Thomas Nagel’s Natural Theological Argument?

Since I should be studying right now and not writing philosophy, I want to make this a very quick post. This is astonishing, in my view, as I think I have found atheist Thomas Nagel making a natural theological argument (or, less provocatively (and more accurately) supporting a natural theological argument) in his book The Last Word (1997).

Consider the following argument:

1. It is more probable than not that on theism than naturalism consciousness (mind) exists, that is, whre “Pr” is “The probability that”, “G” God exists, “N” “naturalism” and C “Consciousness existing” Pr (C|G) > .5 and Pr (C|N) < .5.

J.P Moreland’s two arguments in support of this: (1) Scientific theory virtues apply here and make theism more probable: (i) Naturalness, (ii) Ontological Basicality and (iii) Simplicity and (2) naturalism’s “Grand Story” or “History of the Universe” is necessarily and radically materialistic (which precludes mind at all—only Nagel would perhaps deny this with his teleological account of natural laws (which is still vague and purely speculative (and in this respect ad hoc))).

2. Consciousness exists.

William Lane Craig has pointed out that denying this self-contradictory i.e., an illusion of consciousness (intentional state) is to be in a conscious (intentional) state (basically).

3. Therefore, theism is true.

Thomas Nagel furthers this argument from reducing the problem of “actuality” (of mind/consciousness) to “possibility”: “Since it [ourselves (which includes reason, consciousness and mind] did happen [was actualized], it must have been possible”.[1]

So, here are some new premises:

4. If theism is true, there is an account of the actuality and possibility of consciousness.

(Here are a few stories the theist could tell: (1) There is a set of all possible worlds in the mind of God (on theistic platonism) and God actualizes one that will eventually result in consciousness, (2) God chooses one possible world, makes it actual and eventually performs special intervention in the natural order to bestow consciousness on human persons, (3) God, from eternity past, knows He will create a world and that world will include consciousness (so there is no “set” of all possible worlds, there is just one world God will create from eternity past). These are all accounts of God’s actualizing consciousness/mind on finite creatures; for an account of possibility, this is rather simple: God could withhold creating anything at all and timelessly (or infinitely throughout time) does not create but could, counterfactually, bring a universe (with human persons who have consciousness/mind) into being at will–there is no contradiction in this and therefore this is at least possible).

5. If naturalism were true, it must account for the actuality and possibility of consciousness.

(Suppose it could not explain possibility and actuality but only actuality; theism would be preferable because it is a more complete explanation—and much simpler, to my mind ref. Moreland’s “Simplicity” requirement).

6. Naturalism cannot explain the actuality of consciousness. (From (1)-(3)).

7. Suppose that naturalism could explain the actuality of consciousness (through probabilities).

8. The possibility of the actuality of consciousness has to be explained.

(What Van Inwagen calls a “metaphysical axiom” that “what is actual is minimally possible” And Nagel agrees ref. above quote).

9. If it is not possible on naturalism that consciousness exists (there is a contradiction i.e., matter -> mind), then naturalism cannot explain the possibility of consciousness.

10. If naturalism cannot explain the possibility of consciousness, naturalism is false or must leave out something to be explained.

11. It would be ad hoc to deny the ontology of something because it falsifies one’s worldview.

12. Naturalism cannot explain the possibility of consciousness.

(There is a contradiction: matter only creates matter, not mind (Moreland’s argument that out of matter only matter comes; if mind came, it is logically equivalent to getting something from nothing—Locke agrees to the former half)).

13. Therefore, naturalism is false.

This is a very interesting argument (and I think this 13 line long argument is really three arguments: (1) consciousness is more probable on theism than naturalism, (2) naturalism must explain the actuality and possibility of consciousness and (3) naturalism cannot explain the actuality and possibility of consciousness and therefore naturalism is false). I wonder what people make of this—to me this is deeply problematic for the naturalist.

