Search Results for: Michael Rea

Christianity and Philosophy: A Changing and Uncertain Relationship

In this brief historical meditation on the relation between Christianity and philosophy, Michael J. White considers changing conceptions of philosophy: from a conception of philosophy as having been replaced by the Christian faith up to a conception of what White terms, ‘Westphalian philosophy,’ which sees natural reason, unaided by revelation or the magisterium of the Church and as utilized in contemporary academic philosophy, as (capable of) yielding the essential, rational core of theistic belief and morality.

The full-text of this paper is available for FREE by clicking here. See also White’s recent contribution to the Christian Philosophers in the Secular Academy project: “To Sanctify One’s Work and to Think with the Church.”

Web Project: Philosophical Discussions on Marriage and Family Topics

Instructions for Submitting a Paper Proposal

Purpose: For scholars interested in ethics, theology, and philosophy work on ‘marriage and family’ topics, we invite carefully-honed papers that advances discussion of any of the below areas of the Potential Paper Topics.

If you are interested, please contact our project coordinator and editor Michael Austin (info below). Michael is seeking to coordinate all potential contributors and their topics for this endeavor. When you pitch your possible contribution, please provide the following:

  • Your name, institution and contact info.
  • Title and description of your proposal (e.g., 100 words).
  • Reasons for how your contribution will help advance the purpose of this project.

We are looking for papers that a) argue for a perspective on a marriage and family topic, or b) casts a vision for more work to be done in a particular area or c) offers a literature review and assess what seems to be ‘under-developed’ work.

Length: 1,500 to 2,000 total words (minimum). You are welcome to work with the Project Editor on length issues.

Deadline: TBD by the project coordinator

Project Coordinator and Editor
Michael Austin
Eastern Kentucky University
Department of Philosophy

Priority will be given to those papers that offer a perspective on questions and problems that especially hone in on what have been ‘under-represented’ in this theme for Christian philosophers. Please seriously consider developing paper topics with the below examples in mind. We encourage papers that will be of interest not only to the ethics scholar but also to the epistemologist, metaphysician, theologian, etc.


Find this Project interesting? See these other EPS Web Projects

Potential Paper Topics

Developed by Michael Austin (Eastern Kentucky University) & Joe Gorra (Veritas Life Center).

Much has been addressed by Christian philosophers on questions related to bioethics, reproductive technologies, and so on. But some under-represented ‘marriage and family’ topics include the following:

Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Issues in Marriage and Family Studies: If philosophy and theology are understood as ‘second-order’ disciplines, how might they contribute to the work and contributions of ‘first-order’ disciplines like sociology, psychology, economics, cultural studies and their accounts of marriage and family? How might ideas and images shaped by these disciplines enable and clarify the work done by philosophers and theologians? We strongly encourage contributions from Christian philosophers who have understanding of the ‘meta-‘ issues involved with philosophy’s contribution to interdisciplinary discussions. We also encourage Christian non-philosophers to propose papers that are attentive to philosophical issues and concepts that converge with their discipline and areas of expertise. Co-authored proposals from philosophy and non-philosophy scholars are welcomed.

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

Ethics of religious upbringing of children: how to share, model, and influence our children for Christ in ways that honor God and respect them as well. Defenses of the morality of a Christian upbringing in the face of challenges at a popular level (e.g. Dawkins and “child abuse” claims) as well as at the scholarly level. How might philosophical accounts of ‘harm’ and ‘interest’ (of children, parents, etc) contribute to clarifying what is often a legally vague idea of ‘Acting in the best interests of the child.’

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

Metaphysics of the Family: What is a family? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for a family, on Christian theism? What biblical, theological, and philosophical data are relevant to this question? How important is genetics or biology to this definition? Or what value is there with respect to a biological connection of some sort between parent and child? Who is a father or a mother? How might a vocational account differ from strictly a biological account? How might we reflect upon ‘step-parenting,’ ‘foster-care parenting’ and ‘surrogate parenting’ in light of Christian theological accounts of adoption and hospitality of God? How might we think about the nature of parenting and family in light of the genetic modification of children and the technological possibilities of creating babies from three or more parents? And what implications do our answers to these questions have for the current cultural debates about same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting? From a political philosophy standpoint, what are strong, non-religious arguments for why a ‘secular state’ has an interest in protecting the family?

