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God in the Age of Science?: A Critique of Religious Reason Hardcover – April 30, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199697531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199697533
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,948,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


certainly an eclectic group of essays ... the collection covers some neglected and thoughtful ground Jeremy Gregory, Wesley and Methodist Studies a rigorous but fair critique of the central problems of natural theology that forces readers to take atheism seriously. CHOICE

About the Author

Professor Herman Philipse is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. He has held positions at the University of Louvain and the University of Leyden, and studied philosophy at the University of Leyden, University of Oxford, University of Paris IV, and University of Cologne. He has written numerous articles on modern philosophy and epistemology, and his most recent books are Atheistisch manifest (Prometheus, 1995, 1998; new edition Bert Bakker, 2004), Heidegger's Philosophy of Being: A Critical Interpretation (Princeton University Press, 1998), and Filosofische polemieken (Bert Bakker, 2009).

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brad Lencioni on October 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have only just completed my first reading of this book, but I already believe it to be worthy of multiple readings and, as well, the serious consideration of those working or interested in the field of religious philosophy. Why do I say this? I would like to discuss two primary qualities which impressed me about this book. First, it is a wonderfully written, philosophical text (I will discuss why I stress `philosophical' below). And second, Philipse provides in it an impressive logical framework within which the many religiously skeptical arguments are shown to coherently come together--allowing one to effectively pin down the often elusive theistic belief system and carve it up for critical scrutiny. (For immediate evidence of these qualities, I emphatically refer one to click on the image of the book above and read the Preface, which outlines the books argument.)

On the first point, many (of the faithfully religious) have complained about the rhetoric of the popular "New Atheist" authors. Such authors (viz. Harris, Hitchens, Dennett, and Dawkins), in aiming at reaching the broader literary public, have typically progressed their arguments through merely common language, without (1) ever utilizing a more rigorous formal logic to make their inferences and (2) formally addressing the "best" arguments of modern theism. Furthermore, the aims of such works are typically not just to demonstrate that religious beliefs are false, but also (which would follow as a corollary to such a conclusion) that they are delusional, harmful, or bad in some way. Thus, such works have opened themselves up to being labeled, whether justified or not, as intellectually simplistic and provocatively offensive, and so also as dismissible.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hernandez.M on July 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One day I logged on to Facebook to see a friend post that the final deathblow to religion has been struck, or at least a philosopher named Herman Philipse claims as much. The article he posted was a review of the book 'God in the Age of Science? A Critique of Religious Reason.' I had my doubts, but knew that it was a book I should read. Unfortunately, after finishing it, I cannot myself attest to whether it fulfills this claim. However, I can attest to the fact that this is an extraordinary book on the philosophy of religion that deserves to be read based on its scope, breadth, and analytical rigor.

Philipse's approach in this book is essentially is a sequence-by-sequence breakdown of religious reason starting in epistemology and ending in metaphysics. Think of it like Hume's 'Treatise,' he first lays down a descriptive epistemology and then shows what beliefs this approach leaves us with. In 'God in the Age of Science?', Philipse does the inverse. He first makes the theists' case for religious reason, and then tears it down. However, this is not a 300+ page book on religious epistemology, so what he does is after--what he considers to be--sufficient rejection of religious epistemology he essentially says, "But let's say I'm wrong, what's next?" He calls this approach `strategy of subsidiary arguments.' This approach comes alive in Parts II and III.

Part I, however, is almost entirely focused to epistemology, where he deals extensively with Plantinga's reformed epistemology. Had this book just been part one, he would have something to be proud of writing. However, in Parts II and III he gives an exposition and refutation of religious metaphysics, specifically the philosophical work of Richard Swinburne.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kel S on March 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Generally speaking, one can divide religious critique into two categories. The first is to attack religion as a political institution, whereby the social effects of religion are examined and subject to scrutiny. The second is to go after the truth status of religious claims. While these two categories have some overlap, it's worth remembering that truth and utility aren't the same thing.

It is unfortunate that critiques of the utility of religion are taken as the reason for critiques on the truth of religion. It's not that God is a nonsense notion, it's that atheists have some psychological hatred of theism as it is practised that leads to the denial of God altogether. It's unfortunate because the critiques of belief itself are ignored as some outcome of one's impression on the utility of religion, they remain largely unaddressed. Explain the "reasons" for atheism and explain away the need to address atheism.

Herman Philipse's book completely focuses on the second category. This category is further narrowed by the distinction between natural theology and revealed theology, where the focus was almost exclusively on natural theology. The question the book explores is what to make of a concept like God in light of modern science, and is largely an exploration of the case made by the philosopher Richard Swinburne.

To understand the way Philipse laid out the critique, it's worth exploring the three dilemmas Philipse proposes the theist has to answer:
Claims about God's existence are (a) factual claims, or (b) non-factual claims.
If (a), religious belief (c) needs to be backed up by reasons and evidence, or (d) it does not.
If (c), this can be done by (e) methods completely unlike those used by scientists and scholars, or (f) like those methods.
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