Friday, November 4, 2011


No, not the Parent-Teacher Ass'n (TPA)... the Tennessee Philosophical Association, holding its annual meeting tonight and tomorrow at Vanderbilt. The personal highlight for me: a reunion with old grad school pals, coming to town to pay tribute to our old Prof Jeffrey Tlumak.

Tonight's keynote address is from LSU Prof John Whittaker, asking "what it costs philosophy to take religious belief seriously."*

It's all free and open to the public, come as you are and stay for the free food and drink afterwards (and pick up easy extra credit, CoPhi and SOL students).

*Abstract: Judeo-Christian religion – and indeed, most any religion – is defenseless when its critics focus on the literalism of its exponents and the mythical character of its sacred stories. This target is too easy to criticize, and it is beneath the dignity of philosophy to concentrate on this na├»ve form of belief. To take religion at its best, philosophers must pay attention to faith’s insistence that it is not knowledge in the ordinary sense, that all descriptions of the divine are anthropomorphic, that its principles can be reasonable without being evidentially or argumentatively justified, that its wisdom is therapeutic and not cognitive, that its truths are not objectively determinable but discernible in new forms of understanding, that its trust is open-ended, and that the “objects” of this trust are wholly unknowable mysteries. To take these aspects of religion seriously requires nothing less than the overthrow of standard models of epistemology. With respect to these narrow models of epistemology, the wisdom of faith is a form of “not-knowing.”
Does not knowing become deep and profound when "hyphenated"?

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