Few scholars in the most prestigious philosophy departments are examining the Big Questions raised by religion. The graduate students who will set the agenda for the next generation are learning not to ask these questions. Creating a high-profile Center for the Philosophy of Religion at Rutgers addresses the problem in a strategic location. Rutgers is part of a network of top graduate programs, sharing many graduate students. The proposed changes at Rutgers would affect the climate in all these schools. Rutgers will hire Robert and Marilyn Adams, two of the best philosophers in the world who study the philosophical questions religion poses, and match them up with the best graduate students in the world who want to learn from them. Special fellowships will be awarded to incoming students interested in the philosophy of religion. Post-doctoral fellows, a senior fellow, and distinguished visiting professors will enliven the discussion. Two Rutgers professors will be helped to move their research agendas toward religious Big Questions. Mark Baker, a member of the Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science, will examine the relationship between religious faith and cognitive science. Dean Zimmerman will collaborate with Baker, while finishing a wide-ranging book raising most of the religious Big Questions. The Center will draw upon the expertise of numerous external affiliates at Fordham and Princeton. Conferences and workshops will create projects bringing younger Fordham philosophers together with epistemologists from Rutgers and elsewhere. Ethicists from Rutgers and other departments will help philosophers of religion answer questions about God and goodness. As the grant ends, Rutgers would hire yet another senior professor specializing in the philosophy of religion, ensuring that the Center remains strong. Graduate students who seek answers to the Big Questions raised by faith will find encouragement long after the grant has ended.
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