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

Metaphysical and Epistemological issues in Gender, Sexuality and Identity: What are necessary and sufficient conditions for defining ‘gender,’ ‘sexuality’ and ‘human identity’? On what basis are such distinctions drawn? In what sense and on what basis are these terms considered social constructions? ‘Self-identification’ of one’s experience as x, y, or z often populates studies in this area. Is this knowledge from a first-person perspective? Is it simply one’s construal? How might we understand the ‘authority’ of such claims relative to the authority of tradition, history, social institutions, etc.

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

Moral-Spiritual Formation of the Family: How does this occur, for both parents and children? What theological and philosophical resources can we bring to bear on this? How can parents be intentional about such formation for themselves and their children in the family? What does the Bible have to say that is relevant to such questions? And what do psychology, sociology, and other disciplines have to contribute to this? Is virtue formation and spiritual maturation in a family interconnected with being the roles of a mother and a father? What is the role of ecclesial communities in such matters of formation? Does the ‘Christian family’ exist primarily for the interests of the ‘household of faith’?

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

  • For ‘ethics and family’ treatments, see Julie Rubio, Family Ethics: Practices for Christians (Georgetown University Press, 2010); Michael W. Austin, Wise Stewards: Philosophical Foundations of Christian Parenting (Kregel Academic, 2009).
  • For some work on the vocation of the family, see Gene Edward Veith and Mary J. Moerbe, Family Vocation (Crossway, 2012).
  • For recent article examples on philosophy and spiritual formation integration, see from the (Fall 2014) Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Steve Porter, “A Call to Philosophy and Spiritual Formation” (248-257), and “Philosophy and Spiritual Formation: From Christian Faith to Christian Philosophy” (258-269); and also from JSFSC’s (Spring 2014), see Brian Brock, “Discipleship as Living with God, or Wayfinding and Scripture,” 22-34.

Non-Religious Arguments for Marriage and the Family: What are the opportunities and limitations for using ‘natural moral law arguments’ in public and pluralistic contexts? Are such arguments mostly useful for ‘consoling the faithful’? How are ‘secularists’ compelled by such arguments, if they are compelled at all? How might such arguments be retooled in light of changing plausibility structures in Western societies, which increasingly view Christian accounts of marriage and family to be contestable and not believable? How might sociological, psychological and economic reasons and evidences be more persuasive to most secularists than natural law arguments?

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

Moral Vision of Flourishing ‘Families’ in a Pluralistic Society: Culturally speaking, the experience of marriage and family is no longer a homogenous kind of experience in Western societies. Increasingly, we have ‘pluralist’ accounts recognized by law, legitimized by cultural pressures, and encouraged by various social institutions.

Drawing from Christian Social Thought, how might Christians envision a society that attends to our differences, even contradictions, regarding marriage and family flourishing? Is such a society possible? What conditions or values should shape how we are bound together? How might Christians think societally about such issues like ‘gay adoption,’ government assistance for unwed mothers, illegal immigration and deportation of parents, youth incarceration and single-parent homes, etc? What society should be built by Christian thought and leadership influence given the particularities of our cultural moment? We encourage constructive responses that seek to minister to each person made in the image of God, and seeks to uphold the social order.

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

‘Health,’ ‘Well-Being,’ and ‘Holiness’ of Marriage and Family: Innumerable scientific studies have been written about the health and happiness of individuals, their family and affects on society. ‘Health,’ though, is usually given a reductive account: a scientific or medical question about an organism. Similarly, ‘happiness studies’ usually assume a psychological account about someone’s mental outlook on life. Is there a thicker account of ‘health’ and ‘well-being’ that includes but is not reduced to the hard or soft sciences? Moreover, Christians have historically understood marriage and family as sacred or holy, set apart for the glory and purposes of God’s work in the world. Is there ‘health’ and ‘well-being’ entailed by that sacred, perhaps even ‘sacramental vision’ of marriage and family? How might we recapture a more holistic understanding of eudaimonia as a collective, relational phenomenon, in family, church and state.

