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The God Dialogues A Philosophical Journey



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Oxford University Press
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The God Dialogues is an intriguing and extensive philosophical debate about the existence of God. Engaging and accessible, it covers all the main arguments for and against God's existence, from traditional philosophical "proofs" to arguments that involve the latest developments in biology andphysics. Three main characters represent the principal views: Theodore Logan, the theist; Eva Lucien, the atheist; and Gene Sesquois, the agnostic. Their debate takes place during a post-college cross-country road trip during which Gene expresses dismay over his future. He wants to do somethingmeaningful with his life but is at a loss as to how to proceed, despite having just earned a degree in engineering. Gene's quandary precipitates a discussion of the meaning of life and its connection to God's existence. This in turn leads to vigorous debates about morality and theism, evidence forand against God's existence, probability and the rationality of belief, and the relationship between faith and reason. The strongest arguments from all three perspectives are fairly represented. An annotated list of suggested readings directs readers to relevant and helpful primary sources. Assuming no background knowledge, The God Dialogues is ideal for courses in the philosophy of religion, an excellent supplement for introduction to philosophy courses, and a compelling introduction for anyone with an interest in the subject.

Author Biography

Torin Alter is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. Robert J. Howell is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southern Methodist University. They are the coauthors of A Dialogue on Consciousness (OUP, 2008).

Table of Contents

Prefacep. VIII
Acknowledgmentsp. IX
Outside Boston: God, Value, and Meaningp. 1
Searching for Meaning
Atheism, Agnosticism, and Theism
The Argument from Morality
The Euthyphro Question
Limits on God's Power
Good as Part of the Divine Nature
Angels, Devils, and Knowing Which is Which
The Meaning of What?
Niagara, New York: Design and Evolutionp. 17
The Grandeur of the Falls
Paley's Argument from Analogy
The Argument from Design
Creation vs. Chance
Creation vs. Evolution
Natural Selection and Chance
The Support for Evolution
The Challenge of Irreducible Complexity
Assessing Probabilities
The Panda's Thumb
From Niagara to Chicago: Life and Fine-Tuningp. 37
The Argument from Life
Arguing from Ignorance
Scientific Progress on the Origins of Life
The Argument from Consciousness
The Probability of Life's Emergence
The Limits of Science
The Fine-Tuning Argument
Selection Bias
The Multiple-Universes Hypothesis
The Belief in Our Own Specialness
The Problem of Prior Probabilities
A Finely-Tuned God
Chicago, Illinois, outside the Adler Planetarium: The Cosmological Argumentp. 59
The Provocative Planetarium
The Cosmological Argument, First Pass
The Big Bang
A Contradiction in the Premises
Another Pass
The Principle of Sufficient Reason
Quantum Indeterminacy
Infinite Pasts and Infinite Beings
The Double Standard
The Argument from Contingency
Divine Freedom
More Double Standards
The Burden of Proof and the Missing Keys
Chicago, Illinois, in the Hotel: The Ontological Argumentp. 77
The Ontological Argument
Anselm and the Fool
Places of the Mind
God and the Representation of God
Dreaming of Elvis
Gaunilo's Perfect Island
Kant's Diagnosis
Possible Worlds and the Necessity of God
The Impossibility of God
Imagination and Possibility
Somewhere in Iowa: Religious Experience, Testimony, and Miraclesp. 97
The Ghost of Shoeless Joe
Testimony and Miracles
The Bible as Authority
Other Authorities
Religious Experience
Experience and Evidence
The Psychology of Religious Experience
Explaining Experience
Hume on Miracles
Holcomb, Kansas: The Problem of Evilp. 119
Murder, from Kansas to Kitty Genovese
The Problem of Evil
The Free Will Response
Circumventing Freedom
The Problem of Natural Disasters
Dark Clouds and Silver Linings
The Dependence of Good on Evil
The World as a Moral Proving Ground
Evil in the Big Picture
The Ship, The Captain, and the Grounds of Reasonable Belief
Las Vegas, Nevada: Pascal's Wagerp. 143
Pascal's Wager
Prudential vs. Evidential Reasons
The Possibility and Legitimacy of Prudential Belief
Dominance and the Case for Gun Ownership
The Many-Gods Objection
California: Faith and the Rationality of Belief in Godp. 155
The Weight of Combined Arguments
Kierkegaard and Heroic Leaps of Faith
The Dangers of Faith
Alternative Conceptions of God
Religion as Metaphor
The Dangers of Metaphor
Faith and Moral Disagreement
The Golden Gate
Reading Suggestionsp. 173
Sources of Quotationsp. 179
Indexp. 180
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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