dependent, and raising doubts about its (...)
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  5.  28
    Narrative philosophy of religion: apologetic and pluralistic orientations.Mikel Burley - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (1):5-21.
    Recent decades have witnessed a growing interest in narrative both in certain areas of philosophy and in the study of religion. The philosophy of religion has not itself been at the forefront of this narrative turn, but exceptions exist—most notably Eleonore Stump’s work on biblical stories and the problem of suffering. Characterizing Stump’s approach as an apologetic orientation, this article contrasts it with pluralistic orientations that, rather than seeking to defend religious faith, are concerned with doing conceptual justice to the (...)
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  6.  26
    Religious Pluralisms: From Homogenization to Radicality.Mikel Burley - 2018 - Sophia:1-21.
    Among the philosophical and theological responses to the phenomenon of religious diversity, religious pluralism has been both prominent and influential. Of its various proponents, John Hick and John Cobb represent two important figures whose respective positions, especially that of Hick, have done much to shape the debate over religious pluralism. This article critically analyses their positions, arguing that, by unhelpfully homogenizing religious perspectives, each of them fails to do justice to the radical diversity that exists. As an alternative to these (...)
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  7.  30
    Approaches to Philosophy of Religion: Contemplating the World or Trying to Find Our Way Home?Mikel Burley - 2015 - Religious Studies 51 (2):221-239.
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  8. Should a B‐Theoretic Atheist Fear Death?Mikel Burley - 2008 - Ratio 21 (3):260-272.
    This article discusses Robin Le Poidevin's proposal that a commitment to the B‐theory of time provides atheists with a reason to relinquish the fear of death. For the purposes of the article, I grant Le Poidevin's assertion that the B‐theory gives us a sense in which our lives are ‘eternally real’; but I deny that the B‐theorist is entitled to regard this as sufficient to furnish a reason to cease fearing death. This is because, according to the most prevalent B‐theoretic (...)
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  9. “The End of Immortality!” Eternal Life and the Makropulos Debate.Mikel Burley - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4):305-321.
    Responding to a well-known essay by Bernard Williams, philosophers have engaged in what I call “the Makropulos debate,” a debate over whether immortality—“living forever”—would be desirable for beings like us. Lacking a firm conceptual grounding in the religious contexts from which terms such as “immortality” and “eternal life” gain much of their sense, the debate has consisted chiefly in a battle of speculative fantasies. Having presented my four main reasons for this assessment, I examine an alternative and neglected conception, the (...)
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  10.  59
    Eternal Life as an Exclusively Present Possession: Perspectives From Theology and the Philosophy of Time.Mikel Burley - 2016 - Sophia 55 (2):145-161.
    Does it make sense to think of eternal life not as an unending continuation of life subsequent to death but as fully actualized in one’s present mortal and finite life? After outlining conceptual and moral reasons for being troubled by the notion of an endless life, this article draws upon the thought of major Christian theologians and philosophers of religion to expound the idea of eternal life as a possession exclusively of the life one is presently living. Supplementing the claims (...)
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  11. Retributive Karma and the Problem of Blaming the Victim.Mikel Burley - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (2):149-165.
    A defining feature of retributive conceptions of karma is their regarding of suffering or misfortune as consequent upon sins committed in previous lives. Some critical non-believers in karma take offence at this view, considering it to involve unjustly blaming the victim. Defenders of the view demur, and argue that a belief in retributive karma in fact provides a motivation for benevolent action. This article elucidates the debate, showing that its depth is such that it is best characterized as a disagreement (...)
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  12. Epicurus, Death, and the Wrongness of Killing.Mikel Burley - 2010 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):68-86.
    This article questions the assumption, held by several philosophers, that the Epicurean argument for death's being ?nothing to us? must be fallacious since its acceptance would undermine the principle that killing is (in general) wrong. Two possible strategies are considered, which the Epicurean-sympathizer might deploy in order to show that the non-badness of death (for the person who dies) is compatible with killing's being wrong. One of these is unsuccessful; the other is more promising. It involves arguing that the wrongness (...)
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  13.  72
    Emotion and Anecdote in Philosophical Argument: The Case of Havi Carel's Illness.Mikel Burley - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):33-48.
