The past forty years or so have witnessed a renaissance in the philosophy of religion. New tools (modal logic, probability theory, and so on) and new historical research have prompted many thinkers to take a fresh look at old topics (God’s existence, the problem of evil, faith and reason, and the like). Moreover, sophisticated examinations of contentious new issues, such as the problem of religious diversity or the role of emotions and other non-evidential factors in shaping rationally held religious beliefs, (...) have also emerged. Addressing the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of this rapidly growing and ever more complex corpus of scholarly literature, Philosophy of Religion is a new title in the Routledge Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Philosophy. Edited by a leading scholar, it is a four-volume collection which brings together key examples of the most important recent work, together with carefully selected historical pieces needed to understand them. Volume I focuses on concepts of the divine while Volume II explores arguments for and against the existence of a divine reality, with special attention to the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness, and the case for naturalism. Volume III and the first part of Volume IV are devoted to broadly epistemic issues: the cognitive value of religious experience; the proper role of evidence in the formation of religious belief; the nature of justified religious belief; and pragmatic arguments for religious belief. The remainder of Volume IV introduces some of the best recent work on religious diversity, tolerance, and the public role of religion in a pluralistic society. The Philosophy of Religion is fully indexed and has a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, which places the material in its historical and intellectual context. It is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars and students as a vital one-stop research resource. Available now at a special introductory price. This price is applicable until 3 months after publication. For more information, please contact us ( email@example.com ). (shrink)
Although philosophical theologians have sometimes claimed that human beings are necessarily dependent on God, few have developed the idea with any precision. Jonathan Edwards is a notable exception, providing a detailed and often novel account of humanity’s essential ontological, moral, and soteriological dependence on God.
The philosophy of religion as a distinct discipline is an innovation of the last two hundred years, but its central topics--the existence and nature of the divine, humankind's relation to it, the nature of religion and its place in human life--have been with us since the inception of philosophy. Philosophers have long critically examined the truth of (and rational justification for) religious claims, and have explored such philosophically interesting phenomena as faith, religious experience and the distinctive features of religious discourse. (...) The second half of the twentieth-century has been an especially fruitful period, with philosophers using new developments in logic and epistemology to mount both sophisticated defenses of, and attacks on, religious claims. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion contains newly commissioned chapters by 21 prominent experts who cover the field in a comprehensive but accessible manner. Each chapter is expository, critical, and representative of a distinctive viewpoint. The Handbook is divided into two sections. The first, "Problems," covers the most frequently discussed topics, among them arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, and religious epistemology. The second is called "Approaches" and contains four essays assessing the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of practicing philosophy of religion. The Handbook offers contributors of high stature who present substantive and in-depth treatment of the most central topics. It is a must-have reference for anyone with an interest in philosophy and religion. (shrink)
Eric Wielenberg and I agree that basic moral truths are necessarily true. But Wielenberg thinks that, because these truths are necessary, they require no explanation, and I do not: some basic moral truths are not self-explanatory. I argue that Wielenberg’s reasons for thinking that my justification of that claim is inadequate are ultimately unconvincing.
In this paper I propose to examine the cognitive status of mystical experience. There are, I think, three distinct but overlapping sorts of religious experience. In the first place, there are two kinds of mystical experience. The extrovertive or nature mystic identifies himself with a world which is both transfigured and one. The introvertive mystic withdraws from the world and, after stripping the mind of concepts and images, experiences union with something which can be described as an undifferentiated unity. Introvertive (...) mysticism is a more important phenomenon than extrovertive mysticism. Numinous experiences are complex experiences involving dread, awe, wonder, and fascination. One finds oneself confronted with something which is radically unlike ordinary objects. Before its overwhelming majesty and power, one is nothing but dust and ashes. In contrasting oneself with its uncanny beauty and goodness, one experiences one's own uncleanness and ugliness. The experiences bound up with the devotional life of the ordinary believer are also religious in character. Nevertheless these more ordinary experiences should, I think, be distinguished both from numinous experiences and from mystical experiences, for they do not appear to involve the sense of immediate presence which characterises the latter. (shrink)
Section I argues that theistic religions incorporate metaphysical systems and that these systems are explanatory. Section II defends these claims against D. Z. Phillips ''s objections to the epistemic realism and correspondence theory of truth which they imply. I conclude by raising questions about the status of Phillips ''s own project.