[1] Thomas Nagel’s The Last Word (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 138.

What is the Counterpart of Bioethical Ignorance?

Many know about contemporary debates concerning euthanasia (or at least one side of the debate, as is most often what happens). While on this blog I try to make my posts as philosophically analytic as possible, I think there is a peculiar moral intuition that is often captured not merely by arguments, but by real world events which “hit the heart”, so to speak, of human beings on a deep, phenomenological and existential level. Today I received an email from my former philosophy teacher Paul Coates entitled “Another Euthanasia First”; the contents, however, were much to my surprise and distress. It is to this end that I want to display the email contents in full and make a few comments on what exactly is being said.

Here is the post by Michael Cook in full from BioEdge:

“Today is a landmark, of sorts. It marks the first time that a child has been euthanised under contemporary euthanasia laws. Of course, euthanising infants is relatively common, but not children who are old enough to be asked if they really want to die. The death occurred last week in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, although it was announced today by Belgium’s euthanasia supremo, Wim Distelmans. His words were very sober and solemn, as befits the occasion, but I suspect that he and his colleagues are quietly happy to see the boundaries of euthanasia spread even further.

Ultimately this is a triumph for out-and-out nihilism, not just Belgium’s inventive euthanasia lobby. Nihilism is a philosophical fad which seems to catching on. Below we feature a report on three American bioethicists who argue the case for population control to fight climate change and a defense of infanticide by a Finnish bioethicist. I’ve also just discovered a new book by South African philosopher David Benatar. In it he argues that procreation is morally wrong because life’s a bitch and then you die (I am over-simplifying, of course.) He concludes his book with these cheerful thoughts:

Every birth is a future death. Between the birth and the death there is bound to be plenty of unpleasantness … Inflicting serious harm—or even the risk of it—on one person, without his or her consent, in order to benefit others, is presumptively wrong.

If I’m right, euthanising a child is not an terminus for Belgian euthanasia, but just a bus stop en route to pure nihilism. What its supporters are trying to eliminate is not just pain, but life itself. What do you think?”[1]

There is a lot to be unpacked here. So, let me make three entry ways as follows:

(1) The relationship between bioethical conceptualization and action

(2) Socio-phenomenological apathy

(3) Nihilism, Moral Nihilism and Bioethical Nihilism

I think that (1)-(3) are ways in which we might approach this post. Indeed, I suspect that these are the most appropriate entry points if the real content of the post is to be interacted with and fully understood. So, let me begin with (1).

The relationship between bioethical conceptualization and action is manifestly easy to detect. If one thought that life is ultimately valueless, one might make no prescriptive moral judgements on oneself or others, and conclude that any action—no matter what socio-political laws might be in place—is inherently amoral, that is, without any moral quality whatsoever. This person might conclude with Dostoevsky with the death of God results in everything being permissible, with Sartre that without God there is absurdity and facticity, with Camus that life is absurd, with Beckkett that “life as meaningful” might be no more than a good joke, with Freud that aggression is the preferable state of human beings for happiness, with Nietzsche that without God the foundation of all goodness and wrongness is thrown into the abyss.[2] One can see that moral prescriptions like “love thy neighbor” on this view is not even wrong—but inherently meaningless. On the other hand, if one sees persons as ends-in-themselves, enriched and infused with intrinsic moral worth, then the way we treat them is valuable as it might—as Christians, for instance—think that moral actions are necessary reflections of God’s holy and loving nature. Clearly, on the former view anything goes. It is here that we bring to mind central passages of the post: “In it [David Benatar’s book] he argues that procreation is morally wrong because life’s a bitch and then you die (I am over-simplifying, of course.)”. It is rather interesting that the following argument is made:

(1) Life is hard.

(2) Therefore, having children is bad. (1).

