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Kevin VallierLiberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation

Routledge, 2014

by Robert Talisse on July 1, 2015

Kevin Vallier

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In a liberal democracy, citizens share political power as equals. This means that they must decide laws and policies collectively. Yet they disagree about fundamental questions regarding the value, purpose, and meaning of life. What role should their convictions concerning these matters play in their public activity as citizens? According to familiar answers, citizens must bracket or constrain the role that their religious convictions plays in their public lives. But many religious citizens find this unacceptable. Some of these hold that their religious views should determine law and policy. But that, too, looks unacceptable.

In Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation (Routledge, 2014), Kevin Vallier develops a novel view of the role of religious conviction and reasoning in liberal democracy. On his view, religious citizens will rarely need to constrain the role that their religious convictions play in their public activities. However, Vallier also contends that public officials and institutions cannot determine public policy solely on the basis of religious reasons.

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Helen de Cruz and Johan de SmedtA Natural History of Natural Theology: The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion

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Natural theology involves attempts to rationally justify religious belief based on reasoning about experience. The world appears to exhibit order or design, and so, the design argument goes, we are justified in concluding that there must be a divine designer. But what are the cognitive bases of this and other arguments in natural theology? And […]

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L. A. PaulTransformative Experience

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We typically make decisions based on a projection of their likely outcome with respect to the things we value. We seek to maximize of enhance the things we think are good, and minimize what we think is bad. But sometimes we are faced with a decision where we must choose whether to undergo an experience […]

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M. Joshua MozerskyTime, Language, and Ontology: The World from the B-Theoretic Perspective

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Is the present time uniquely real, or do past or future equally exist? Does saying the word “now” simply express the speaker’s current position in time the way “here” expresses her current position in space? In Time, Language, and Ontology: The World from the B-Theoretic Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2015), M. Joshua Mozersky, Associate Professor of […]

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May 1, 2015

Propaganda names a familiar collection of phenomena, and examples of propaganda are easy to identify, especially when one examines the output of totalitarian states. In those cases, language and imagery are employed for the purpose of shaping mass opinion, forming group allegiances, constructing worldviews, and securing compliance. It is undeniable that propaganda is employed by […]

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Wayne WuAttention

April 15, 2015

The mental phenomenon of attention is often thought of metaphorically as a kind of spotlight: we focus our attention on a particular item or task, our attention is divided or diffused when we try to text and drive at the same time, and our attention is captured when we suddenly hear our name pop out […]

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George SherEquality for Inegalitarians

April 1, 2015

There’s a longstanding debate in political philosophy regarding the fundamental point or aim of justice. According to one prominent view, the point of justice is to neutralize the influence of luck over individuals’ shares of basic social goods. This view is known as luck egalitarianism. It holds, roughly, that inequality is consistent with justice only […]

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Marya SchechtmanStaying Alive: Personal Identity, Practical Concerns, and the Unity of a Life

March 15, 2015

What is it to be the same person over time? The 17th-century British philosopher John Locke approached this question from a forensic standpoint: persons are identified over time with an appropriately related series of psychological states, in particular a chain of memories, and our interest in identifying persons in this way stems from our interest […]

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Seana ShiffrinSpeech Matters: On Lying, Morality, and the Law

March 1, 2015

It is generally accepted that lying is morally prohibited. But theorists divide over the nature of lying’s wrongness, and thus there is disagreement over when the prohibition might be outweighed by competing moral norms.  There is also widespread agreement over the idea that promises made under conditions of coercion or duress lack the moral force […]

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Evan ThompsonWaking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy

February 15, 2015

The quest for an explanation of consciousness is currently dominated by scientific efforts to find the neural correlates of conscious states, on the assumption that these states are dependent on the brain. A very different way of exploring consciousness is undertaken within various Indian religious traditions, in which subtle states of consciousness and transitions between […]

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