Special Issue "New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2015)
Philosophy of religion is more prominent today than it has been for decades. Works of “popular” philosophy of religion, often by figures who do not identify as philosophers, such as Richard Dawkins, have had a great impact on the media and public discussion about religion. Arguments for and against God’s existence, and about the nature and rationality of faith, have become popular talking points, and the rationality of viewpoints such as “Intelligent Design” has become a significant political and social issue, especially in the United States.
The traditional interest in the concept of God and arguments for or against his existence remains alive and well in contemporary academic philosophy of religion too. The “fine-tuning” argument, for example, has occasioned much debate in recent years. At the same time, however, the discipline has been widening its scope into quite different areas of investigation. There is great contemporary interest in the epistemology of religion, particularly with discussion of and reaction to the cluster of ideas known as “Reformed Epistemology”. Related areas include the nature of religious faith and of belief in general, topics that overlap with wider epistemological issues and with other disciplines entirely such as psychology and cognitive science. Researchers in these areas are interested in religious faith in all its historical and cultural variety. At the same time, there has been a surge of interest in the philosophical discussion of particular religious doctrines, particularly those of Christianity. Under the heading of “philosophical theology” or “analytic theology”, scholars have examined doctrines such as the Trinity, Incarnation, and atonement using the tools of analytic philosophy. Here, philosophy of religion overlaps very closely with confessional theology.
These developments have coincided with a greater interest in doing philosophy of religion through engagement with historical figures. Just as historians of philosophy in general are today combining historical exegesis with philosophical analysis, so too philosophers of religion are engaging critically with new historical work on figures such as Aquinas, Leibniz, Kant, and others, including representatives of non-Christian religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Much philosophy of religion today is done by philosophers who also specialize in medieval or early modern philosophy – or in continental philosophy, which continues to be a great influence on contemporary Christian theology.
Finally, the nature of philosophy of religion itself has come under scrutiny in recent years, particularly from the viewpoint of feminist philosophy. Critics consider the degree to which the assumptions and concepts of this historically very male-dominated discipline reflect a peculiarly masculine point of view, and seek to find a new way of doing philosophy of religion that does justice to women’s concerns and experiences.
This issue will include examples of these traditional concerns and new directions in philosophy of religion, to give an overview and illustration of how the discipline operates today. It will also look at the ways in which contemporary philosophers of religion draw on resources from wider philosophical traditions such as analytic philosophy, continental philosophy, Indian philosophy, and other traditions.
Topics covered may include:
(1) Nature/ history of philosophy of religion (incl. relation to contemporary popular debate)
(2) Relationship between theology/philosophy of religion and modern (analytic) philosophy
(3) Relationship between theology/philosophy of religion and modern (continental) philosophy
(4) Relationship between theology/philosophy of religion and history of philosophy
(5) Philosophy of religion and psychology/cognitive science
(6) Feminism and philosophy of religion
(7) Religious faith/belief and epistemology
(8) Fine-tuning arguments
(9) Problem of evil
(10) Nature of religious experience
(12) Sin and atonement
(13) Philosophy of religious ethics
(14) South Asian philosophy of religion
There are many anthologies and collected volumes on philosophy of religion. These typically focus on introducing the subject (in which case there tends to be a lot of material on the concept of God and arguments for or against his existence, as well on medieval author) or on particular sub-topics (e.g. the philosophical analysis of doctrines such as the Trinity and Incarnation). By including material on the main areas of contemporary research, this issue will therefore be distinctive. In particular, the inclusion of feminist philosophy of religion, a topic that has really become prominent only in the past decade and a half, should set this issue apart from existing edited volumes on philosophy of religion in general.
Dr. Jonathan Hill
Anderson, P. and Clack, B., eds. (2003) Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Critical Readings London: Routledge
Cahn, S., ed. (2005) Ten Essential Texts in the Philosophy of Religion: Classics and Contemporary Issues Oxford: Oxford University Press
Cheetham, D. and King, R., eds. (2008) Contemporary Practice and Method in the Philosophy of Religion: New Essays London; New York: Continuum
Clark, K., ed. (2008) Readings in Philosophy of Religion Peterborough, ON: Broadview
Craig, W., ed. (2002) Philosophy of Religion: A Reader and Guide Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Goodchild, P., ed. (2002) Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy New York: Fordham University Press
Kvanvig, J., ed. (2013) Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion vol. 4 Oxford: Oxford University Press
Mann, W., ed. (2004) The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Religion Oxford: Blackwell
Nagasawa, Y. and Wielenberg, E., eds. (2009) New Waves in Philosophy of Religion Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Peterson, M. and VanArragon, R., eds. (2004) Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion Oxford: Blackwell
Pojman, L., ed. (2003) Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology London: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning
Taliaferro, C. and Griffiths, P., eds. (2003) Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology Oxford: Blackwell
Wainwright, W., ed. (2005) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion Oxford: Oxford University Press
Zagzebski, L. and Miller, T., eds. (2009) Readings in Philosophy of Religion: Ancient to Contemporary Chichester; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell
Manuscript Submission Information
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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
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- philosophy of religion
- philosophical theology
- analytic theology
- Christian doctrine
- religious experience
- Reformed Epistemology