Alexander Pruss

Alexander Robert Pruss (born January 5, 1973) is a Canadian mathematician, philosopher, Professor of Philosophy and the Co-Director of Graduate Studies in Philosophy at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

His best known book is The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment (2006).[1][2][3] He is also the author of the books, Actuality, Possibility and Worlds (2011), and One Body: An Essay in Christian Sexual Ethics (2012), and a number of academic papers on religion and theology.[4] He maintains his own philosophy blog and contributes to the Prosblogion philosophy of religion blog.

Alexander Pruss
BornJanuary 5, 1973 (age 46)
Alma materUniversity of Western Ontario
University of British Columbia
University of Pittsburgh
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
InstitutionsBaylor University
ThesisPossible Worlds: What They Are Good For and What They Are (2001)
Doctoral advisorNicholas Rescher
Main interests
Metaphysics, philosophy of religion, applied ethics
Notable ideas
Gale–Pruss cosmological argument


Pruss graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics. After earning a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of British Columbia in 1996 and publishing several papers in Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society and other mathematical journals,[4] he began graduate work in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his dissertation, Possible Worlds: What They Are and What They Are Good For, under Nicholas Rescher in 2001.

Pruss began teaching philosophy at Georgetown University in 2001, earning tenure in 2006. In 2007, he moved to Waco, Texas to teach philosophy at Baylor University. He is now the Director of Graduate Studies for the Baylor Philosophy Department. He has taught various courses, including graduate seminars on the philosophy of time, metaphysics, the cosmological and ontological arguments for the existence of God, modality, free will, and history of philosophy.[5]


Pruss's philosophical thought reflects Christian orthodoxy. He is a Roman Catholic and a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers.

Pruss defends the principle of sufficient reason (PSR), claiming that it is self-evident, and arguing that the rejection of PSR creates problems in epistemology, modality, ethics, and even evolutionary theory.[6]

Pruss is a critic of David Lewis's "extreme modal realism," and instead gives "a combined account" of Leibnizian and Aristotelian modality, which integrates the "this-worldly capacities" of the Aristotelian view and Leibniz's account of possible worlds as thoughts in the mind of God.[7]


See also


  1. ^ Review by Joshua C Thurow, Religious Studies Review, 33, no. 3 (2007): 222-223
  2. ^ Review, by D Rickles Philosophy In Review, 27, no. 5, (2007): 370-372
  3. ^ Review by D Werther, Faith and philosophy : journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers. 27, no. 1, (2010): 94-97
  4. ^ a b WorldCat author listing
  5. ^ Pruss, Curriculum Vitae
  6. ^ Pruss, "Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments"
  7. ^ Pruss, "The Actual and the Possible"


  • Pruss, Alexander. Curriculum Vitae Accessed March 2013.
  • Pruss, Alexander. "Leibnizian Cosmological Arguments" in Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, Oxford: Blackwell, 2009
  • Pruss, Alexander. "The Actual and the Possible" In Richard M. Gale (ed.), Blackwell Guide to Metaphysics, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.

External links


Acosmism, in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, (the prefix "a-" in Greek meaning negation; like "un-" in English), and only the infinite unmanifest Absolute as real. Conceptual versions of Acosmism are found in eastern and western philosophies.

Agnostic existentialism

Agnostic existentialism is a type of existentialism which makes no claim to know whether there is a "greater picture"; rather, it simply asserts that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon. It feels that to know the greater picture, whether there is one or not, is impossible, or impossible so far, or of little value. Like the Christian existentialist, the agnostic existentialist believes existence is subjective.

Analytical Thomism

Analytical Thomism is a philosophical movement which promotes the interchange of ideas between the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas (including the philosophy carried on in relation to his thinking, called 'Thomism'), and modern analytic philosophy.

Scottish philosopher John Haldane first coined the term in the early 1990s and has since been one the movement's leading proponents. According to Haldane, "analytical Thomism involves the bringing into mutual relationship of the styles and preoccupations of recent English-speaking philosophy and the ideas and concerns shared by St Thomas and his followers" (Haldane 2004, xii).

Argument from love

The Argument from love is an argument for the existence of God.

Argument from miracles

The argument from miracles is an argument for the existence of God that relies on the belief that events witnessed and described as miracles – i.e. as events not explicable by natural or scientific laws – indicate the intervention of the supernatural.

One example of this argument is the Christological argument: the claim that historical evidence proves that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that this can only be explained if God exists. Another is the claim that many of the Qur'an's prophecies have been fulfilled and that this too can only be explained if God (Allah) exists.

Defenders of the argument include C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and William of Ockham.

Atheist's Wager

The Atheist's Wager, popularised by the philosopher Michael Martin and published in his 1990 book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, is an atheistic response to Pascal's Wager regarding the existence of God.

One version of the Atheist's Wager suggests that since a kind and loving god would reward good deeds – and that if no gods exist, good deeds would still leave a positive legacy – one should live a good life without religion. Another formulation suggests that a god may reward honest disbelief and punish a dishonest belief in the divine.

