Experts analyze religious philosophy

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Courtesy Photo

Specialists researching metaphysics will speak with Cal State Fullerton students regarding the barriers between politics and religion and the philosophical question of immortality and life after death.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences will host the two guest lectures in an event titled “Religion and the Secular State” on Thursday, March 14.

Lectures will be given by John Fischer, Ph.D., a philosophy professor and chair of the Philosophy Department at UC Riverside, and Gerald Gaus, Ph.D., a philosophy professor at the University of Arizona.

Fischer specializes in researching metaphysics and the philosophy of religion.

His lecture, “Would You Choose to Live Forever?” tackles the philosophical question of choosing immortality.

While many philosophers have argued against immortality, Fischer is in favor of both clinical immortality and life after death.

“I explore some of these worries of the ‘immortality curmudgeons’—pessimists about the desirability of living forever, and I seek to address their concerns,” said Fischer. “I shall argue that there could be stories depicting immortal human lives that are choiceworthy for creatures like us.”

Fischer is the project leader for the Immortality Project, a group funded by the John Templeton Foundation that researches scientific and philosophical questions of immortality.

Despite his extensive work in favor of immortality, he understands the numerous arguments against it.

“Many philosophers have argued that living forever would be boring,” Fischer said. “Others have argued that an infinitely long life would not be recognizably human.”

Following Fischer’s talk, Gaus’ will present his lecture, “The Continuing Challenge of Hobbes to Public Reason Liberalism,” where he will focus on the work of philosopher John Rawls.

Gaus will make an argument for grounding public reason based on shared views by citizens.

He will also discuss the aim of this theory and address opposing opinions.

The most notable opposition was put forth by philosopher Thomas Hobbes who argued the public will not be able to agree on a shared set of political and religious beliefs, according to Gaus.

Gaus argues against Hobbes view and encourages people to break down the barrier between politics and religion.

The event is being organized by John Davis, Ph.D., a CSUF philosophy professor. In addition to teaching philosophy, Davis has organized symposiums on philosophical issues such as the 2011 Philosophy Symposium on Disagreement in Epistemology and Ethics.

“Some of the papers from that symposium, and some others that weren’t presented at that symposium, are about to be published as an issue of a journal called Philosophical Topics,” said Davis.

Although some may not be aware of the event, all students and faculty are welcome to the guest lectures.

“I haven’t heard about it but it sounds like it could be really interesting,” said Michael Tomkins, a sophomore at CSUF.

Both lectures will be held at Pollak Library Room 130. Each lecture will be followed by a 30-minute question and answer session with professors.

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