Author: Yujin Nagasawa
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Yujin Nagasawa presents a new, stronger version of perfect being theism, the conception of God as the greatest possible being. Although perfect being theism is the most common form of monotheism in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition its truth has been disputed by philosophers and theologians for centuries. Nagasawa proposes a new, game-changing defence of perfect being theism by developing what he calls the 'maximal concept of God'. Perfect being theists typically maintain that God is an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being; according to Nagasawa, God should be understood rather as a being that has the maximal consistent set of knowledge, power, and benevolence. Nagasawa argues that once we accept the maximal concept we can establish perfect being theism on two grounds. First, we can refute nearly all existing arguments against perfect being theism simultaneously. Second, we can construct a novel, strengthened version of the modal ontological argument for perfect being theism. Nagasawa concludes that the maximal concept grants us a unified defence of perfect being theism that is highly effective and economical.
The Existence of God
Author: Yujin Nagasawa
Does God exist? What are the various arguments that seek to prove the existence of God? Can atheists refute these arguments? The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction assesses classical and contemporary arguments concerning the existence of God: the ontological argument, introducing the nature of existence, possible worlds, parody objections, and the evolutionary origin of the concept of God the cosmological argument, discussing metaphysical paradoxes of infinity, scientific models of the universe, and philosophers’ discussions about ultimate reality and the meaning of life the design argument, addressing Aquinas’s Fifth Way, Darwin’s theory of evolution, the concept of irreducible complexity, and the current controversy over intelligent design and school education. Bringing the subject fully up to date, Yujin Nagasawa explains these arguments in relation to recent research in cognitive science, the mathematics of infinity, big bang cosmology, and debates about ethics and morality in light of contemporary political and social events. The book also includes fascinating insights into the passions, beliefs and struggles of the philosophers and scientists who have tackled the challenge of proving the existence of God, including Thomas Aquinas, and Kurt Gödel - who at the end of his career as a famous mathematician worked on a secret project to prove the existence of God. The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction is an ideal gateway to the philosophy of religion and an excellent starting point for anyone interested in arguments about the existence of God.
Suffering that is not coupled with any redeeming good is one of our world’s more troubling, apparent glitches. It is particularly vexing for any theist who believes that the world was created by a supremely morally good, knowledgeable, and powerful god. Gratuitous Suffering and the Problem of Evil: A Comprehensive Introduction is among the first book-length discussions of theistic approaches to this issue. Bryan Frances’s lucid and jargon-free analyses of a variety of possible responses to the problem of gratuitous suffering will provide serious students or general readers much material with which to begin an extended contemplation of this ancient and contemporary concern. The perfect size and scope for an introductory philosophy class’s discussion of the problem of evil and suffering, and deliberately crafted to be approachable by all interested readers, Gratuitous Suffering and the Problem of Evil is philosophy doing what it does best: serious, engaged, rigorous explorations of even the darkest truths. The book offers many useful pedagogical features, including chapter overviews and summaries, annotated suggested readings, and eight-eight discussion questions.
Jesus turned water into wine, Mohammad split the moon into two, and Buddha walked and spoke immediately upon birth. According to recent statistics, even in the present age of advanced science and technology, most people believe in miracles. In fact, newspapers and television regularly report alleged miracles, such as recoveries from incurable diseases, extremely unlikely coincidences, and religious signs and messages on unexpected objects. In this book the award-winning author and philosopher Yujin Nagasawa addresses some of our most fundamental questions concerning miracles. What exactly is a miracle? What types of miracles are believed in the world's great religions? What do recent scientific findings tell us about miracles? Can we rationally believe that miracles have really taken place? Can there be acts that are more religiously significant than miracles? Drawing on a vast variety of fascinating examples from across the major religions, Nagasawa discusses the lively debate on miracles that ranges from reported miracles in ancient scriptures in the East and West to cutting-edge scientific research on belief formation. Throughout, he drives us to ask ourselves if and how we can still believe in in miracles in the twenty-first century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Alternative Concepts of God
Author: Andrei Buckareff, Yujin Nagasawa
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The concept of God according to traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic theism minimally includes the following theses: (i) There is one God; (ii) God is an omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect agent; (iii) God is the creator ex nihilo of the universe and the sustainer of all that exists; and (iv) God is an immaterial substance that is ontologically distinct from the universe. Proponents of alternative concepts of God, such as pantheism, panentheism, religious anti-realism, developmental theism, and religious naturalism, exclude at least one of these claims. A number of prominent philosophers and scientists have expressed sympathy with alternative concepts of the divine. However, voices raised in defense of these concepts tend not to be taken seriously in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. This volume aims to shed light on alternative concepts of God and to thoroughly consider their merits and demerits. The contributors are leading analytic philosophers of religion, including critics of these views as well as sympathizers. This is the first contemporary edited collection featuring the work of analytic philosophers of religion covering such a wide range of alternative concepts of God.
