Aug 25, 2019
University of Sheffield philosopher, Assistant Professor Ryan Byerly is best known for his work in philosophy of religion, epistemology and virtue theory. Publishing widely in these areas, Ryan is also Reviews Editor for the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Treasurer for the British Society for Philosophy of Religion, and a member of Sheffield’s Centre for Engaged Philosophy. Amongst many other fascinating papers in philosophy of religion, Ryan is the author of ‘The Awe-Some Argument for Pantheism’, which forms our focus for today’s discussion.
Ryan’s argument for pantheism (the belief that ‘God is the universe and the universe is God’) provides an exciting and unique take on not just the type of god we should believe in, but also the way in which we might come to establish its existence. In short, Ryan thinks that the emotion of awe - that profound, ineffable feeling that one has when they see Van Gogh’s Starry Night or a meteor burning up in the atmosphere - can point us in the direction of things which are divine. The greatest object of awe, says Byerly, is the cosmos, and therefore, the cosmos is the most divine thing.
Part I. The Awe-Some Argument for Pantheism.
Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion.