Oppression? False Consciousness?

Many nonbelievers are convinced that Islam subjugates, even oppresses women. Now, there's a certain carelessness in such blanket descriptions. The Islam of the Taliban and that of the Bosniaks are quite different. Still, we can identify a historical mainstream within Islam, and observe that this mainstream upholds patriarchal social ideals.I guess for many of us, traditional Islamic practices concerning women come close to our defining examples of oppression: the condition of slaves, or battered … [Read more...]

Catholic monarchism

This video is getting attention on some secular blogs now. I must say, it's surprising to see that Catholic anti-democracy views still survive, in the US especially. But here it is: a four-minute defense of rule by a Catholic monarch as a political ideal.It has a kind of semi-insane coherence characteristic of some of the worst political ideas. Randroid atheism would perhaps be a nonbelieving analogue.Update: this looks real. Visit realcatholictv.com. … [Read more...]

A Scientific Question? Part 4

Although the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University does not provide a single sentence (in the first four chapters of The God Delusion) defining or explaining what he means by a “scientific hypothesis” or by a “scientific question”, there are a few comments and phrases here and there that give a hint at what he had in mind. It is difficult, however, to assemble a complete definition or explanation out of the few crumbs that Dawkins leaves behind.A … [Read more...]

A Scientific Question? Part 3

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins asserts some interesting and controversial claims about the epistemology of religious belief, especially the belief that God exists. He asserts that this belief is a scientific hypothesis, that the question at issue is a scientific question, and that the correct answer to the question is a scientific fact.A Scientific Hypothesis...’the God Hypothesis’ is a scientific hypothesis about the universe…(TGD, p.2, emphasis added)…the existence of God is a scientific … [Read more...]

Why I am a Retributivist (sort of)

Philosophers, even when old dogs (well, I’m 57), should be able to learn a few new tricks. My mind has changed on a number of issues in just the last few years. For one thing, two books, Hilary Kornblith’s Knowledge and its Place in Nature and Robert Fogelin’s Walking the Tightrope of Reason, disabused me of my former naïve, knee-jerk internalism, and I am now an unabashed epistemological naturalist and externalist. Another change of outlook was not brought about by philosophical reading. I t … [Read more...]

Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot

I want to recommend Luke Muelhauser's Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot [iTunes] podcast on philosophy of religion and metaethics. The podcast does not always have the best sound quality, and Luke occasionally makes rookie mistakes like forgetting to turn off the intro music track, but he is a good interviewer, his discussions are deeper than most others I have heard in this medium, and his guest list is impressive, including such heavyweights as Graham Oppy, Wes Morriston, Evan Fales, Nick … [Read more...]

A Scientific Question? Part 2

Is the question “Does God exist?” a scientific question? I don’t know about you, but this topic is giving me déjà vu all over again. This is basically the question that was posed by Logical Positivists early in the twentieth century, and they in turn were following in the footsteps of David Hume, basically updating and clarifying “Hume’s Fork” from his An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, first published in 1772:When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we … [Read more...]

Best philosophy of religion books since 2000?

An old Prosblogion post asks its readers to name the top ten (or so) philosophy of religion books since 2000. I'm curious what readers here think. Which books do you think have made the greatest contribution to the subject since then? Note that I'm not necessarily asking which books you think have been the most influential within the professional field of philosophy of religion—if you think a book disregarded by the academy has made a real contribution to the subject itself, by all means list i … [Read more...]


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