Papers may wish to interact with this literature:

Please consider becoming a regular annual or monthly financial partner with the Evangelical Philosophical Society in order to expand its reach, support its members, and be a credible presence of Christ-shaped philosophical interests in the academy and into the wider culture!

Darwinian Evolution & Classical Liberalism: Theories in Tension

Book Précis

Charles Darwin and John Locke continue to exercise extraordinary influence from the grave. The former birthed a revolution in biology which has persisted to the present day, the latter fomented a revolution in political philosophy which reasserts itself in every contemporary iteration of “individual rights.” Darwin’s theory is widely taken to be the unifying theory in modern biology; apparently nothing in biology makes sense except in light of his view. And Locke’s classical liberalism, developed in diverse ways, has had a profound influence on an array of thinkers, from the Founding Fathers of the United States to the members of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Collectively, Darwin and Locke tell human beings where they have come from, what they are, and how they ought to live with each other. The combined legacies of these men could hardly be more powerful.

Nonetheless, too little attention has been directed to the interplay of their ideas. The Darwinian vision, it seems, has direct implications about human nature, mental capacities, and moral obligations, a point Darwin made with striking clarity in The Descent of Man (1871). The classical liberal vision, developed by Locke and others, also has direct implications for these same areas—it portrays human beings with very specific dispositions, moral duties, and intellectual abilities. While some people unreflectively assume that evolutionary science and classical liberalism fit seamlessly, their relationship is both complex and contentious. Moreover, because Western culture has been so significantly influenced by evolutionary science and classical liberalism, the relationship of these visions—whether complementary or conflicting—is of profound importance to the coherence and vitality of prominent strains of the Western tradition.

Darwinian Evolution and Classical Liberalism takes up the task of examining the relationship between this duo, analyzing political, philosophical, ethical, economic, anthropological, and scientific areas of ferment. Early chapters focus on classical thinkers like John Locke and Adam Smith, while later chapters provide analyses of present-day classical liberals, focusing especially on F.A. Hayek, Thomas Sowell, and Larry Arnhart, the most prominent advocates of ‘contemporary’ classical liberalism.

Thematically, the volume falls into three parts. Part I examines foundational matters, arguing that Darwinism and classical liberalism hold incompatible visions of morality, human nature, and individual autonomy. This section also contends that the free market’s spontaneous order is fully compatible with a teleological (or non-Darwinian) view of the universe. Part II turns to contemporary applications, contending that Darwinism and classical liberalism are at odds in their views of (or implications about) limited government, vital religion, economic freedom, and the traditional family. This section also argues that, since its inception, Darwinism has attenuated core tenets and values of classical liberalism and Western civilization.

Part III of the volume contains alternative views to those in the first two parts, adding critical diversity to the book. Respectively, these chapters hold that Darwinian evolution simply has little to say about classical liberalism; an evolutionary account of human volition is fully compatible with the individual choice presupposed in classical liberalism; and evolutionary naturalism, unlike religious alternatives, provides a strong foundation for freedom, morality, and the traditional family.

Chapter Samples

  1. Stephen Dilley, “Pax vel Bellum? Evolutionary Biology and Classical Liberalism.” (PDF)
  2. Angus Menuge, “Darwinian Conservatism and Free Will.”
  3. John G. West, “Darwinism, Economic Liberty, and Limited Government.”
  4. Jay W. Richards, “On Invisible Hands and Intelligent Design: Must Classical Liberals also Embrace Darwinian Theory?
  5. Logan Paul Gage, “Darwin Knows Best: Can Evolution Support the Classical Liberal Vision of the Family.”
  6. Richard Weikart, “A History of the Impact of Darwinism on Natural Rights and Bioethics.”
  7. Michael J. White, “An Historical Afterword.”

