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Samuel Lebens [38]Samuel R. Lebens [2]
  1.  13
    The Principles of Judaism.Samuel Lebens - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Samuel Lebens takes the three principles of Jewish faith, as proposed by Rabbi Joseph Albo (1380-1444), in order to scrutinize and refine them with the toolkit of contemporary analytic philosophy. What could it mean for a perfect being to create a world from nothing? Could our world be anything more than a figment of God's imagination? What is the Torah? What does Judaism expect from a Messiah, and what would it mean for a world to be redeemed? These questions are (...)
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  2. The Promise of a New Past.Samuel Lebens & Tyron Goldschmidt - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17:1-25.
    In light of Jewish tradition and the metaphysics of time, we argue that God can and will change the past. The argument makes for a new answer to the problem of evil and a new theory of atonement.
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  3.  16
    Bertrand Russell and the Nature of Propositions: A History and Defence of the Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement.Samuel Lebens - 2017 - New York: Routledge.
    Bertrand Russell and the Nature of Propositions offers the first book-length defence of the Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement (MRTJ). Although the theory was much maligned by Wittgenstein and ultimately rejected by Russell himself, Lebens shows that it provides a rich and insightful way to understand the nature of propositional content. In Part I, Lebens charts the trajectory of Russell’s thought before he adopted the MRTJ. Part II reviews the historical story of the theory: What led Russell to deny the (...)
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  4. Divine Contractions: Theism Gives Birth to Idealism.Tyron Goldschmidt & Samuel Lebens - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    The first part of the paper presents three little arguments from theism to idealism. The second part employs these arguments to make sense of a puzzling doctrine of Jewish mysticism: the doctrine of divine contraction (heb. tzimtzum).
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  5.  95
    Pascal, Pascalberg, and friends.Samuel Lebens - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 87 (1):109-130.
    Pascal’s wager has to face the many gods objection. The wager goes wrong when it asks us to chose between Christianity and atheism, as if there are no other options. Some have argued that we’re entitled to dismiss exotic, bizarre, or subjectively unappealing religions from the scope of the wager. But they have provided no satisfying justification for such a radical wager-saving dispensation. This paper fills that dialectical gap. It argues that some agents are blameless or even praiseworthy for ignoring (...)
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  6.  42
    Will I get a job? Contextualism, belief, and faith.Samuel Lebens - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5769-5790.
    Does faith require belief? “Belief-plus” accounts of faith say yes. “Non-doxastic” accounts say no but tend to place a “no-disbelief constraint” on faith. Both sides, I argue, are mistaken for making belief explanatorily prior to faith. Indeed, both “faith” and “belief” have contextualist semantics, which leaves only a tenuous tie between the applications of the two words.
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  7. The epistemology of religiosity: an Orthodox Jewish perspective.Samuel Lebens - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (3):315-332.
    This paper focusses on the Rabbinic suggestion that the attitude of awe, rather than any particular belief, lies at the heart of religiosity. On the basis of these Rabbinic sources, and others, the paper puts forward three theses: (1) that belief is not a sufficiently absorbing epistemic attitude to bear towards the truths of religion; (2) that much of our religious knowledge isn’t mediated via belief; and (3) that make-believe is sometimes more important, in the cultivation of religiosity than is (...)
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  8. Why so negative about negative theology? The search for a plantinga-proof apophaticism.Samuel R. Lebens - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 (3):259-275.
    In his warranted christian belief, Alvin Plantinga launches a forceful attack on apophaticism, the view that God is in some sense or other beyond description. This paper explores his attack before searching for a Plantinga-proof formulation of apophaticism.
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  9.  40
    The life of faith as a work of art: a Rabbinic theology of faith.Samuel Lebens - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (1-2):61-81.
    This paper argues that God, despite his Perfection, can have faith in us. The paper includes exegesis of various Midrasihc texts, so as to understand the Rabbinic claim that God manifested faith in creating the world. After the exegesis, the paper goes on to provide philosophical motivation for thinking that the Rabbinic claim is consistent with Perfect Being Theology, and consistent with a proper analysis of the nature of faith. Finally, the paper attempts to tie the virtue that faith can (...)
