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Ali Mobini, Mohammed. Earth’s Epistemic Fruits for Harmony with God: An Islamic Theodicy
2013, in The Blackwell companion to the problem of evil (eds J. P. McBrayer and D. Howard-Snyder), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford. Chapter 20.
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Added by: Emily Paul
Publisher's Note: The best life is realized when all existents are in such harmony with one another that all can play their assigned roles. Suffering always comes from disharmony. The vital harmony of life is harmony between creatures and Creator; and the way in which a creature fits with the existence of the Creator is a necessary condition for the creature's survival. Among all creatures, human beings are able to have comprehensive knowledge of God and achieve an active harmony with God in all aspects. The earth is a testing ground in which humans can prepare themselves epistemically and then practically to contribute actively to harmony with God. Since a laboratory has its own rules, we should not expect an ideal life in the earthly laboratory. After the laboratorial role that one plays in the present world, one still is on the watch and can share in the experiences of living people and develop epistemically so that one receives an epistemic safe point that is necessary for harmony with God.

Comment: A great chapter to use when teaching about theodicies, especially because it can be hard to find non-Christian theodicies in mainstream Philosophy of Religion literature. The laboratory analogy is particularly interesting, and it could be good to have a couple of seminar questions relating specifically to the strength of this analogy.

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Anne Conway. Selections from the Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy
1994, in Margaret Atherton (ed.) Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period. Hackett Publishing Company. [originally written 1677]
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Added by: Alison Stone
Abstract: After the SEP: Anne Conway's treatise is a work of Platonist metaphysics in which she derives her system of philosophy from the existence and attributes of God. The framework of Conway's system is a tripartite ontological hierarchy of ‘species’, the highest of which is God, the source of all being. Christ, or ‘middle nature’, links God and the third species, called ‘Creature’. [...] Anne Conway denies the existence of material body as such, arguing that inert corporeal substance would contradict the nature of God, who is life itself. Incorporeal created substance is, however, differentiated from the divine, principally on account of its mutability and multiplicity even so, the infinite number and constant mutability of created monads constitute an obverse reflection of the unity, infinity, eternity and unchangeableness of God. The continuum between God and creatures is made possible through ‘middle nature’, an intermediary being, through which God communicates life, action, goodness and justice. [...] The spiritual perfectionism of Anne Conway's system has dual aspect: metaphysical and moral. On the one hand all things are capable of becoming more spirit-like, that is, more refined qua spiritual substance. At the same time, all things are capable of increased goodness. She explains evil as a falling away from the perfection of God, and understands suffering as part of a longer term process of spiritual recovery. She denies the eternity of hell, since for God to punish finite wrong-doing with infinite and eternal hell punishment would be manifestly unjust and therefore a contradiction of the divine nature. Instead she explains pain and suffering as purgative, with the ultimate aim of restoring creatures to moral and metaphysical perfection. Anne Conway's system is thus not just an ontology and but a theodicy.

Comment: This chapter could be used in a history of philosophy course as one week's reading. The author has a metaphysics that is often seen to anticipate that of Leibniz so one could, e.g., include a week on Conway in advance of a week or two (or three) on Leibniz.

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Blyden, Edward Wilmot. Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race
1887, Black Classic Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: A native of St. Thomas, West Indies, Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912) lived most of his life on the African continent. He was an accomplished educator, linguist, writer, and world traveler, who strongly defended the unique character of Africa and its people. Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race is an essential collection of his writings on race, culture, and the African personality.

Comment: This collection of essays is seminal in the intellectual foundations of Pan-Africanism, African Islamism, African Anti-colonialism, the Back-to-Africa Movement, and the educational revival in Liberia/West Africa. The essays are great for courses on African thought, or African anti-colonialism/postcolonialism. They would also be excellent companion texts for reading Marcus Garvey or Kwame Nkrumah, or vice versa.

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Deane-Drummond, Celia. Gaia as Science Made Myth: Implications for Environmental Ethics
1996, Studies in Christian Ethics 9(2): 1-5.
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Added by: Simon Fokt
Content: Offers a critical discussion of the Gaia hypothesis in the context of human responsibility for climate change.

Comment: Might be useful for environmental ethics, or as further reading on methodology of science and the dangers of confusing science and myth.

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Iqbal, Muhammad. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam
1934, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Ehsan Shahwahid
Publisher's Note: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is Muhammad Iqbal's major philosophic work: a series of profound reflections on the perennial conflict among science, religion, and philosophy, culminating in new visions of the unity of human knowledge, of the human spirit, and of God. Iqbal's thought contributed significantly to the establishment of Pakistan, to the religious and political ideals of the Iranian Revolution, and to the survival of Muslim identity in parts of the former USSR. It now serves as new bridge between East and West and between Islam and the other Religions of the Book. With a new Introduction by Javed Majeed, this edition of The Reconstruction opens the teachings of Iqbal to the modern, Western reader. It will be essential reading for all those interested in Islamic intellectual history, the renewal of Islam in the modern world, and political theory of Islam's relationship to the West

Comment: Philosophy on Islamic reform, progress and development.