Benefits of the Book

  1. The volume is interdisciplinary, drawing on a wide array of areas, including political philosophy, evolutionary biology, economics, philosophy of mind, ethics, metaethics, philosophical anthropology, sociobiology, social & political conservatism, American history, and the like.
  2. Parts of the volume examine the relationship between Christian theism and the crucial tenets of the classical liberal tradition, including individual rights, limited government, the free market, private property, and the separation of powers.
  3. Much of the book addresses evolutionary naturalism’s prospects of grounding classical liberal ideals such as individual rights, limited government, the free market, private property, free will, and the role and value of the traditional family.
  4. The volume explores in detail the moral, social, political, economic, anthropological, mental, and familial implications of (neo) Darwinian theory.
  5. The book contains competing perspectives, including those who reject the compatibility of Darwinian evolution with classical liberalism, as well as those who think otherwise.

Future Directions for Study: a Brief Meditation 

In my view, there is a great need for Christian philosophers—especially those who are readers of Philosophia Christi—to ‘expand their tents,’ so to speak, by branching out into areas underemphasized by the recent renaissance in Christian philosophy. In particular, Christian philosophers adept at metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and the like ought to consider the concrete implications of their broader Christocentric philosophy for ‘applied’ areas like social, political, economic, and legal philosophy. Unfortunately, the project of ‘Christian philosophy’ often seems to be (perceived as) limited to the ‘usual suspects’ perennially analyzed in philosophy of religion, such as the problem of evil. Yes, the problem of evil ought to be examined with care, but so should the problems created by the application of harmful ideas upon citizens in the United States and elsewhere.
I realize that my suggestion may sound like an unwelcome invitation for Christian philosophers to enter the culture wars. I also recognize that writing and publishing on applied areas does not typically carry the prestige of breaking new ground in metaphysics or epistemology. I realize, too, that some Christian philosophers may find they have greater credibility with their secular colleagues insofar as they remain (professionally) aloof from anything that smacks of theologically-illuminated economics, politics, and the like. These are all worthy concerns. I certainly agree that we are to be as shrewd as serpents, innocent as doves. But abandonment of the public square by some of the Church’s best and brightest minds is also undesirable—as is leaving the public square to thinkers whose intellectual life is riddled with secular ideologies. Expanding into applied areas ought to be considered thoughtfully and prayerfully by Christian philosophers, especially readers of Philosophia Christi, so many of whom have deep Christian minds.
In my estimation, the Church is quite scattered in its understanding and appraisal of ideas critical to our society, including ideas like the proper scope of religious liberty, outcomes of the free market, role of government, content of individual rights, and the like. Christian philosophers can play a vital role in helping laypeople in the Church think systematically about the way distinctly Christian theology and anthropology illuminate, expand, or reconceive these key elements. In my anecdotal experience, I’ve found that otherwise intelligent and thoughtful lay Christians often lack a systemic way of linking their knowledge of Scripture and theology to their positions on social, political, and economic issues. The result is that their positions are ideologically fragmented and only dimly reflect a Christ-centered foundation.
So what is my recommendation for future lines of research? In a nutshell: Christian philosophers who are doing great work in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and the like ought to consider engaging social, political, economic, and legal philosophy. Doing so with their trademark rigor would serve the academy, Church, and common good. It turns out that Christ died to redeem more than just analytic philosophy.
To learn more about the contributions of Darwinian Evolution and Classical Liberalism: Theories in Tension (Lexington Books, 2013), click here for a fuller discussion at the EPS website. Readers are also encouraged to take advantage of a 30% discount when purchased through Rowman and Littlefield’s website (Lex30Auth14 – this discount expires 12/31/2014).

Christian Philosophers in the ‘Secular Academy’

The past few decades have seen an increase of interest by Christians in philosophy.  One manifestation of this has been an increase of Christians teaching philosophy in a secular setting.  The recent EPS “Christ-Shaped Philosophy Project” evidences this renewed engagement and shows that there is dispute about what it even means to ‘do philosophy’ as a Christian.  In part this is because there is a difference of perspective about the meaning of philosophy. For example, in what way is philosophy different than testimony (e.g., revealed religion), tradition, science, common sense, and intuition? Moreover, must a Christian who teaches and studies philosophy commit herself/himself to one of the current philosophical methodologies such as analytic or continental philosophy?

