Category : philosophy of religion

Graduate Student Profiles: Clinton Neptune

The following is the continuation of a series of profiles on Loyola philosophy graduate students, giving you a brief sense of their thoughts on their research, teaching, and the value of philosophy. This profile covers Clinton Neptune.

1. What made you become a philosopher?
I started college as a pre-med student and my program required an ethics class. Shortly into the course, I found myself completely enamored with the reading and discussion of philosophy. I credit my professor, Dr. Michael Byron, whose skill and passion lit a fire in me that has continued to burn for the past decade. I was deeply blessed to have such great teachers and I wanted to follow in their footsteps – teaching others this marvelous content and hopefully modeling a winsome philosophical life.

2. What is the topic of your dissertation? What made you become interested in this topic?
My dissertation offers an alternative to prevailing assumptions in philosophy religion concerning certain conceptions of God. I argue that we ought, for the purpose of inquiry into God’s existence and nature, to think of God as a being that is willing and able to rescue humanity from their predicament of death, moral failure, and suffering. Other prominent ways of thinking about God’s existence frontload the conversation with several confusing and complicated properties of God that can serve as stumbling blocks to religious inquiry. For example, ascribing the property of exhaustive foreknowledge to God is quite challenging to defend and, in my opinion, is not a central property of God that must be endorsed at the outset when searching for evidence of God’s existence. I think it is an intellectual barrier to potential salient evidence.

Paul Moser’s work in religious epistemology has been enormously influential for me. His work caused me to seriously rethink the project of Natural Theology. I found myself relying on the power of the traditional arguments for God’s existence when discussing my religious belief with others—arguments like the cosmological, teleological, and ontological arguments. Now I view them as a bit misguided and ultimately wanting as an explanation or defense of my religious beliefs. Moser’s focus instead on the evidential value of religious experience and God’s hiddenness has reshaped the core of my philosophy of religion.

3. How have you found the writing process? Are there any tips you would recommend for other graduate students to follow?
For me, the most important marker of success in my writing process is simply the discipline to set aside a set amount of time each day to work on it. I started using Google calendar to intentionally carve out two hours in the morning to write. A mental hurdle you have to jump is the thought, “I don’t have to work on it today.” It’s tough because that sentence is true of every day from start to finish – not working on it a single day will not wreck the project entirely. But, of course, if you never work on it, it will never get done!

One tip that has worked well for me is doing a bit of exercise before my writing time. I try to get up early, run for two miles, and then sit down to write at my local coffee shop. I think it helps your mindset going into the writing session when you have already accomplished something of value that day – keep that production train rolling!

4. You’re currently in a non-academic position. How have you found that your philosophical training can contribute to work outside the academy?
I currently work at Heartland Community Church in Medina, OH as their Connections Director. I am tasked with providing support and leadership to ways folks can live in community with one another. I have found that people, like myself in that first philosophy class, are hungry for what philosophy can offer even if they don’t say it or know it. I have meetings every week with people that want to dig deeper into the realm of ideas, and it has been good to see how clear thinking in the context of relationship can be transformative.
A fellow philosophy-lover and I started a podcast called Open to Truth where we discuss theology and philosophy that is accessible for folks in the church without formal philosophical training. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify, and our website: Opportunities to serve my community with my specific training have been surprising and satisfying.

5. Are there any pieces of advice that you wish you had known earlier on in your philosophical career?
I had been acquainted with many of the typical warnings you hear about the job market. One that I did not fully appreciate and greatly influenced my decision to go non-academic, was the idea that one might not have very much control over where one could secure a tenure-track position. It has been increasingly important for my wife and two kids (and one on the way!) to live near close friends and family. This was simply not as important to me when I first started, and I suppose I failed to think carefully about how my attitude would change on this in the future.

6. Are there two or three sources–I’m thinking books and articles mostly, but feel free to include any other sources if you want–that you would recommend for thinking about your area of research and why?
I just finished reading What is the Bible: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell. It is an engaging, easy read and towards the end draws some fascinating implications concerning topics in philosophy of religion such as inspiration, divine revelation, and evidence for divine activity.

I am eager to get my hands on the Pascal’s Wager, a collection of essay Paul Bartha and Lawrence Pasternack. It will pay homage to the ways Pascal’s argument has influenced the history of philosophy and decision theory while spending some time offering contemporary analyses of its validity. It should be a hoot!

Catholic Q & A with Fr. James Murphy, S.J., Jan. 28

The second biannual “Catholic Q&A” is on Tuesday (1/28) at 7 in Damen (Campus Ministry Suite, 217). The Topic: “Catholicism: What’s t/Truth Got To Do With It?” Professor James Murphy, S.J. will lead.


Flyer below: a fun reference to Plato and the allegory of the cave. And: it’s always a humdinger when t/Truth is on the table…

And it just so happens that this event falls on the feast of St Thomas Aquinas. The plot thickens…

Lecture: Harry Gensler, SJ; “The Golden Rule,” LUC, Nov. 6

Visiting Professor Harry Gensler, SJ wil be delivering a talk, “The Golden Rule,” to the Philosophy department onWednesday, November 6th, at 2:45 pm, in Crown Center room 210.

All department faculty and students are cordially invited to attend.

Conference: Contemporary Moral Theory and the Problem of Evil, Notre Dame, Nov. 15-16

Conference Announcement: Contemporary Moral Theory and the Problem of Evil

November 15-16, 2013
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

On Friday, November 15 and Saturday, November 16, the University of Notre Dame will host the first of two conferences on contemporary moral theory and the problem of evil. These conferences seek to advance discussion of the problem of evil by examining how different views about ethics and morality affect how we understand and respond to the problem. The second conference will be held at Notre Dame on March 21-22, 2014.

The November conference will include talks by Marilyn AdamsStephen Wykstra, and Linda Zagzebski. The talks will take place at 3 pm and 7 pm on Friday, and 10 am on Saturday, with receptions after the first Friday talk and before the Saturday talk. The location of talks is TBD, and will be listed on the philosophy department events website closer to the date of the conference.

The conference is being organized by Jim Sterba and funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

There is no official registration required, but if you are interested in attending, we would appreciate it if you would E-mail Nevin Climenhaga to give us an idea of how many attendees to expect. If you have any questions, you can contact Nevin or Meg Schmitt for more information.

Nevin Climenhaga
Meg Schmitt

(Our very own!) CFP: LUC Graduate Conference: “Philosophy, Virtue, and Personhood”


Philosophy, Virtue, and Personhood

A Graduate Student Philosophy Conference at Loyola University Chicago April 11-12, 2014

Submission Deadline: December 15, 2013 Keynote Speakers:

 Gabriel Richardson Lear (University of Chicago) ␣ Hanne Jacobs (Loyola University Chicago)

Ancient to contemporary thinkers have struggled with questions about the transformation of the self and what it means to live well. Are multiple conceptions of the good life compatible with more univocal doctrines of goodness and wellbeing? We want to explore what role, if any, philosophy can play in helping us to constitute ourselves as persons, become better selves, or live better lives. The philosophy department at Loyola University Chicago invites papers from a broad range of philosophical perspectives, operating in both continental and analytic traditions, on topics pertaining to the role of philosophy in shaping the self and in living a good life.

All submissions should be submitted for blind review by December 15, 2013. Full papers (up to 3,000 words), with 100 word abstracts, should be sent to in .DOC or .PDF format.

CFP: Transatlantic Research Group: “Sexuality, Human Rights and Public Policy”

The 3rd International Conference of the Transatlantic Research Group in collaboration with the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and Women and Gender Studies Program, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, presents the Conference on Sexuality, Human Rights and Public Policy.


This conference draws on a broad range of academic fields—including anthropology, sociology, political philosophy, history, political science, and cultural studies—to investigate the dynamics of public policy, human rights, and sexuality as they relate to inclusion and exclusion globally.


