Dan Dolson

Dan Dolson
Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Studies — Western Michigan University


Dissertation (Winter 2015)

“On God’s Gestures: Miracles, Laws of Nature, and Special Divine Action”

Areas of Study

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Language/Science
  • Hume
  • Philosophical Logic


When I’m not doing philosophy, I’m hanging out with my wife, Katherine, and wearing flip-flops in sunny Santa Barbara. I also like hanging out at the beach, eating good BBQ (and by “BBQ” I do not mean hamburgers and hotdogs), Wisconsin cheese, HBO & Showtime and good films. I’m not upset when big-budget, flashy action movies that always manage to make everything brighter, quickly appear on my queue.


I’d be happy to talk with anyone about graduate work in philosophy (in general) or about graduate work in philosophy of religion. I’d also be happy to talk about UCSB’s graduate program. And here is a little more about me…

I (here is my website) received my B.A. from Taylor University, where I spent most of my time thinking about epistemology and philosophy of religion. I then went to Ohio University, earning my M.A. in 2006, and wrote a 144 page master’s thesis on Quine’s meta-ontology and Russell’s Theory of Descriptions. I started attending UCSB in 2006, and earned my C.Phil in 2010 with a qualifying paper called, “Miracles, Laws of Nature, and Counterfactuals.” I’m currently writing a dissertation on miracles under the tutelage ofTony Anderson.

Most of my current research is in philosophy of religion (or PR), which can be both rewarding and frustrating. It is rewarding because the nature of PR—at least, the kind of PR I’m interested in—involves integrating PR with other philosophical issues. To borrow a quote: I have found it necessary, in order to answer the questions I’m interested in, to study and research many general philosophical topics and then apply these results to phil. religion. Consequently, I’ve spent most of my graduate career thinking about things other than PR, including:

The best philosophers of religion (e.g., van InwagenAdamsSwinburneOppy, and Sobel ) have put their spin on philosophy of religion by drawing on other philosophical fields.

The frustrating part of studying PR is that, first, most philosophers have strong religious beliefs regardless of their specialization. Subsequently, most philosophers will have an opinion, regardless of their awareness of the literature. Second, as someone who routinely reads the PR journals, I think the quality (especially the rigor) is substantially lower than other subdisciplines. I don t know why this is, but PR could certainly benefit from more philosophers who are clear, careful, and technical.


Dissertation (Winter 2015)

“On God’s Gestures: Miracles, Laws of Nature, and Special Divine Action” (Advised by: C. Anthony Anderson)