Evan Fales

Associate Professor Emeritus

Dr. Fales has written on such topics as essences, identity, and philosophy of religion, and is author of Causation and Universals (1990), A Defense of the Given (1996), and Divine Intervention (2010). His teaching and research interests also include modal logic, philosophy of science, epistemology, and metaphysics.

Honors and awards

  • University Fellowship, Temple University, 1969-70, 1973-74
  • Old Gold Summer Fellowship, University of Iowa, 1978, 1981
  • Interdisciplinary Research Grant, Obermann Center, University of Iowa, 1987
  • Developmental Leave Assignment, Obermann Center, Univ. of Iowa, 2000


  • 2021: Reading Sacred Texts: Charity, Structure, Gospel


  • "Definite Descriptions as Designators," Mind, April, 1976, 225-238.
  • "Donnellan on Definite Descriptions," with Joseph Margolis, Philosophia, June, 1976, 289-302.
  • "Truth, Tradition, and Rationality," Philosophy of the Social Sciences, June, 1976, 97-113.
  • "The Ontology of Social Roles," Philosophy of the Social Sciences, June, 1977, 139-161, to be reprinted in Microsociology: A Book of Readings, Jacek Szmatka, ed., PWN--Polish Scientific Publishers, forthcoming.
  • "Theoretical Simplicity and Defeasibility," Philosophy of Science, June, 1978, 273-288.
  • "Opacity in the Attitudes," Canadian Journal of Philosophy, December, 1978, 725-752.
  • "Relative Essentialism," The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, December, 1979, 349-370.
  • "Uniqueness and Historical Laws," Philosophy of Science, June, 1980, 260-276.
  • "Must Sociology be Qualitative?," and "Reply to Professor Brown,"
  • Qualitative Sociology, invited paper, Summer, 1982, 89-105, 145-146.
  • "Natural Kinds and Freaks of Nature," Philosophy of Science, March, 1982, 67-90.
  • "Generic Universals," The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, March, 1982, 29-39.
  • "Davidson's Compatibilism," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, December, 1984, 227-246.
  • "Causation and Induction," Midwest Studies in Philosophy, invited paper, Vol. IX, 1984, 113-134.
  • "Essentialism and the Elementary Constituents of Matter," Midwest Studies in Philosophy, invited paper, Vol. XI, 1986, 391-402.
  • "How to be a Metaphysical Realist," Midwest Studies in Philosophy, invited paper, Vol. XII, 1988, 253-274.
  • "Antediluvian Theodicy: Stump on the Fall," Faith and Philosophy, 6, 1989, 320-329.
  • "Should God Have Not Created Adam?," Faith and Philosophy, 9, 1992, 193-209.
  • "Causal Knowledge: What Can Psychology Teach Philosophers?," with Edward A. Wasserman, The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 13, 1992, 1-28.
  • "Are Causal Laws Contingent?" in Ontology, Causality, and Mind: Essays in Honour of D.M. Armstrong, Keith Campbell, John Bacon, and Lloyd Reinhardt, eds., Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • "Are Christians Obliged to Be Pacifists?" Faith and Philosophy, 11, 1994, 298-301.
  • "Divine Freedom and the Choice of a World," International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 35, April, 1994, 65-88.
  • "Plantinga's Case Against Naturalistic Epistemology," Philosophy of Science, 63, 1996, 432-451.
  • "Mystical Experience as Evidence," International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 40, 1996, 19-46.
  • "Scientific Explanations of Mystical Experience, Part I: The Case of St. Teresa," Religious Studies, 32, 1996, 143-163.
  • "Scientific Explanations of Mystical Experience, Part II: The Challenge to Theism," Religious Studies, 32, 1996, 297-313.
  • "Divine Intervention," Faith and Philosophy 14, 1997, 170-194.
  • "Social Action at a Distance? Evaluating Heterodox Theories," with
  • Barry Markovsky, Social Forces 76. 1997. 511-525.
  • " Darwin's Doubt, Calvin's Calvary," in James Beilby, ed., Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, ( Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002), 43-58.
  • "Do Mystics See God?," in Michael L. Peterson, ed., Contemporary
  • Debates in the Philosophy of Religion (Blackwell, 2003).
  • "Are the Gods Apolitical?," Philo, 2, 1999, 21-31.
  • "Book symposium, Douglas Geivett and Gary Habermas, In Defense of Miracles," Philosophia Christi, 3 (2001), 7-35.
  • “Reformed Epistemology and Biblical Hermeneutics,” Philo 4 (2001), 169-184. Reprinted in Jeffrey J. Lowder and Robert Price, eds., Jesus is Dead ( Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books), forthcoming.
  • "Critical Discussion of Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief," NOUS 37 (2003), 353-370.
  • “Taming the Tehom: The Sign of Jonah in Matthew,” in Jeffrey J. Lowder and Robert Price, eds., Jesus is Dead ( Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books), forthcoming.
  • “Proper Basicality,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research LXVIII (2004), forthcoming
  • “Does Reformed Epistemology Escape Cartesian Skepticism?,” Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies 11, forthcoming.
  • “Naturalism and Physicalism” in the Michael Martin, ed., Cambridge Companion to Atheism (invited), (Cambridge University Press, 2007): 118-134.
  • “Despair, Optimism, and Rebellion,” https://infidels.org/library/modern/evan_fales/despair.html, 2005, also published in Robert B. Stewart, ed., The Future of Atheism: Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett in Dialogue (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2008): 97-112.
  •  “Animadversions on Kitzmiller v. Dover: Right Ruling, Wrong Reasons,”, Jan. 2006.
  • “The Spiritual Brain: Intimations of God or Hallucinations?,” invited paper for Christoph Jaeger, ed., Brain Science and the Phenomenology of Religious Experience (New York: Springer, forthcoming.)
  • “The Road to Damascus,” Faith and Philosophy 22 (2005), 442-459.
  • “Reply to Stephen Davis’ review of The Empty Tomb in Philosophia Christi 8.1 “The Counterattack of the Resurrection Skeptics: A Review Article,” https://sites.google.com/site/theemptytomb/.
  • "Satanic Verses: Moral Chaos in Holy Writ,” “Reply to Alvin Plantinga,” and “Comment on Christopher Seitz” in Divine Evil? The Moral Character of the God of Abraham, Michael Bergmann, Michael Murray, and Michael Rea, eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
  • “It is Not Reasonable to Believe in Miracles,” in Chad Meister, J.P. Moreland, and Khaldoun Sweis, eds., Debating Christian Theism (Oxford: Oxford University Press), forthcoming.
  • “Naturalistic Ethical Realism,” invited chapter for Keith Loftin, ed., God and Morality: Four Views. (Intervarsity Press), forthcoming.
  • “Making and Breaking Faith,” invited chapter for Timothy O’Connor and Laura Goins, eds., Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 124 – 139.
  • “Theodicy in a Vale of Tears,” invited chapter for Justin McBrayer and Daniel Howard-Snyder, eds., A Companion to the Problem of Evil. (Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013): 349 – 362.
  • “It is Not Reasonable to Believe in Miracles,” in Chad Meister, J.P. Moreland, and Khaldoun Sweis, eds., Debating Christian Theism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013: 298 – 310.
  • “Is a Science of the Supernatural Possible?,” invited paper for an anthology, “Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem,” Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry, eds. (Chicago University Press, 2013): Chapter 13.
  • “Turtle Epistemology,” Philosophical Studies 165 (DOI 10.1007/s11098-013-0185): 1 – 16.
  •  “Journeying in Perplexity,” in Hidden Divinity and Religious Belief: New Perspectives, Adam Green and Eleonore Stump, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2016: 89 – 105.
  • “Putnam's Semantic Skepticism and the Epistemic Melt-Down of Naturalism: How Defeat of Putnam's Puzzle Provides a Defeater for Plantinga's Self-Defeat Argument Against Naturalism,” in Two Dozen (Or So) Arguments for the Existence of God: The Plantinga Project, Trent Dougherty and Jerry Walls, eds. (Oxford, 2017)
  • “Faith and Revelation: Atheism,” “The Relevance of the Human Sciences to Theism,” Sec. 2 of “Theories of Religion: Atheism,” and “Pascal’s Wager Revisited,” Sec. 4 of “Prudential/Pragmatic Arguments: Atheism,” all in Koterski and Oppy, eds., Theism and Atheism: Opposing arguments in Philosophy. Gale, 2019.
  • “Credulity at Cana,” Chapter 22 in John Loftus, ed., The Case Against Miracles. Hypatia, 2022.
  • “Hume’s Dialectical Positioning vis a vis Scepticism in the Dialogues” in Kenneth Williford, ed., Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: A Philosophical Appraisal. Routledge, 2023.
  • “Sensible Animism,” Ch. 8 in Tiddy Smith, ed., Animism and Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave, 2023.
  • “Robust Causal Realism,” in Yafeng Shan, ed., Alternative Approaches to Causation. OUP, forthcoming, June, 2024.

