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Consciousness and the Existence of God Paperback – 18 May 2009

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (18 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415989531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415989534
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

J.P. Moreland is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University. He has published over 60 articles in journals that include Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, Australasian Journal of Philosophy and Metaphilosophy. He has authored, edited or contributed to thirty-five books including Universals (McGill-Queen’s), Naturalism: A Critical Analysis (Routledge) and Does God Exist? (Prometheus).


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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a bit of a curate's egg: excellent in parts, but having serious weaknesses in others. James P. Moreland argues that because no naturalistic/physicalist explanation of consciousness can be given, then theism must be true. It is thus a "God of the gaps" type of argument, which has the weakness that one must show that the purported gap is such that it cannot be closed - even in principle - in the future. This is a difficult task to say the least.

Two great features of the book are:
1). Robust realism about the facts of mental life that have to be explained (experiential qualities, agency, human freedom, and so on). The author (rightly in my view) criticises those who "solve" the problem of consciousness by denying such facts.
2). An on-the-whole excellent and representative survey and critique of various approaches to solving the problem of consciousness, as presented by leading experts in their respective fields. These are John Searle on biological naturalism; Timothy O'Connor on emergent necessitation; Colin McGinn's mysterianism; David Skrbina on panpsychism; and Philip Clayton on pluralistic emergentism. Moreland's analyses are fair, astute, and penetrate the weaknesses of each approach.

Flaws of Moreland's book are:
1). A lack of any proper specification or defence of dualism against its critics. He says "[T]he main problem for dualism has been the causal interactions, but in my view, this is the most exaggerated problem in the history of philosophy", page 125. But he gives no argument, just a reference, for this opinion. He mentions without explanation "the pairing problem" for dualism, and claims that Thomistic as opposed to Cartesian dualism solves this - again there are no explanations, just references.
2).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x940712c4) out of 5 stars 1 review
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d23e198) out of 5 stars Thorough... as always. 18 Sept. 2009
By F. Barfety - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
JP Moreland provides a detailed review of the latest theories about Consciousness. Difficulty wise, it's as advertised, written for scholars and students, but well worth it for anyone interested in the subject and wants to take their reading skills to the next level. JP doesn't burn bridges with the people he critics. Like a teacher he simply lays out what they're doing right and where and why they err, leaving an inviting door wide open. I just ordered The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism (Veritas) and have listened to a CD from the Evangelical Philosophical Society website ([...] with a lecture from JP on Consciousness. Like this book, the content of that one hour lecture/Q&A was priceless. JP is a great mentor with the interest of your soul at heart.
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