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Sanders Lecture presents, Prof. Kris McDaniel (Notre Dame)

Thursday, April 21, 2022, 03:00pm - 05:00pm

Kris McDaniel

Title: “Physicalist Degrees Monism and the Religious Impulse"


I will discuss a version of monism, physicalistic degrees monism, according to which the universe—the whole made out of all concrete objects—is both fundamentally physical and the only fully real thing.  According to physicalistic degrees monism, the parts of the universe exist but are less real than the universe.  My discussion will not focus on whether this metaphysics is true, but rather on whether it might form the metaphysical basis for a religion.

 I am interested in finding connections between metaphysical and normative issues, including those normative issues that are reasonably called “spiritual”.  One set of questions concerns whether and what normative implications a given metaphysics might have.  My focus will be on questions of this sort, where physicalistic degrees monism is the given metaphysics.  There are certain emotions and stances towards the world that are characteristic of a religious mindset. And in general, emotions and stances can be evaluated as correct or incorrect when they are directed towards objects that are not apt or fitting objects for them.  I will be exploring which if any emotions or stances are correct given physicalistic degrees monism, whether any of these emotions or stances are aptly thought of as religious, and whether it would be reasonable to develop a religious institution in which these attitudes could be expressed, cultivated, and maintained.

Location Philosophy Dept. Seminar Room + Zoom