Panels, papers, creative presentations, and roundtables that employ diverse, interdisciplinary and inter-generational perspectives are especially welcome in these areas:


Public policy, Law and Sexuality

Human body, Gender and Sexuality

Culture, Identity and Sexuality

Religion, Culture, and Sexuality

Christianity and Sexuality

Islam and Sexuality

Social Media and Sexuality

Sexual Orientation, Sexual/Gender Identity

Sexuality and Reproductive Rights

Human Body and Cultural Meanings

Human body, Stereotypes and Sexualities

Homosexuality, Homophobia, and Violence

The Female Body and Gender-based Violence

Heterosexuality and “Other” Sexuality


Abstracts should be around 300 words and include the paper title and the name and contact details of the presenter. Abstracts should be submitted by October 25, 2013. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Monday January 20, 2014.

Please send abstracts and papers to Chima Korieh, Marquette University:


CFP: Logos 2014: The Atonement

Call for Papers

Logos 2014: The Atonement

May 8-10, 2014 at the University of Notre Dame

The focal point of the Christian religion is what is often referred to as “the Christ event”—an event that includes the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity in Jesus of Nazareth, as well as his life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.  The atonement is a crucial part of this event. But, despite the absolute centrality of the atonement to Christian faith and practice, there are widely divergent theories about just which events constitute the atonement, about what exactly is accomplished in the atonement, and about how the events that constitute the atonement contribute to human salvation (whatever exactly that encompasses) and to whatever other ends were achieved by the atoning work of Christ.  These and related issues (e.g., about the nature of atonement, reconciliation, and forgiveness in general) comprise the topic for the 2014 Logos Workshop in Philosophical Theology.

To have your paper considered for presentation at Logos 2014, please submit an abstract of the paper or the paper itself no later than October 15, 2013.  Other things being equal, preference will be given to those who submit full papers by the deadline.  We will let you know by December 1, 2013 whether your paper has been provisionally accepted.  Full acceptance will be conditional on submission of the full reading version of the paper by April 1, 2014.  

Please send Abstracts or Full Papers to:

For more information, please visit:


CFP: Society of Christian Philosophers – Eastern Regional Conference – “Theistic Metaphysics and Naturalism”

Eastern Regional Conference
“Theistic Metaphysics and Naturalism”
October 24-26, 2013

University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Conference Website:

Keynote Speakers:
Trenton Merricks (University of Virginia)
Christina Van Dyke (Calvin College)

The Eastern Regional Meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers (SCP) will be held October 24-26 at the University of South Florida. Submissions are welcome from all theological perspectives, and we welcome Christian and non-Christian presenters and participants. The theme this year will be “Theistic Metaphysics and Naturalism.” Paper submissions on any topic of philosophical interest, however, will be given equal consideration.

Submissions should be 3,000 words or less and prepared for blind review (please send a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file with no identifying ‘marks’). Submissions should also include a cover letter with your name, institutional affiliation, email address, paper title, and an abstract of 150 words or less.

Deadline for submissions: August 3rd, 2013. Submissions should be sent to

There is a $500 SCP-funded award for the best graduate student paper. If you would like to be considered for the award, please indicate this in your cover letter.

For additional information, please contact Daniel Collette ( or Jeffery Steele (

CFA: On the body and human identity



Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: The Body and Human Identity

November 7-9, 2013


[W]e know a person only in his or her embodied presence. In and through that body the person is a living whole. For certain purposes, we may try to “reduce” the embodied person simply to a collection of parts, thinking of the person (from below) simply as the sum total of these parts. But we do not know, interact with, or love others understood in that way; on the contrary, we know them (from above) as a unity that is more than just the sum of their parts.

– Gilbert Meilaender, “The Gifts of the Body”


The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture will devote its fourteenth Annual Fall Conference to the theme: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: The Body and Human Identity. In customary interdisciplinary fashion, this conference will take up a host of questions related to the human meaning of the body and life as an embodied self. These questions will be pursued in the contexts of philosophy, theology, political theory, law, history, economics, the biosciences, literature, and the arts.


