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Seminars 2008 - Science, Philosophy, Belief

Science, Philosophy, Belief:
A Seminar for Chinese Scholars

Directed by Michael Murray and Del Ratzsch

June 23-July 18, 2008

Funded by the John Templeton foundation
Co-sponsored by the Philosophy Department at Calvin College,
the Society of Christian Philosophers, and
the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College

Seminar Description
While popular disputes concerning the relationship between science and religion have been most visible in the United States, the underlying issues are relevant to scholars in science, religion, and the humanities globally.  Scholars from all three areas are in substantial disagreement about whether or not their disciplines can and do overlap and, if so, how.  All of this highlights the need for careful reflection by scholars in these areas on the nature of scientific inquiry, its deliverances, and its potential to displace religious and philosophical conceptions of the world.  This four week seminar will focus on these and related issues.  In particular, we will focus attention on historical and contemporary philosophical   conceptions of science, the role of philosophy and theology in the rise of modern science, and historical and contemporary approaches to science/religion relationships.

The seminar will feature a different distinguished visiting lecturer each week representing both the sciences and the humanities.  The confirmed lecturers are Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame, Philosophy),   Owen Gingerich (Harvard, Astronomy), Richard Swinburne (Oxford,  Philosophy), and John Polkinghorne (Cambridge, Physics).

The seminar is specifically designed for faculty and graduate students in related disciplines from universities in mainland China.  Participants will be expected to begin or continue work on a research   project related to the theme of the seminar.  Completed projects will  be presented at a follow-up conference to be held in Beijing in the spring of 2009.

Michael J. Murray is the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor in the Humanities and Philosophy at Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, PA). He received his B.A. at Franklin & Marshall College, and his M.A, and Ph.D at the University of Notre Dame. He has held fellowships from the Institute for Research in the Humanities (Madison, Wisconsin), the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Notre Dame Center for Philosophy of Religion. In addition to a variety of articles in the history of philosophy and the philosophy of religion, he has published Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions (Blackwell, with Eleonore Stump), Reason for the Hope Within (Eerdmans), and has two books forthcoming: Philosophy of Religion (Cambridge, with Michael Rea) and Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering (Oxford).

Del Ratzsch is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI.).  He received his BA from Western Washington, and his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.  His work has been supported by grants from NEH, the Pew Foundation, and various other agencies.  He has published work in the philosophy of science, the history of science, logic, and in the area of science and religion issues.  His work includes Science and its Limits (InterVarsity), The Battle of Beginnings (InterVarsity), and Nature, Design and Science (in the State University of New York "Philosophy and Biology" series).  His work has been translated into a number of languages including Chinese and Korean.

For further information contact:

Seminars in Christian Scholarship
Calvin College
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
fax 616.526.6682