David Holley, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair, Department of Philosophy and Religion


In recent years the focus of my research has been on topics in philosophy of religion. Since my last book, I have been defending and developing the idea that thinking about the existence of God is best done in the context of deciding about what I call a life-orienting story. In contrast to many philosophers, I contend that treating the matter as a purely theoretical issue distracts us from the kind of engaged reflection that is needed. My next big project will deal with the question of how religious belief can be confident when an informed believer will be aware of the possibility of being wrong. Can this kind of belief be both confident and humble?

I. Books:

Meaning and Mystery: What It Means to Believe in God (Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

Self-Interest and Beyond (St. Paul: Paragon House, 1999).

II. Articles Since 2001:

“Humble Confessionalism,” European Journal for Philosophy of Religion forthcoming 2017.

“Confident Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue,” International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol.57, No. 2, Is. 226 (June, 2017), 211-226.

“Practical Considerations and Evidence in James’s Permission to Believe,” Religious Studies, Vol. 51, No. 1 (2015), 21-39.

“Religious Disagreements and Epistemic Rationality,” International Journal For Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 74, No.1 (2013), 33-48.

“How Can A Believer Doubt That God Exists?” The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 245 (October, 2011), 746-761.

“Treating God’s Existence As An Explanatory Hypothesis,” American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 47, no. 4 (October, 2010) 377-388.

“Finding a Self to Love: An Evaluation of Therapeutic Self-Love,” in Paul C. Vitz and Susan M. Felch, eds., The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis (Wilmington Delaware: ISI Books, 2006), 86-99.

“Disengaged Reason and Belief in God,” Faith and Philosophy, Vol. 19, no. 3 (2002), 317-330.

“Sidgwick’s Problem,” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 5 (2002), 45-65.

“Alternative Approaches to Applied Ethics: A Response to Carson’s Critique,” Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 12, Issue 1 (2002), 73-82.

“The Role of Anthropomorphism in Hume’s Critique of Theism,” International Journal For Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 51, No. 2 (2002), 83-99.

“Self-Interest and Integrity,” International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 1 (2002), 5-22.

“Using Self-Interest to Teach Ethics,” Teaching Philosophy, Vol. 24, No. 3 (September, 2001), 219-232.