July 22, 2015
I think that demonology may help advance a point on behalf of substance dualists. Here is my reasoning. Theistic physicalists (Van Inwagen, Merricks, Corcoran, Baker, et al.) often side with secular physicalists in finding the interaction between body and soul (as understood by substance dualists) to be a complicated mystery that serves to undermind the probability that human beings are indeed mind-body composites. But are theistic physicalists off the hook? Surely God cannot be invoked as an example of how an immaterial being can interact with a material being, for He is omnipotent and, so, necessarily is able to perform even the most mundane of tasks. But what do such thinkers do with the notion of demons? Demons are thought to tempt human beings into wrong-doing, and even effecting illnesses. But if the theist takes such beings to be real, immaterial agents in an otherworldly stage, they are also saddled with a similar ad hoc maneuver. Demons are putatively able to interact with human beings. How awkward is it that they should interact with my body but, yet, find it a mitigating reason against dualism to suppose my soul could interact with my body. If a realist demonology is true, it seems that anthropological dualism is far less unbelievable.
July 8, 2015
In a recent article by Valerie Tarico entitled "Religious Trauma Syndrome: How some organized religion leads to mental health problems" (Raw Story article; July 6, 2015), she intervies psychologist Dr. Marlene Winell on the alleged abuses of a conservative Christianity (she says "fundamentalist" in parts, but states and implies elsewhere it is broader than its extreme niche). What is interesting about the article is that you can replace the word "religion" with "marriage" (and its "doctrines" with the ramblings of an abusive spouse) and you get nothing controversial; but a psychologist would indict, not the institution, but the abusers responsible - finding the individuals to be the deviants and not the institution itself. This does not prevent Dr. Winell from making this leap who clearly has an axe to grind against her Pentecostal heritage. Religious Trauma Syndrome is about as farcical as positing Marriage Trauma Syndrome. Now, does religious abuse occur? Of course. Just as marital abuse occurs. But it is not an institutional abuse unlike, say, the Ku Klux Klan or slavery. Those movements entail violence and abuse. Christianity inherently does not (Ephesians 5 - 6.10).
All of my written material has been completed and finalized as of May 27th - right on schedule! The next step in the process comes in the Fall of this year wherein I will be traveling to England in order to complete my viva voce (oral defense). I am very excited to complete this process and to spend some time with my examiners who are well-known philosophers in the relevant field(s).