My first stab at defending objective
A critical examination
of C.S. Lewis's
My second stab at defending
objective Based on my 2018
debate with William
morality without God. Not too
Christian apologetics. Much of it written
morality without God. Even
Lane Craig; includes commentary by
during my infant
than the first
Moreland, Baggett, Linville, Morriston, and Huemer.
Here are some excerpts from reviews of my books. Naturally, I've
selected the nice bits:
Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe
Not a review exactly, but I guess I'm honored that this book has
been banned by the Iranian government! -- a book so
shocking, so outrageous, that the Supreme Leader doesn't want you
to read it! -- available in Persian here.
"Even those ... who are out of sympathy with Wielenberg's
approach, and his worldview, will find much that is worthwhile
in this book. It is written with verve and clarity, and is for
the most part highly accessible, yet densely packed with
thoughtful and often provocative ideas and arguments. It bears
the hallmark of having been forged in the lecture-room through
vigorous debate, and it should provoke equally vigorous
discussion among students and others. Altogether, it is a useful
addition to the new and exciting wave of philosophical writing
that is turning the skills of analytic philosophy back upon
ancient and central questions about the meaning of human
existence." - John Cottingham, Notre Dame
"Erik J. Wielenberg in Value and Virtue in a Godless
Universe ... respond[s] to the current malaise in
atheism by engaging in respectful and serious debate with
[his] opponents. Wielenberg presents an analytical
philosopher's argument, beautifully restrained and
precise." - Ronald Aronson,Bookforum
"[T]here is plenty in this book to appeal to atheists,
theists, and agnostics alike. It is both readable
and rewarding; many interesting questions are raised, and
at times novel and compelling solutions to old chestnuts
are proposed. Furthermore, the author keeps things
lively by inserting creative stories, passages from
literature, and a breadth of commentaries from other
thinkers who have wrestled with the issues he
addresses. Anyone interested in the relationship
between God, value, and virtue would benefit from adding
this book to her collection." - Bradley Sickler, International
for Philosophy of Religion
"Wielenberg’s rejection of arguments for the
conclusion that naturalism is false because of its ethical
implications—nihilism, relativism, hedonism, and/or
egoism—is both clear and thought-provoking. Value
and Virtue in a Godless Universe is written in a
clear and accessible style, such that it could be used as
a text in an undergraduate course in philosophy of
religion or ethics. However, it is not overly
simplistic; the arguments contained in the book are
well-crafted and deserve careful attention. Those
who wish to defend the view that objective morality and
meaning require God’s existence will find much to consider
in this book." - Michael Austin, Philosophia Christi
"Wielenberg has written a worthwhile book, and he has done
this with verve. His arguments are often provocative." -
Luc Aerts, Ethical
God and the Reach of Reason: C.S Lewis, David Hume, and
book is clear, precise, insightful, and philosophically
rigorous. As someone who ultimately disagrees with his
conclusions, I also appreciate the respect and charity towards
the other side that is present in the pages of this work. I have
used this book as a text in my philosophy of religion course,
with much success. Anyone with an interest in the philosophical
merits of the theistic arguments given by Lewis will profit from
carefully reading God and the Reach of Reason." -
Michael Austin, Philosophia Christi
"Today ... there are a
slew of books that make the case for Lewis's merits as a
philosopher. ... God and the Reach of Reason is a
valuable addition to this genre. Wielenberg ... is a
clear-headed analytic philosopher who knows Lewis's works and
the relevant secondary literature well. ... Wielenberg's God
and the Reach of Reason offers an admiring yet critical
appraisal of Lewis's principal arguments for Christian
belief. It is must reading for Lewis fans who value -- as
Lewis himself pre-eminently did -- clear prose and rigorous
logic." - Gregory Bassham, Faith and Philosophy
"God and the Reach
of Reason is an enjoyable and informative read. ...
Wielenberg's presentation of what he takes to be the views and
arguments is extremely clear, and his criticisms of them fair
and charitable. ... [T]he objections he offers are sound. I
recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a critical
interpretation and assessment of C.S. Lewis's views on
religion." - Bruce Russell, Notre Dame
“Readers who have appreciated the work of Lewis will be
gratified by Wielenberg's suggestion, which is itself a major
point of this book, that Lewis should be taken seriously as a
philosopher. He argues despite often being skeptical of
Lewis's success, that Lewis contributed to twentieth-century
thought in a number of important areas. On the whole, God
and the Reach of Reason is a thought-provoking work that
touches on a number of interesting topics.” - John Giannini, Religious
"Wielenberg is not a
ranting atheist, but seeks to address these questions in a
scholarly manner and with trust in the power of sheer argument.
