Aristotle, Ethics and God

My Baylor colleague, Trent Dougherty, has posted a brief entry at The Prosoblogion, "Ethics without God, Aristotle style." His post, as well as some of the comments, reminded me of an exchange at First Things I had four years ago with Villanova law professor, Robert T. Miller:Francis J. Beckwith, "The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins. " First Things On the Square (20 June 2007) Robert T. Miller, "Response to Francis Beckwith." First Things On the Square (25 June 2007) Francis J. Beckwith, "R … [Read more...]

A Second Look at “First Things”

That is the title of my recent entry over at The Catholic Thing. It is adapted from a portion of a paper I delivered on May 17, 2011 at Princeton University as part of panel celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of Hadley Arkes’ First Things: An Inquiry Into the First Principles of Morals and Justice (PrincetonUniversity Press, 1986). Here's how it begins: Most books and articles in political and legal philosophy are dry. One rarely finds in them humorous anecdotes, memorable cha … [Read more...]

From tomorrow’s New York Times: Intelligent Design Debate Ensnares the Journal “Synthese”

That is the title of an article that will be published in tomorrow's New York Times (14 March 2011). Authored by Mark Oppenheimer, here's how it begins: According to one cynical view, academic disputes are so vicious only because the stakes are so low. Yet as the editors of Synthese, a leading philosophy journal, can tell you, what they publish matters: in debates over Christianity, the teaching of evolution, and American politics. This story began in March 2009, when a special issue of Synthese … [Read more...]

Res ipsa loquitur

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Taking Theology Seriously: The Status of the Religious Beliefs of Judicial Nominees for the Federal Bench

That's the title of an article I published in 2006 in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy (vol. 20, pp. 455-471).  Here's how it begins (notes omitted): Nominees to the federal bench, like all citizens, have beliefs.  These beliefs include everything from what they were taught in law school to what they know about history or mathematics or what they may have learned in church or synagogue.  And yet, it is the latter beliefs that are singled out for special scrutiny by the Un … [Read more...]

The Epistemology of Political Correctness

That's the title of an article I published in the October 1994 issue of Public Affairs Quarterly (8.4, pp. 331-340). It is now available online, and you can find it here. It begins this way: On university and college campuses today there is a movement popularly known as "political correctness." Although difficult to define precisely, I think it is fair to say that political correctness refers to a web of interconnected, though not mutually dependent, ideological beliefs that have challenged the … [Read more...]

C. S. Lewis Would Not Have Been an Intelligent Design Advocate

(HT: Dangerous Idea)That's the conclusion drawn by Asbury University philosopher Michael L. Peterson. You can read Professor Peterson's essay here. I think Peterson is correct, for many of the same reasons I offer in my analysis of ID. (See my blog post here) … [Read more...]

UNLV Philosophy Department prevails

Readers of this blog will recall the letter I sent to UNLV president, Neal Smatresk, in which I make a case for the centrality of philosophy in any university's curriculum, and for that reason UNLV should change its plan to eliminate its philosophy department. (See also the outstanding essay published on April 6 in the Boston Review and authored by my former UNLV colleague, and present chair of UNLV's philosophy department, Todd Jones). I am happy to report that the efforts of many, including Pro … [Read more...]

Jay Bruce wins teaching award. Congratulations!

From the Baylor philosophy department website: Jay Bruce, who got his PhD in philosophy at Baylor in 2008, was recently named the Student Choice Award Professor of the Year for 2010-11 at John Brown University, where he has a permanent position. Congratulations, Jay! I am proud to say that I sat on Jay's dissertation committee, and he also took my "Philosophy of Law" class. … [Read more...]

How to Referee a Philosophical Debate

(HT: Joe Carter at First Things) … [Read more...]


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