At first glance, this isn’t even an argument (or at any rate it is just a really bad argument). It simply doesn’t follow that just because life is hard, bringing children into this world is wrong. As my pro-life friends like to point out, when asked “who is your favorite role model?”, a pro-choicer will most often say someone who has struggled and conquered their obstacles and trials. It makes that person a good, hard-working, stoic and archetypal person. Analogously, just because pain is hard to go through, does not mean it is always bad (sometimes we have great lessons to learn from painful experiences). A rather disturbing literary example of this exact point is to be found in the wonderful novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Clearly this argument does not work.

Consider a sub-point: “euthanising infants is relatively common, but not children who are old enough to be asked if they really want to die.” There might be a host of questions to this: What is a non-arbitrary minimum age requirement for a person to consent to their death by lethal injection which is constructed in a framework capturing our moral intuitions? Why is euthanasia so widely accepted, based on obvious, more productive and moral alternatives i.e., palliative care? Why should we think that a child (or even fully grown adult) has the moral ability to choose when they want to die? Does this not presuppose subjectivism, a self-referentially incoherent standpoint? These questions, I think, are not even half-addressed in policy making concerning these issues. Obviously policy makers are not bioethicists, but a good Platonic question is manifest to come out here—should they be?

I have always defined “socio-phenomenological apathy” as an orientation in the world which is apathetic to valuable and meaningful questions i.e., God’s existence. It is rather unsurprising then that this should come up in the context of bioethics because unlike in philosophy of religion, even if one’s arguments are bad, socio-phenomenological apathy is so pertinent to Western culture’s “autonomous” lifestyle, that bioethical questions are of second-order importance and ultimately without conclusive answers. While I regard this is mistaken, many do not agree and think that “science has shown that the unborn aren’t people” or that “life does not have meaning”. While both these claims are false (and the latter metaphysically impossible), it is important to see here the consequences of apathy generally. Apathy requires one to give up their presuppositions and regard any presupposition or proposition as without value. It is not valuable, says the apathetic, to go on in the world worrying about trivial questions i.e., bioethical questions. While this is, of course, problematic (morally and existentially), the consequences are felt when death is the result. Instead of inquiring into the meaning of life, one says “who cares”, and policy makers make policies which allow children to die. Not merely to suffer, but to cease to exist on earth. There is no way to put this philosophically—one must have, genuinely, a cold heart to turn their eyes away from this injustice. But this apathy has a deeper root, namely, nihilism.

Nihilism, moral nihilism and bioethical nihilism all need defining. Nihilism is view that life has no objective and subjective meaning, moral nihilism the view that there are no moral truths and bioethical nihilism is the conjunction of nihilism and moral nihilism (life and morality being worthless). Obviously nihilism is part in parcel of atheistic and naturalistic worldviews—or from their propositions, not always proponents. Since we life in a secular culture, it is no surprise that this is the dominant philosophy of the West. In one form or another, the void of meaning people experience is a reflection of their inner inability to come to terms with reality, that is, the objective reality of value, meaning, morality and so on. Take the following passage, for instance: “What its supporters are trying to eliminate is not just pain, but life itself.” This is an admission of the fact that on atheistic and naturalistic worldviews, since there are no values, pleasure is the best method of achieving a well-lived life (one can see Benthamian and Millian roots here); and, therefore, once pain is all there is left, life is meaningless. This is, I suggest, a reason why bioethical questions have been disregarded, and consequently dying by choice is now legally permissible. It is because our inability to conceptualize deeply into the nature of human persons, their intrinsic value and so on, that we have turned our attention away to those who will now pay the price of our ignorance.

If, like me, one is disturbed by the story given, it is not enough to write and conceptualize—one must put their conceptualizations into action; it is not merely intellectually rewarding, but life saving.

[1] Accessed September 17th, 2016: http://www.bioedge.org/tools/newsletter2013/

[2] All references (in full) can be provided upon request. But to be brief: Dostoevsky, Brothers Karamazov, Nietzsche, The Gay Science; Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism; Beckett, Endgame; Freud, Civilization and its Discontents; Camus, Myth of Sisyphus.

