Jeffrey Koperski

Jeffrey Koperski
Saginaw Valley State University · College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences

Ph.D.

About

29
Publications
9,735
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144
Citations
Citations since 2017
9 Research Items
71 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023051015
2017201820192020202120222023051015
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2017201820192020202120222023051015
Introduction
My areas of expertise are philosophy of science and philosophy of religion. While most of my early work focused on philosophical questions in physics, my more recent publications deal with issues at the intersection of philosophy, science, and religion.
Additional affiliations
January 2000 - present

Publications

Publications (29)
Chapter
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While “random” is a familiar word, the many subdisciplines found in mathematics and the sciences treat it differently. This chapter gives an overview of the terrain, looking at what randomness and closely related terms mean when used in a technical sense. As we will see, some are more relevant to the question of providence than others.
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Some theists take God to govern the cosmos by way of intervention. Others deny that God would violate the laws of nature. The distinction is illustrated by contrasting the sports of curling and bowling, which are in turn developed into memorable metaphors for divine providence. The two major scientific challenges to providence—Darwinian evolution a...
Book
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This open access book addresses the question of how God can providentially govern apparently ungovernable randomness. Medieval theologians confidently held that God is provident, that is, God is the ultimate cause of or is responsible for everything that happens. However, scientific advances since the 19th century pose serious challenges to traditi...
Article
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Działanie Boga a prawa przyrody: odpowiedź Łukasiewiczowi W odpowiedzi Łukasiewiczowi na Opatrzność Boża a przypadek w świecie bronię trzech wniosków. Po pierwsze, stanowisko nazwane przez niego „deizmem epistemicznym” staje przed wyzwaniami ze strony fizyki, których często się nie zauważa. Po drugie, jeśli teiści opowiadający się za argumentem cel...
Chapter
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Biographical entry on philosopher Del Ratzsch.
Chapter
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A brief discussion of arguments for noninterventionist divine action.
Article
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Scientific knowledge is not merely a matter of reconciling theories and laws with data and observations. Science presupposes a number of metatheoretic shaping principles in order to judge good methods and theories from bad. Some of these principles are metaphysical (e.g., the uniformity of nature) and some are methodological (e.g., the need for rep...
Article
Full-text available
For quantum mechanics to form the crux of a robust model of divine action, random quantum fluctuations must be amplified into the macroscopic realm. What has not been recognized in the divine action literature to date is the degree to which differential dynamics, continuum mechanics, and condensed matter physics prevent such fluctuations from infec...
Book
Theologians and philosophers of religion have become increasingly interested in science, and especially in physics. From the fine-tuning of universal constants to quantum mechanics, relativity, and cosmology, physics is a subject surprisingly widespread in its connection to the area of religion. Bridging the gap between these fields, however, has p...
Chapter
To understand the relation between science and religion, this chapter begins with some history. It starts with ancient Greece, tracing the influence of Aristotelian thought into the late Middle Ages. A turning point occurs in the 14th century with attacks on Aristotelian/ Thomism. This shift reverberates through Galileo, Descartes, Boyle, and the e...
Chapter
Theologians and philosophers have argued against an interventionist view of divine action for centuries. Although God could intervene in the natural order, they believe that God does not and will not. This chapter first considers the arguments against the traditional, interventionist view of divine action. There are five main reasons why divine int...
Chapter
This chapter considers two types of fine-tuning, those dealing with the initial conditions of the universe and those based on fixed parameters. Three approaches have been taken to argue that fine-tuning does not need any special explanation. The first is an appeal to coincidence. The second is that the data are biased by our own observations. The t...
Chapter
This chapter looks at approaches developed by philosophers of science that may be useful to those working in religion, theology, and the philosophy of religion. Philosophers of science have spent a lot of time thinking about how theories change, what to do with surprising data and conflicting explanations, and what to say when we need more categori...
Chapter
This chapter considers the arguments for and against reductionism and then considers its main rival: emergence. A large part of the reductionist program is generally considered a failure. Philosophers of science have been chipping away at reductionist claims for a couple of decades now. Philosopher Jaegwon Kim has been a central figure in matters o...
Article
This paper continues a dialogue that began with an article by Jeffrey Koperski entitled Two Bad Ways to Attack Intelligent Design and Two Good Ones, published in the June 2008 issue of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. In a response article, Christopher Pynes argues that ad hominem arguments are sometimes legitimate, especially when critiquin...
Article
Full-text available
Four arguments are examined in order to a ssess the state of the Intelligent Design debate. First, critics continually cite the fact that ID proponents have religious motivations. When used as criti-cism of ID arguments, this is an obvious ad hominem. Nonetheless, philosophers and scientists alike continue to wield such arguments for their rhetoric...
Chapter
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There is an ongoing debate over cosmological fine-tuning between those holding that design is the best explanation and those who favor a multiverse. A small group of critics has recently challenged both sides, charging that their probabilistic intuitions are unfounded. If the critics are correct, then a growing literature in both philosophy and phy...
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In his recent anthology, Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics, Robert Pennock continues his attack on what he considers to be the pseudoscience of Intelligent Design Theory. In this critical review, I discuss the main issues in the debate. Although the volume's rhetoric is often heavy and the articles are intentionally stacked against Int...
Article
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In his recent book [P. Smith, Explaining chaos, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1998; Zbl 0922.58053)], he presents a new problem in the foundations of chaos theory. Specifically, he argues that the standard ways of justifying idealizations in mathematical models fail when it comes to the infinite intricacy found in strange attractors. I arg...
Article
A recent noninterventionist account of divine agency has been proposed that marries the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics to the instability of chaos theory. On this account, God is able to bring about observable effects in the macroscopic world by determining the outcome of quantum events. When this determination occurs in the presence of...
Article
Full-text available
The use of idealized models in science is by now well-documented. Such models are typically constructed in a "top-down" fashion: starting with an intractable theory or law and working down toward the phenomenon. This view of model-building has motivated a family of confirmation schemes based on the convergence of prediction and observation. This pa...

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Abstract: One of the main arguments against interventionist views of special divine action is that God would not violate his own laws. But if intervention entails the breaking of natural law, what precisely is being broken? While the nature of the laws of nature has been widely explored by philosophers of science, important distinctions are often ignored in the science and religion literature. In this paper, I consider the three main approaches to laws: Humean anti-realism, reduction to dispositions/causal powers, and nomological realism. The first denies that there is any metaphysical reality behind laws or causation. The second holds that laws supervene on more fundamental causes, capacities, or dispositions. The third takes laws to be irreducible aspects of reality. The mechanics of special divine action and worries about intervention vary in shape depending on which view of law one holds. In the end, I argue that early modern natural philosophers, who first introduced law-language for nature, largely had it right. Laws are not created entities or powers that act as intermediaries between God and nature; they are best understood as expressions of God’s will for nature. The outstanding question is whether such a view inevitably lands in occasionalism.