We welcome the submission of abstracts drawing on a wide range of moral and religious perspectives and academic specialties. Possible issues to be explored include:



• Teleology and the Human Body

• The Incarnation and the Eucharist

• Beauty and the Human Form

• Property in the Body

• Aging and Relations Among the Generations

• Artificial Intelligence

• Torture

• Marriage, Procreation, and Parenting

• Thought, Language, and the Body

• “Personhood” and the Body

• Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging

• Epistemology and the Body

• The Definition and Meaning of Death

• Mind, Body and Dualism

• The Body in Literature and the Arts

• Memory and Identity

• End of Life Decision-making

• Human/Nonhuman Chimeras and Hybrids

• Genetics and Evolutionary Biology

• Vulnerability and Suffering

• “Health” and the Ends of Medicine

• Transhumanism

• Systems Biology

• Eating and Gastronomy

• Performance Enhancement in Sport




One-page abstracts for papers should include name, affiliation, address, and e-mail address (if available). Session Presentations will be limited to twenty minutes. Please note that we will not be accepting panel proposals this year.


The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 5, 2013. Notification of acceptance will be sent by Friday, August 23, 2013. One-page abstracts, along with your full contact information, should be e-mailed to or mailed to:


Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture
14th Annual Fall Conference
424 Geddes Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

CFP: “Exploring Awe and Wonder”

Call for papers

Interdisciplinary conference
Exploring awe and wonder

6-8 September 2013
Institute for Simulation and Training
University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation’s
Research Grant: Space, Science and Spirituality


The concepts of awe and wonder occupy an important place in the history of ideas, often associated with the beginnings of philosophy and with religious experience.  In contemporary times, however, they are under-studied and rarely discussed.  It is not clear that such experiences are more rare in our time.  One might argue that given our ability to explore more and more corners of the physical and intellectual universe using technology and advanced science, and our capacity for representing the results of such explorations in art, film and various mass media, we should expect that experiences of awe and wonder are more common.

The interdisciplinary conference, Exploring Awe and Wonder, will bring together researchers in psychology, emotion theory, neuroscience, philosophy, art history, religious studies, and other relevant fields to explore the science and phenomenology of awe and wonder.  Proposals for presentations in these areas are welcome.  A special session on Space, Science and Spirituality is being organized to present current research on the experience of awe and wonder during space flight.

Keynote speakers
Jesse Prinz (Philosophy, CUNY Graduate)
Michelle Shiota (Psychology, Arizona State University)

Invited speakers
Jonathan Cole (Neuroscience, Bournemouth University)
Joerg Trempler (Art History, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Yale Center for British Art)
Jeff Williams (NASA, Astronaut)

Send abstracts and session proposals by June 15, 2013 to

Bruce Janz
Department of Philosophy
Center for Humanities and Digital Research
University of Central Florida

CFP: Faith, Film and Philosophy conference, “Of Fairy-stories, Fantasy and Myth”

Call for Papers:

“Of Fairy-stories, Fantasy and Myth”

October 11th & 12th, 2013

Gonzaga University’s Faith and Reason Institute and Whitworth
University’s Weyerhaeuser Center for Faith and Learning are pleased to
announce their Seventh Annual Seminar on Faith, Film and Philosophy,
entitled “Of Fairy-stories, Fantasy and Myth.” The past decade has
seen film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, as
well as three of C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia,” and, most
recently, Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Although the immediate inspiration for
our seminar is the release of the first part of Peter Jackson’s
cinematic treatment of The Hobbit, our interest is neither solely nor
primarily in Jackson’s films. Instead, we wish to explore a variety of
cinematic treatments of myth, fairy-story, and fantasy, and to explore
philosophical and religious questions raised by such films. The Star
Wars saga, the various incarnations of the world of Star Trek, the
imaginative world of Pan’s Labyrinth, the Narnia films, Snow White and
the Huntsman, Prometheus, Wrath of the Titans, How to Train Your
Dragon, Arrietty, Ponyo, Hugo, Shrek, Knowing, The Road, After
Earth….These are but some of the films that fall within the purview of
our seminar. Even apart from the content of these films, the genres
touched upon in our title raise very general questions about art,
reality, meaning, and truth. For example, is film an appropriate art
form for mythopoesis? What is the nature of the reality portrayed in
these films? What truth, if any, can films of this sort explore or

Possible topics for seminar papers include the following, although
proposals on other topics or questions of relevance are certainly
welcome and encouraged.