PROJECT PURPOSE: We seek to understand teaching, learning, and communicating as a ‘Christian Philosopher’ in a non-religious (sometimes anti-religious) educational context (e.g., High School, College, and University). This project asks questions related to how Christians understand philosophy, and how this affects teaching philosophy as a Christian in a secular academic setting (see suggestions below). This involves philosophy as the study of general revelation, combined with the Christian claims of the need for redemption and redemptive revelation.  As such it raises important questions about the basis for common ground between humans as thinkers, and the Christian claim that humans do not seek, do not understand, and do not do what is right.

LENGTH: 1500-2000 total words. You are welcome to work with the Project Editor on length issues.

DEADLINE: TBD with editor/coordinator (see below).

Each month, we plan to feature at least one new contribution in this space

SUBMISSION PROCESS: If you are interested in any of the below suggested areas of contribution (or you wish to propose some other topic), please contact our project coordinator and editor Owen Anderson (info below). Owen is seeking to coordinate all potential contributors and their topics for this endeavor. When you pitch your possible contribution, please provide the following:

  • Your name, institution and contact info.
  • Title and description of your proposal.
  • Specific reasons for how your contribution will help advance the purpose of this project.



  1. Is ‘Christian philosophy’ distinct from ‘philosophy,’ and if so, how does that shape the practice of teaching it in non-religious contexts?
  2. How does being a Christian influence teaching philosophy at a secular institution?
  3. What should a ‘Christian philosopher’ seek to accomplish with the teaching-learning process in a non-religious context? Teach for the sake of understanding an area of knowledge? Bear witness to the ultimate truth in the triune God? Only ‘play according to the rules’ of that discipline and institution? Something else? What might prudence and wisdom look like with this endeavor?
  4. How might different epistemologies (e.g., Reformed Epistemology) influence what a ‘Christian philosopher’ views as desiderata for teaching-learning outcomes in a non-religious context?
  5. What basis is there for ‘common ground’ between Christian philosophy and secular institutions (or students, or colleagues)?
  6. What challenges to a Christian understanding of the world arise from students or colleagues? How should these challenges be addressed?
  7. How might debates about advocacy/neutrality models of the classroom shape the ‘doing’ of philosophy by Christians?
  8. What do secular institutions ask Christian philosophers to ‘do’ with their faith (e.g., utilize it, isolate it, make it merely private, etc) and how does that shape the teaching-learning process?
  9. Given the challenges of philosophical and religious pluralism, how should one teach Ethics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion, etc. as a Christian?
  10. What are some ‘best practices’ for teaching hot-button issues like: the nature of truth, the existence of the soul, different accounts of human nature, issues of sexuality and sexual ethics, ‘beginning of life’ and ‘end of life’ ethical issues, war, nuclear disarmament, etc
  11. Are there specific teaching or communication lessons a Christian philosophers learns at a secular institution that are absent at a religious institution?
  12. Is teaching Christian philosophy at a secular institution different from teaching other subjects at that institution (does philosophy have a unique role than perhaps math, grammar, geography, etc., do not)?
Project Coordinator & Editor
Dr. Owen Anderson, PhD
Associate Professor
Philosophy and Religious Studies,
School of Humanities, Arts & Cultural Studies
New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Arizona State University

Project Developer & Overseer
Joseph E. Gorra, Consulting Editor, Philosophia Christi.

Copy Editor Assistant
Dave Strobolakos, Talbot School of Theology.

Please consider becoming a regular annual or monthly financial partner with the Evangelical Philosophical Society in order to expand its reach, support its members, and be a credible presence of Christ-shaped philosophical interests in the academy and into the wider culture!

Debating God – Williams, Lewis et al

EPS followers may be interested in Peter S. Williams’ recent debate on God’s existence with Professor Christopher Norris at Cardiff University:

Audio of the debate is available here.