    Abstract: Critics of Havi Carel's 2008 book, Illness: The Cry of the Flesh, have contended that Carel's deployment of phenomenological philosophy adds little to commonsense views about illness and that Carel relies too heavily on emotion-laden autobiographical anecdotes. Against these contentions this article argues: first, that a perfectly respectable task of philosophy is to find reasons to support pre-existing beliefs; and secondly, that Carel's use of anecdotes, while certainly appealing to readers' emotions, constitutes part of a legitimate argumentative strategy. The (...)
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  14.  22
    Karma and Rebirth in the Stream of Thought and Life.Mikel Burley - 2014 - Philosophy East and West 64 (4):965-982.
    Only in the stream of thought and life do words have meaning. The belief in karma and rebirth, according to which actions performed in one lifetime bear fruit in a subsequent one, is widespread, some version of it being common among Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, and some other religious traditions. Ethnographic studies sometimes provide examples of how this belief manifests in people’s lives. For instance, fieldwork carried out by Richard and Candy Shweder in the eastern Indian town of Bhubaneswar yielded (...)
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  15.  82
    Classical Sāṃkhya and Yoga: An Indian Metaphysics of Experience.Mikel Burley - 2006 - Routledge.
    Samkhya and Yoga are two of the oldest and most influential systems of classical Indian philosophy. This book provides a thorough analysis of the systems in order to fully understand Indian philosophy. Placing particular emphasis on the metaphysical schema which underlies both concepts, the author aptly develops a new interpretation of the standard views on Samkhya and Yoga. Drawing upon existing sources and using insights from both eastern and western philosophy and religious practice, this comprehensive interpretation is respectful to the (...)
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  16.  99
    Believing in Reincarnation.Mikel Burley - 2012 - Philosophy 87 (2):261-279.
    Is it absurd to believe that, in the absence of bodily continuity, personal identity could be retained? Bernard Williams argued for an affirmative answer to this question partly on the basis of a well-known thought experiment. Some other philosophers, including D. Z. Phillips, have accepted, or appear to have accepted, Williams' conclusion.Yet the argument has the consequence of dismissing as absurd the sorts of reincarnation beliefs which, within their proper contexts, have a meaningful role in the lives of many millions (...)
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  17.  22
    Contemplating Evil.Mikel Burley - 2012 - Nordic Wittgenstein Review.
    Via a discussion of various ways in which putative descriptions or explanations can be deemed to be morally insensitive, this article investigates the role of “contemplation” in philosophy of religion and ethics, and especially in connection with the “problem of evil.” Focusing on the Wittgenstein-influenced methods of D. Z. Phillips, the question is considered whether a tension obtains between, on the one hand, a “contemplative conception of philosophy,” and on the other hand, the sort of critique of theodicy according to (...)
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  18. The B-Theory of Time and the Fear of Death.Mikel Burley - 2008 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):21-38.
    This paper discusses Robin Le Poidevin’s proposal that a commitment to the B-theory of time provides a reason to relinquish the fear of death. After outlining Le Poidevin’s views on time and death, I analyze the specific passages in which he makes his proposal, giving close attention to the claim that, for the B-theorist, one’s life is “eternally real.” I distinguish two possible interpretations of this claim, which I call alethic eternalism and ontic eternalism respectively, and argue, with reference to (...)
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  19.  77
    Winch and Wittgenstein on Moral Harm and Absolute Safety.Mikel Burley - 2010 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 67 (2):81 - 94.
    This paper examines Wittgenstein's conception of absolute safety in the light of two potential problems exposed by Winch. These are that, firstly: even if someone's life has been virtuous so far, the contingency of its remaining so until death vitiates the claim that the virtuous person cannot be harmed; and secondly: when voiced from a first-person standpoint, the claim to be absolutely safe due to one's virtuousness appears hubristic and self-undermining. I argue that Wittgenstein's mystical conception of safety, unlike some (...)
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  20. Harry Silverstein’s Four‐Dimensionalism and the Purported Evil of Death.Mikel Burley - 2008 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (4):559 – 568.
