Cup of Nirvana Philosophical and Contemplative Explorations


Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 7.50.04 AMIn A Philosophical Critique of Empirical Arguments for Postmortem Survival (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Michael Sudduth provides a critical exploration of classical empirical arguments for postmortem survival—arguments that purport to show that data collected from ostensibly paranormal phenomena constitute good evidence for the survival of the self or individual consciousness after death.  Focusing specifically on arguments based on the data of out-of-body/near-death experiences, mediumship, and cases of the reincarnation type, he aims to revive the tradition of empirical inquiry into life after death associated with philosophers William James, C.D. Broad, H.H. Price, and C.J. Ducasse. Sudduth proposes to advance the debate with a novel approach.  For the first time, the traditional arguments are formalized using the tools of formal epistemology.  Sudduth shows that this procedure exposes the Achilles Heel of the classical arguments, a self-defeating dependence on auxiliary assumptions. He further argues that when reformulated in the light of the “problem of auxiliaries,” long-standing skeptical objections to survival arguments are immune to traditional survivalist counter-arguments.  For further details, see Book Overview.


“Michael Sudduth has produced a ground-breaking work–original, nuanced, empirically comprehensive, and conceptually sophisticated. It sheds new light on the confusions and superficiality dominating the literature on postmortem survival, and is a major contribution to survival research.” – Stephen Braude

“In this important new book, Sudduth applies his skills as an analytical philosopher to a thoroughgoing examination of the logic of existing empirical arguments for personal postmortem survival . . . . It is dense with hard, clear, sustained, and provocative critical thinking, and rich in penetrating observations about the state of play in contemporary discussions of postmortem survival.” – Ed Kelly


Dr. Sudduth’s first book The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology (Ashgate, 2009) focuses on the role of arguments for God’s existence in the Reformed or Calvinistic streams of the Protestant Christian tradition.  After challenging the widespread view in recent Anglo-American philosophy of religion that the Reformed tradition has as a whole opposed natural theology, Sudduth goes on to show that criticisms of natural theology where they have arisen within the Reformed tradition have typically been directed to particular interpretations of natural theology. Sudduth explores the functional diversity of natural theology and argues that natural theology as a project carried out in constructive dialogue with dogmatic theology (rather than a rational preface to dogmatic theology) is an approach to natural theology that circumvents a range of philosophical and theological criticisms of natural theology that have arisen in the Reformed theological tradition.



“This book is essential reading for students of the theology of the Protestant Reformed tradition, and very valuable reading for all who wonder whether producing arguments for the existence of God is a proper Christian activity. Michael Sudduth shows that, contrary to the claims of Karl Barth and some contemporary advocates of ‘Reformed epistemology’, the Reformed tradition has from its first days generally endorsed Natural theology. He goes on to show the failure of philosophical objections to the possibility of cumulative arguments for the existence of God.” -
Richard Swinburne, Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion, University of Oxford 

“This is an informed, erudite and important contribution to contemporary debates about natural theology, especially within the American Reformed community.” -
Alister E. McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education Head, King’s College London 

”An absolutely terrific book. It combines philosophical excellence–subtlety, depth, acumen, rigor–with extensive and deep historical learning.” -
Alvin Plantinga, John A. O’Brien, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame 

“There is much to ponder in this scholarly study. …This is a book guaranteed to stir debate and controversy, and to stimulate some hard thinking on the part of opponents of natural theology.” Reformed Theological Journal

”Michael Sudduth’s The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology, 
[is] a book not likely to be overlooked or unchallenged in years to 
come. … As literature on natural theology continues to flood academia, Sudduth’s historical argument is a strong one and has yet to be refuted.” Journal of Theological Studies 

“This excellent, historically attentive study, which is about the Reformed endorsement of natural theology, corrects a widespread myth and should be read by anyone concerned that appreciation of the role of reason in bringing people to faith and maintaining them in faith be revived.” Theology

The great merit of Sudduth’s book is its conceptual sophistication; the distinction between natural religion and natural theology is treated in an exemplary way. This is a work both of technical philosophy and of the history of theology, particularly of aspects of the relation between theology and philosophy. . . .No doubt Sudduth has not written the last word on this topic. But it is hard to see how any one writing on it in future can fail to benefit from what he has provided here.”Review by Paul Helm


Discussions of Sudduth’s Reformed Objection to Natural Theology

Dr. Scott Oliphint, “Is There a Reformed Objection to Natural Theology? A Review Article”

Podcast Discussion with Dr. Scott Oliphint and James Dolezal

Video Discussion with Dr. Scott Oliphint and James Dolezal


Sudduth is currently writing his third book, Truth is Dancing:  A Contemplative Exploration of Love, Awakening, and God

Complete List of Sudduth Publications (1994 – Present)