... Its dialogical style makes this book an engaging read.
Unlike some books on the philosophy of religion in the
analytical tradition, this piece is easily approachable, lucid,
and intellectually nourishing. Its introduction of several
voices into the discussion helps keep the text going; it
(almost) reads like a novel." - Olli-Pekka Vainio, The
Journal of Inklings Studies
"A very interesting book creating a dialogue between C.S.
Lewis, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell. ... One of the great
strengths of the book is its systematic presentation of the
arguments as a series of interrelated propositions, so that the
reader can grasp exactly what is at stake. A very
worthwhile book for philosophically minded readers." - David
Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless
Normative Realism "Two
characteristics distinguish Wielenberg's book from other recent
defenses of robust realism. First, Wielenberg takes not just
naturalistic but also theistic alternatives to robust realism
seriously, arguing that non-theistic robust realism 'is at least
as plausible' as theistic versions of moral realism (x). Second,
Wielenberg engages extensively with recent work in empirical
psychology, arguing that, far from posing skeptical challenges
to robust realism, this work fits comfortably with an approach
to moral knowledge that robust realists embrace. In both these
(and other) respects, Robust Realism is a
welcome contribution to metaethics. ... Robust Ethics tackles
some long-standing and fascinating problems in metaethics by
making some novel moves and venturing into some relatively
uncharted territory. For these reasons, it is a book well worth
reading." -- Terence Cuneo, Notre
Dame Philosophical Reviews
those who doubt its conclusions must acknowledge that
Wielenberg’s book is excellent. His writing is extremely
accessible, engaging, witty, and clear, he develops various
fascinating novel arguments, and skilfully links analytic
reflections with the consideration of empirical data.
Ethics is a highly valuable contribution to metaethics,
and in particular ranks among the best defences of robust
normative realism so far." -- Thomas Polzler, Ethical
Wielenberg excels in clearly laying out some of the main
objections to nonnaturalist realism in moral metaphysics and
epistemology. He is also very good at finding the weak spots
of these objections and in presenting philosophically and
empirically plausible responses to them." -- Jussi Suikkanen,
Ethics is a relevant, worthwhile and well-argued
addition to the ongoing debate about robust moral realism and
its alleged inability to account for moral knowledge. Moral
realists of theist, naturalist and robust inclinations will
profit from reading the book, for it provides the outline for
a novel way to conceive of the origins of moral beliefs." --
Michael Klenk, dialectica
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
1. "Goodness without Qualification," The Journal of Value
Inquiry 32:1 (March 1998), 93-104.
Again," Faith and Philosophy 17:1 (January
2000), 26-47. Russian
translation in Philosophy of Religion: An Almanac
2006-2007, ed. by V.K Schokhin (Moscow: Institute of
Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2007), 181-211.
27. "Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Religion and Morality,"
in Uri Leibowitz and Neil Sinclar (eds.), Explanation
in Ethics and Mathematics (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2016), pp. 83-102 (invited).
34. "Reply to Craig, Murphy, McNabb, and Johnson", Philosophia
Christi 20:2 (2018): 365-375 (invited - part of forum
on Robust Ethics)
35. "Evil and Atheistic Moral Realism", Responses to Richard
Brian Davis, Paul Helm, and Michael Ruse, and Reply to Critics, in
W. Paul Franks (ed.), Explaining
Evil: Four Views(New York: Bloomsbury 2019), pp,
36-40, 72-76, 111-116, 123-139, and 152-158 (invited).
36. "Secular Humility," in Jennifer Cole Wright (ed.), Humility
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 42-107 (invited).
Defense of C.S. Lewis’s Soul-Making Theodicy: A Reply toWolterstorff”, Journal of Inklings Studies
9:2 (2019): 192-199.
Sources of Human Dignity”, in B. Bussey and A. Menuge (eds.), TheInherence of Human Dignity,
Volume I: Foundations of Human Dignity (NewYork: Anthem Press, 2021)
42. "Atheism and Meaning in Life," in Iddo Landau (ed.), The
Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, forthcoming) (invited).
