Feser Round Up

Several times on this blog I’ve plugged the work of Edward Feser. Recently he has put up a few particularly noteworthy blog posts.

Firstly, a round up of many of his posts about the cosmological argument for the existence of God.

A year ago today I put up a post with the title “So you think you understand the cosmological argument?” It generated quite a bit of discussion, and has since gotten more page views than any other post in the history of this blog. To celebrate its first anniversary — and because the argument, rightly understood (as it usually isn’t), is the most important and compelling of arguments for classical theism — I thought a roundup of various posts relevant to the subject might be in order.

Secondly, a round up of posts discussing the claims of classical theism:

Classical theism is the conception of God that has prevailed historically within Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Western philosophical theism generally. Its religious roots are biblical, and its philosophical roots are to be found in the Neoplatonic and Aristotelian traditions. Among philosophers it is represented by the likes of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Maimonides, and Avicenna. I have emphasized many times that you cannot properly understand the arguments for God’s existence put forward by classical theists, or their conception of the relationship between God and the world and between religion and morality, without an understanding of how radically classical theism differs from the “theistic personalism” or “neo-theism” that prevails among some prominent contemporary philosophers of religion. (Brian Davies classifies Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, and Charles Hartshorne as theistic personalists. “Open theism” would be another species of the genus, and I have argued that Paley-style “design arguments” have at least a tendency in the theistic personalist direction.)

And finally today, and perhaps most interestingly, he put up the story of his conversion from atheism to theism. An excerpt:

I already knew from the lay of the land in the philosophy of language and philosophy of mind that the standard naturalist approaches had no solid intellectual foundation, and themselves rested as much on fashion as on anything else. Even writers like Searle, who I admired greatly and whose naturalism I shared, had no plausible positive alternative. McGinn-style mysterianism started to seem like a dodge, especially given that certain arguments (like the Platonic realist ones) seemed to show that matter simply is not in fact all that there is, not merely that we can’t know how it can be all that there is. Some secular writers were even toying with Aristotelian ideas anyway. The only reason for not taking Aquinas and similar thinkers seriously seemed to be that most other academic philosophers weren’t taking them seriously. And yet as I had come to learn, many of them didn’t even understand Aquinas and Co. in the first place, and their own naturalism was riddled with problems. Against Aquinas, for naturalism — the case increasingly seemed to come down to the consensus of the profession. And what exactly was that worth?

As I’ve suggested before, Feser is definitely worth a read. I hope his tribe increases in the future.