    In his article 'The Evil of Death' (henceforth: ED) Harry Silverstein argues that a proper refutation of the Epicurean view that death is not an evil requires the adoption of a particular revisionary ontology, which Silverstein, following Quine, calls 'four-dimensionalism'.1 In 'The Evil of Death Revisited' (henceforth: EDR) Silverstein reaffirms his earlier position and responds to several criticisms, including some targeted at his ontology. There remain, however, serious problems with Silverstein's argument, and I shall highlight five major ones below. I (...)
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  21.  79
    Karma, Morality, and Evil.Mikel Burley - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (6):415-430.
    The doctrine of karma has been praised as a rational and morally edifying explanatory response to the existence of evil and apparent injustice in the world. Critics have attacked it as a morally misguided dogma that distorts one's vision of reality. This essay, after outlining the traditional doctrine, examines three criticisms that have been central to recent debates: firstly, that the doctrine offers no practical guidance; second, that it faces a dilemma between free will and fatalism; and third, that it (...)
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  22.  46
    Mounce and Winch on Understanding (or Not Understanding) an Indigenous Society.Mikel Burley - 2012 - Philosophical Investigations 35 (3-4):350-372.
    Howard Mounce and Peter Winch both made novel and illuminating contributions to discussions about how, or whether, we can understand societies very different from our own – societies that would, these days, be referred to as “indigenous,”“tribal,”“traditional” or “small‐scale.” This paper aims to elucidate some disagreements between Mounce and Winch while also critically engaging in the debate. The concepts of “practice” and “language‐game” are considered in connection with magic‐related activities among the Azande of north‐central Africa, and Mounce's contention that the (...)
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  23.  16
    Atheisms and the Purification of Faith.Mikel Burley - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 75 (4):319-331.
    Philosophers of religion have distinguished between ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ atheism. This article considers further conceptions of atheism, especially the idea that atheism can facilitate a faith in God purified of idolatrous assumptions. After introducing Bultmann’s contention that a ‘conscious atheist’ can find something transcendent in the world, this contention is interpreted through reflection on Ricoeur’s claim that the atheisms of Nietzsche and Freud serve to mediate a transition to a purified faith – a faith involving heightened receptivity to agapeic love. (...)
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  24. Is Death a Bad Thing?Mikel Burley - 2008 - Think 6 (16):59.
    After examining arguments for and against the view that death is a bad thing, Mikel Burley tentatively endorses the Epicurean claim that death cannot rationally be judged bad. For moral reasons, however, this conclusion is acceptable only with regard to one's own death.
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  25. Beyond “Beyond a- and B-Time”.Mikel Burley - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (4):411-416.
    This Article critically discusses Clifford Williams’ claim that the A-theory and B-theory of time are indistinguishable. I examine three considerations adduced by Williams to support his claim that the concept of time essentially includes transition as well as extension, and argue that, despite its prima facie plausibility, the claim has not been adequately justified. Williams therefore begs the question against the B-theorist, who denies that transition is essential. By Williams’ own lights, he ought to deny that the B-theory is a (...)
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  26.  45
    Phillips and Eternal Life: A Response to Haldane.Mikel Burley - 2008 - Philosophical Investigations 31 (3):237–251.
    This paper responds to John Haldane's recent criticisms of D. Z. Phillips' treatment of the Christian belief in eternal life. I argue that Haldane's attempt to show that Phillips only partially elucidates, and hence misrepresents, this belief is unsuccessful, the biblical and theological passages cited by Haldane being amenable to elucidation in terms of which Phillips would have approved. Haldane makes three points to support his main claim, and I argue that none of these has significant force against Phillips' position (...)
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  27.  38
    Phillips and Realists on Religious Beliefs and the Fruits Thereof.Mikel Burley - 2008 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 64 (3):141 - 153.
    This article addresses some issues concerning the relation between religious beliefs and the fruits of those beliefs, where ‘fruits’ implies certain relevant forms of behaviour and affective attitudes. My primary aim is to elucidate the dispute between D. Z. Phillips and theological realists, emphasizing the extent to which this dispute is symptomatic of a deeper disagreement over how words acquire their meanings. In the course of doing so, I highlight an important difference between two alternative realist claims, exemplified by Trigg (...)
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  28.  58
    Anticipating Annihilation.Mikel Burley - 2006 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (2):170 – 185.
