Ian Ramsey Centre

Seminars

Nothingness at the Intersection of Science, Philosophy, and Religion

Thu 2 Nov, 5:15pm – 6:15pm

Nothingness at the Intersection of Science, Philosophy, and Religion

Dr Nicholas Waghorn, Faculty of Philosophy
University of Oxford

Blackfriars Hall, Main Aula, Oxford

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This paper examines the effects that a philosophical consideration of nothing has on the debate between theism and atheism. In particular, it argues that surprising conclusions that arise from a close analysis of the concept of nothing result in three claims that have relevance for that debate. Firstly, that on the most plausible demarcation criterion for science, science is constitutionally unable to show theism to be a redundant hypothesis; the debate must take place at the level of metaphysics. Secondly, that on that level, one increasingly popular atheistic response to the question “Why is there something rather than nothing” commits one to rejection of the presumption of atheism. Thirdly, the presumption of atheism is in any case unsupported. The arguments for these claims are only sketches, with the hope for further development in future.

NICHOLAS WAGHORN studied Philosophy and Theology as an undergraduate at Oxford University, before taking his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Reading. He then spent a short period tutoring for various colleges of Oxford University, before taking up a position as Lecturer and Director of Studies in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall in 2009. He was made PPE coordinator in 2011, and a Fellow of the Hall in 2013. He is also Tutor and Director of Studies in Philosophy at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. Dr Waghorn’s research interests lie in fundamental questions in metaphysics and value theory (as these appear in both Continental and analytic philosophy), and in their interrelation.

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This event is organised by the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion in collaboration with the Humane Philosophy Project and the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Warsaw.