Conditional Probabilities, The Deductive Closure Principle and Issues in Science/Religion

Conditional Probabilities (CP) (P|A/B) and the Deductive Closure Principle (DCP) (If S knows P and P-> Q, P knows Q) are tightly knit concepts which is helpful for considering probabilities in axiomatic theories, especially in science and religion. Suppose that we evaluate the truth of some proposition P. Given axioms, say, A1…An, a person S believes P on the basis of the presumed axioms. In this case, with respect to conditional probabilities, P is probable—more probable than not, that is—given the axioms (and so S accepts P). Suppose, further, that P->Q (Q being a logical entailment of P). It is, then, appropriate to say that given the axioms, Q is more probable than not. I find that this is very significant for understanding many issues found in conceptual problems which arise in science. Here is an example from quantum physics:

  1. Jones, having reviewed the evidence for the Many Worlds Interpretation E1…En, believes that the Many Worlds Interpretation to Quantum Mechanics is true.

Jones, so far as we know, does not rely on any previous axioms in holding that the Many Worlds Interpretation is true. Indeed, Jones can be said to merely make his judgement on the evidence presented to him; however, this might become problematic when other factors come into consideration. For instance, suppose that the evidence in question was inconclusive, that is, didn’t amount to a proof and that, being persuaded by other considerations i.e., some other epistemological hypothesis, Jones decided that the epistemological hypothesis—since it was, let us say, inconsistent with the Many Worlds Interpretation—amounted to rejecting the Many Worlds Interpretation (since Jones had better grounds for thinking that the epistemological hypothesis was more probable than his evidence for the Many Worlds Interpretation. Jones has applied conditional probability in the following way: Suppose A is “Many Worlds Interpretation” and B “Epistemological Hypothesis”, it would mean that for Jones (P|A/B) = 0. Two inconsistent propositions have a 0 probability when taken conjunctively. (To see this consider the proposition “at some time T some object O exists and simultaneously does not exist”, a proposition with 0 probability since it is impossible—logically and metaphysically). So, since the evidence in favor or B is higher than A, he sees it as (P|A/B) < (P|not-A/B) (in the latter case, the probability amounts to 1. Inasmuch as Jones is not being ad hoc here (in denying A on the grounds that he does not like it (and so happens to accept B), Jones is perfectly rational in his conditional probability. Things are not much different when we consider the following case:

2. Sharon, a theist, believes that the Many Worlds Interpretation to Quantum   Mechanics is false.

In a nutshell, Jones is pro-Many Worlds, and Sharon is against Many-Worlds. Let us apply CP and DCP here to see what is at work.

For Sharon, she believes that, where A is the proposition “that God exists” and B “the relevant evidence”, that (P|A/B) > .5. She, then, claims to know A (since, on conditional probability, B is more probable than not). But, since theism—some would argue (and I shall just presume it here)—that the Many Worlds Interpretation is logically inconsistent with A, it follows that A->Q (where Q is the proposition that “the Many Worlds Interpretation is false.” So, given the conditional probability of A on B, applying the DCP, Sharon reasonably believes that A and therefore that the Many Worlds Interpretation is false. The question now arises though: What is the conceptual difference between the case of Jones and the case of Sharon? My answer: nothing at all.

Whether it is a theological hypothesis or an epistemic one, it makes no difference regarding the probability of such statements. If S accepts P on the basis that it is more probable than not that P is true given Q, it does not matter if P is theological or epistemological. Even if one accepts P on the basis that they know some other proposition P* which implies P, if P* is a theological hypothesis or historical or scientific or whatever, it has no bearing on the truth of P itself. If one denies this, it can be for no other reason than begging the question (and I suspect that this goes on all the time). [1]

[1] The latter half of this post could have been “Issues in Philosophy of Mind/Religion, Metaphysics, Logic” et cetera. I just used the quantum mechanical example as an example of a possible area that my speculations could have been relevant.

