It is often assumed that there is a hard line between theistic evolution (TE) and intelligent design (ID). Many theistic evolutionists subscribe to the idea that God only acts through natural processes, as opposed to the ID assertion that God, at certain points in natural history, has acted in a direct manner; directly causing particular features of the world. In this article, I argue that theistic evolutionists subscribe to what might be called Natural Divine Causation (NDC). NDC does not merely (...) provide a nonsupernaturalist and noninterventionist model of divine action, it provides a line of demarcation between TE and ID. I make the critique that NDC is philosophically untenable and argue, consequently, that the line between TE and ID is blurred. (shrink)
The metaphysical vision of Advaita Vedānta has been making its way into some corners of Western analytic philosophy, and has especially garnered attention among those philosophers who are seeking to develop metaphysical systems in opposition to both reductionist materialism and dualism. Given Vedānta’s monistic view of consciousness, it might seem natural to put Vedānta in dialogue with the growing position of panpsychism which, although not fully monistic, similarly takes mind to be a fundamental feature of reality. This paper will evaluate (...) to what extent Śaṅkara’s monism can bypass the most pressing issues facing panpsychism, namely combination and individuation problems. As will be seen in this paper, while Advaita Vedānta is able to avoid some of the panpsychist problems, it struggles ultimately to ontologically ground illusion in a coherent manner. As a result, a conclusion of this paper is that although Śaṅkara’s vision offers a promising route for those philosophers who take consciousness to be fundamental – including panpsychists – it cannot be uncritically adopted due to the problem of grounding Illusion. (shrink)
In this article, I defend my previous argument that natural divine causation suffers under the problem of causal overdetermination and that it cannot serve as a line of demarcation between theistic evolution (TE) and intelligent design (ID). I do this in light of Christoffer Skogholt's critique of my article. I argue that Skogholt underestimates the naturalistic ambitions of some current thinkers in TE and fails, therefore, to adequately respond to my main argument. I also outline how partial causation better serves (...) as a model for the relationship between God's providence and evolution. (shrink)
In this article, I call into question the relevance of emergence theories as presently used by thinkers in the science–religion discussion. Specifically, I discuss theories of emergence that have been used by both religious naturalists and proponents of panentheism. I argue for the following conclusions: (1) If we take the background theory to be metaphysical realism, then there seems to be no positive connection between the reality of emergent properties and the validity of providing reality with a religious interpretation, though (...) one could perhaps construe an argument for the positive ontological status of emergence as a negative case for a religious worldview. (2) To be considered more plausible, religious naturalism should interpret religious discourse from the perspective of pragmatic realism. (3) Panentheistic models of divine causality are unable to avoid ontological dualism. (4) It is not obvious that emergent phenomena and/or properties are nonreducible in the ontological sense of the terms; indeed, the tension between weak and strong emergence makes it difficult for the emergentist to make ontological judgments. My general conclusion is that the concept of emergence has little metaphysical significance in the dialogue between science and theology. (shrink)
This paper will argue that panentheism fails to avoid ontological dualism, and that the naturalistic assumption being employed in panentheism underminesthe idea of God acting in physical reality. Moreover, given panentheism’s lack of success with respect to avoiding dualism, it becomes unclear to what extent panentheism represents a naturalistic approach in the dialogue between science and religion.
In this article, I offer a critical evaluation of non-reductive physicalism as articulated and defended by Nancey Murphy. I argue that the examples given by Murphy do not illustrate robust emergence and the philosophical idea of downward causation. The thesis of multiple realizability is ontologically neutral, and so cannot support the idea of the causal efficacy of higher-level properties. Supervenience is incompatible with strong emergence. I also argue for the fruitful relationship between emergence theory and panpsychism pertaining to the metaphysical (...) issue of the origin and nature of mind. (shrink)
In this response to David Bradnick's and Bradford McCall's defense of Amos Yong's usage of emergence theory, we defend our previous argument regarding the tension between Yong's Pentecostal commitments and the philosophical entailments of emergence theory. We clarify and extend our previous concerns in three ways. First, we explore the difficulties of construing divine action naturalistically. Second, we clarify the problems of employing supervenience in theology. Third, we show why Bradnick's and McCall's advice to Yong to adopt weak emergence is (...) theologically costly. In conclusion, it is suggested that theologians within the science and religion dialogue should not fear, but recover, the language of supernaturalism and dualism. (shrink)
This article explores an important metaphysical issue raised by Donald Crosby in his Nature as Sacred Ground1—namely, the reality and nature of teleology and the explanatory relevance of teleology for understanding human mentality. Crosby, in his endeavor to construct a metaphysical system on which to base religious naturalism, acknowledges the importance of positively accounting for teleology. Teleology is crucial for accounting for human freedom, and if teleology falls prey to reductionism, then a dangerous dissonance is created between naturalism and the (...) necessary presupposition regarding ourselves as experiencing and causally effective creatures. To leave such a dissonance... (shrink)
This paper offers a critical exploration of philosopher Kevin Corcoran’s proposed Christian Materialism. Corcoran’s constitution view claimsthat we human persons are constituted by our bodies without being identical with the bodies that constitute us. I will critically evaluate this view and argue that Corcoran has not successfully managed to ground a first-person perspective and intentional states in materialism. Moreover, Corcoran’s property dualism about mental states and the idea of the causally efficacy of such states seem incompatible with materialism. Corcoran’s view (...) ofimago Deiis also explored and evaluated. Towards the end of the paper I put forward a brief defense of dualism in light of Corcoran’s critique. (shrink)
This article critically analyzes Owen Flanagan's physicalism and attempt at deriving ethical normativity from current neuroscience. It is argued that neurophysicalism, despite Flanagan's harsh critique of “the new mysterians,” entails a form of mysterianism and that it fails to appropriately ground human mentality within physicalism. Flanagan seeks to bring spirituality and a physicalist ontology together by showing how it is possible to derive an account of the good life from science. This attempt is critiqued and it is shown that Flanagan (...) fails to establish the consistency between ethical normativity and physicalism. Hence, another form of mysterianism seems to emerge within this normative mind science. (shrink)
This paper provides a survey of contemporary religious naturalism. It presents reductive and non‐reductive versions of religious naturalism, and some arguments in favour of this naturalistic perspective. Finally, it discusses three crucial demarcation issues that contemporary religious naturalism faces.
This paper will argue that panentheism fails to avoid ontological dualism, and that the naturalistic assumption being employed in panentheism undermines the idea of God acting in physical reality. Moreover, given panentheism’s lack of success with respect to avoiding dualism, it becomes unclear to what extent panentheism represents a naturalistic approach in the dialogue between science and religion.