43. "Divine Commands are Unnecessary for Moral Obligation", Journal
of Ethics and Social Philosophy, forthcoming.
1. "Comments on 'Why Species Extermination is Wrong', by Ben
Bradley," UMass Philosophy Graduate Student Colloquium, October
2. "A New Approach to Omnipotence," 1998 Eastern Regional meeting
of the Society of Christian Philosophers, University of Delaware,
April 2-4, 1998.
3. "Moral Perfection and the No Best World Defense," 1999 Midwest
Regional meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers,
Marquette University, March 25-27, 1999.
4. "Pleasure, Pain, and Moral Character," fall meeting of the
Indiana Philosophical Association, Franklin College, Franklin,
Indiana, November 4, 2000.
5. "Aristotelian Love-Making," (i) Fifty-Second Annual Northwest
Conference on Philosophy, Pacific University, Forest Grove,
Oregon, November 10-11, 2000; (ii) Society for the Philosophy of
Sex and Love at the Eastern Division meeting of the American
Philosophical Association in New York, December 27-30, 2000.
6. "Comments on Edward Wierenga's 'Trinity and Polytheism'", Sixth
Biennial UMass Alumni Philosophy Conference, October 13, 2001.
7. "How to Be an Alethically Rational Naturalist," (i) Eastern
Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Atlanta,
Georgia, December 27-30, 2001; (ii) central division meeting of the
Society of Christian Philosophers at Bethel College, St. Paul,
Minnesota, March 7-9, 2002; (iii) 2002 Atlantic Region Philosophy
Conference, University of Prince Edward Island, October 18-19, 2002.
8. "C.S. Lewis vs. the Atheists," DePauw University Faculty
Research Colloqium, November 22, 2002.
9. "A Morally Unsurpassable God Must Create the Best," (i) 2003
Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu,
Hawaii, January 12-15, 2003; (ii) Central Division meeting of the
American Philosophical Association, Cleveland, Ohio, April 23-26,
10. "Wielenberg and His Mass (Comments on Kaufman),"
Seventh Biennial UMass Alumni Philosophy Conference,
October 11, 2003.
11. "Aristotelian Egoism and Richard Kraut's Argument From
Ostracism," Indiana Philosophical Association meeting,
Ball State University, November 1, 2003.
12. "Egoism and Eudaimonia-Maximization in the Nicomachean
Ethics," meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy
at the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical
Association, Chicago, Illinois, April 22-25, 2004.
13. "Aquinasizing the Impeded-Function Argument (Comments on
Sullivan)," Indiana Philosophical Association meeting, DePauw
University, May 1, 2004.
14. "Author Meets Critics: Value and Virtue in a Godless
Universe," Eighth Biennial UMass Alumni Philosophy
Conference, October 8, 2005.
15. "Having Your Cake and Eating it Too: Objective Ethical
Truth without God," (i) Forum on Religious Issues, University of
Wisconsin-Parkside, March 6, 2006 (invited); (ii) West Virginia
University, March 28, 2006 (invited); (iii) Florida Southern
College, March 30, 2006 (invited); (iv) Wabash College, April 6,
2006 (invited); (v) Hanover College, May 17, 2006 (invited).
16. "Bertrand Russell and C.S. Lewis: Two Peas in a Pod?"
Bertrand Russell Society meeting at the Central Division meeting
of the American Philosophical Association, Chicago, Illinois,
April 27, 2006.
17. "God and Morality," University School, Cleveland, Ohio,
January 9, 2007 (invited).
18. "Objective Ethics in a Godless Universe," (i) Center
for Inquiry Transnational, Amherst, New York, April 13,
2007 (invited); (ii) The
Jefferson Center, Ashland, Oregon, April 26, 2007
(invited); (iii) Lawrence University, April 30, 2007 (invited);
(iv) Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana, February 25, 2008
19. "Skeptical Theism and Divine Lies," (i) DePauw Faculty Forum,
October 11, 2007; (ii) Fourth Annual Philosophy of Religion
Conference, Baylor University, February 5-7, 2009; (iii) Pacific
Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association,
Vancouver, British Columbia, April 8-12, 2009.
20. "On the Evolutionary Debunking of Morality," (i) Second Annual
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, University of Colorado, Boulder,
August 6-9, 2009; (ii) Pacific Division meeting of the American
Philosophical Association, San Francisco, California, March
31-April 3, 2010.