Turning to a debate of a rather different nature, Peter’s new book, C.S. Lewis vs the New Atheists (Paternoster, 2013), is available from

How might C.S. Lewis, the greatest Christian apologist of the twentieth century, respond to the twenty-first century ‘new atheism’ of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and company? Might Lewis’ own journey from atheism to Christian belief illuminate and undercut the objections of the new atheists? Christian philosopher Peter S. Williams takes us on an intellectual journey through Lewis’ conversion in conversation with today’s anti-theists.

A free sample chapter is available here. You can listen to Peter’s talk from the official book launch at the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society here and to an interview about the book with Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 here.

‘This book shows the breadth, depth, and durability of Lewis’s Christian apologetics.’ – Dr. Michael Ward, Senior Research Fellow, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University & author of Planet Narnia

‘Given the New Atheists’ confident rejection of religious belief, one might have thought that their case would stand up to scrutiny when compared with the most prominent Christian apologist of the twentieth century, C.S. Lewis. In this book, Peter Williams clearly demonstrates that this is not the case at all. He shows that Lewis rejected his earlier atheism as a result of an in-depth consideration of the nature of reality, whereas the New Atheists fail to back up their rhetoric with any serious evaluation of the arguments. This highly readable book will be of interest to all who wish to evaluate the New Atheism and to understand the enduring legacy of C.S. Lewis.’ – Dr. David Glass, author of Atheism’s New Clothes

‘While they terrify many an unprepared soul, the new atheists are really paper tigers. Their roar rings hollow, their swagger lack intellectual rigor. Their arguments, while strident, are really hapless and hollow. Williams carefully exposes their fallacies and rebuts their arguments with biblical and intellectual rigor. This is a savvy work of apologetics for our day.’ – Dr. Douglas Groothuis, Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary

‘I recommend [Peter’s work] enthusiastically.’ – Dr. William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology

Philosophia Christi Winter 2012: Paul Moser’s Religious Epistemology

The very next issue of Philosophia Christi has now mailed! If you are not a current member/subscriber, you can become one today by purchasing here.

This packed issue leads with a resourceful discussion on Paul K. Moser’s religious epistemology, with contributions by Katharyn Waidler, Charles Taliaferro, Harold Netland and a final reply by Moser. This journal contribution not only extends interest and application of Moser’s epistemology but also compliments the EPS web project on “Christ-Shaped Philosophy”.

We also feature interesting work in philosophical theology, including how one might understand “friendship with Jesus” (Michael McFall), the scope of divine love (Jordan Wessling), and how one’s view of original sin relates to a broad free-will defense (W. Paul Franks).

Other significant article contributions address criticisms against Plantinga’s conditions for warrant (Mark Boone), the latest in cosmology and arguments for God’s existence (Andrew Loke) along with further challenges against “central state materialism” (Eric LaRock).

Readers will not want to miss J.P. Moreland’s critique of Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos along with the critique of Christian physicalism by Jonathan Loose. Michael Austin provides a helpful philosophical account of the virtue of humility in light of social science considerations, and Amos Yong critically assesses “relational apologetics” in a global context.

Finally, this issue features book reviews by William Lane Craig, James Stump, Paul Copan, James Bruce and Jason Cruze about books related to the latest on science and theology, cosmology, metaethics, and ethics of abortion. 

See all the articles included in this issue by clicking here.

Call for Papers: 2013 Far West Region of the EPS

We seek to fill six EPS parallel sessions available to us at the upcoming ETS Far West Regional meeting, to be held at Vanguard University, Friday, April 19, 2012, from 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.

We would like to encourage a good range of faculty and student presentations:

1. Paper proposals may be on any philosophical topic of interest to Christian philosophers, theologians, or biblical studies scholars.

2. Please submit a short abstract (no more than 200 words) to, BY JAN 31, 2013

3. Be sure your proposal is in a format compatible with Microsoft Word for Windows.

4. Sessions are limited to 40 or 45 minutes, so please plan on taking no longer than 25-30 minutes to read your paper, so as to allow for time for questions and answers.

