Challenges to Religious and Moral Belief: Disagreement and Evolution

September 6, 2012 - September 8, 2012
Department of Philosophy, Purdue University

Stewart Center (STEW)
128 Memorial Mall
West Lafayette 47907
United States


  • Purdue University
  • John Templeton Foundation


Robert Audi
University of Notre Dame
Sarah Brosnan
Georgia State University
Kelly James Clark
Calvin College
Stephen Davis
Claremont McKenna College
Kyla Ebels Duggan
Northwestern University
William FitzPatrick
University of Rochester
John Greco
Saint Louis University
John Hare
Yale University
Kevin Hector
University of Chicago
Timothy Jackson
Emory University
Jordan Kiper
University of Connecticut
Jennifer Lackey
Northwestern University
Dustin Locke
Claremont McKenna College
Charles Matthews
University of Virginia
Wake Forest University
Mark Murphy
Georgetown University
John Pittard
Yale University
Jeffrey Schloss
Westmont College
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Duke University
Richard Sosis
University of Connecticut
Sharon Street
New York University
Ralph Wedgwood
University of Southern California
Erik Wielenberg
DePauw University


Michael Bergmann
Purdue University
Patrick Kain
Purdue University

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Scholars in several fields have recently been examining challenges of various kinds to both religious and moral belief. Philosophers have been working on the problems of moral disagreement and religious disagreement; theologians have been thinking about how to integrate religious sources for moral belief with secular sources for moral belief; and psychologists and cognitive scientists have been offering evolutionary accounts of the origins of our moral beliefs and of our religious beliefs. One way to advance these investigations is to bring these disciplines together by gathering investigators and topics from each into a single conference. By considering these questions about both religious and moral belief from the perspective of a variety of disciplines, individual researchers can gain insights that are easily missed within a single discipline or when focusing on only one set of problems.

With this in mind, Michael Bergmann and Patrick Kain of the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University have secured a grant from the John Templeton Foundation in support of a project entitled "Knowing in Religion and Morality". As a part of this project, they will organize and host an interdisciplinary conference critically evaluating the following three challenges to religious and moral belief:

  • Widespread interpersonal disagreement among intellectual peers on religious and on moral topics provides reason to doubt these beliefs;
  • Belief-source disagreement on moral issues between commonsense moral intuitions and religious belief sources raises doubts about both methods of belief formation;
  • Evolutionary accounts of the origins of our religious and moral beliefs create doubts about these beliefs by undermining our confidence in the reliability of their sources.

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August 27, 2012, 12:00am EST

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