21, "Can Sociopaths Make Moral Judgments?" meeting of the
Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Atlanta, Georgia,
April 15-17, 2010.
22. "Divine Deception," (i) 2011 Midwest Conference of the
Society of Christian Philosophers, Hope College, February 24-26,
2011 (invited); (ii) Australasian Philosophy of Religion
Association Meeting, University of Auckland, New Zealand, July
16-17, 2011 (invited); (iii) C.S. Lewis 50th Memorial
Conference at Baylor University, November 23, 2013
23. "Qualia and the Banality of Queerness," Naturalisms in Ethics
Conference, University of Auckland, New Zealand, July 14-15, 2011
24. "Objective Ethics in a Godless Universe," Furman University,
Greenville, South Carolina, April 3, 2012 (invited).
25. "Disgust and Moral Knowledge," meeting of the Society for
Philosophy and Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, June
26. "Three Ways the Moral Can Supervene," (i) Fifth Annual Rocky
Mountain Ethics Conference (RoME), University of Colorado,
Boulder, August 9-12, 2012; (ii) Syracuse Philosophy Annual
Workshop and Network (SPAWN), Syracuse University, August 14-16,
27. "Comments on Sharon Street's 'If There is a God, Then
Everything (That Happens) is Permitted," Challenges to Religious
and Moral Belief: Disagreement and Evolution, Purdue University,
September 6-8, 2012 (invited).
with an Atheist" Panel Discussion with Trent Dougherty at
the C.S. Lewis 50th Memorial Conference, Baylor University,
November 22, 2013 (invited).
29. "Empirical Moral Psychology and Some Challenges to Moral
Knowledge," Philosophy Club, University of St. Andrews, October 1,
30. "The Absurdity of Life in a Christian Universe," (i) 7th
Philosophy of Religion One-Day Workshop, the University of
Birmingham, October 9, 2014 (invited); (ii) the Joseph Butler
Society, University of Oxford, February 23, 2015 (invited); (iii)
Workshop on "What Difference Would (or Does) God's Existence
Make?" Ryerson University, September 11-12, 2015.
31. "Secular Humility?", the C.S. Lewis Society, University of
Oxford, February 24, 2015 (invited).
32. "Secular Humility," (i) the Jubilee Centre for Character and
Virtues, the University of Birmingham, May 13, 2015 (invited);
(ii) DePauw Faculty Forum, September 2, 2015.
33. "Rowe's Evidential Argument and the Demise of Skeptical
Theism," William L. Rowe Memorial Conference, Purdue University,
July 26-27, 2016 (invited).
34. "Plantingian Theism and the Free Will Defense," Purdue
University, November 12, 2016 (invited).
35. "Comments on 'Happiness, Suffering and Prudential Asymmetry',
by Jennifer Hawkins," Eastern Division Meeting of the American
Philosophical Association, Baltimore, January 4-7, 2017 (invited).
36. "Comments on God's Own Ethics by Mark Murphy,"
Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical
Association, Baltimore, January 4-7, 2017 (invited).
37. "Reply to Craig, Murphy, McNabb, and Johnson," Evangelical
Philosophical Society session titled "Erik Wielenberg's Robust
Ethics: Theistic Responses," at the 2017 joint meeting of
the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical
Literature, Boston, November 20, 2017 (invited).
with William Lane Craig, "God and Morality: What is the
Best Account of Objective Moral Values and Duties?", North
Carolina State University, February 23, 2018 (invited).
39. "Moral Disagreement, Relativism, and the Puzzle of
Psychopathy," God and Morality Symposium, North Carolina State
University, February 24, 2018 (invited).
40. Co-discussant with Sam Newlands at a Veritas Forum titled
"Reckoning with Evil: A Discussion on God, Philosophy, and Hope,"
Indiana University, February 28. 2018 (invited).
41. Co-discussant with Greg Ganssle at a Thompson Institute event
titled "Are You Free?", The
Ohio State University, February 28, 2019 (invited).
42. "Three Sources of Human Dignity," Special Workshop on the
Inherence of Human Dignity, IVR 2019, University of Lucerne,
Switzerland, July 8-9, 2019 (invited).
43. "Life's Meaning in a Godless Universe," Harvard Club,
Indianapolis, September 19, 2019 (invited).
44. “Psychopaths in Robert
Adams’s Theistic Framework for Ethics”,University of Colorado,
Boulder, January 24, 2020 (invited).