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  10.  16
    Introduction to Special Issue on Jewish Analytic Theology.Samuel Lebens & Aaron Segal - 2022 - Journal of Analytic Theology 10.
    It is our pleasure to introduce this special issue, devoted to the topic of worship in Jewish analytic theology. Many of the papers published here were presented at one of two summer workshops we ran as part of the John Templeton Foundation sponsored project, “Worship: A Jewish Philosophical Investigation”.
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  11.  50
    The Unlikely Comeback of Pascal’s Wager: on the Instability of Secular Post-Modernism.Samuel Lebens & Daniel Statman - 2021 - Philosophia 51 (1):337-348.
    Pascal’s wager faces serious criticisms and is generally considered unconvincing. We argue that it can make a comeback powered by an unlikely ally: postmodernism. If one denies the existence of objective facts (e.g. about God or His relation to the world), then various non-theological considerations should come to the fore when considering the rationality of religious commitment and the choice of education for one’s children. In fact, we shall argue that, if one genuinely cares about one’s children, then – in (...)
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  12. Nothing Else.Samuel Lebens - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):91-110.
    "Jewish Nothing-elsism" is the school of thought according to which there is nothing else besides God. This school is sometimes and erroneously interpreted as pantheistic or acosmic. In this paper I argue that Jewish Nothing-elsism is better interpreted as a form of “panentheistic priority holism”, and still better interpreted as a form of “idealistic priority monism”. On this final interpretation, Jewish Nothing-elsism is neither pantheist, panentheist, nor acosmic. Jewish Nothing-elsism is Hassidic idealism, and nothing else. Moreover, I argue that Jewish (...)
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  13.  33
    Proselytism as Epistemic Violence: A Jewish Approach to the Ethics of Religious Persuasion.Samuel Lebens - 2021 - The Monist 104 (3):376-392.
    The purpose of this paper is two-fold: to provide a philosophical justification for the counterintuitive attitude that Judaism seems to have towards proselytism; and to extend the case so as to create a general argument, applicable to all religions, against many forms of proselytism.
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  14. Russell and Bradley: Rehabilitating the Creation Narrative of Analytic Philosophy.Samuel Lebens - 2017 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (7).
    According to Stewart Candlish, Russell and Moore had misunderstood F. H. Bradley’s monism. According to Jonathan Schaffer, they had misunderstood monism more generally. A key thread of the creation narrative of analytic philosophy, according to which Russell and Moore successfully undermined monism to give rise to a new movement is, therefore, in doubt. In this paper, I defend the standard narrative against those who seek to revise it.
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  15.  24
    Hebrew Philosophy or Jewish Theology? A False Dichotomy.Samuel Lebens - 2014 - Journal of Analytic Theology 2:250-260.
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  16.  36
    The Ashes of Isaac and the Nature of Jewish Philosophy.Samuel Lebens - 2017 - Journal of Analytic Theology 5:500-514.
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  17.  26
    Jewish Philosophy in an Analytic Age.Samuel Lebens, Dani Rabinowitz & Aaron Segal (eds.) - 2019 - Oxford: Oxford University Press, Usa.
    Since the classical period, Jewish scholars have drawn on developments in philosophy to enrich our understanding of Judaism. This methodology reached its pinnacle in the medieval period with figures like Maimonides and continued into the modern period with the likes of Rosenzweig. The explosion of Anglo-American/analytic philosophy in the twentieth century means that there is now a host of material, largely unexplored by Jewish philosophy, with which to explore, analyze, and develop the Jewish tradition. Jewish Philosophy in an Analytic Age (...)
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  18.  86
    Would this paper exist if I hadn’t written it?Samuel Lebens - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3059-3080.
    This paper wants to know whether it would exist, or could exist, in worlds in which I didn't write it. Before we can answer this question, we first of all have to inquire as to what, exactly, this paper is. After exploring two forms of Platonism, and a theory that defines literary works in terms of events, I shall argue that the term ‘this paper’ is actually infected with ambiguity. Does this paper need me? It depends upon what you mean (...)
