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Research at Pepperdine University

Faculty-Student Publication by Seaver’s Dr. Tomás Bogardus and Chad Marxen

Philosophia journal cover

Seaver philosophy professor Tomás Bogardus and student Chad Marxen recently worked together to co-write and co-publish their paper "Yes, Safety is in Danger" in the philosophy journal Philosophia.

Bogardus shared about the history of their collaboration and the recent paper....

"Chad I and started working together last spring. I knew he was interested in applying to graduate school in philosophy, and I thought participating in the SURP program would help prepare him for that. We decided to extend some research I had already done on the alleged incompatibility of religious faith and knowledge. Some people think that religious faith is an unsafe, unreliable way to form beliefs--far too risky to count as genuine knowledge. After all, if you had been born at a different time, in a different place, you easily could have formed radically different religious beliefs. 

But some philosophers have recently argued that knowledge can be formed in 'risky' or unsafe ways, and so perhaps religious belief can after all count as genuine knowledge. A Spanish philosopher, Fernando Broncano-Berrocal wrote a paper called 'Is safety in danger?' and argued in defense of that safety condition on knowledge. Chad and I decided to write a critical response of Broncano-Berrocal's paper, in which we raised four objections to his main argument. Two objections came from Chad, and two from me. We called the paper 'Yes, safety is in danger,' and it was recently published in Philosophia, which is quite a good professional journal."

Abstract: In an essay recently published in this journal ("Is Safety in Danger?"), Fernando Broncano-Berrocal defends the safety condition on knowledge from a counterexample proposed by Tomas Bogardus (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2012). In this paper, we will define the safety condition, briefly explain the proposed counterexample, and outline Broncano-Berrocal's defense of the safety condition. We will then raise four objections to Broncano-Berrocal's defense, four implausible implications of his central claim. In the end, we conclude that Broncano-Berrocal's defense of the safety condition is unsuccessful, and that the safety condition on knowledge should be rejected.

View or download the article here.

Tomás Bogardus started teaching at Pepperdine last spring, having recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Texas, his M.A. at Biola University, and his B.S. in Biology at UC San Diego. He works in metaphysics and epistemology, and is most interested in the mind-body problem and the rationality of religious belief. He and his wife Tanja have a three-year-old girl, who already says--with great enthusiasm and just a little coaching--that she'd like to be a philosopher.

Chad Marxen is a senior philosophy major from Seattle. Last summer, he participated in a prestigious philosophy summer seminar program at UC Boulder, alongside a handful of the very top philosophy students in the country. He has put together an excellent application for graduate school, and is beginning to hear some great news back from those programs to which he applied.

January 2014