The Many-Faced Argument
Author: John Hick, Arthur C. McGill
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
The Many-Faced Argument presents a compilation of essays on the ontogical argument for the existence of God, covering responses to Anselm's position in the first half, and, in the second half, covering developments of the argument in the context of modern philosophy. Along with contibutions by editors Hick and McGill, other writers include Karl Barth, Andre Hayden, Anselm Stolz, Bertrand Russell, Jerome Shaffer, Gilbert Ryle, Aime Forest, Norman Malcolm, and Charles Hartshorne. While interest in the the ontological argument has arisen from various disciplines -- historical, theological and philosophical -- the purpose of this book is to bring these varied writings together so that scholars and students within each discipline may have contributions from other fields readily available.
There's Something about Mary
Author: Peter Ludlow, Yujin Nagasawa, Daniel Stoljar
Publisher: MIT Press
Key papers on one of the most important and provocative thought experiments in philosophy of mind.
The Problem of Evil
Author: N. N. Trakakis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
One of those rare questions in philosophy that is not only technically recalcitrant but also engages the hearts and minds of the broad community is the so-called 'problem of evil': How can the existence of an absolutely perfect God be reconciled with the existence of suffering and evil? This collection of dialogues between eight philosophers of religion explores new ways of thinking about this longstanding problem, in the process reorienting and reinvigorating the philosophical debate around the relationship between God, goodness and evil: How exactly are these three notions connected, if at all? Is God the cause, or author, of evil and suffering? How is the goodness of God to be understood, and how is divine goodness related to human morality? Does God's perfect goodness entail that God must have reasons for permitting or bringing about suffering, and if so what could his reasons be? These questions are of momentous existential and theoretical interest, and they have exercised the finest intellects across the centuries. The time is ripe for a wholesale reconsideration of the problem of evil. To make progress towards this goal, eight distinct perspectives are placed in mutual dialogue, giving voice to both traditional and relatively unorthodox approaches. What emerges from these critical but friendly exchanges is a diversity of fruitful and innovative ways of thinking about the nature of divinity and its relationship to evil.
Our Idea of God
Author: Thomas V. Morris
Publisher: Regent College Publishing
God and Necessity
Author: Brian Leftow
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Brian Leftow offers a theory of the possible and the necessary in which God plays the chief role, and a new sort of argument for God's existence. It has become usual to say that a proposition is possible just in case it is true in some 'possible world' (roughly, some complete history a universe might have) and necessary just if it is true in all. Thus much discussion of possibility and necessity since the 1960s has focussed on the nature and existence (or not) of possible worlds. God and Necessity holds that there are no such things, nor any sort of abstract entity. It assigns the metaphysical 'work' such items usually do to God and events in God's mind, and reduces 'broadly logical' modalities to causal modalities, replacing possible worlds in the semantics of modal logic with God and His mental events. Leftow argues that theists are committed to theist modal theories, and that the merits of a theist modal theory provide an argument for God's existence. Historically, almost all theist modal theories base all necessary truth on God's nature. Leftow disagrees: he argues that necessary truths about possible creatures and kinds of creatures are due ultimately to God's unconstrained imagination and choice. On his theory, it is in no sense part of the nature of God that normal zebras have stripes (if that is a necessary truth). Stripy zebras are simply things God thought up, and they have the nature they do simply because that is how God thought of them. Thus Leftow's essay in metaphysics takes a half-step toward Descartes' view of modal truth, and presents a compelling theist theory of necessity and possibility.