According to Jonathan Edwards, “consciousness and being are the same thing exactly.” “Nothing has any existence anywhere else…but either in created or uncreated consciousness”. The physical world, therefore, has no independent reality. “…the existence of all corporeal things is only ideas”. “The material universe exists only in the mind,” i.e., “it is absolutely dependent on the conception of the mind for its existence, and does not exist as spirits do…”. More accurately, “The substance of all bodies is the infinitely exact (...) and precise and perfectly stable idea in God’s mind together with His stable will that the same shall gradually be communicated to us and to other minds according to certain fixed and exact established methods and laws…”. (shrink)
Rowe argues that if for every good world there is a better, then God is not morally perfect since no matter what world God were to create he could have done better than he did. I contend that Rowe’s argument doesn’t do justice to the role grace plays in the theist’s doctrine of creation, and respond to five new criticisms of my position that Rowe offers in Can God be Free?
Part I argues that ontological arguments, like other classical proofs of the existence of God, are parts of larger arguments in which they are embedded. These larger arguments include reasons supporting the proofs’ premises and responses to them, and to the proofs’ claims to validity and non-circularity, since, in the final analysis, our assessment of the proofs will express our best judgment of the cumulative force of all the considerations bearing on their overall adequacy. Part II illustrates these points by (...) examining contemporary defences of, and attacks on, one of the ontological argument’s central premises, namely, that God’s existence is logically possible. (shrink)
I distinguish between a causeless being, An essentially causeless being, And a logically necessary being, And argue that only a logically necessary being can provide an adequate answer to the question, "why do contingent and dependent beings exist?" I also argue that recent attempts to show that if a being is essentially causeless, It is logically necessary, Are unsound.
Theism maintains that God is a moralagent. Classical Christian theism also maintains that God is unable tosin. The latter claim is entailed by the proposition that the being whois God is essentially God, and this proposition is one which would beendorsed by all or most classical theologians. It would thus appearthat the claim that God is unable to sin is an important, if notfundamental, part of classical Christian theism. It follows that, at acrucial point, classical Christian theism is incompatible with (...) theassumption that moral agency logically involves the ability to sin -an assumption which is an essential part of the free will defense asthat defense is normally presented. Since (as I suggested earlier) theuse of the free will defense also plays a very important role in clas-sical Christian theism, classical Christian theism would appear toexhibit a major incoherance. While the difficulty can be overcome byemploying a modified version of the free will defense, the modifiedversion is not as attractive as the original. (shrink)
The monotheistic religions that valorize love typically believe that their love for God should be extended to God's creatures and, in particular, to one's fellow human beings. Yet, in practice, the love of the Christian or Muslim or Hindu monotheist doesn't always extend to the love of the religious other. Precisely how, then, should the adherents of the major monotheistic religions respond to the obvious diversity of these religions? The arguments of philosophical theology largely depend on what John Henry Newman (...) called our "illative sense" or faculty of informal reasoning. Even the most fully developed illative sense can vary from one person to another, however. As a consequence, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu monotheists are unlikely to fully agree on matters of philosophical theology. I argue that this precludes neither mutual respect, though, nor a rational adherence to the philosophical and theological views of one's own tradition. (shrink)
Richard Gale has mounted the most effective attack on religious experience’s cognitive credentials in recent decades. This article explains why I am nonetheless not persuaded by it. I argue that: Contrary to Gale, mystical experiences do take an objective accusative, and are therefore presumptively cognitive. The tests for the veridicality of religious experience are more like those for sense experiences than Gale allows. Gale’s “big” or “deep” disanalogy is not as devastating as he thinks. Gale’s critique of my and Alston’s (...) attempt to defuse attacks on the cognitively of religious experience by appealing to categoreal differences between the apparent objects of religious experience and sense experience is unsuccessful. (shrink)