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  19.  40
    Dormant Dispositions, Agent Value, and the Trinity.Samuel R. Lebens & Dale Tuggy - 2019 - Journal of Analytic Theology 7 (1):142-155.
    In this paper we argue that the moral value of an agent is determined solely by their dispositions to act intentionally and freely. We then put this conclusion to work. It resolves a putative moral paradox first posed by Saul Smilansky, and it undermines a prominent line of argument for a variety of Trinitarian theology. Finally, we derive our conclusion about the moral worth of agents not only from our initial series of thought experiments, but also from Abrahamic theism itself. (...)
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  20. Revelation Through Concealment: Kabbalistic Responses to God’s Hiddenness.Samuel Lebens - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (2):89-108.
    John Schellenberg presents an argument for atheism according to which theism would be easy to believe, if true. Since theism isn’t easy to believe, it must be false. In this paper, I argue that Kabbalistic Judaism has the resources to bypass this argument completely. The paper also explores a stream of Kabbalistic advice that the tradition offers to people of faith for those times at which God appears to us to be hidden.
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  21. Abraham’s Empty Altars.Samuel Lebens - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (4).
    In this paper I examine the ritual life of Abraham as it is presented in the book of Genesis. Paying close attention to the language of the narrative, I try to reconstruct the evolving philosophical theology that seems to underlie the modes of worship that Abraham develops over time. Read in this light, the life of Abraham can help us to rethink the extent to which theistic religiosity requires a personal God, and the extent to which it can survive in (...)
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  22.  17
    Creation and Modality.Samuel Lebens - 2023 - Philosophia Christi 25 (1):45-59.
    Ryan Mullins argues that, assuming Hassidic Idealism, God is forced to create all possible worlds (either as a single all-inclusive multiverse, or as an exhaustive array of discrete possible worlds, no one of which is more inherently actual than the other). This process, because unfree, doesn’t amount to creation so much as emanation. I argue that there are numerous ways to reconcile Hassidic Idealism with a robust doctrine of a free Divine creation ex nihilo. We must distinguish between a God (...)
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  23.  17
    Response to Critics.Samuel Lebens - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (4):377-396.
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  24.  8
    Does Judaism Recognize the Supererogatory?Samuel Lebens - 2023 - In David Heyd (ed.), Handbook of Supererogation. Springer Nature Singapore. pp. 329-348.
    This chapter puts forward a prima facie argument for a Jewish form of anti-supererogation before finding that no such argument can do justice to the Jewish tradition. Instead, the question becomes: what form of supererogation can Jewish law recognize? Qualified forms of supererogation would allow the Jewish philosopher to preserve certain theological and philosophical desiderata, but an unqualified form of supererogation sits more easily with a central approach to the nature of Divine revelation. Accordingly, the shape of a Jewish supererogation (...)
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  25.  16
    Omnipotence.Samuel Lebens - 2022 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 8 (2).
    Should an omnipotent being be able to limit its own power? Along with Swinburne, Dean Zimmerman answers in the affirmative. My intuitions push in the opposite direction. The ability to limit one's own power constitutes a vulnerability. In this paper, I argue that a great deal hangs on this issue. If God cannot revoke His own omnipotence, then only a necessarily existent being can ever create anything truly ex nihilo. Moreover, if God cannot revoke His own omnipotence, then it turns (...)
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  26.  15
    Response to Critics.Samuel Lebens - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (4):340-358.
    Before responding to the diverse and fascinating contributions of the three symposiasts, I want to express my gratitude to T. Ryan Byerly and the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion for arranging this symposium. My thanks also to the illustrious symposiasts themselves for giving me so much food for thought and for engaging so thoroughly with my work.
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  27. Jewish studies and analytic philosophy of Judaism.Tzvi Novick, Samuel Lebens, Dani Rabinowitz & Aaron Segal - 2019 - In Samuel Lebens, Dani Rabinowitz & Aaron Segal (eds.), Jewish Philosophy in an Analytic Age. Oxford University Press, Usa.