Whether or not Jesus rose bodily from the dead is perhaps the most critical and contentious issue in the study of Christianity. Until now, scholars have concentrated on explicit statements in the New Testament to support their views, but Richard Swinburne argues for a wider approach, asking instead whether the character of God and the life of Jesus support the probability of the Resurrection. His book will be of great interest not only to academics but to anyone with an interest in religious philosophy and doctrine.
Logic and Theism
Author: Jordan Howard Sobel
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This is a wide-ranging 2004 book about arguments for and against beliefs in God. The arguments for the belief are analysed in the first six chapters and include ontological arguments from Anselm to Gödel, the cosmological arguments of Aquinas and Leibniz, and arguments from evidence for design and miracles. The next two chapters consider arguments against belief. The last chapter examines Pascalian arguments for and against belief in God. There are discussions of Cantorian problems for omniscience, of challenges to divine omnipotence, and of the compatibility of everlasting complete knowledge of the world with free-will. There are appendices that present formal proofs in a system for quantified modal logic, a theory of possible worlds, notes on Cantorian set theory, and remarks concerning non-standard hyperreal numbers. This book will be a valuable resource for philosophers of religion and theologians and will interest logicians and mathematicians as well.
In God and Phenomenal Consciousness, Yujin Nagasawa bridges debates in two distinct areas of philosophy: the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of religion. First, he introduces some of the most powerful arguments against the existence of God and provides objections to them. He then presents a parallel structure between these arguments and influential arguments offered by Thomas Nagel and Frank Jackson against the physicalist approach to phenomenal consciousness. By appealing to this structure, Nagasawa constructs novel objections to Jackson's and Nagel's arguments. Finally, he derives, from the failure of these arguments, a unique metaphysical thesis, which he calls 'non-theoretical physicalism'. Through this thesis, he shows that although this world is entirely physical, there are physical facts that cannot be captured even by complete theories of the physical sciences.
The claim that God is timeless has been the majority view throughout church history. However, it is not obvious that divine timelessness is compatible with fundamental Christian doctrines such as creation and incarnation. Theologians have long been aware of the conflict between divine timelessness and Christian doctrine, and various solutions to these conflicts have been developed. In contemporary thought, it is widely agreed that new theories on the nature of time can further help solve these conflicts. Do these solutions actually solve the conflict? Can the Christian God be timeless? The End of the Timeless God sets forth a thorough investigation into the Christian understanding of God and the God-world relationship. It argues that the Christian God cannot be timeless.
Author: Roberto Sirvent
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
Arguments in favor of divine impassibility take many forms, one of which is moral. This argument views emotional risk, vulnerability, suffering, and self-love as obstacles to moral perfection. In Embracing Vulnerability: Human and Divine, Roberto Sirvent challenges these mistaken assumptions about moral judgment. Through an analysis of Hebrew thought and modern philosophical accounts of love, justice, and emotion, Sirvent reveals a fundamental incompatibility between divine impassibility and the Imitation of God ethic (imitatio Dei). Sirvent shows that a God who is not emotionally vulnerable is a God unworthy of our imitation. But in what sense can we call divine impassibility immoral? To be sure, God's moral nature teaches humans what it means to live virtuously. But can human understandings of morality teach us something about God's moral character? If true, how should we go about judging God's moral character? Isn't it presumptuous to do so? After all, if we are going to challenge divine impassibility on moral grounds, what reason do we have to assume that God is bound to our standards of morality? Embracing Vulnerability: Human and Divine addresses these questions and many others. In the process, Sirvent argues for the importance of thinking morally about theology, inviting scholars in the fields of philosophical theology and Christian ethics to place their theological commitments under close moral scrutiny, and to consider how these commitments reflect and shape our understanding of the good life.