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Antony, Louise M. For the Love of Reason
2007, in L. Antony (ed.) Philosophers Without God: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life. Oxford University Press: 41-58.
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Added by: Emily Paul

Summary: Antony talks about the mysteries to do with religion and philosophy of religion that have always troubled her – for instance, the Euthyphro dilemma, the state of ‘limbo’, and original sin.

Comment: A personal and very accessible reflection by an atheist philosopher of religion on why she does not believe in God. Could be nice to include before a debate on atheism/agnosticism/theism, for instance. It is very much an accessible introduction to the topic - yet, one written by a philosopher of religion. Could help to combat stereotype threat for female undergraduates in that this is a personal piece written by a female philosopher of religion.

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Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Experiments in Ethics
2008, London: Harvard University Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt

Publisher’s Note: In the past few decades, scientists of human nature—including experimental and cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, evolutionary theorists, and behavioral economists—have explored the way we arrive at moral judgments. They have called into question commonplaces about character and offered troubling explanations for various moral intuitions. Research like this may help explain what, in fact, we do and feel. But can it tell us what we ought to do or feel?

In Experiments in Ethics, the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah explores how the new empirical moral psychology relates to the age-old project of philosophical ethics. Some moral theorists hold that the realm of morality must be autonomous of the sciences; others maintain that science undermines the authority of moral reasons. Appiah elaborates a vision of naturalism that resists both temptations. He traces an intellectual genealogy of the burgeoning discipline of “experimental philosophy,” provides a balanced, lucid account of the work being done in this controversial and increasingly influential field, and offers a fresh way of thinking about ethics in the classical tradition.

Appiah urges that the relation between empirical research and morality, now so often antagonistic, should be seen in terms of dialogue, not contest. And he shows how experimental philosophy, far from being something new, is actually as old as philosophy itself. Beyond illuminating debates about the connection between psychology and ethics, intuition and theory, his book helps us to rethink the very nature of the philosophical enterprise.

Comment: This is a great work for any ethics course, insofar as it interrogates the traditional mode of doing ethics through an experimental lens. Also good for courses on experimental philosophy, suitable for both undergraduates and early stage graduate students.

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Deng, Natalja. Religion for Naturalists
2015, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78(2): 195-214.
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Added by: Emily Paul

Abstract: Some naturalists feel an affinity with some religions, or with a particular religion. They may have previously belonged to it, and/or been raised in it, and/or be close to people who belong to it, and/or simply feel attracted to its practices, texts and traditions. This raises the question of whether and to what extent a naturalist can lead the life of a religious believer. The sparse literature on this topic focuses on (a position recognizable as) religious fictionalism. I also frame the debate in these terms. I ask what religious fictionalism might amount to, reject some possible versions of it and endorse a different one. I then examine the existing proposals, by Robin Le Poidevin, Peter Lipton, Andrew Eshleman and Howard Wettstein, and show that even on my version of religious fictionalism, much of what has been described by these authors is still possible.

Comment: Could be very useful for a Philosophy of Religion course where atheism and agnosticism have already been explored, to provide an interesting alternative. I’ve seen religious fictionalism work as a stimulating topic for students, but only if the paper is clear and accessible – like this one.

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Ellis, Fiona. Atheism and Naturalism
2017, in A. Carroll and R. Norman (eds.) Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide. London: Routledge
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Added by: Emily Paul

Summary: Ellis argues that atheism and naturalism don’t have to be traditionally-opposed rivals. First of all offers a helpful synopsis of these traditionally-opposed positions, and then argues that there is scope for allowing that nature is God-involving as well as being value-involving, and this move can be defended on (liberal) naturalistic grounds.

Comment: A good paper to use for an atheism and agnosticism unit, especially as many do tend to use naturalism as an argument against the existence of God.