Dissertations directed

  • Gary Weaver, "Reasons, Actions, and Explanations," 1980 (co-director)
  • Prajit Basu, "Scientific Explanation in the History of Chemistry:The Priestly-Lavoisier Debate," 1992 (co-director)
  • Soonok Choi, "A Critical Discussion of Bonjour's Coherence Theory of Empirical Knowledge," 1992
  • John Beaudion, "The Cumulative Approach to Natural Theology," 1997
  • Kenneth Williford, “The Structure of Self-Consciousness: A Phenomenological and Philosophical Investigation,” 2003 (co-director) 
  • David Schenk, “Our Knowledge of Time: Tense, Indexicals, and the Phenomenology of Time,” 2003
  • Wendy Scholz, “The Phenomenology of Movement: Action, Proprioception, and Embodied Knowledge,” 2010
  • Patrick Monaghan, Property Possession as Identity: An Essay in Metaphysics"
  • Amber Griffioen, “The Irrational Project: Toward a Different Understanding of Self-Deception,” 2010 (co-director)
  • Kaplan Hasanoglu, “The Skeptic's Dogmatism: A Non-Concessive Response to the Skeptical Problem," 2011
  • Daniel Schulz, “Simplicity in Science,” 2012
  • Ryan Cobb, “Dissolving Some Dilemmas for Acquaintance Foundationalism,” 2016

Professional history

  • Physics Teacher, Scattergood School, West Branch, Iowa, 1967-69
  • Assistant Professor, University of Iowa, 1974-79
  • Associate Professor, University of Iowa, 1979-present
Portrait of Evan Fales
PhD, Temple University