•       What constitutes a literary fantasy?
•       What motivates literary fantasies? Is there a psychological payoff?
If so, what is it?
•        What is the underlying neurological basis for fantasy?  Why do we
fantasize in the first place and what evolutionary value might this
•       Gender identity in fantasy and science fiction.
•       Social functions of fantasy literature, including political
•       Cinematic treatments of sexual fantasies.
•       Revenge fantasies.
•       Heroic figures and our fantasies of being like them. (What do Iron
Man and I have in common?)
•       Fantasies of the end of the world, their characteristics and
•       Fantasies and reality: since most fantasies are never realized in
actuality, why do we keep having them?
•       What’s the difference between a fantasy, whether literary and filmic
and outright hallucination or delusion?
•       Criticisms of the work of Peter Jackson.
•       Epistemological issues: what can be known by means of a fantasy that
might not be known otherwise?
•       The Life of Pi as fantasy.
•       Fantasy and possible worlds.

We are particularly interested in popular films from the last 20
years, although the program committee will certainly consider
exceptions to the 20-year rule.

Seminar sessions will take place on Friday (October 11th) and Saturday
(October 12th). Public lectures and other events associated with the
seminar will take place in the days leading up to the seminar. One of
the public lectures will be on the evening of October 11th, when one
of our invited speakers will give a keynote address. The invited
speakers include Michael Foley (Baylor University), Richard McClelland
(Gonzaga University), and Katherin Rogers (University of Delaware).
These invited speakers will also participate as resident “experts”
during the seminar discussions.

Proposals not longer than two pages (double-spaced), and in Word
format, should be submitted electronically to Dr. Brian Clayton at no later than 30 June 2013, and should include
title, author(s), institutional affiliation (if any), mailing address,
email address, and the text of the proposal. The seminar organizers
will send acceptances by 8 July 2013.

The seminar and its associated public events are part of a series of
jointly-sponsored programs focused on “Faith, Reason and Popular
Culture.”  The conviction behind these programs is that if Christian
institutions of higher learning are to respond properly to their
charge to be places where faith seeks understanding, then they must
engage contemporary popular culture. Film is among the most powerful
and important forms of popular culture. Thus, the seminar organizers
seek scholars who will engage in two days of discussion investigating
issues of faith and philosophical import raised by contemporary
popular film. Presenters need not have any formal academic

For further information please contact Dr. Brian Clayton, Director,
Gonzaga University Faith and Reason Institute at

Dante Lecture rescheduled for May 30th


Lumen Christi Institute | 773-955-5887 | |1220 East 58th Street | Chicago, IL 60637

6th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Symposium for Graduate School Students, Apr. 20

“Sustaining Jesuit Ideals: Exploring the Extraordinary”
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Crown Center, Lake Shore Campus
The theme of the symposium is Sustaining Jesuit Ideals: Exploring the Extraordinary.
Graduate Students were selected to present their research based upon one of the Jesuit ideals:
Community & Social Justice
Global Awareness & Sustainability
Innovative Approaches
Religious Experience & Faith        
Values & Culture
Symposium Schedule
8:30 AM  Registration
9:00 – 10:45 AM  Paper Session
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM  Poster Session
12:00 – 12:30 PM  LUNCH
12:30 – 1:15 PM   Faculty Guest Panel
1:30 – 3:00 PM   Paper Session
3:15 – 4:00 PM   Awards Reception

The full symposium schedule and list of participants are available at the symposium website: LUC.EDU/gradschool/research_symposium.shtml. The Graduate School Interdisciplinary Research Symposium is part of the University wide annual Weekend of Excellence activities: LUC.EDU/excellenceweekend.

