2017 Res Philosophica Essay Prize
New Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion
Prize Winner: Lorraine Juliano Keller
"Divine Ineffability and Franciscan Knowledge" (click ‘show document’ for the free download)
There's been a recent surge of interest among analytic philosophers of religion in divine ineffability. However, divine ineffability is part of a traditional conception of God that has been widely rejected among analytic philosophers of religion for the past few decades. One of the main reasons that the traditional conception of God has been rejected is because it allegedly makes God too remote, unknowable, and impersonal. In this paper, I present an account of divine ineffability that directly addresses this concern by arguing that the deepest knowledge of God's nature that we can attain is personal, rather than propositional. On this view, it is precisely because knowledge of God's nature is personal that it cannot be linguistically expressed and communicated.
Runner Up: Katherine Dormandy
Religious communities often discourage disagreement with religious authorities, on the grounds that allowing it would be epistemically detrimental. I argue that this attitude is mistaken, because any social position in a community—including religious authority—comes with epistemic advantages as well as epistemic limitations. I argue that religious communities stand to benefit epistemically by engaging in disagreement with people occupying other social positions. I focus on those at the community’s margins and argue that religious marginalization is apt to yield religiously important insights; so their disagreement with religious authorities should be encouraged.
Runner Up: Juan Garcia
Leibniz is commonly labeled a foe of Molinism. His rejection of robust libertarian freedom coupled with some explicit passages in which he distances himself from the doctrine of middle knowledge seem to justify this clas- sification. In this paper, I argue that this standard view is not quite correct. I identify the two substantive tenets of Molinism. First, the connection between the conditions for free actions and these free actions is a contingent one: free actions follow contingently from their sufficient condi- tions. Second, God knows what creatures would freely do in different possible circumstances prevolitionally—that is, prior to God willing anything. I argue that Leibniz himself endorses a version of both tenets and utilizes them for theoretical purposes similar to those of Molinists. I conclude that Leibniz is much closer to Molinism than is typically acknowledged. Leibniz is best characterized as a friend—rather than a foe—of Molinism.
New Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion
Special Editor: Jonathan D. Jacobs
Deadline for Submission: November 1, 2017
Call for Papers
Res Philosophica invites papers on the topic of new frontiers in philosophy of religion for the 2017 Res Philosophica Essay Prize and a special issue of the journal. The author of the winning paper will receive a prize of $3,000, and the paper will be published in the associated special issue of the journal on the same topic. Submissions for the prize will be automatically considered for publication in the journal's special issue unless otherwise requested.
Submissions addressing any of the many philosophical questions along new frontiers in philosophy of religion are welcome. Papers at the intersection of philosophy of religion and, for example, new work in feminist philosophy or philosophy of disability or philosophy of race, or papers that address underexplored or underappreciated topics, including contributions to philosophy of religion from historical figures, are encouraged. But these are only a few of the many topics papers might address. Papers that address other topics along new frontiers in philosophy of religion are welcome.
Submissions will be triple anonymously reviewed. (First, authors do not know the identity of the referees, second, referees do not know the identity of the authors, and third, editors do not know the identity of the authors.) Please format your submission so that it is suitable for anonymous review. (Instructions are available here.)
We do not normally publish papers longer than 12,000 words long (including footnotes).
We prefer submissions in pdf format, though we will Microsoft Word documents. Papers may be submitted in any standard style, but authors of accepted papers will be required to edit their papers according to the journal’s style, which follows The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition). Style instructions are available here.
Please use the online submission form for submitting your essay, available here.