The Joseph Butler Society hosts presentations in the philosophy of religion. Each event allows time for questions. The society's two online events this Hilary term are:
God and the Grounds of Basic Equality
Dr James Orr
University of Cambridge
Although egalitarianism has been a dominant orthodoxy in Anglophone social and political philosophy for many decades, there has been strikingly few attempts to justify the assumption on which that orthodoxy appears to rest, namely that human moral worth does not come in degrees. This paper considers two approaches to grounding basic equality between human beings. The first favours accounts that seek to preserve consistency with metaphysical naturalism; the second relies on more contentious assumptions about the metaphysical status of the human person. I outline reasons for thinking that none of these approaches to grounding basic equality offers a theoretically satisfying solution. I conclude by sketching permutations of a theistic strategy before arguing that one of these meets many explanatory criteria that a successful solution would seem to require.
Thursday Week 6
Faith and Traditions
Prof Lara Buchak
One phenomenon arising in epistemic life is allegiance to, and break from, a tradition. This phenomenon has three central features. First, individuals who adhere to a tradition seem to respond dogmatically to evidence against their tradition. Second, individuals from different traditions appear to see the same evidence differently. And third, conversion from one tradition to another appears to happen suddenly or discontinuously rather than gradually and smoothly. This paper uses recent work on the nature of rationality and faith to show that these features can all emerge from individuals acting rationally - in particular, from individuals rationally having faith in the core assumptions of their tradition.