The Cosmological Argument in Analytic Philosophy and Traditional Kalām
Five-Day Crash Course, 24-28 August 2015; Center for Islamic Theology, University of Tübingen
The kalām cosmological argument was introduced into the contemporary philosophical community through the work of William Lane Craig and was then developed and critically examined by many prominent Western philosophers and theologians. The lack of English-language resources in the post-Ghazalian kalām tradition prevented the contemporary philosophical community from being able to access later developments in the kalām tradition. Philosophical developments in the kalām cosmological argument have thus taken place in isolation from the more sophisticated post-classical kalām tradition. This course is an attempt to reconfigure the debate in the Western philosophical tradition in light of this missing link.
The goal of this Crash Course is to reinvigorate the argument through a conversation between contemporary philosophy and traditional kalām. The course will begin with a colloquium between traditional Muslim theologian Dr. Saeed Fodeh and Professor of Philosophy at Augsburg College Dr. Bruce Reichenbach, who will explore potential reconfigurations to the kalām cosmological argument based on Dr. Reichenbach’s article on the Cosmological Argument in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which was translated into Arabic and carefully studied by Dr. Fodeh.
On the first day of this course, students will attend a colloquium between Dr. Bruce Reichenbach (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Augsburg College) and Dr. Saeed Fodeh (traditional kalām scholar based in Amman), each of whom will present a paper on the philosophical debates surrounding the cosmological argument, the first from the perspective of analytic philosophy, and the second from the perspective of traditional kalām. This will be followed by a collegial discussion in which the two scholars will discuss each other’s papers and define important areas of further research.
For the next two days, Dr. Reichenbach will teach important developments in the cosmological argument in the tradition of analytic philosophy, including the Gale-Pruss version of the cosmological argument and Swinburne’s inductive cosmological argument.
For the final two days, Dr. Fodeh will teach important aspects of the cosmological argument the kalām tradition that are not well understood in the analytic tradition, including sophisticated kalām debates around the concepts of infinity and infinite regress, as well as kalām atomism and its possible relations to modern physics.
At the end of the course, each student will be tasked (optional) with writing a short research essay that connects between analytic and traditional kalām perspectives, which will be reviewed and evaluated by each of the two scholars.
The Crash Course is primarily intended for early career scholars and graduate students (PhD and MA) of theology, philosophy and other related disciplines. Advanced BA students may also be considered in exceptional cases.
Please contact Ms Michaela Riester email@example.com for registration. Spaces are limited and will be awarded on the basis of motivation. Therefore, please attach a short motivation letter and a description of your academic background (both together on 1 page maximum) to your e-mail.
30 June 2015
Please indicate in your e-mail whether you want to take the Crash Course for credit. Arrangements can be made accordingly.