De Cruz, Helen, and . The Enduring Appeal of Natural Theological Arguments

2014, Philosophy Compass 9/2: 145-153.

Abstract: Natural theology is the branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to gain knowledge of God through non-revealed sources. In a narrower sense, natural theology is the discipline that presents rational arguments for the existence of God. Given that these arguments rarely directly persuade those who are not convinced by their conclusions, why do they enjoy an enduring appeal? This article examines two reasons for the continuing popularity of natural theological arguments: (i) they appeal to intuitions that humans robustly hold and that emerge early in cognitive development; (ii) they serve an argumen- tative function by presenting particular religious views as live options. I conclude with observations on the role of natural theology in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on philosophy or religion, metaphysics (where arguments for and against the existence of God are being considered), epistemology or religious epistemology. The paper is clear and non-technical. It does not provide arguments for or against the existence of God but considers the debate as a whole. It may then be useful for scene-setting, or for placing previously considered arguments in their context.

Nagasawa, Yujin, and . The Ontological Argument and the Devil

2010, The Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238): 72-91.

Abstract: The ‘parody objection’ to the ontological argument for the existence of God advances parallel arguments apparently proving the existence of various absurd entities. I discuss recent versions of the parody objection concerning the existence of ‘AntiGod’ and the devil, as introduced by Peter Millican and Timothy Chambers. I argue that the parody objection always fails, because any parody is either (i) not structurally parallel to the ontological argument, or (ii) not dialectically parallel to the ontological argument. Moreover, once a parody argument is modified in such a way that it avoids (i) and (ii), it is, ironically, no longer a parody – it is the ontological argument itself.

Comment: Useful in a philosophy of religion course. Provides an account of the ontological argument, parody objections to it, and responses to those objections. This paper is particularly useful because it is both cutting edge and graspable by advanced undergraduate or graduate students. Any course that treats arguments for and against the existence of God in any depth will discuss the ontological argument. Parody objections to ontological arguments are common (and often taken to be decisive); this would fit well in a course that discusses these parody objections.

Nagasawa, Yujin, and . A New Defence of Anselmian Theism

2008, The Philosophical Quarterly 58 (233): 577-596.

Abstract: Anselmian theists, for whom God is the being than which no greater can be thought, usually infer that he is an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being. Critics have attacked these claims by numerous distinct arguments, such as the paradox of the stone, the argument from God’s inability to sin, and the argument from evil. Anselmian theists have responded to these arguments by constructing an independent response to each. This way of defending Anselmian theism is uneconomical. I seek to establish a new defence which undercuts almost all the existing arguments against Anselmian theism at once. In developing this defence, I consider the possibility that the Anselmian God is not an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent being.

Comment: Useful in a philosophy of religion course or any course that discusses the existence of God. Provides an account of the Anselmian idea that God is the best possible being, objections to this idea and responses to those objections. This paper is particularly useful because it is both cutting edge and graspable by advanced undergraduate or graduate students. This will fit well in a course that discusses the coherence of classical theism.