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Computer Modeling in Philosophy of Religion

F. LeRon Shults
Published Online: 2019-07-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0011


How might philosophy of religion be impacted by developments in computational modeling and social simulation? After briefly describing some of the content and context biases that have shaped traditional philosophy of religion, this article provides examples of computational models that illustrate the explanatory power of conceptually clear and empirically validated causal architectures informed by the bio-cultural sciences. It also outlines some of the material implications of these developments for broader metaphysical and metaethical discussions in philosophy. Computer modeling and simulation can contribute to the reformation of the philosophy of religion in at least three ways: by facilitating conceptual clarity about the role of biases in the emergence and maintenance of phenomena commonly deemed “religious,” by supplying tools that enhance our capacity to link philosophical analysis and synthesis to empirical data in the psychological and social sciences, and by providing material insights for metaphysical hypotheses and metaethical proposals that rely solely on immanent resources.

Keywords: computer modeling; philosophy of religion; theism; atheism; metaphysics; metaethics; scientific study of religion


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About the article

Received: 2019-03-19

Accepted: 2019-05-21

Published Online: 2019-07-09

Published in Print: 2019-01-01

Citation Information: Open Philosophy, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 108–125, ISSN (Online) 2543-8875, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opphil-2019-0011.

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© 2019 F. LeRon Shults, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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