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Ekstrom, Laura W, , . Religion on the Cheap
2015, Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion (Jonathan Kvanvig (ed).) Vol. 6: 87-113
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Introduction: The project of this chapter is to address this question: is it sensible to live a life that involves religious practices and experiences and involvement in religious community within a traditional monotheistic religion that affirms the existence of God, without oneself having a commitment to the existence of God—that is, with being a religious agnostic? It is argued that it is not. It is further argued that there are real costs associated with rejecting the claim that the proposition, ‘God exists’, realistically construed, is true. But one should be prepared to absorb these costs rather than trying to have it both ways – rather than getting religion on the cheap.

Comment: Useful for an introductory philosophy of religion course element on agnosticism and fictionalism, perhaps as a secondary reading in response to a paper that argues for religious fictionalism (e.g. by Natalja Deng – also recommended in the DRL). Alternatively, both of these readings could be set as core readings, and students could be set the task of defending one of them, and giving reasons why they think that particular account is stronger.

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Harrison, Victoria, , . Philosophy of Religion, Fictionalism, and Religious Diversity
2010, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 68(1-3): 43-58.
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Abstract: Until recently philosophy of religion has been almost exclusively focused upon the analysis of western religious ideas. The central concern of the discipline has been the concept God , as that concept has been understood within Judaeo-Christianity. However, this narrow remit threatens to render philosophy of religion irrelevant today. To avoid this philosophy of religion should become a genuinely multicultural discipline. But how, if at all, can philosophy of religion rise to this challenge? The paper considers fictionalism about religious discourse as a possible methodological standpoint from which to practice a tradition-neutral form of philosophy of religion. However, after examining some of the problems incurred by fictionalism, the paper concludes that fictionalism and religious diversity are uneasy bedfellows; which implies that fictionalism is unlikely to be the best theory to shape the practice of philosophy of religion in a multicultural context.

Comment: This paper is a great one to include as a further reading in a fictionalism unit, because it goes beyond this topic to examine its compatibility with the desire for a more multicultural philosophy of religion. It also reflects upon the discipline of philosophy of religion as a whole, which would be very interesting for the keener students. Alternatively, this could be used as a primary reading at the end of a course (that has covered fictionalism) to allow students to reflect upon the discipline of philosophy of religion as a whole.

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Keinschmidt, Shieva, , . Atheistic Prayer
2017, Faith and Philosophy 34(2): 152-175.
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Abstract: In this paper I will argue, contrary to common assumptions, that rational atheistic prayer is possible. I will formulate and respond to two powerful arguments against the possibility of atheistic prayer: first, an argument that the act of prayer involves an intention to communicate to God, precluding disbelief in God’s existence; second, an argument claiming that reaching out to God through prayer requires believing God might exist, precluding rational disbelief in God. In showing options for response to these arguments, I will describe a model on which atheistic prayer is not only possible, but is on a par with theistic prayer in many more ways than one might expect.

Comment: Very useful for a unit/module on atheism and agnosticism – in particular, as a bridge into fictionalism. This paper would be a great core reading prior to a debate on e.g. the rationality of theism/atheism/agnosticism.

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Thomasson, Amie L., , . Fiction and Metaphysics
1998, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Publisher’s Note: This challenging study places fiction squarely at the centre of the discussion of metaphysics. Philosophers have traditionally treated fiction as involving a set of narrow problems in logic or the philosophy of language. By contrast Amie Thomasson argues that fiction has far-reaching implications for central problems of metaphysics. The book develops an ‘artifactual’ theory of fiction, whereby fictional characters are abstract artifacts as ordinary as laws or symphonies or works of literature. By understanding fictional characters we come to understand how other cultural and social objects are established on the basis of the independent physical world and the mental states of human beings.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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