This project will address the following Big Question: what insights into questions about the nature and purposes of the divine might be yielded by close philosophical engagement with the empirical sciences? To this end, we will investigate more specific Big Questions such as the following: What does contemporary psychology imply about the taxonomy of religious experiences? What does research in cognitive science of religion suggest about the origins of religious experiences, and what implications are there for the epistemic value of such experiences? Do fine-tuning arguments work, and under what assumptions about God's freedom or constraints in creation? Is a temporal God compatible with the theory of relativity? What implications does the theory of relativity have for the temporality/timelessness of God?
To pursue these questions, the Rutgers Center for Philosophy of Religion will offer a two-year postdoctoral fellowship. The fellowship will support a scholar whose research trajectory indicates an intention to conduct research on topics in philosophy of religion or philosophical theology that applies and engages with work in particular empirical sciences (e.g., physics, cognitive science, psychology, biology, etc.). In addition to producing four articles, the postdoctoral fellow will organize with the Project Leader a workshop on the topic of science-engaged philosophy of religion; teach an undergraduate seminar; co-teach a graduate seminar (alternative: additional undergraduate class); and lead the Center’s weekly reading group through a semester-long engagement with such questions.
The short-term impact will be to foster more work in science-engaged philosophy of religion at Rutgers, an influential department in the field of philosophy in general and in particular in both science-engaged philosophy and philosophy of religion. The long-term impact will be to increase engagement with the empirical sciences in the field of philosophy of religion.