The ETS theme is: “”The Spirit and the People of God: Evangelical Perspectives.” Dr. Michael Horton will be the ETS plenary speaker. There will be an optional banquet after the parallel sessions are over.

Note: If your proposal is accepted, you still will need to register for the conference through ETS.

Christ-Shaped Philosophy Project

WELCOME to a unique and ongoing project at the website of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, where we are featuring interactions with Paul Moser’s paper, “Christ-Shaped Philosophy: Wisdom and Spirit United.”

Abstract: Christian philosophy is a distinctive kind of philosophy owing to the special role it assigns to God in Christ. Much of philosophy focuses on concepts, possibilities, necessities, propositions, and arguments. This may be helpful as far as it goes, but it omits what is the distinctive focus of Christian philosophy: the redemptive power of God in Christ, available in human experience. Such power, of course, is not mere talk or theory. Even Christian philosophers tend to shy away from the role of divine power in their efforts toward Christian philosophy. The power in question goes beyond philosophical wisdom to the causally powerful Spirit of God, who intervenes with divine corrective reciprocity. It yields a distinctive religious epistemology and a special role for Christian spirituality in Christian philosophy. It acknowledges a goal of union with God in Christ that shapes how Christian philosophy is to be done, and the result should reorient such philosophy in various ways. No longer can Christian philosophers do philosophy without being, themselves, under corrective and redemptive inquiry by God in Christ. This paper takes its inspiration from Paul’s profound approach to philosophy in his letter to the Colossians. Oddly, this approach has been largely ignored even by Christian philosophers. We need to correct this neglect.

Read the full-text of Moser’s paper for FREE by accessing it here (readers might also be interested in the discussion on Moser’s “religious epistemology” in the Winter 2012 issue of Philosophia Christi).

PROJECT PURPOSE: For philosophers and theologians, we invite you to consider submitting a carefully-honed response to one aspect of Moser’s thesis and argument, whether by critiquing it, advancing it, applying and integrating it to various areas of philosophy, theology and spirituality, or even by articulating some practices conducive toward ‘doing’ Christ-shaped philosophy.

LENGTH: 1500-2000 total words. You are welcome to work with the Project Editor on length issues.

DEADLINE: TBD with editor/coordinator (see below).

Each month, we plan to feature at least one new contribution in this space


How Can You Contribute? 15 Suggestions

  1. Interact with the paper’s thesis on its own merit. Perhaps you might want to discuss an assumption, concept, claim, distinction, methodology, etc., in Paul’s paper.
  2. Do Christ-Shaped Philosophy. Instead of just talking about it, perhaps you would like to model how Christ-Shaped philosophy can be done regarding some carefully-honed topic, whether one that Paul has addressed or something else.
  3. Address how to do Christ-shaped philosophy, whether as a discussion focused on relevant prolegomena issues or concerning the practical processes or practices involved. Here, we welcome even just a proposal for the ‘how to.’
  4. Explain the theological assumptions of Christ-shaped philosophy and show how it contributes to this way of ‘doing’ philosophy.
  5. Contextualize Christ-shaped philosophy in view of other relevant works by Paul Moser. (Paul’s paper is a continuation of his work in earlier publications such as: his Faith and Philosophy paper, “On Jesus and Philosophy”; chapter 4, “Philosophy Revamped,” from his book The Elusive God; his “Introduction” to his edited book, Jesus and Philosophy. A goal here may include drawing an overall general  picture of his conception of ‘Christian philosophy’ from his relevant works).
  6. Envision what it might mean to do Christ-shaped philosophy as and for the church. What are the ecclesial factors and significance for Christ-shaped philosophy? What might be the epistemic significance of theological tradition for informing Christ-shaped philosophy?
  7. Develop how Christ-shaped philosophy might affect philosophy practices (e.g., teaching, dialogue/discourse, and writing/publishing in philosophy). If it does (re)shape practices, explain how it does to distinctively?
  8. Compare the approach and benefits of Christ-shaped philosophy with Analytic Theology. Are they interrelated? Are they addressing similar topics yet asking different questions?
  9. Convey what are the implications of Christ-shaped philosophy for philosophy as a professionalized and specialized discipline in the academy, whether of an analytic or continental variety. Does Christ-shaped philosophy defy that categorization?
  10. If Christ-shaped philosophy is not ‘respected’ or ‘taken seriously’ in the academy, should it be attempted in that context?
  11. Envision the vocation, moral-spiritual character development training and skills of a philosopher if Christ-shaped philosophy is true. Consider this especially in the context of the contemporary practice of analytic philosophy in academic environments. How might graduate work look different if Christ-shaped philosophy is a goal? How might the socialization process and factors of becoming a ‘philosopher’ look any different?
  12. Consider the purpose and outcomes of Christ-shaped philosophy for ‘doing’ Christian apologetics and theology. How might apologetics and theology work differ in relationship to ‘Christian philosophy’ work if Christ-shaped philosophy is true and enacted?
  13. Develop the value and development of Christ-shaped philosophy in conversation with ‘contemporary’ and ‘historical’ voices. Which voices might help advance or help assess Christ-shaped philosophy, whether these are theology, philosophy, or spirituality voices.
  14. Consider whether Christ-shaped philosophy can be a ‘synthesis’ posture/framework for doing philosophy as a Christian, whether one is working from Reformed Epistemology, Evidentialism, Post-Foundationalism, Covenant Epistemology, etc.
  15. Envision how the basic contours of Christ-shaped philosophy might be viewed as a model for Christians ‘doing scholarship,’ regardless of their discipline or area of specialization. How might it be address so-called ‘worldview integration’ issues?

