Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (2016-11-22)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Religion & beliefs


Philosophers on Belief

by Gutting, Gary

Through interviews with 12 distinguished philosophers - including atheists, agnostics, and believers - Talking God works toward a philosophical understanding and evaluation of religion. Along the way Gary Gutting and his interviewees challenge many common assumptions about religious beliefs.

As tensions simmer and often explode between the secular and the religious forces in modern life, the big questions about human belief press ever more urgently. Where does belief, or its lack, originate? How can we understand and appreciate religious traditions different from our own?
Featuring conversations with 12 skeptics, atheists, agnostics, and believers - including Alvin Plantinga, Philip Kitcher, Michael Ruse, and John Caputo - Talking God offers new perspectives on religion, including the challenge to believers from evolution, cutting-edge physics, and cosmology; arguments both for and against atheism; and meditations on the value of secular humanism and faith in the modern world.

Experts offer insights on Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism as well as Judaism and Christianity. Topical and illuminating, Talking God gives listeners a deeper understanding of faith today and how philosophers understand it.

Gary Guttingholds an endowed chair in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is an editor ofNotre Dame Philosophical Reviewsand writes for the New York Times’s philosophy blog, The Stone. He is also the author ofWhat Philosophy Can Do.

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There are a large number—maybe a couple of dozen—of pretty good theistic arguments. None is conclusive, but each, or at any rate the whole bunch taken together, is about as strong as philosophical arguments ordinarily get.

Quote: Alvin Plantinga, Calvin College & Notre Dame

[Some say] Buddhism is not a religion because Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being. This simply ignores the fact that many religions are not theistic in this sense. Chess is a game, despite the fact that it is not played with a ball, after all.

Quote: Jay Garfield, Yale University

Why think that the creator of the universe was all-knowing and omnipotent?. . . Maybe the creator was a student god and only got a B minus on this project.

Quote: Louise Antony, University of Massachusetts

If you cease to ‘believe’ in a particular religious creed, like Calvinism or Catholicism, you have changed your mind and adopted a new position… But if you lose ‘faith…everything is lost. You have lost your faith in life, lost hope in the future, lost heart, and you cannot go on.

Quote: John Caputo, Syracuse University

An exceptional introduction to the philosophical questions surrounding God and atheism.

Review: Kirkus, starred review

Gutting shows himself to be a generous interviewer, with exchanges that sharpen and expand the interviewee’s positions rather than shut down or bolster them. . . . This book is for those new to [philosophy] who are curious about whether its tools enhance understanding.

Review: Library Journal

Provides a helpful introduction to anyone interested in the intersection of philosophy and religion.

Review: Publishers Weekly

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