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Keiji, Nishitani, Graham Parkes, Setsuko Aihara. The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism
1990, SUNY Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: In May of this year I had the opportunity to give several talks on the topic of nihilism. Initially I intended to focus on the three themes of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Buddhism. When I was twenty, the fig­ures of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky burned a lasting impression deep into my soul-as I suppose they may still do to many young people even today-and the tremors I experienced at that time have con­tinued to make my heart tremble ever since. The final theme, of Buddhist "emptiness," came to capture my interest more gradu­ally. The connections among these three topics are not merely arbi­trary or external. The nihilism that Dostoevsky plumbed so deeply has important connections with that of Nietzsche, as a number of critics have pointed out; and Nietzsche considers what he calls Eu­ropean nihilism to be the European form of Buddhism. Even though there may be in Nietzsche a radical misunderstanding of the spirit of Buddhism, the fact that he considered it in relation to ni­hilism shows how well attuned he was to the real issue. It was con­siderations such as these that inclined me toward these three themes in my discussion of nihilism.

Comment: This text is an excellent overview of both some of the themes within Nishitani's work as well as European conceptions of nihilism and its overcoming. In general, some appreciation of Nietzsche and aspects of Buddhism will help students navigate this book. But, it is largely expository, so it will often inform readers of what they need in the course of reading. This text will primarily be for students who are looking for an overall perspective on nihilism - especially, a Japanese one.

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Kleinschmidt, Shieva. Many-One Identity and the Trinity
2012, Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion (J. Kvanvig (ed.)) Vol. 4: 84-96.
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Added by: Emily Paul
Abstract: Trinitarians claim there are three Divine persons each of which is God, and yet there is only one God. It seems they want three to equal one. It just so happens, some metaphysicians claim exactly that. They accept Composition as Identity: each fusion is identical to the plurality of its parts. I evaluate Composition as Identity's application to the doctrine of the Trinity, and argue that it fails to give the Trinitairan any options he or she didn't already have. Further, while Composition as Identity does give us a new way to assert polytheism, its help requires us to endorse a claim that undercuts any Trinitarian motivation for the view.

Comment: An excellent paper for an advanced UG/Masters course on the metaphysics of theism, as this draws upon metaphysical issues (composition) as well as issues in the philosophy of religion. Provides a great overview of problems facing an orthodox metaphysics of the trinity. NB: this is of course focused on metaphysics of Christianity, so if for a general metaphysics of theism course, it would be important to include metaphysical issues facing other religions.

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Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli. The Philosophy of the Upanishads
1924, Unwin Brothers Limited.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Peter Jones
Publisher’s Note: Overview: Not focused on any one Upanishad in particular, it conveys the spirit in which the Upanishads were written and provides a short overview of their Metaphysics, Ethics and Epistemology.

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

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Sharma, Arvind. The Philosophy of Religion: A Buddhist Perspective
1995, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Emily Paul
Publisher's note: This important work does much to extend and redefine the ground of the philosophy of religion, which has been conducted in a purely Western context. The discussion, whether it be about the soteriological nature of religion, the grounds for belief in God, the problem of evil, or the question of verifiability, takes on quite a different meaning in the context of Eastern religions. Arvind Sharma seeks to place this debate, with particular reference to the work of such writers as James, F.R. Tennant, Tillich, Randall, Braithwaite, D.Z. Phillips, Rom Hare, Basil Mitchell, John Hick, W.A. Christian, and W.C. Smith, in the Buddhist context. At the same time he clarifies some of the possible misapprehensions which result from a commonality of religious language shared between Buddhism and Hinduism as regards the nature of religious revelation, immortality, karma, and reincarnation.

Comment: Could be integral to a syllabus, as does a lot to take contemporary debates in philosophy of religion (problem of evil, grounds for belief in God) out of a Western context, thus diversifying the subject content of philosophy of religion itself.

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Van Dyke, Christina. Eating as a Gendered Act: Christianity, Feminism, and Reclaiming the Body
2008, in K. J. Clark (ed.) Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, Second Edition. Peterborough: Broadview Press: 475-489.
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Added by: Emily Paul
Abstract: In current society, eating is most definitely a gendered act: that is, what we eat and how we eat it factors in both the construction and the performance of gender. Furthermore, eating is a gendered act with consequences that go far beyond whether one orders a steak or a salad for dinner. In the first half of this paper, I identify the dominant myths surrounding both female and male eating, and I show that those myths contribute in important ways to cultural constructions of male and female appetites more generally speaking. In the second half, I argue that the Christian church should share feminism's perception of these current cultural myths as fundamentally disordered, and I claim that the Christian traditions of fasting and feasting present us with a concrete means to counter those damaging conceptions and reclaim a healthy attitude toward our hunger.

Comment: A great reading for a feminist philosophy of religion course, or alternatively for a general philosophy of religion course as a way to introduce feminist philosophy of religion - this text could also be a further reading for the latter. I think that this reading would incite a great deal of interest, and provoke fruitful discussion. Would be potentially even more useful for a course on religious aesthetics.

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