Can the Objectivity of Morality Be Grounded in Phenomenal Consciousness?

In this paper I will argue that phenomenal consciousness is not sufficient to ontologically ground morality. [1] I will make two arguments for this thesis. First, I will argue that the thesis in question is logically improbable; secondly, I will use the deductive closure principle to make a short argument against phenomenal consciousness as constitutive of objective morality, and thereafter conclude that theism, since highly probable, involves this thesis to be false.

Here is the first argument:

  1. Phenomenal consciousness involves the what-its-like of experience.
  2. Objective morality is experience-independent.
  3. There is no such thing as phenomenal consciousness independent of experience.
  4. Therefore, nothing which can ground morality can be based on experience. (2)
  5. Therefore, phenomenal consciousness cannot be constitutive of objective morality. (1)-(4).

Here is a second argument:

  1. Theism is highly probable. [2]
  2. If theism is highly probable, phenomenal consciousness does not constitute the objectivity of morality (God does).
  3. Deductive closure principle: if S knows P and P->Q, then S knows Q.
  4. Therefore, if theism is true, and theism entails phenomenal consciousness as insufficient to ground the objectivity of morality, it follows that phenomenal consciousness is insufficient to ground the objectivity of morality. (1)-(4).

These are just two reasons I regard this attempt to save the objectivity of morality on naturalism to be unpromising. (Consider as a side argument the following: phenomenal consciousness is more probable on theism than naturalism; theism entails God as constitutive of objective morality, not phenomenal consciousness; therefore, phenomenal consciousness points towards its own inability to be constitutive of objective morality and the truth of theism).

[1] Arguing for phenomenal consciousness as constitutive of objective morality is usually an attempt to save objective morality on naturalism i.e., those denying a reductive ontology. (This is rather strange, though, as most naturalists reject, ontologically, morality).

[2] This second argument is tailored for the person who accepts theism (whereas the first is universal); I do this to reach both audiences (secular and non-secular alike).

Rape is Wrong, Therefore Abortion is Wrong

The following is an argument for the following subjunctive conditional: if rape is wrong, abortion is also wrong. Now, abortion is not wrong if and only if rape is wrong, since the entailment would be too strong. (One can think of a multitude of reasons why abortion is morally wrong). All that I claim is that if rape is wrong on a particular ground i.e., that human beings are ends-in-themselves, then abortion, for a particular reason i.e., financial difficulty, is necessarily wrong. On Monday, January 25th 2016, during a Lifeline (Western’s pro-life club) meeting, I thought of this argument and so sent it to an executive member of the club afterwards that evening. ( “[x] is someone’s name, made hidden by me). Here is what I thought of:

Hey,

So during our meeting today I thought of a neat little philosophical argument worth exploring (whether or not it is a good one I am sure you will be able to detect). If you would like you can send it to i.e., [], if you think it worth exploring. It is a way in which one can move from the proposition:
1. Rape is wrong.
to
2. Therefore, abortion is wrong.
Here is the argument (constructed as a thought experiment):
Suppose that you encounter a person who argues that abortion is right if and only if rape is the reason for pregnancy.
You can concede the point (that rape is wrong) and argue as follows:
1. Rape is wrong.
2. Rape is wrong because 1) it violates a woman’s autonomy, 2) does not reflect the correct moral responsibility towards her and 3) uses her as a means to an end.
The last reason (3) might be an area that the pro-lifer and objector might agree on; namely, that human persons are ends-in-themselves. (Philosopher Kant and Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) argue this point). Now, if the objector concedes the proposition:
4. Human persons are ends-in-themselves
then it follows that
5. Rape is wrong
However, it also follows that
6. Any action whatsoever which uses a person as a means to some desired end is wrong
and given that aborting a fetus because he/she is inconvenient i.e., financially, mentally et cetera, is inconsistent with (4), it follows that the person who says ‘it is morally permissible to abort an unborn child if and only if the child was conceived from rape (rape, being wrong because it is using the woman as a means to an end)’ must also concede that aborting the unborn child is itself using a person as a means to an end (i.e., killing the child for selfish reasons i.e., an easier life). Therefore, if rape is wrong so is abortion. (This might only apply to a person who accepts 1) humans are ends-in-themselves, 2) rape is wrong, 3) murdering the unborn is morally acceptable if and only if it was from rape and 4) the unborn is a person–since it seems normal to assume that (3) and (4) are inconsistent, the argument above might serve as a way in which this inconsistency can lead a person from ‘rape is wrong, therefore abortion is wrong.’
Something I thought of.
Feel free to let me know what you think,
Rashad.
Post-Script
To my mind, this argument is sound and valid. However, I am aware that many will reject one or more of my premises and therefore will not see the argument as sound (validity I think is on the safe side). So, this argument, if used in pro-life apologetics, must be understood restrictively since, while it works, only works for people who will accept certain premises i.e., the ones outlined in the aforementioned paper.

The Modal Ontological Argument, A Reductio and Two Non-Ad Hoc Ways Out

In this paper, I will argue that the modal ontological argument succeeds an alleged defeater in the form of a reductio ad absurdum. I have come across a reductio ad absurdum of the ontological argument (St. Anselm’s, anyway) that I have been thinking about for some time. Not really knowing what to do with it, I have thought of two ways out. So, I will lay out the modal ontological argument, the reductio, and then offer two ways out which, I think, minimally succeed in showing how the reductio, even if it is prima facie convincing, does not stand a closer look.

Here is the modal ontological argument as Alvin Plantinga formulates it:

 

  1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.

 

  1. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.

 

  1. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

 

  1. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

 

  1. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

 

  1. Therefore, a maximally great being exists. [1]

The crucial premise is (1). For if one denies (1), the whole argument collapses. While even philosopher William Lane Craig admits that (1) is “admittedly very difficult” for the theist to defend, nonetheless I think there can be progress in this area. For instance, take three natural theological arguments: the cosmological argument, teleological and axiological. Even if one rejects all three of these arguments, there are many, many more. For instance, the cosmological argument in the form of a contingency argument, the argument from consciousness and the argument from love et cetera. The intellectually humble approach, I think, is for the non-theist to admit the metaphysical possibility of the existence of God. But, of course, one can always deny (1) for ad hoc reasons.

Here is the reductio:

  1. It is possible that a maximally bad being exists.

 

  1. If it is possible that a maximally bad being exists, then a maximally bad being exists in some possible world.

 

  1. If a maximally bad being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.

 

  1. If a maximally bad being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.

 

  1. If a maximally bad being exists in the actual world, then a maximally bad being exists.

 

  1. Therefore, a maximally bad being exists

 

So, in the place of ‘great’, ‘bad’ is substituted. This means that if a maximally great being exists, so does a maximally bad being (which might not be what the theists wants); the theist is then offered an option: Deny the ontological argument or hold it and admit that there exists a maximally bad being. This is an inclusive ‘or’, I should say in passing. And, so, the theist can no longer hold to the ontological argument, so the argument goes.

Here are two responses which I think sufficiently show that this is not so.

(1) The first premise in the reductio is not self-evidently or intuitively true. Consider the justification for (1). There simply isn’t any. Now, one might say that “any natural theological argument can successfully show that the “God” that exists is a “maximally bad being” since many of the arguments do not establish His moral properties.” But this is simply false. What, for instance, the Kalam argument gives you, is a concept of God without moral properties—granted; however, when taken conjunctively [2] with, say, the axiological (moral) argument, things are different, for then the argument does succeed—if true—in establishing (i) the existence of God and (ii) the existence of a moral God. To deny (1) of the reductio can be established on two grounds, though: (i) Deny the coherence of a ‘maximally bad being’ or (ii) show how it is improbable and therefore warranted to reject (1). I do not want to argue as the defender of (i) would want to. For the sake of argument, I will accept (i). But, (ii) seems more promising. Given the plethora of natural theological arguments, (1) in the modal ontological argument seems at least minimally plausible to accept. But, in the reductio, there is simply no reason to accept (1) (asides “I’ll just grant you (1)” reasons).

