• The Context of Suffering: Empirical Insights into the Problem of Evil
    Ian M. Church, Isaac Warchol, and Justin Barrett
    TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology. forthcoming.
    While the evidential problem of evil has been enormously influential within the contemporary philosophical literature—William Rowe’s 1979 formulation in “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” being the most seminal—no academic research has explored what cognitive mechanisms might underwrite the appearance of pointlessness in target examples of suffering. In this exploratory paper, we show that the perception of pointlessness in the target examples of suffering that underwrite Rowe’s…Read more
  • In this chapter, we will explore the luck at issue in Gettier-styled counterexamples and the subsequent problem it poses to any viable reductive analysis of knowledge. In the 1st section, we will consider the specific species of luck that is at issue in Gettier counterexamples, then, in the next section, I will briefly sketch a diagnosis of the Gettier Problem and try to explain why the relevant species of luck has proven to be extremely difficult to avoid. And finally, I will consider a promine…Read more
  • Luck permeates our lives, and this raises a number of pressing questions: What is luck? When we attribute luck to people, circumstances, or events, what are we attributing? Do we have any obligations to mitigate the harms done to people who are less fortunate? And to what extent is deserving praise or blame a ected by good or bad luck? Although acquiring a true belief by an uneducated guess involves a kind of luck that precludes knowledge, does all luck undermine knowledge? And how accurate are …Read more
  • When cognition turns vicious: Heuristics and biases in light of virtue epistemology
    Peter L. Samuelson and Ian M. Church
    Philosophical Psychology 28 (8): 1095-1113. 2015.
    In this paper, we explore the literature on cognitive heuristics and biases in light of virtue epistemology, specifically highlighting the two major positions—agent-reliabilism and agent-responsibilism —as they apply to dual systems theories of cognition and the role of motivation in biases. We investigate under which conditions heuristics and biases might be characterized as vicious and conclude that a certain kind of intellectual arrogance can be attributed to an inappropriate reliance on Type…Read more
  • Recent work in cognitive science of religion (CSR) is beginning to converge on a very interesting thesis—that, given the ordinary features of human minds operating in typical human environments, we are naturally disposed to believe in the existence of gods, among other religious ideas (e.g., seeAtran [2002], Barrett [2004; 2012], Bering [2011], Boyer [2001], Guthrie [1993], McCauley [2011], Pyysiäinen [2004; 2009]). In this paper, we explore whether such a discovery ultimately helps or hurts the…Read more
  • On Epistemic Consequentialism and the Virtue Conflation Problem
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3): 239-248. 2016.
    Addressing the ‘virtue conflation’ problem requires the preservation of intuitive distinctions between virtue types, that is, between intellectual and moral virtues. According to one influential attempt to avoid this problem proposed by Julia Driver, moral virtues produce benefits to others—in particular, they promote the well-being of others—while the intellectual virtues, as such, produce epistemic good for the agent. We show that Driver's demarcation of intellectual virtue, by adverting to th…Read more