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Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction 4th Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0495007258
ISBN-10: 0495007250
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Editorial Reviews

Review

1. The Idea of God. 2. The Cosmological Argument. 3. The Ontological Argument. 4. The Design Argument (Old and New). 5. Religious and Mystical Experience. 6. Faith and Reason. 7. The Problem of Evil. 8. Miracles and the Modern World View. 9. Life After Death. 10. Predestination, Divine Foreknowledge, and Human Freedom. 11. Many Religions. For Further Reading. Index.

About the Author

William L. Rowe, who garnered a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan, is a professor of philosophy at Purdue University where he specializes in the philosophy of religion and metaphysics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth/Thomson; 4th edition (March 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0495007250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0495007258
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barry Rucker on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
The author is not only a scholar, but a teacher who conveys difficult concepts with admirable clarity. This volume contains the best chapter I've ever read on the Ontological Argument. I was surprised that this book contains no discussion of Divine Hiddenness, Pascal's Wager, or the incoherence of the concept of God outside time--expanding the book to include these topics would be very valuable.
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Format: Paperback
Rowe's presentation of each topic is clear, fair, and provoking. The book is thorough in its coverage yet concise and easy to complete. In spite of its higher than normal price, Rowe's introduction will be invaluable to both the new student and seasoned philosopher of religion.
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Format: Paperback
The first edition of Rowe's introductory text, PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION, was one of my textbooks as an undergraduate. Rowe's presentation of the issues is great for beginners. I was also impressed by the balance in his treatment. This was nowhere more evident than in his discussion of the problem of evil: although Rowe pioneered the influential 'evidential' form of the argument from evil for atheism, he carefully and fairly lays out the issues in the debate over that argument.
I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the phil. of religion.
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I recently taught a course in the philosophy of religion using Professor Rowe's book. I came out of retirement to take over the course for a colleague who had fallen ill early in the term. This was my first experience teaching this subject matter (my specialties are in ethics and the philosophy of law). I was extremely pleased to be handed a text for the course that was so remarkably clear and elegantly presented. Each of the major problems in the philosophy of religion are presented in distinct chapters, and each chapter contains a thorough presentation of each side of the relevant debates. I strongly recommend this book for any aspiring student of the philosophy of religion.
Professor Rowe includes a useful set of topics for further study at the end of each chapter. Here are some additional questions that came up during my discussions with students and colleagues.
First, in chapter 6 "Faith and Reason" Rowe discusses Alvin Plantinga's argument for the thesis that a belief can be rational without the person who holds the belief having any evidence for the belief. The topic for discussion is how are we to define the word "rational"? One problem we immediately confront is that this word can be used to evaluate both explanations and justifications. If I say "I believe God exists because God is all-perfect (and here I give the ontological argument)," then I am justifying my belief. I am giving my reasons for believing in the existence of God. But if you say of me: "He believes God exists because that is how he was brought up." then you are explaining how I came to have this belief. By analogy, the reasons Plantinga gives for the 14-year-old boy having a belief in God are reasons that explain but do not justify his beliefs.
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I would just like to join the chorus of praise offered by the other reviewers: Rowe's presentation of the standard topics in the philosophy of religion is remarkably clear. He manages to make the logical structure of these issues brilliantly explicit, even for philosophical novices. Anyone who has to teach these topics should consult Rowe's book as an aid to the preparation of lectures and hand-outs, even if they do not choose to use it as a course-text.
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William Rowe is a fine contemporary philosopher, and this book is an excellent short introduction to the field known as the Philosophy of Religion. Rowe follows a topical, as opposed to historical, outline. He assumes no previous knowledge of the subject. I use this book as the main text in a second-year college course titled (what else?) "The Philosophy of Religion." I really like this book because students who have never studied philosophy can make their way through the chapters without getting confused or intimidated. Rowe makes things as simple as possible, which is nice for everyone. Someone who wants to understand the basics of the Philosophy of Religion can go through this book chapter-by-chapter and come away with a good grasp. Rowe is always straightforward and clear.

I have only one caveat: early on in the semester, it dawned on me that students would appreciate and learn so much more if they spent a little time in the related primary texts. So, for some of the chapters, I sent them links or made photo copies of a few pages of primary texts. They read the chapters in Rowe outside of class. In class, we discussed each chapter and then read a few pages of primary text together. Those were productive and fun class sessions. So, I would recommend that teachers using this text get a copy of the Philosophy of Religion reader, edited by Rowe and Wainwright. See which readings they use for each topic. Select one or two readings from among the possibilities, and then use those readings in class. This is the procedure that I currently use for the class, and it has usually worked well. Again, for someone studying independently who has no prior knowledge of the subject, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better introduction. Start with this book. You won't be sorry.
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