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Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction [Paperback]

by William L. Rowe
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 14, 2006 0495007250 978-0495007258 4
What is the relationship between faith and reason? Find out in PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION: AN INTRODUCTION. Because it's written to be easily understood no matter your background, this philosophy of religion textbook introduces you to the debate in a way you can understand. Whether it's the philosophical proofs for God's existence or using reason to evaluate faith claims, the major points in the philosophy of religion are all covered in this excellent textbook. And with its built-in study tools, PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION: AN INTRODUCTION helps out during test time as well.

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Editorial Reviews


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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 4 edition (March 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0495007250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0495007258
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #487,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but deserves to be expanded March 19, 2006
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A boon to philosophy teachers February 10, 2003
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Survey May 1, 2013
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 intimidated or confused. 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A few comments about Rowe's Philosophy of Religion March 25, 2013
By Davis
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Intro to Philosophy of Religion
I love how this book has been organized. It has the main heading: a philosophical category on religion and then the sub-headings are premises that support it and then premises that... Read more
Published 6 months ago by PA-C
5.0 out of 5 stars Undisputed Number One Intro text on Philosophy of Religion
Just as promised in other reviews of this book which influenced my choice, this is the best introductory text on philosophy of religion that i have so far read. Read more
Published 9 months ago by melvin ayogu
2.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of Religion by Rowe
I bought the book used, but it was underlined almost on every other page with a marker in a very abnormal way of doing it. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Josue Manzano
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult text for lower level classes, but extremely well written!
This book was used for a lower level class at my university for a Philosophy of Religion course and I found it to be extremely helpful in understanding the course subjects as well... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lindsy Laway
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrrific book!
This is ideal for the student or general reader wanting to understand the basic principles of the philosophy of religion in an enjoyable, intelligent, yet painless way!
Published on July 26, 2010 by John T. Dukes
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think about things
I used this book for a college course I had. It is possible to discuss religion and the belief of God in general terms without bringing in any Scriptures of any sort. Read more
Published on March 26, 2010 by DitchDocGabe
5.0 out of 5 stars Early delivery/book in great condition
I received the book earlier than expected and it the book was as good as new when it came. Great deal on the book too!
Published on February 28, 2009 by K. Trimble
5.0 out of 5 stars The Platonic form of phil religion books
William L. Rowe's book is the best introduction to philosophy of religion in the universe. It's comprehensive, the writing is clear, and Rowe is fair to both sides of an arguement. Read more
Published on January 11, 2004 by Invisible Man
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction
This book is pretty useful in introducing the subject of Philosophy of Religion as separate to Theology or Religion itself. Read more
Published on June 17, 2001 by Antonio Sacin
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