BLPR lectures set for March 6, 7 on campus

Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 11:52am
Western Today staff

The Bellingham Lectures in Philosophy and Religion is working with the Associated Students club Theistic-Thinkers in bringing Linda Zagzebski, the George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Philosophy and Kingfisher College Chair of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at University of Oklahoma, to campus for lectures March 6 and 7.

Zagzebski is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers and the American Catholic Philosophical Association. She delivered the Wilde Lectures in Natural Theology at Oxford University in Spring of 2010, the Bitar Lectures at Geneva College in spring of 2008, and the McCarthy Lectureship in Philosophy at Gregorian University in Rome in spring of 2006. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including "Epistemic Authority: A Theory of Trust, Authority, and Autonomy in Belief," "Divine Motivation Theory" and "Virtues of the Mind: an Inquiry into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge."

On March 6 and 7, Zagzebski will deliver the following lectures:

4:15 to 5:45 p.m. March 6, Arntzen Hall Room 100: "Is It Reasonable to Believe in God?"

When philosophers argue that it is reasonable to believe in God, they might present the traditional arguments for God's existence, all of which have contemporary forms, or they might appeal to certain sorts of religious experience as a basis for reasonable belief in God. In this lecture, Zagzebski explores another route. She argues that trust in our own faculties commits us to trust in the faculties of others, and this leads to a new form of the consensus gentium argument for reasonable belief in God.

4:15 to 5:45 p.m. March 7, Academic West Room 204: "A Defense of Epistemic Authority"

The modern suspicion of authority extends to the epistemic domain. Philosophers generally believe epistemic authority in any strong sense is incompatible with intellectual autonomy. In this lecture, Zagzebski applies Joseph Raz's well-known defense of political authority to the authority of belief. She argues that analogues of his principles justify epistemic authority, and that epistemic authority is compatible with autonomy.