Atheistic existentialism

Atheistic existentialism is a kind of existentialism which strongly diverged from the Christian existential works of Søren Kierkegaard and developed within the context of an atheistic world view. The philosophies of Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche provided existentialism's theoretical foundation in the 19th century, although their differing views on religion proved essential to the development of alternate types of existentialism. Atheistic existentialism was formally recognized after the 1943 publication of Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre and Sartre later explicitly alluded to it in Existentialism is a Humanism in 1946.

Cosmological argument

In natural theology and philosophy, a cosmological argument is an argument in which the existence of a unique being, generally seen as some kind of god, is deduced or inferred from facts or alleged facts concerning causation, change, motion, contingency, or finitude in respect of the universe as a whole or processes within it. It is traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, or the causal argument, and is more precisely a cosmogonical argument (about the origin). Whichever term is employed, there are three basic variants of the argument, each with subtle yet important distinctions: the arguments from in causa (causality), in esse (essentiality), and in fieri (becoming).

The basic premises of all of these are the concept of causality. The conclusion of these arguments is first cause, subsequently deemed to be God. The history of this argument goes back to Aristotle or earlier, was developed in Neoplatonism and early Christianity and later in medieval Islamic theology during the 9th to 12th centuries, and re-introduced to medieval Christian theology in the 13th century by Thomas Aquinas. The cosmological argument is closely related to the principle of sufficient reason as addressed by Gottfried Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, itself a modern exposition of the claim that "nothing comes from nothing" attributed to Parmenides.

Contemporary defenders of cosmological arguments include William Lane Craig, Robert Koons, Alexander Pruss, and William L. Rowe.

George I. Mavrodes

George I. Mavrodes is an American philosopher who is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.

Harald Høffding

Harald Høffding (11 March 1843 – 2 July 1931) was a Danish philosopher and theologian.

List of philosophies

Philosophical schools of thought and philosophical movements.

Nicholas Rescher

Nicholas Rescher (; German: [ˈʁɛʃɐ]; born 15 July 1928) is a German-American philosopher at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the Chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science and has formerly served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department.Rescher has served as president for the American Catholic Philosophical Association, American G.W. Leibniz Society, American Metaphysical Society, American Philosophical Association, and C.S. Peirce Society. He is the founder of American Philosophical Quarterly, History of Philosophy Quarterly, and Public Affairs Quarterly.

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Nicholas Wolterstorff (born January 21, 1932) is an American philosopher and a liturgical theologian. He is currently Noah Porter Professor Emeritus Philosophical Theology at Yale University. A prolific writer with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests, he has written books on aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education. In Faith and Rationality, Wolterstorff, Alvin Plantinga, and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that has come to be known as Reformed epistemology. He also helped to establish the journal Faith and Philosophy and the Society of Christian Philosophers.

Religious skepticism

Religious skepticism is a type of skepticism relating to religion. Religious skeptics question religious authority and are not necessarily anti-religious but skeptical of specific or all religious beliefs and/or practices. Socrates was one of the most prominent and first religious skeptics of whom there are records; he questioned the legitimacy of the beliefs of his time in the existence of the Greek gods. Religious skepticism is not the same as atheism or agnosticism and some religious skeptics are deists.

Robert Merrihew Adams

Robert Merrihew Adams (born 1937) is an American analytic philosopher of metaphysics, religion, and morality.


Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of the Supreme Being or deities. In common parlance, or when contrasted with deism, the term often describes the classical conception of God that is found in monotheism (also referred to as classical theism) – or gods found in polytheistic religions—a belief in God or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism.Atheism is commonly understood as rejection of theism in the broadest sense of theism, i.e. the rejection of belief in God or gods. The claim that the existence of any deity is unknown or unknowable is agnosticism.

Theological noncognitivism

Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered synonymous with ignosticism.

Theological veto

The theological veto is the concept in philosophy of religion that philosophy and logic are impious and that God, not reason, is sovereign. This concept is held as true by some theists, especially religious fundamentalists.

The idea is derived from a belief that mankind is depraved, and its intellect is a flawed product of this fallenness. In this view conversion, not reason, is the way to the truth; preaching, not argument, is the way to persuade; and grace, not evidence is the way belief is confirmed. In this view, natural reason is so profoundly hostile to the divine that holding it above faith is tantamount to worshiping a sinful creature as an idol. Even the use of reason on behalf of faith is rejected under the theological veto, as it shows faithlessness. It presupposes by practice that faith can be benefited by reason.

Transcendental argument for the existence of God

The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) is the argument that attempts to prove the existence of God by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose a supreme being and that God must therefore be the source of logic and morals.A version was formulated by Immanuel Kant in his 1763 work The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God, and most contemporary formulations of the transcendental argument have been developed within the framework of Christian presuppositional apologetics.

Concepts in religion
Conceptions of God
Existence of God
Religious language
Problem of evil
Philosophersof religion

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