•  4
    The Axiology of Theism
    Cambridge University Press. 2021.
    Theism is the view that God exists; naturalism is the view that there are no supernatural beings, processes, mechanisms, or forces. This Element explores whether things are better, worse, or neither on theism relative to naturalism. It introduces readers to the central philosophical issues that bear on this question, and it distinguishes a wide range of ways it can be answered. It critically examines four views, three of which hold that things are better on theism than on naturalism, and one of …Read more
  •  5
    The Problem of Divine Hiddenness
    Oxford Bibliographies Online. 2013.
    “The Problem of Divine Hiddenness” is an infelicitous phrase for two reasons. First, while it suggests that God both exists and hides, this phrase actually refers to a strategy of arguing that various forms of nonbelief in God constitute evidence for God’s nonexistence. Second, it suggests that there is only one problem for theistic belief here, while in fact this phrase refers to a family of arguments for atheism. This entry focuses on contemporary arguments from nonbelief to atheism. The most …Read more
  •  3
    God and Possible Worlds
    Oxford Bibliographies Online. 2014.
    This article surveys some contemporary literature in analytic philosophy of religion bearing on the relationship between God and possible worlds. Most of these authors take “God” to denote an essentially omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, who is the creator and sustainer of all that contingently exists. Since the 1960s, philosophers have employed the conceptual apparatus of worlds to discuss topics pertaining to God. Very roughly, the actual world is the way things are, whereas ea…Read more
  •  1
    Method and Madness in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy of Religion
    Toronto Journal of Theology 29 245-264. 2013.
    I’d like to thank the Canadian Theological Society for this invitation to speak. It is a double honour to be this year’s Newman Lecturer. It is an honour to be associated with the name of Jay Newman, who made impressive and wide-ranging contributions to philosophy. Jay, as you perhaps know, was especially interested in the philosophy of culture, and I’m delighted that his legacy will ensure continued interaction between the cultures of academic philosophy and theology. It is also a great honour …Read more
  •  3
    Perspectives and Positions in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy of Religion
    Toronto Journal of Theology 30 132-140. 2014.
    This essay discusses two issues. The first concerns whether the “insider’s” or “outsider’s” perspective is more truth-conducive in the study of religion. I do not attempt to settle this very thorny question: I merely attempt to identify some aspects of what it might mean to be an insider with respect to one kind of investigation – the investigation into whether God exists. The second issue concerns how best to characterize certain philosophical positions on the axiology of ultimate reality. Here…Read more
  • Michael Almeida once told me that he thought we were just a couple of hours of conversation away from reaching deep agreement about some important topics in the philosophy of religion pertaining to God, multiverses, and modality. This paper represents my attempt to move this conversation forward and to seek this common ground. Specifically, I respond to Almeida’s paper entitled “The Multiverse and Divine Creation”. In the first four sections, I record my disagreement with him concerning some sma…Read more
  •  7
    Is Motivated Submaximization Good Enough for God?
    Religious Studies. forthcoming.
    In a recent article (Kraay 2013), I argued that some prominent responses to two important arguments for atheism invoke divine satisficing – and that the coherence and propriety of this notion have not been established. Chris Tucker (2016) agrees with my evaluation of divine satisficing, but disagrees with my exegesis of these responses. He argues that they should be understood as invoking motivated submaximization instead. After reviewing the dialectical situation to date, I assess whether motiv…Read more
  •  136
    In the central chapter of Can God Be Free?, William Rowe offers what amounts to an a priori argument for atheism. In what follows, I first clarify this argument, and I then defend it against recent criticisms due to William Hasker. Next, however, I outline four ways in which theists might plausibly reply to Rowe’s argument.
  •  8
    William L. Rowe’s A Priori Argument For Atheism
    Faith and Philosophy 22 (2): 211-234. 2005.
    William Rowe’s a posteriori arguments for the non-existence of God are well-known. Rather less attention has been given, however, to Rowe’s intriguing a priori argument for atheism. In this paper, I examine the three published responses to Rowe’s a priori argument (due to Bruce Langtry, William Morris, and Daniel and Frances Howard-Snyder, respectively). I conclude that none is decisive, but I show that Rowe’s argument nevertheless requires more defence than he provides.
  •  150
    Absence of Evidence and Evidence of Absence
    Faith and Philosophy 24 (2): 203-228. 2007.
    I defend the first premise of William Rowe’s well-known arguments from evil against influential criticisms due to William Alston. I next suggest that the central inference in Rowe’s arguments is best understood to move from the claim that we have an absence of evidence of a satisfactory theodicy to the claim that we have evidence of absence of such a theodicy. I endorse the view which holds that this move succeeds only if it is reasonable to believe that (roughly) if there were such a theodicy, …Read more
  •  1
    Theism, Pro-Theism, Hasker, and Gratuitous Evil
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 9 31-53. 2019.
    Consider this claim: (1) If God exists, no gratuitous evil occurs. This claim enjoys widespread assent in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. It could be harnessed into an argument for pro-theism: it certainly looks like a reason for thinking that God’s existence would make the world better than it would otherwise be, at least if there is an appropriate causal connection between the antecedent and the consequent. But (1) is also the first premise of a widely discussed argument for athe…Read more
  •  4
    In recent decades, scientific theories have postulated the existence of many universes beyond our own. The details and implications of these theories are hotly contested. Some philosophers argue that these scientific models count against the existence of God. Others, however, argue that if God exists, a multiverse is precisely what we should expect to find. Moreover, these philosophers claim that the idea of a divinely created multiverse can help believers in God respond to certain arguments for…Read more
  •  2
    Peter Byrne, The Moral Interpretation of Religion (review)
    Philosophy in Review 20 (1): 10-11. 2000.
  •  96
    God, the Best, and Evil (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239): 432-446. 2010.
  • The question of whether God exists has long preoccupied philosophers. Many accounts of God have been proposed, and many arguments for and against God’s existence have been offered and discussed. But while philosophers have been busy trying to determine whether or not God exists, they have generally neglected to ask this question: "Does it _matter _whether God exists?" _Does God Matter?_ features ten original essays written by prominent philosophers of religion that address this very important, y…Read more
  •  200
    Philo’s Argument for Divine Amorality Reconsidered
    Hume Studies 29 (2): 283-304. 2003.
    A central tactic in Philo’s criticism of the design argument is the introduction of several alternative hypotheses, each of which is alleged to explain apparent design at least as well as Cleanthes’ analogical inference to an intelligent designer. In Part VI, Philo proposes that the world “…is an animal, and the Deity is the soul of the world, actuating it, and actuated by it” (DNR 6.3; 171); in Part VII, he suggests that “…it is a palpable and egregious partiality” to favour reason as a probabl…Read more
  •  84
    Incommensurability, Incomparability, and God’s Choice of a World
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 69 (2). 2011.
    Anselmian theism holds that there necessarily exists a being, God, who is essentially unsurpassable in power, knowledge, goodness, and wisdom. This being is also understood to be the creator and sustainer of all that is. In contemporary analytic philosophy of religion, this role is generally understood as follows: God surveys the array of possible worlds, and in his wisdom selects exactly one for actualization, based on its axiological properties. In this paper, I discuss an under-appreciated ch…Read more
  •  153
    Megill’s Multiverse Meta-Argument
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3): 235-241. 2013.
    In a recent paper in this journal, Jason Megill (2011) offers an innovative meta-argument which deploys considerations about multiple universes in an effort to block all arguments from evil. In what follows, I contend that Megill has failed to establish a key premise in his meta-argument. I also offer a rival account of the effect of multiverse models on the debate about evil
  •  11
    Elgin’s community-oriented steadfastness
    Synthese 198 (6): 4985-5008. 2019.
    In recent years, epistemologists have devoted enormous attention to this question: what should happen when two epistemic peers disagree about the truth-value of some proposition? Some have argued that that in all such cases, both parties are rationally required to revise their position in some way. Others have maintained that, in at least some cases, neither party is rationally required to revise her position. In this paper, I examine a provocative and under-appreciated argument for the latter v…Read more
  •  134
    Peter van Inwagen on Gratuitous Evil
    Religious Studies 50 (2): 217-234. 2014.
    Defenders and critics of the evidential argument from evil typically agree that if theism is true, no gratuitous evil occurs. But Peter van Inwagen has challenged this orthodoxy by urging that for all we know, given God's goals, it is impossible for God to prevent all gratuitous evil, in which case God is not required do so. If van Inwagen is right, the evidential argument from evil fails. After setting out this striking and innovative move, I examine three responses found in the literature, and…Read more
  • Possible Worlds and the Problem of Evil
    Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada). 2002.
    The core of classical theism is the belief that an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good being---God---exists. Many have urged that belief in God is irrational or philosophically untenable, since theism is disconfirmed by the presence of evil in the world. Efforts to make good this claim are called arguments from evil. I examine the best contemporary arguments from evil, and I conclude that while they may justify disbelief in God, they do not show that theistic belief is irrational or philosoph…Read more
  •  72
    On Preferring God's Non-Existence
    with Chris Dragos
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2): 157-178. 2013.
    For many centuries, philosophers have debated this question: “Does God exist?” Surprisingly, they have paid rather less attention to this distinct – but also very important – question: “Would God’s existence be a good thing?” The latter is an axiological question about the difference in value that God’s existence would make (or does make) in the actual world. Perhaps the most natural position to take, whether or not one believes in God, is to hold that it would be a very good thing if such a bei…Read more
  •  168
    The Theistic Multiverse: Problems and Prospects
    In Yujin Nagasawa (ed.), Scientific Approaches to the Philosophy of Religion, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 143--162. 2012.
    In recent decades, there has been astonishing growth in scientific theorizing about multiverses. Once considered outré or absurd, multiple universe theories appear to be gaining considerable scientific respectability. There are, of course, many such theories, including (i) Everett’s (1957) many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, defended by Deutsch (1997) and others; (ii) Linde’s (1986) eternal inflation view, which suggests that universes form like bubbles in a chaotically inflating se…Read more
  •  93
    Creation, Actualization and God's Choice Among Possible Worlds
    Philosophy Compass 3 (4): 854-872. 2008.
    God is traditionally understood to be a perfect being who is the creator and sustainer of all that is. God's creative and sustaining activity is often thought to involve choosing a possible world for actualization. It is generally said that either there is (a) exactly one best of all possible worlds, or there are (b) infinitely many increasingly better worlds, or else there are (c) infinitely many unsurpassable worlds within God's power to actualize. On each view, critics have offered arguments …Read more
  •  199
    Theism, Possible Worlds, and the Multiverse
    Philosophical Studies 147 (3). 2010.
    God is traditionally taken to be a perfect being, and the creator and sustainer of all that is. So, if theism is true, what sort of world should we expect? To answer this question, we need an account of the array of possible worlds from which God is said to choose. It seems that either there is (a) exactly one best possible world; or (b) more than one unsurpassable world; or (c) an infinite hierarchy of increasingly better worlds. Influential arguments for atheism have been advanced on each hier…Read more
  •  221
    Theism and Modal Collapse
    American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4): 361. 2011.
    God is traditionally taken to be a necessarily existing being who is unsurpassably powerful, knowledgeable, and good. The familiar problem of actual evil claims that the presence of gratuitous suffering in the actual world constitutes evidence against the existence of such a being. In contrast, the problem of possible evil claims that the possibility of bad worlds constitutes evidence against theism. How? It seems plausible to suppose that there are very bad possible worlds. But if God exists in…Read more
  •  52
    God and the Hypothesis of No Prime Worlds
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 59 (1): 49-68. 2006.
    Many theists hold that for any world x that God has the power to actualize, there is a better world, y, that God had the power to actualize instead of x. Recently, however, it has been suggested that this scenario is incompatible with traditional theism: roughly, it is claimed that no being can be essentially unsurpassable on this view, since no matter what God does in actualizing a world, it is possible for God (or some other being) to do better, and hence it is possible for God (or some other …Read more
  •  49
    Can God Choose a World at Random?
    In Yujin Nagasawa & Erik J. Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion, Palgrave-macmillan. 2009.
    On what basis does God choose a possible world to make actual? Theists typically claim that God freely selects exactly one world on the basis of its axiological characteristics. But suppose that there are infinitely many unsurpassable worlds from which to choose; or else that there are no unsurpassable worlds, but instead an infinite hierarchy of increasingly better worlds. On each of these scenarios, philosophers have alleged that God is unable rationally to choose a world for actualization. In…Read more
  •  15
    The Fall and Hypertime (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270): 202-204. 2018.