(2) Take an analogy. Suppose that instead of “maximally bad being” we say “maximally bad book” (i.e., Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion). While the latter is incoherent, it also does not have the great making property of “existing.” Applied to the reductio, “existing” seems to be a great making property—not a bad one. If one says in defense of (1) that “a bad being would be worse if the being existed”, they do not realize that “existing” is a great making property—and therefore if the “maximally bad being” exists, it is not really a “maximally bad being.” Why? There is a worse being, a “maximally bad being that does not”. So, we have a reductio of the reductio: the “maximally bad being”, in order to exist, has to fail to exist. The law of non-contradiction has it that P & not-P is logically impossible and therefore either the being exists or does not; in order to exist, it must fail to exist, and therefore the reductio is a reductio of itself.

These are just two reasons I see out of the argument, and I hope I have shown that the reductio does not succeed as a successful defeater of the modal ontological argument.

[1] http://www.reasonablefaith.org/misunderstanding-the-ontological-argument Accessed August 7th, 2016.

[2] Natural theological arguments taken conjunctively can raise the probability of God’s existence immensely, as Timothy McGrew, William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga argue.

A Current Project

This past year I had the privilege of attending and lecturing orally my research paper “Theistic Explanations of the Ontology of Consciousness” under the title “Consciousness, Theism and Explanation”, at the Western Student Research Conference (2016) under the supervision of Dr. Pietro Pirani. In adjusting to first year of university, my time was necessarily limited as my primary goal was to “get the grades going.”

This year, however, I want to do something different.

Since there is no confirmation of acceptance into the Research Conference until one applies, I am not sure this project will be fully realized as I would like it to be. Nonetheless, I find myself content with the endeavor regardless.

I want to do the conference this year on a “minor” project, perhaps on theistic metaphysical systems i.e., William Lane Craig’s. Or perhaps on something like the work of Richard Swinburne (his recent “Mind, Brain and Free Will” (2013), particularly). Another project I am thinking of is reviewing Craig Keener’s 2. Vol. “Miracles.” If none of these, I am very interested in exploring Bryan Metcalfe’s doctoral thesis “Pedagogy of Mythos” (2013) much more in depth. Perhaps even Charles Taylor’s “A Secular Age.” (And of course I am open to suggestions from readers of this blog). Regardless, for this year I am looking to do a minor project.

But, for the following year (2017/2018), my third year in university, I want to write on analytic Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga. Why not this year? Simply this: His corpus is massive. His work on metaphysics, philosophy of religion, epistemology and modal logic is extensive. So, if I spend this year and the next focusing primarily on Plantinga, I think (i) I will have spent my time wisely and (ii) I will have developed enough acquaintance with his work to actually write on his work with a good standing on what he thinks.

So, now, I await a professor who will help me with this project and for my “minor” one this year. Blog posts, then, will follow the writings I am reading and thinking of (whereas before they were relatively all over the place–my usual method of thinking!).

As a side note, I am currently brainstorming a layout for a Bioethics Journal for a Western University club and a possible book based on a Teacher’s guide I co-wrote with Patrick Sullivan on his book “Four Monks Walk Into a Pub.” I would also like to take up a Dostoevsky University Syllabus (U of T’s, for instance), to read more of his stuff (and really committ myself to it). Thus, posting will be relatively infrequent, but I hope my work, while definitely now occupied by reading and studying, will be satisfactory.