Stephen Law

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Stephen Law
Stephen Law (2014).jpg
Born Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Alma mater City University London
Trinity College, Oxford
The Queen's College, Oxford
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic philosophy

Stephen Law is an English philosopher and reader in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. He also edits the philosophical journal Think,[1] which is sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy[2] and published by the Cambridge University Press. Law lives in Oxford, England, with his wife and two daughters. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and Commerce, and in 2008 became the provost of the Centre for Inquiry UK.[3] Law has published both a variety of academic papers and more popular, introductory books (including three children's philosophy books). Law has debated many Christian apologists, theologians and scientists, including William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga, Alister McGrath, John Lennox and Denis Alexander.

Academic history[edit]

Stephen Law attended Long Road Sixth Form College, in Cambridge, England. However, having been "asked to leave",[4][5] he began his working life as a postman. At 24 he successfully managed to persuade City University in London to accept him for the BSc in philosophy, despite his lack of A levels. There he managed to achieve a first class honours, allowing him to move on to Trinity College, Oxford, to read for a B.Phil. in philosophy. He was also for three years a junior research fellow at The Queen's College, Oxford, where he obtained a doctorate in philosophy.

Law has published academic papers on a variety of topics including Wittgenstein, modality, and philosophy of mind (for example, "Loar's Defence of Physicalism", Ratio 2004). His most recent focus is on philosophy of religion. Recent publications include:

  • "The Evil God Challenge", Religious studies, 2010,
  • "Plantinga's Belief-Cum-Desire Argument Refuted", Religious studies, 2011,
  • "Evidence, Miracles and The Existence of Jesus", Faith and Philosophy, 2011.
  • "Naturalism, Evolution and True Belief", Analysis, 2012, 72 (1), pp. 41–48.

The Great Philosophers[edit]

The Great Philosophers: The Lives and Ideas of History's Greatest Thinkers was published in 2008. It covers 50 "great thinkers" but very briefly with only a few pages for each. It is a brief introduction for readers with little previous knowledge of philosophy.

The Philosophy Gym[edit]

Law's book "The Philosophy Gym" is an introduction to philosophical thinking aimed at adults. It covers twenty-five philosophical questions, chosen for their relevance to today's society. The book aims for accessibility. This is often done, as in "What's wrong with gay sex?", by putting the question into a theatrical script.

The German version of The Philosophy Gym won the first Mindelheim Philosophy Prize in 2009.[6]

Chapter list[edit]

  1. Where did the universe come from?
  2. What is wrong with gay sex?
  3. Brain – snatched (discussion of metaphysical issues of knowledge of the external world, and Déscartes' 'Cogito Ergo Sum' (I think therefore I am))
  4. Is time travel possible?
  5. Into the lair of the relativist (a look at and analysis of relativist claims, mainly ethical relativity)
  6. Could a machine think?
  7. Does God exist?
  8. The strange case of the rational dentist (a look at specific knowledge of other minds and the extent to which we may have knowledge of them)
  9. But is it art?
  10. Can we have morality without God and religion?
  11. Is creationism scientific?
  12. Designer babies... (a look at the case for designer babies)
  13. The consciousness conundrum (a look at the debated nature of consciousness)
  14. Why expect the sun to rise tomorrow? (an examination of Hume's problem of induction)
  15. Do we ever deserve to be punished?
  16. The meaning mystery (an examination of linguistics and the ways in which language may have meaning)
  17. Killing Mary to save Jodie (a discussion of utilitarianism and the nature of ethics)
  18. The strange realm of numbers (discussion of the nature of mathematics)
  19. What is knowledge?
  20. Is morality like a pair of spectacles (a look at subjectivism amongst other things)
  21. Should you be eating that (a look at the case for vegetarianism)
  22. Brain transplants, teleportation and the puzzle of personal identity
  23. Miracles and the supernatural
  24. How to spot eight everyday reasoning errors
  25. Seven paradoxes



  1. ^ "Royal Institute Philosophy". 
  2. ^ "Royal Institute Philosophy". 
  3. ^ "上質な風俗に蜂蜜をぶち撒けるが如き思想". 
  4. ^ Underhill, William. "Stephen Law: Philosopher of 'Believing Bullshit'". Newsweek. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  5. ^ Steel, Mel. "Asking all the right questions". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Philosophiepreis". 

External links[edit]