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Ismael, Jenann. Causation, Free Will, and Naturalism
2013, In Don Ross, James Ladyman, and Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics, (2013) OUP.
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Added by: Jamie Collin

This chapter addresses the worry that the existence of causal antecedents to your choices means that you are causally compelled to act as you do. It begins with the folk notion of cause, leads the reader through recent developments in the scientific understanding of causal concepts, and argues that those developments undermine the threat from causal antecedents. The discussion is then used as a model for a kind of naturalistic metaphysics that takes its lead from science, letting everyday concepts be shaped and transformed by scientific developments.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on metaphysics (either in sections on causation or free will), philosophy of science, or naturalism. The paper is quite long, but it is clearly written and not too technical. It provides a nice overview of the folk notion of causation, and how this may be amended in the light of scientific developments. It also serves as a good example of peculiarly naturalistic metaphyisics more generally.

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Maddy, Penelope. Naturalism in Mathematics
1997, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Jamie Collin

Publisher’s Note: Our much-valued mathematical knowledge rests on two supports: the logic of proof and the axioms from which those proofs begin. Naturalism in Mathematics investigates the status of the latter, the fundamental assumptions of mathematics. These were once held to be self-evident, but progress in work on the foundations of mathematics, especially in set theory, has rendered that comforting notion obsolete. Given that candidates for axiomatic status cannot be proved, what sorts of considerations can be offered for or against them? That is the central question addressed in this book. One answer is that mathematics aims to describe an objective world of mathematical objects, and that axiom candidates should be judged by their truth or falsity in that world. This promising view – realism – is assessed and finally rejected in favour of another – naturalism – which attends less to metaphysical considerations of objective truth and falsity, and more to practical considerations drawn from within mathematics itself. Penelope Maddy defines this naturalism, explains the motivation for it, and shows how it can be helpfully applied in the assessment of candidates for axiomatic status in set theory. Maddy’s clear, original treatment of this fundamental issue is informed by current work in both philosophy and mathematics, and will be accessible and enlightening to readers from both disciplines.

Comment: Good further reading in advanced undergraduate or postgraduate courses on metaphysics, naturalism or philosophy of mathematics. Sections from the book - for instance, the chapters in Part II on indispensability considerations in scientific and mathematical practice - could be profitably read on their own. These sections may also be of interest in philosophy of science courses, as they provide a careful analysis of scientific practice (as it relates to what scientists take themselves to be ontologically committed to).

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Maddy, Penelope. Three Forms of Naturalism
2005, in The Oxford Hanbook of Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic, ed. S. Shapiro. New York: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Jamie Collin

Summary: A clear introduction to mathematical naturalism and its Quinean roots; developing and defending Maddy’s own naturalist philosophy of mathematics. Maddy claims that the Quinian ignores some nuances of scientific practice that have a bearing on what the naturalist should take to be the real scientific standards of evidence. Historical studies show that scientists sometimes do not take themselves to be committed to entities that are indispensably quantified over in their best scientific theories, hence the Quinian position that naturalism dictates that we are committed to entities that are indispensably quantified over in our best scientific theories is incorrect.

Comment: Good primary reading in advanced undergraduate or postgraduate courses on metaphysics, naturalism or philosophy of mathematics. This would serve well both as a clear and fairly concise introduction to Quinean naturalism and to the indispensability argument in the philosophy of mathematics.

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Montague, Michelle. Recent work: Recent work on intentionality
2010, Analysis 70 (4):765 - 782.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Much recent work on intentionality has been dedicated to exploring the complex relationship between the intentional properties and the phenomenological properties of mental states. A lot of this work has focused on perception, but with the introduction of cognitive phenomenology, conscious thought and the role cognitive-phenomenological properties may play with respect to conscious thought, are likely to receive an increasing amount of attention.

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

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Pacherie, Elisabeth. Qualia and representations
1999, In Denis Fisette (ed.), Consciousness and Intentionality: Models and Modalities of Attribution. Springer. pp. 119--144.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Dretske has recently offered a representational theory of perceptual experience – considered as paradigmatic of the qualitative and phenomenal aspects of our mental life. This theory belongs, as do his previous works, to a naturalistic approach to mental representation

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

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