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Open Theology

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Thought Experiments in Philosophy of Religion: The Virtues of Phenomenological Realism and Values

Charles Taliaferro / Elliot Knuths
Published Online: 2017-04-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0013


We present a criterion for the use of thought experiments as a guide to possibilia that bear on important arguments in philosophy of religion. We propose that the more successful thought experiments are closer to the world in terms of phenomenological realism and the values they are intended to track. This proposal is filled out by comparing thought experiments of life after death by Peter van Inwagen and Dean Zimmerman with an idealist thought experiment. In terms of realism and values we contrast an exemplary thought experiment by Iris Murdoch with one we find problematic by William Irwin.

Keywords: Thought experiments; Peter van Inwagen; Dean Zimmerman; William Irwin; Iris Murdoch; Berkeley


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About the article

Received: 2017-03-20

Accepted: 2017-03-23

Published Online: 2017-04-13

Published in Print: 2017-01-26

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 167–173, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2017-0013.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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