    According to Epicureans, anticipating one's own annihilation ought not to be a frightening experience. Non-existence precludes the possibility of sensation, and hence annihilation can be neither pleasant nor unpleasant. And that which cannot be felt is unworthy of fear. Certain objectors to this claim have asserted that one's own annihilation really is a terrifying prospect. Against this assertion, I argue that those who make it are guilty of precisely the kind of confusion that Epicurus and his disciples alert us to, (...)
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  29.  58
    ‘Aloneness’ and the Problem of Realism in Classical Sākhya and Yoga.Mikel Burley - 2004 - Asian Philosophy 14 (3):223 – 238.
    The concept of kaivalya (literally, 'aloneness') is of crucial importance to the systems of classical Indian philosophy known as Sākhya and Yoga. Indeed, kaivalya is the supreme soteriological goal to which these systems are directed. Various statements concerning this final goal appear in the classical texts - namely, the Sākhyakārikā and Yogastra - and yet there is no consensus within modern scholarship about how the concept is to be interpreted. More specifically, there appears to be a great deal of confusion (...)
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  30.  3
    Lucretius' Symmetry Argument and the Determinacy of Death1.Mikel Burley - 2007 - Philosophical Forum 38 (4):327-341.
  31.  43
    Atheism and the Gift of Death.Mikel Burley - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (4):533 - 546.
    Richard Beardsmore once argued that, although it is possible for atheists and religious believers alike to regard life as a gift, the regarding of one's own death as a gift is open only to the (Christian) believer. I discuss this interesting contention, and argue that, notwithstanding some important differences between the attitudinal possibilities available to atheists and believers in God, there are at least three senses in which an atheist could regard death as a gift. Two of these involve death's (...)
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  32.  82
    A Dialogue on Immortality.Mikel Burley - 2009 - Think 8 (21):91-97.
    The fictional case of Elina Makropulos has been a focus for philosophical reflections on immortality. Here Mikel Burley presents a conversation between Elina and two imaginary philosophers.
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  33.  29
    Andrew Gleeson, A Frightening Love: Recasting the Problem of Evil (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).Mikel Burley - 2013 - Philosophical Papers 42 (1):127 - 131.
    (2013). Andrew Gleeson, A Frightening Love: Recasting the Problem of Evil (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) Philosophical Papers: Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 127-131. doi: 10.1080/05568641.2013.774726.
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  34. A Place For ‘Something It Is Like’ In Our Language.Mikel Burley - 2007 - Philosophical Writings 35 (2).
    This paper contributes to the long-running debate over Thomas Nagel’s claim that, although we cannot conceive of what it is like to be another type of conscious organism , there most certainly is something it is like. Peter Hacker has examined Nagel’s claim from the perspective of Wittgensteinian analysis, and has argued that the claim is conceptually confused: it makes no sense to say there is ‘something it is like’ to be a person, or a bat, or to be oneself, (...)
     
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  35.  15
    Asher Walden The Metaphysics of Kindness: Comparative Studies in Religious Meta-Ethics. . Pp. X + 165. £52.95/$80.00 . ISBN 978 0 7391 8378 6. [REVIEW]Mikel Burley - 2016 - Religious Studies 52 (2):281-285.
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  36.  87
    Biology and Anti-Homosexual Disgust.Mikel Burley - 2005 - Think 4 (11):107-112.
    Mikel Burley also responds to Michael Levin's article, (Think 10).
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  37.  44
    Bradley and Schopenhauer, and the Epicurean Argument Concerning Death.Mikel Burley - 2004 - Bradley Studies 10 (1/2):42-54.
    My principal purpose in writing this article is to explore some key elements in the thought of Bradley and Schopenhauer, and to do so by using their respective views on death, and more specifically the relation of those views to Epicureanism, as a focal point. The article divides into three main sections. First I outline the Epicurean position, and discuss how it manifests within the work of Schopenhauer and Bradley. Secondly, I attempt to show how these two philosophers’ thoughts on (...)
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  38.  4
    Correction to: ‘That’s What Art Does’: Disclosing Religious and Ethical Possibilities Through Film.Mikel Burley - forthcoming - Sophia:1-1.
    A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11841-021-00852-6.
