Continuing discussion.

EPS Blog

This is the blog area for the Evangelical Philosophical Society and its journal, Philosophia Christi.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Idealism and Christian Thought

Bloomsbury Academic will publish in 2016 two volumes on Idealism and Christian Thought: Volume 1, Idealism and Christian Theology, edited Joshua Farris, Mark Hamilton, and James Spiegel, features eleven new contributions to this topic. From the publisher's description:
In the recent history of philosophy few works have appeared which favorably portray Idealism as a plausible philosophical view of the world. Considerably less has been written about Idealism as a viable framework for doing theology. While the most recent and significant works on Idealism, composed by the late John Foster (Case for Idealism and A World for Us: The Case for Phenomenological Idealism), have put this theory back on the philosophical map, no such attempt has been made to re-introduce Idealism to contemporary Christian theology. Idealism and Christian Theology is such a work, retrieving ideas and arguments from its most significant modern exponents (especially George Berkeley and Jonathan Edwards) in order to assess its value for present and future theological construction. As a piece of constructive philosophical-theology itself, this volume considers the explanatory power an Idealist ontology has for contemporary Christian theology.
Volume 2, Idealism and Christian Philosophy, edited by Steven Cowan and James Spiegel, features ten new contributions to this topic. From the publisher's description:
When it comes to contemporary philosophical problems, metaphysical idealism-or Berkeleyan immaterialism - is not taken seriously by most philosophers, not to mention the typical Christian layperson. This state of affairs deserves some attempt at rectification, since Idealism has considerable explanatory power as a metaphysical thesis and provides numerous practical and theoretical benefits.

Such thinkers as George Berkeley and Jonathan Edwards believed that Idealism is especially amenable to a Christian perspective, both because it provides a plausible way of conceptualizing the world from a theistic standpoint and because it effectively addresses skeptical challenges to the Christian faith. The contributors to this volume explore a variety of ways in which the case can be made for this claim, including potential solutions to philosophical problems related to the nature of time, the ontology of physical objects, the mind-body problem, and the nature of science.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Aikin on Evidentialism and the "Will to Believe"

Bloomsbury Academic recently published Evidentialism and the Will to Believe (2015) by Scott F. Aikin. Aikin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

From the publisher's description:
Work on the norms of belief in epistemology regularly starts with two touchstone essays: W.K. Clifford's "The Ethics of Belief" and William James's "The Will to Believe." Discussing the central themes from these seminal essays, Evidentialism and the Will to Believe explores the history of the ideas governing evidentialism.
As well as Clifford's argument from the examples of the shipowner, the consequences of credulity and his defence against skepticism, this book tackles James's conditions for a genuine option and the structure of the will to believe case as a counter-example to Clifford's evidentialism. Exploring the question of whether James's case successfully counters Clifford's evidentialist rule for belief, this study captures the debate between those who hold that one should proportion belief to evidence and those who hold that the evidentialist norm is too restrictive.
More than a sustained explication of the essays, it also surveys recent epistemological arguments to evidentialism. But it is by bringing Clifford and James into fruitful conversation for the first time that this study presents a clearer history of the issues and provides an important reconstruction of the notion of evidence in contemporary epistemology.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Special Invitation from Ratio Christi
All current EPS members are encouraged to collaborate with Ratio Christi, a student apologetics alliance, in light of this invitation from president Corey Miller:
Ratio Christi is eager to open the door to various EPS members to speak at our more than 150 university chapters via our Speakers Bureau, to consider being a faculty advisor or even starting a Ratio Christi chapter at your university (even if you're a professor), and also to encourage those current and future professors at secular universities by providing resources for faculty ministry as winsome and productive but bold and shrewd "missional professors." We wish to subvert the notion of an occupation in favor of a vocation such that professors do not see it as a job but as a calling and think creatively toward what that might look like for each individual. We provide resources and details including PROF Talks videos that are by professors for professors in secular universities that prove helpful in understanding what it might look like to be missional in that environment and academic discipline. We welcome those who wish to cooperate with us for the benefit of all in making more of these videos so that we have one in every academic discipline. We envision a movement of missional professors such that every student knows at least one of them and so that every academic discipline has a core group of Christian scholars working together to rebuild the plausibility structure of the Christian world and life view on secular campuses. 
For more information, see

See also recent books by Ratio Christi associates, including Corey Miller and Paul Gould's book Is Faith in God Reasonable? Debates in Philosophy, Science, and Rhetoric (Routledge, 2014), which was based on a William Lane Craig Alex Rosenberg debate at Purdue; it includes entries by Victor Stenger, Paul Moser, Timothy McGrew, Robert Kaita, Michael Ruse, etc. For those interested in apologetics ministry and leadership, Mike Sherrards, Relational Apologetics: Defending the Faith with Holiness Respect and Truth (Kregel, 2015).

