The Missing Links – April 1, 2012

The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Tes...

The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Testament manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew. Most likely originated in Egypt. Also part of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P. oxy. 2).

Dr. Bryant G. Wood recently presented lectures on “Archaeology and the Conquest: New Evidence on an Old Problem.”  Wood is editor of Bible and Spade, and director of the Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir (suggested as a possible site for Biblical Ai). Four separate talks cover:

  • Background and Chronology of the Exodus and Conquest
  • Digging Up the Truth at Jericho
  • The Discovery of Joshua’s Ai
  • Great Archaeological Discoveries Related to the Old Testament

Alexander Pruss points to a new blog on the philosophy of cosmology.

Daniel Wallace and Bart Ehrman debate on the topic: “Is the original New Testament lost?”

A new article on “Platonism and Theism” is up at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Alvin Plantinga lectures on “Religion and Science: Why Does the Debate Continue?” at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church in Seattle Washington

Craig Blomberg writes on “Jesus of Nazareth: How Historians Can Know Him and Why It Matters” (PDF). 

Peter S. Williams engages with the question “Can Moral Objectivism Do Without God?”

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The Missing Links — March 7, 2011

Alvin Plantinga after telling a joke at the be...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Alexander Pruss, professor of philosophy at Baylor, writes on “Eight Tempting Big-Picture Errors in Ethics,” such as “Sometimes you should do the wrong thing” and “Some areas of life are exempt from morality.” Other papers by Pruss are available here.
  • Insightful non-Christian critique of the new atheists at ABC Australia. “The militant atheist bandwagon – driven by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett – continues to paint their theist opposition as irrational simpletons who favor superstition and myth over reason and science.”
  • The top philosophy journals according to a poll of 36,000 contributors.  The top 10 are:
  • 1. Journal of Philosophy
    2. Philosophical Review
    3. Philosophy & Phenomenological Research
    4. Nous
    5. Mind
    6. Ethics
    7. Philosophical Studies
    8. Synthese
    9. Philosophy & Public Affairs
    10. Analysis


The Missing Links – Feb. 19, 2011

  • A list of 50 philosophy blogs that cover a variety of philosophical topics.  Among the interesting titles are “The Philosophy Smoker” and “The Ethical Werewolf.”

 

  • Speaking of philosophy, UC-Berkeley has made available online three courses taught by well-known philosopher John Searle.  The courses are Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, and Philosophy of Society.

 

  • A number of free theology books in PDF format are available at the Online Christian Library of Virtual Theological Resources.  Titles include Charles Hodges’s Systematic theology, Creation in Old Testament Theology by Paul R. House, and The Divine Inspiration of the Bible by Arthur W. Pink.

 

  • Last Seminary has a tremendous collection of free material in the categories of New Testament studies, science and religion, and philosophy of religion, which are further broken down into articles, books, and courses.  A wealth of quality material here.

 

  • Several interesting papers from Baylor’s past Philosophy of Religion Conferences are available on the conference website.  Past presenters have included Paul Moser, John Greco, Jonathan Kvanvig, and Alexander Pruss.

 

  • Randy Alcorn’s book Why Pro-Life is free in PDF format here.  In this 144-page book he deals with questions such as Is the Unborn Really a Human Being?, Is Abortion Part of a Right to Privacy?, Does Abortion Harm a Woman’s Physical and Mental Health?, and several other related issues.

 

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Alexander Pruss on the Argument from Beauty

In my view, this is a compelling argument. Richard Swinburne gives an argument from beauty in chapter 6 of his book The Existence of God.

Dr. Pruss distinguishes four varieties:

The argument from beauty, it seems to me, can come in four varieties, each asking a different “why” question, and each claiming that the best answer entails the existence of a being like God.

1. Why is there such a property as beauty?

This argument is the aesthetic parallel to the standard argument from morality. For it to work, a distinctively theistic answer to (1) must be offered. Parallel to a divine command metaethics, one could offer a divine appreciation meta-aesthetics. I think this gets the direction of explanation wrong—God appreciates beautiful things because they are beautiful. Moreover, if what God appreciates does not modally supervene on how non-divine things are, then divine simplicity will be violated. A better answer is that beautiful things are all things that reflect God in some particular respect, a respect that perhaps cannot be specified better than as that respect in which beautiful things reflect him (I think this is not a vicious circularity).

2. Why are there so many beautiful things?

The laws of physics, biology, etc. do not mention beauty. As far as these laws are concerned, beauty, if there is such a thing, is epiphenomenal. So, it does not seem that a scientific explanation of the existence of beautiful things can be given. But, perhaps, a philosophical account could be given of how, of metaphysical necessity, such-and-such physical states are always beautiful, and maybe then we can explain these entailing states physically. Or maybe one can show philosophically that, necessarily, most random configurations of matter include significant amounts of beauty, and then a statistical explanation can be given. But all that is pie in the sky, while a theistic explanation is right at hand. (Continue)

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The 2010 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology

Recent PhDs and current graduate students are invited to apply to participate in the 2010 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, a three-week long seminar organized by Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers) and Michael Rota (University of St. Thomas). The seminar will be held at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, from June 15th to July 2nd, 2010.

http://www.stthomas.edu/philosophy/templeton/project.html

Topics and speakers:

The epistemology of religious belief: Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame) and Richard Feldman (Rochester)

Science and religion: Alvin Plantinga and Elliott Sober (UW-Madison)

The cosmological argument: Alexander Pruss (Baylor) and Peter van Inwagen (Notre Dame)

The problem of evil: Peter van Inwagen and Evan Fales (University of Iowa)

The epistemology of disagreement: Roger White (M.I.T.) and Thomas Kelly (Princeton)

Reductionism and the philosophy of biology: Alan Love (University of Minnesota)

Writing for audiences outside the academy: Peter Kreeft (Boston College)

Participants will receive a stipend of $2800, as well as room and board. The deadline for receipt of applications is December 1, 2009.

For more information, including information on how to apply, go to

http://www.stthomas.edu/philosophy/templeton/project.html

This seminar program is funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

(Via Society of Christian Philosophers)

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