Project Coordinator & Editor
Tedla G. Woldeyohannes
Department of Philosophy
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, MO 63108

Project Developer & Overseer
Joseph E. Gorra, Consulting Editor, Philosophia Christi

Copy Editor Assistant
Dave Strobolakos

Alvin Plantinga’s New Argument Against Materialism

The Summer 2012 issue of Philosophia Christi showcases a noteworthy discussion between Alvin Planting and Michael Tooley regarding Plantinga’s “new argument against materialism.” We are grateful for their contributions and for Jeremy Evans‘ (SEBTS) guest editor work. In fact, here’s how he introduces this discussion:

Materialism is the rage these days, so much so that some Christian thinkers are shifting away from long-standing traditions on the relationship of the mind and body (dualism of some sort) to provide a more scientific vision of mind-body interaction and personal identity. In order to move this discussion forward Philosophia Christi invited Alvin Plantinga to advance some of his arguments made in his famous essay “An Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism,” drawing to the front some of the problems that materialism must address. In this entry, Plantinga focuses on some problems inherent to materialism pertaining to theories of belief formation, intentionality, and the undertakings of agents. In essence, Plantinga argues that if materialism is true (whether it be of a reductive or nonreductive type) then the usual connection between beliefs and intentions do not provide the causal story that is needed to account for a person’s undertaking some endeavor. If neither beliefs nor intentions are causally relevant to an agent’s undertakings, then, as Plantinga argues, this provides a strong argument against materialism. We invite the reader to inspect Plantinga’s entry in order to piece together the argument.

We also invited Michael Tooley to provide a materialist response to Plantinga. Tooley seemed especially suited for this discussion given his previous exchange with Plantinga in their excellent book, The Knowledge of God (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008). In this entry, Tooley seeks to overcome what, he thinks, are misrepresentations of materialism by Plantinga—personal identity does not track bodily identity, or brain identity, or upper brain identity, so I am not identical with my body, or with my brain, or with my upper brain. After developing some necessary groundwork, Tooley argues that Plantinga’s new argument against materialism is unsound because it “fails to distinguish, first of all, between mere physical movement on the one hand, and genuine, intentional action on the other, and secondly, between the causation of mere physical movement on the one hand, and the explanation of genuine intentional action on the other. Subsequent to this argument Tooley then advances what is, in his opinion, the strongest form of materialism and why Plantinga’s argument does not address it. In his second article, Plantinga offers a response to this critique.

You can purchase the Summer 2012 issue or become a subscriber to the journal or a member of the EPS and receive this issue as part of your membership.