Every November the annual meetings/conferences of the Evangelical Philosophical Society (“EPS”), its Apologetics wing (“EPS Apologetics”), the Evangelical Theological Society (“ETS”), the American Academy of Religion (“AAR”) and the Society for Biblical Literature (“SBL”), are held over a 2 week period in the same city, somewhere in America. The meetings/conferences showcase the work of the academic elite from around the world; the best of the best speak and thousands come from around the globe to hear them.
Off the strength of his work published on this blog (yes you read it here first!) Matt has been invited to be a speaker every year since 2010 inclusive. [I am not saying Matt is not published, he is, but it was his blog posts on MandM that secured him that first invite.]
This year the meetings are all being held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA from 17 to 24 November 2015. The combined EPS and ETS programme is here, information about the AAR and SBL meeting is here, the EPS Apologetics programme is here.
Matt will be speaking as follows:
At the EPS he will present his paper, “Robust Ethics and the Autonomy Thesis: A Reply to Erik Wielenberg”, the abstract is as follows:
“The autonomy thesis contends that there can be moral requirements to φ regardless of whether or not God commands, desires or wills that people φ. In his monograph, Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism, Erik Wielenberg offers arguably one of the most sophisticated defences of the autonomy thesis to date. Wielenberg argues that: (a) the most plausible alternative to the autonomy thesis, the divine command theory, is problematic because it cannot account for the moral obligations of reasonable unbelievers; and (b) robust realism, the thesis that moral requirements are sui generis non-natural properties which supervene upon natural properties, can be formulated in a way that avoids the standard objections to the autonomy thesis.
In this paper I will argue Wielenberg’s defence of the autonomy thesis fails. Regarding (a), I will argue that Weilenberg’s “reasonable unbelievers” objection to divine command theories fails. Regarding (b), I will argue that robust realism fails to adequately address two standard challenges to the autonomy thesis. These are: (i) the objection that in the absence of God people lack reasons to always do the right things; and (ii) the objection that in the absence of God there is no adequate basis for grounding the claim that human beings have equal rights and dignity.”
At the ETS he will present his paper, “John Corvino and ‘The PIB Argument'”, the abstract is as follows:
“Conservatives often appeal to alleged parallels between consensual homosexual acts and other acts, such as, consensual incest, polygamy, and bestiality in the course of debates about the moral status of consensual homosexual acts. John Corvino has labelled this argument as “the PIB argument”. In his article, “Homosexuality and the PIB argument”, he has offered an analysis and trenchant criticism of this line of argument.
In this paper I contend Corvino’s rebuttal fails. I will first argue that Corvino attacks a straw man. He mistakenly construes the PIB argument as an argument from analogy for the conclusion that homosexual conduct is wrong. However, a careful look at the examples Corvino himself offers of PIB arguments he has found in the literature shows that defenders of the PIB argument are not offering an argument from analogy against the permissibility of consensual homosexual conduct. In fact, they are offering counter-example to rebut moral premises used in various arguments defending the permissibility of such conduct. I will then argue that, once this clarification is made, not only do Corvino’s objections to the PIB argument fail, but premises for Corvino’s own arguments for the permissibility of consensual homosexual conduct seem, prima facie, to be subject to his own objection.”
At the EPS Session at AAR/SBL, Matt will participate in a panel discussion on “Just War as Deterrence Against Terrorism: Options from Theological Ethics”, the blurb for this panel is:
“Terrorism can be characterized as asymmetrical (rather than between two or more nation-states), indiscriminate, unconventional, and destabilizing. In a world of increased terrorist activity, how should faithful Christians respond? Given the threat of conventional warfare, Christian proponents of non-violence/pacifists and of just war alike would not disagree with efforts at “just peacemaking” and “bridge-building” to minimize hostilities and misunderstandings, paving the way to friendship and reconciliation between nations. Even so, just war advocates would claim that force would still be required when such good-faith efforts are not only rejected and scorned but when aggressors do their worst against the innocent and defenseless. But how should Christian just war theorists and proponents of non-violence alike respond to terrorism? What particular approaches are called for in light of this growing phenomenon by both Christian just war theorists and pacifists as they seek to love their neighbor and faithfully live out biblical teaching as they understand it? This panel discussion of Christian just war theorists and pacifists will offer their respective theological perspectives as they engage on this weighty, relevant topic (15 minutes each). J. Daryl Charles, author of Between Pacifism and Jihad and other works on just war, will offer a final response to the panelists (20 minutes). This will be followed by 40 minutes of the panelists’ exchanges. The remaining time will be allotted for Q&A with the audience.”
Moderator: Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University
Non-violence: Myles Werntz, Palm Beach Atlantic University, author of Bodies of Peace
Just War: Matthew Flannagan, Independent scholar and pastor, Auckland, NZ, and coauthor of “Did God Really Command Genocide?”
Non-violence: Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary, author of The Jesus Creed and The Sermon on the Mount
Just War: Keith Pavlischek, VP of Operations at Veterans’ Solutions, Ph.D. in political philosophy
Respondent: J. Daryl Charles, Affiliated Fellow of the John Jay Institute.
Craig Hazen, editor of the philosophy of religion journal Philosophia Christi, has agreed to publish these papers in a future issue.
Matt will speak at the EPS Apologetics conference on the topic “Morality and God’s Commands”, the blurb for this talk is:
“It is widely believed in contemporary philosophy that morality does not depend on God. Theories that attempt to identify our moral obligations with God’s commands are believed to be subject to several important objections. In this talk I will offer reasons for rejecting this position. I will clarify what it means to claim our moral duties depend on God’s commands and I will distinguish this claim from various misconceptions. I will then examine the most common objections to this position and that show they fail.”
In addition, Matt has been asked to moderate a session for the EPS on 18 November 2015 as well, his and Paul Copan’s book, “Did God Really Command Genocide? Coming to terms with the Justice of God” will be on sale and he will be available for book signings (something he finds really odd being asked to do!)
Every year since 2010 that Matt has been attending these meetings/conferences it has been the incredible generosity of our readers, friends and church community that has enabled him to be there. We put up as much money as we can but we always struggle to cover the full costs.
We are not both able to work full time due to Matt still not being able to get full-time work in his field and us having children with disabilities, one of whom’s disability is severe enough to mean school is unlikely to ever be an option for that child. The costs are more than the obvious flights, transfers, accomodation and food; we have increased care costs for our children and I have to work less as the anxiety of the child with the severe disability gets heightened while Dad is away and there is a limit to how much a caregiver can bring that down (I am self-employed so there is no leave to draw on).
If you are able to help via a donation or with an offer of accomodation whilst Matt is there that would be great and much appreciated. Equally appreciated are any offers from those who know our kids to take them out or do something with them whilst Matt is away so I can work. Information about how to donate is available in our sidebar to the right. [Read more →]