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Dr. Edward Feser

About

Dr. Edward Feser is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. He has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in religion from the Claremont Graduate School, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies from the California State University at Fullerton. He is author of numerous books including The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism (St. Augustines Press, 2010); Aquinas (Oneworld, 2009); and Philosophy of Mind (Oneworld, 2007). Follow Dr. Feser on his blog and his website, EdwardFeser.com.

   
 

Do Theological Claims Need to be Falsifiable?

Antony Flew’s famous 1950 article “Theology and Falsification” posed what came to be known as the “falsificationist challenge” to theology. A claim is falsifiable when it is empirically testable—that is to say, when it makes predictions about what will be observed under such-and-such circumstances such that, if the predictions don’t pan out, the claim is thereby shown to be false. The idea that a genuinely scientific claim must be falsifiable had already been given currency by Karl... Read More

Is an All-Evil God as Likely as an All-Good God?

In the combox to a post on another subject, reader Eric asked for my opinion of philosopher Stephen Law’s article “The evil-god challenge.” I had not then read the article and did not have time to do so at that moment, but I commented briefly on the summary of Law’s views that Eric provided. To my surprise, Law posted a response to my (somewhat dashed off) comments in the same combox a couple of weeks later. I did not bother to reply, because Law’s remarks seemed themselves obviously dashed... Read More

Does the Bible Say All Atheists are Intellectually Dishonest?

We’ve been discussing the thesis that human beings have a natural inclination toward theism, and that atheism, accordingly, involves a suppression of this inclination. Greg Koukl takes the inclination to be so powerful that resisting it is like “trying to hold a beach ball underwater,” and appears to think that every single atheist is engaged in an intellectually dishonest exercise in “denying the obvious, aggressively pushing down the evidence, to turn his head the other way.” (Randal... Read More

Do Atheists Simply Repress Their Knowledge of God?

Christian apologist Greg Koukl, appealing to Romans 1:18-20, says that the atheist is “denying the obvious, aggressively pushing down the evidence, to turn his head the other way, in order to deny the existence of God.”  For the “evidence of God is so obvious” from the existence and nature of the world that “you’ve got to work at keeping it down,” in a way comparable to “trying to hold a beach ball underwater.”  Koukl’s fellow Christian apologist Randal Rauser begs to differ. ... Read More

Reassessing Plantinga’s Ontological Argument for God

Alvin Plantinga famously defends a version of the ontological argument that makes use of the notion of possible worlds. As is typically done, we might think of a “possible world” as a complete way that things might have been. In the actual world I am writing up this blog post, but I could have decided instead to go pour myself a Scotch. (Since it’s still morning, I won’t—I can wait an hour.) So, we might say that there is a possible world more or less like the actual world—Obama is still... Read More

Can Something Actually Cause Itself to Exist?

"There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible." - Summa Theologiae I.2.3 "If, then, something were its own cause of being, it would be understood to be before it had being – which is impossible…" - Summa Contra Gentiles I.22.6     Was Aquinas mistaken? Could something be its own cause? Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow seem to think so. In their recent... Read More

Does “Atheology” Exist?

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Filed under God

In his brief and (mostly) tightly argued book God, Freedom, and Evil, Alvin Plantinga writes: "[S]ome theologians and theistic philosophers have tried to give successful arguments or proofs for the existence of God.  This enterprise is called natural theology… Other philosophers, of course, have presented arguments for the falsehood of theistic beliefs; these philosophers conclude that belief in God is demonstrably irrational or unreasonable.  We might call this enterprise natural atheology." ... Read More

Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will: A Review of Alfred Mele’s “Free”

In his Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein complained that “in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion.” What he meant is that academic psychologists too often interpret empirical evidence in light of unexamined and dubious metaphysical assumptions. What is presented as good science is really just bad philosophy. The recent spate of neuroscientific and psychological literature claiming to show that free will is an illusion provides a case in point. Philosopher... Read More

The 6 Varieties of Atheism (and Which Are Most Defensible)

A religion typically has both practical and theoretical aspects.  The former concern its moral teachings and rituals, the latter its metaphysical commitments and the way in which its practical teachings are systematically articulated. An atheist will naturally reject not only the theoretical aspects, but also the practical ones, at least to the extent that they presuppose the theoretical aspects.  But different atheists will take different attitudes to each of the two aspects, ranging from respectful... Read More

Can We Make Sense of the World?

Is reality intelligible?  Can we make sense of it?  Or is the world at bottom an unintelligible “brute fact” with no explanation?  We can tighten up these questions by distinguishing several senses in which the world might be said to be (or not to be) intelligible.  To make these distinctions is to see that the questions are not susceptible of a simple Yes or No answer.  There are in fact a number of positions one could take on the question of the world’s intelligibility – though they... Read More

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