Finally, do not miss their upcoming symposium on February 5-7, 2016:

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Oxford Handbook's "Inter-Confessional" Essays on Christology

In 2015, Oxford University Press published The Oxford Handbook of Christology by Francesca Aran Murphy. The book is part of the "Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology" series. Murphy is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Notre Dame

From the publisher's description:
The Oxford Handbook of Christology brings together 40 authoritative essays considering the theological study of the nature and role of Jesus Christ. This collection offers dynamic perspectives within the study of Christology and provides rigorous discussion of inter-confessional theology, which would not have been possible even 60 years ago. The first of the seven parts considers Jesus Christ in the Bible. Rather than focusing solely on the New Testament, this section begins with discussion of the modes of God's self-communication to us and suggests that Christ's most original incarnation is in the language of the Hebrew Bible. The second section considers Patristics Christology. These essays explore the formation of the doctrines of the person of Christ and the atonement between the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and the eve of the Second Council of Nicaea. The next section looks at Medieval theology and tackles the development of the understanding of who Christ was and of his atoning work. The section on "Reformation and Christology" traces the path of the Reformation from Luther to Bultmann. The fifth section tackles the new developments in thinking about Christ which have emerged in the modern and the postmodern eras, and the sixth section explains how beliefs about Jesus have affected music, poetry, and the arts. The final part concludes by locating Christology within systematic theology, asking how it relates to Christian belief as a whole. This comprehensive volume provides an invaluable resource and reference for scholars, students, and general readers interested in the study of Christology.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

McCraw and Arp on Philosophical Approaches to the Devil

In 2015, Routledge  published Philosophical Approaches to the Devil (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) by Benjamin W. McCraw and Robert Arp. McCraw is instructor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Arp works as a research analyst for the US Army.

From the publisher's description:
This collection brings together new papers addressing the philosophical challenges that the concept of a Devil presents, bringing philosophical rigor to treatments of the Devil. Contributors approach the idea of the Devil from a variety of philosophical traditions, methodologies, and styles, providing a comprehensive philosophical overview that contemplates the existence, nature, and purpose of the Devil. While some papers take a classical approach to the Devil, drawing on biblical exegesis, other contributors approach the topic of the Devil from epistemological, metaphysical, phenomenological, and ethical perspectives. This volume will be relevant to researchers and scholars interested in philosophical conceptions of the Devil and related areas, such as philosophers of religion, theologians, and scholars working in philosophical theology and demonology.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Reason and Faith: Themes from Richard Swinburne

In March 2016, Oxford University Press will publish an edited Michael Bergmann and Jeffrey Brower volume, Reason and Faith: Themes from Richard Swinburne. Bergmann and Brower are Professors of Philosophy at Purdue University.

From the publisher's description:
The past fifty years have been an enormously fruitful period in the field of philosophy of religion, and few have done more to advance its development during this time than Richard Swinburne. His pioneering work in philosophy of religion is distinguished, not only for the way in which it systematically develops a comprehensive set of positions within this field, but also for the way in which it builds on and contributes to contemporary work in other fields, such as metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science.

This volume presents a collection of ten new essays in philosophy of religion that develop and critically engage themes from Swinburne's work. Written by some of the leading figures in the field, these essays focus on issues in both natural theology (dealing with what can be known about God and his relation to the world independently of any particular religious tradition or revelation) and philosophical theology (reflecting critically on the doctrines associated with particular religious traditions). The first six essays address topics familiar from natural theology (faith, theistic arguments, and divine power). The last four essays address topics bearing on philosophical theology (atonement, liturgy, immortality, and the nature of body and soul).

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rogers on "Anselmian Libertarianism"

Oxford University Press recently published Katherin A. Rogers's book, Freedom and Self-Creation: Anselmian Libertarianism. Katherin A. Rogers is a Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Delaware. She specializes in Medieval Philosophy (especially the work of St. Anselm of Canterbury), Philosophy of Religion, and the Metaphysics of Free Will.

From the publisher's description:
Katherin A. Rogers presents a new theory of free will, based on the thought of Anselm of Canterbury. We did not originally produce ourselves. Yet, according to Anselm, we can engage in self-creation, freely and responsibly forming our characters by choosing 'from ourselves' (a se) between open options. Anselm introduces a new, agent-causal libertarianism which is parsimonious in that, unlike other agent-causal theories, it does not appeal to any unique and mysterious powers to explain how the free agent chooses. After setting out Anselm's original theory, Rogers defends and develops it by addressing a series of standard problems leveled against libertarianism. These include the problem of 'internalism--in that an agent is not the source of his original motivations, how can the structure of his choice ground his responsibility?; the problem of Frankfurt-style counterexamples--Do we really need open options to choose freely?; and the problem of luck--If nothing about an agent before he chooses explains his choice, then isn't the choice just dumb luck? (The Anselmian answer to this perennial criticism is especially innovative, proposing that the critic has the relationship between choices and character exactly backwards.) Finally, as a theory about self-creation, Anselmian Libertarianism must defend the tracing thesis, the claim that an agent can be responsible for character-determined choices, if he, himself, formed his character through earlier a se choices. Throughout, the book defends and exemplifies a new methodological suggestion: someone debating free will ought to make his background world view explicit. In the on-going debate over the possibility of human freedom and responsibility, Anselmian Libertarianism constitutes a new and plausible approach.

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