     
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  28. The Philosophy of Worship: Divine and Human Aspects.Aaron Segal & Samuel Lebens (eds.) - forthcoming - Cambridge University Press.
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  29.  66
    An Advertisement of a Promise: God and the Hyper-past.Tyron Goldschmidt & Samuel Lebens - 2017 - Journal of Analytic Theology 5:629-636.
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  30. A commentary on a Midrash : metaphors about metaphor.Samuel Lebens - 2019 - In Samuel Lebens, Dani Rabinowitz & Aaron Segal (eds.), Jewish Philosophy in an Analytic Age. Oxford University Press, Usa.
     
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  31.  13
    A Guide for the Jewish undecided: a philosopher makes the case for Orthodox Judaism.Samuel Lebens - 2022 - [New York]: Yeshiva University press.
    What makes a belief or a lifestyle rational? How much evidence do you need before deciding to act on a belief? If your religious beliefs are tightly bound up with your particular experiences and upbringing, doesn't that undermine their reliability? All these questions, and more, come to the fore in Samuel Lebens' A Guide for the Jewish Undecided. Bringing cutting-edge philosophy, science, and decision theory into conversation with Jewish tradition, this book makes the case that Jews today have cogent reasons (...)
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  32.  32
    Is there a primordial Torah?Samuel Lebens - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 82 (2):219-239.
    Is Orthodox Judaism committed to the existence of a Torah that pre-existed the world? This paper argues that Orthodoxy is so committed unless it can find compelling philosophical or theological reasons to reject the possibility of such an entity, and then to re-interpret allegorically all of the texts that speak of such a Torah. Providing an ontology of primordial texts, I argue that no compelling reason can be found to deny the existence of the primordial Torah.
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  33. Jewish Religious Epistemology.Samuel Lebens - 2023 - In John Greco, Tyler Dalton McNabb & Jonathan Fuqua (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Religious Epistemology. Cambridge University Press.
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  34.  21
    Missing, Presumed Not Dead.Samuel Lebens - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (3):1043-1050.
    In this paper, I argue that if we have reason to believe that an immaterial soul exists, then it should be presumed to be immortal. The conclusion is weaker than Socrates’ conclusion that immaterial souls must be immortal, but the argument is stronger, I claim, for having this weaker conclusion. Moreover, a presumption of immortality is significant in its own right.
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  35.  21
    On the Harmony between Epistemology and Pistology.Samuel Lebens - 2021 - Australasian Philosophical Review 5 (1):29-35.
    ABSTRACT In this paper I seek to retain many of Dormany's central claims about the excellent-making features of faith, without accepting her direct application of evidentialism to faith. In order to achieve that goal, I argue that we have to distinguish between the non-conflicting norms of epistemology and pistology. We also have to distinguish the often conflicting norms of epistemic and practical rationality.
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  36. The Oxford Handbook of Bertrand Russell.Fraser MacBride, Graham Stevens & Samuel Lebens (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford.
     
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  37.  18
    Thinking about Stories: An Introduction to Philosophy of Fiction.Samuel Lebens & Tatjana von Solodkoff - 2024 - Routledge.
    Thinking About Stories is a fun and thought-provoking introduction to philosophical questions about narrative fiction in its many forms, from highbrow literature to pulp fiction to the latest shows on Netflix. Written by philosophers Samuel Lebens and Tatjana von Solodkoff, it engages with fundamental questions about fiction, like: What is it? What does it give us? Does a story need a narrator? And why do sad stories make us cry if we know they aren’t real? The format of the book (...)
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  38.  22
    Review of Wittgenstein’s Critique of Russell’s Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement. [REVIEW]Samuel Lebens - 2023 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 11 (2).
  39.  28
    On the Genealogy of Universals: The Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy. [REVIEW]Samuel Lebens - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (281):877-880.
    On the Genealogy of Universals: The Metaphysical Origins of Analytic Philosophy. By Macbride Fraser.
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