Namaste! It’s Hindu Awareness Week, April 8-12

Namaste, Philosophy Department!

On behalf of Loyola University’s Hindu Students’ Organization, I would personally like to invite you all to learn more about the Hindu culture and traditions through Hindu Awareness Week during the week of April 8-12. As a growing organization on campus, HSO strives to raise awareness of the Hindu faith and culture throughout our campus. Hindu Awareness Week consists of a series events to help students and faculty learn and celebrate different aspects of Hinduism.

We will be kicking off the week with the opening of the new puja room in Damen 238 with an afternoon prayer followed by a clay diva painting activity. In the evening we will be honoring our Sanskars, or traditions, through a skit about the 16 sacraments. The next day, we will continue learning about Hinduism through Bhakti, or devotion, in our Traditional Music Night. Students will join together and put on performances to show their devotion to their faith. On the third night HSO will celebrate their ten years of success with an extravagant Anniversary Dinner, in which various students and staff will be speaking about their experiences with HSO. The fourth day will consist of a trip to a local temple, followed by a discussion about the Bhagavad Gita. We will be ending the week with yoga on Friday morning, followed by Relay for Life in the evening. All of the details and times for the events are attached in the flyer.

I hope you can join us for this exciting week of events filled with food, activities, and a celebration of the Hindu Students’ Organization’s tenth year in the Loyola Community. Loyola takes pride in being a multicultural and multifaith university, and we’re excited over this opportunity in which we can share our experiences and ideals of Hinduism with you. Please do also share this invitation with whomever you please, the more the merrier!

HSO Loyola

CFA: CONF: Law, Culture and Morality, University of Illinois



Topic: Law, Culture and Morality: East and West
Dates: October 4-5, 2013

Place: University of Illinois

Abstract: 150 words

Email to Chandana Chakrabarti <>

Sponsored by:
The University of Illinois,
The Society for Indian Philosophy and Religion, and
The Institute  of Cross-Cultural Studies and Academic Exchange

Date of proposal acceptance: Week after the proposal is submitted

Legal Philosophy; Philosophy of Right; Morality & Law; Law & Marxism;
Legal Positivism; Legal Realism; Virtue Ethics; Virtue &
Jurisprudence; Utilitarianism, Deontology & Law; Dworkin &
Interpretivism; Philosophical Approaches to Legal Problems; Justice &
Globalization; International Law; Natural Law; Bentham, Austin &
Dworkin; Natural Law & Natural Rights; Law, Authority & Morality; Law
of the Land & International Law; Ancient Law; Laws of Manu & Other
Hindu Lawgivers; Confucius Theory of Virtue; Islam & Law; Law & Human
Rights; Postmodernism & Law; Virtue & Knowledge; Morality & Society;
Confucius Ethics; Perfectionist & Situational Ethics; Moral
Relativism; Humanism & Positivism; Ethnic Identity & Culture; Human
Nature & Human Culture; Cultural Anthropology; Consumption & Morality;
Politicizing Consumer Culture & Effects on Morality; Dynamics of Group
Culture; Ethnic Boundaries; Constructing & Deconstructing Ethnic
Identity; Cultural Transformation; Culture & Morality; Christian
Ethics; Buddhist Ethics; Hindu Ethics; Jewish Ethics; Islamic Ethics &
Global Ethics.
The above list is suggestive and not exhaustive.

Advisory Board Members:
Panos Eliopoulos (Greece), Yolanda Espina (Portugal), Gordon Haist
(USA), Robin Kar (USA), Elizabeth Koldzak (Poland), Simi Malhotra
(India), Maria Marczewska (Poland), Debkumar Mukhopadhyay( India),
Rizwan Rahman (India), Ming Shao (China), Tommi Lehtonen (Finland),
Andrew Ward (UK), Su-Chen Wu (Taiwan)

Papers from the Conference will be published subject to editorial
review (Journal of International and Interdisciplinary Studies/Journal
of Indian Philosophy & Religion)