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  39.  52
    Death Becomes It.Mikel Burley - 2004 - The Philosophers' Magazine 27 (27):28-29.
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  40.  2
    Death Becomes It.Mikel Burley - 2004 - The Philosophers' Magazine 27:28-29.
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  41.  29
    Dislocating the Eschaton? Appraising Realized Eschatology.Mikel Burley - 2017 - Sophia 56 (3):435-452.
    Was Jesus Christ a deluded prophet who expected an imminent collapse of the world followed by the dawning of a kingdom that has never eventuated? Some who reject Christianity think that he was, and as a consequence are highly suspicious about any other claims that are attributed to Jesus. However, other interpretations of the apparently eschatological pronouncements in the New Testament exist, one of which is realized eschatology, this being the idea, roughly, that the kingdom or reign of God was (...)
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  42.  97
    D. Z. Phillips' Contemplations on Religion and Literature.Mikel Burley - 2012 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 71 (1):21-37.
    This paper critically discusses D. Z. Phillips’ use of literary works as a resource for philosophical reflection on religion. Beginning by noting Phillips’ suggestion, made in relation to Waiting for Godot , that the possibilities of meaning that we see in a literary work can reveal something of our own religious sensibility, I then proceed to show what we learn about Phillips from his readings of certain works by Larkin, Tennyson, and Wharton. Through exploring alternative possible readings, I argue that, (...)
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  43.  6
    God and Moral Obligation.Mikel Burley - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (254):159-161.
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  44. Getting Away with Murder? "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and Alternative Conceptions of Justice.Mikel Burley - 2020 - Aesthetic Investigations 3.
    As with most great works of art, great films are typically amenable to multiple interpretations, and there need be no determinate answer to which interpretation is ‘right’ or even the ‘best’. Yet some interpretations can render a work more compelling—perhaps more morally or religiously deep—than others. And that might be one reason for preferring the interpretation in question. This article focuses on Woody Allen’s "Crimes and Misdemeanors", which has often been construed as an attempt to illustrate the thesis that crime (...)
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  45. „God's Reality, Matters of Fact and DZ Phillips.“.Mikel Burley - 2011 - Ars Disputandi 11.
    D.Z. Phillips’ work in the philosophy of religion continues to be criticised, often on the basis of serious misunderstandings. By engaging with criticisms of Phillips’ Wittgenstein-influenced approach, especially those recently exemplified by Graham Oppy and Nick Trakakis, this article seeks to clarify what Phillips’ approach does and does not involve. Focusing on the relation between talk of God’s reality and talk of matters of fact, and on the question whether God is a ‘metaphysical reality’, the extent to which Phillips himself (...)
     
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  46. Hendrik M. Vroom A Spectrum of Worldviews: An Introduction to Philosophy of Religion in a Pluralistic World, Tr. Morris and Alice Greidanus, Currents of Encounter 29. . Pp. Xi+331. € 70.00/US$91.00 , € 30.00/US$39.00 . ISBN 10 9042020482 , 13 9789042020467. [REVIEW]Mikel Burley - 2007 - Religious Studies 43 (1):111.
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  47.  50
    How to Teach Philosophy of Religion.Mikel Burley - 2015 - Teaching Philosophy 38 (4):427-449.
    Philosophy of religion is a popular area of study with a lot of underexplored potential. For many students, as well as members of the public, it is the area of philosophy that deals most explicitly with the “big questions” that engage them directly. But a preoccupation with overly technical argumentation and decontextualized examples of religious beliefs can be off-putting. In this article, I discuss broader and narrower visions of philosophy of religion, outlining what needs to be included in any introductory (...)
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  48.  21
    Illness: The Cry of the Flesh.Mikel Burley - 2009 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (4):627 – 632.
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  49.  16
    Index to Volume 49, 2006.Mikel Burley, Anticipating Annihilation, Cheryl K. Chen & Hannah Ginsborg - 2006 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (6):591-592.
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  50.  9
    Jessica Frazier Hindu Worldviews: Theories of Self, Ritual and Reality. . Pp. Xiii + 224. £24.99/$37.95 . ISBN 978 1 4742 5155 6. [REVIEW]Mikel Burley - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (1):150-154.
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