Lawrence Shapiro

Position title: Resident Fellow (2011-2012)

Philosophy, UW-Madison

Black and White portrait of Larry Shapiro

A Philosopher’s Guide to Thinking about Miracles

Shapiro will use his time at the Institute to work on a book about the metaphysics and epistemology of miracles as well as the relationship between belief in miracles and belief in God. According to a recent Pew poll, 80% of Americans believe in miracles. But what is a miracle? An extremely unlikely event? A supernatural occurrence? And what justifies belief in miracles? Most believers have never seen a miracle themselves, and so they rely on testimony, but how should the reliability of testimony be evaluated. Finally, what is the relationship between belief in miracles and belief in God? Is belief in one necessary for belief in the other?

Larry Shapiro is a Professor in the Dept. of Philosophy, where he has spent his entire career since migrating from Philadelphia in 1993. He has written widely on topics in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and cognitive science, publishing books with MIT Press (The Mind Incarnate, 2004) and Routledge Press (Arguing About the Mind, co-edited with Brie Gertler, 2007; and Embodied Cognition, 2011). He’s also a dedicated runner and author of Zen and the Art of Running (Adams Media) in 2009.