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Jason Thibodeau

Position: Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Cypress College, Cypress, California.


  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, 2006
  • M.A., Philosophy, University of California, San Diego, 2002
  • B.A., Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley, 1997

Teaching Positions:

  1. Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Georgia Perimeter College, Fall 2010 - Present
  2. Instructor, Imperial Valley College, Spring - Winter 2008
  3. Adjunct Instructor, Cuyamaca College, Spring 2008 - Fall 2009
  4. Visiting Assistant Professor, Auburn University, Department of Philosophy Fall 2005 - Fall 2006
  5. Teaching Assistant, University of California, San Diego, Fall 1998 - Spring 2005


  1. "The Problem of Evil and the Capacity to Cause Suffering." Northwest Philosophy Conference, October 2007.
  2. Commentary on Jason Jordan's "The Anthropoid Coffin: Divine Omnipotence and the Limes of Subjectivity." Northwest Philosophy Conference, October 2007.
  3. "Analyticity Re-re-examined." Auburn Philosophical Society Colloquium, December 2006.
  4. "The Standard Meter and Performative Utterances." Alabama Philosophical Society Conference, October 2005.
  5. "Natural Kind Terms and Natural Substance Terms." University of California, San Diego Graduate Philosophy Colloquium, February 2005.
  6. "Teaching an Old Dogma New Tricks." University of California, San Diego Graduate Philosophy Colloquium, April 2004.
  7. "Moore and Wittgenstein On Certainty and Skepticism." University of California, San Diego Graduate Philosophy Colloquium, February 2003.


  1. "The Epistemic Status of Analytic Statements" (forthcoming)
  2. "The Virtues and Ultimate Impotence of the Free Will Defense" (forthcoming)

Homepage: http://notnotaphilosopher.wordpress.com/

Published on the Secular Web

Modern Library

Do Atheists Need a Moral Theory to be Moral Realists?

Despite the power and influence of the Euthyphro dilemma, many apologists maintain that theism alone has the resources to account for objective moral properties. These authors dispute the commonly held view that the argument of the Euthyphro demonstrates that morality must be independent of God (especially as this argument is applied to theories that ground morality in the character of God as opposed to His commands). They argue in addition that regardless of the outcome of that debate, a nontheistic worldview is not compatible with belief in objective morality. In this paper I demonstrate that the argument that there is no viable atheistic account of the ground of morality depends upon the mistaken assumption that theism itself has the kind of moral theory that atheism allegedly lacks.
Kiosk Article

How to Use the Argument From Evil

The problem of evil can be used in two different ways. It can be used offensively; that is, in an attempt to criticize and undermine theistic belief, to show that theism is false and that belief in God is unfounded--a very difficult task. But the problem of evil can also be used defensively, i.e., to show that atheism is epistemically warranted, justified, or reasonable. Such efforts can succeed even when the proffered arguments fail to convince theists that God does not exist.
Kiosk Video

Interview with Bill Gaede & Jason Thibodeau on the Rope Hypothesis

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian, Rational Science podcaster and ex-Cuban-spy Bill Gaede, and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau for over an hour as they debate the scientific tenability of Gaede’s rope hypothesis. Many multifaceted issues come up in the discussion, such as the special circumstances under which the atoms that are usually connected by the electromagnetic threads (according to the hypothesis) pass through each other, the failure of standard mathematical physics to provide any mechanism through which a magnet or gravity acts, what the concepts of black holes, dark matter, and dark energy actually refer to in physical reality, what happens to anything that enters a black hole, what the hypothesis’ electromagnetic threads and ropes are composed of, how magnetic attraction actually works, and many other technical details of the hypothesis. Tune in for a far-ranging interview on a number of core, fundamental issues with contemporary physics!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on the Rationality of Bill Gaede’s Critique of Mathematical Physics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian for under an hour in an interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau about whether Rational Science podcaster Bill Gaede's rope hypothesis and critique of contemporary mathematical physics constitutes a fair and rational critique of mainstream physics. In particular, Ed and Jason canvass how lay audiences should approach scientific questions requiring specialized training to understand, Gaede's knowledge of biology and attitude toward mainstream science, how Gaede's rope hypothesis appears to be more metaphysical than scientific in a way that mirrors the metaphysical status of Philip Goff's panpsychism, what it means for a theory to count as a scientific explanation, elements of Gaede's hypothesis that are in tension with each other, how "spooky action at a distance" differs from Gaede's characterization of it as "black magic," and more! Tune in for a critical analysis of Gaede's more emphatic claims, as well as some of those almost made in passing.

Interview with Philip Goff on Panpsychism

Tune in to Freethinker Podcast with host Edouard Tahmizian for an about an hour-and-fifteen-minute interview with panpsychist philosopher of mind Philip Goff as Tahmizian, Keith Augustine, and Jason Thibodeau query Goff about his reasons for embracing panpsychism, the view that all matter has some degree of a conscious or experiential element to it. Goff expertly fields questions from all three interlocuters about how his panpsychist views differ from those of other philosophers of mind and his rationale for taking this position. He suggests that "physicalist" Galen Strawson holds substantially the same view that he does, their differences largely being semantic ones about the meaning of the term physicalism (or materialism). Goff also responds to criticisms (like those of Massimo Pigliucci) that his picture of the mind is unscientific. He canvasses the hard problem of consciousness, structuralism about physics, why he favors taking the Russellian monist theory of mind in a specifically panpsychist direction, and what it might even mean to say that something like an electron has experiences. Goff also discusses whether arguing from a "top down" cosmopsychism (i.e., that the universe as a whole has experiential aspects, and divides down into our individual consciousnesses) is less problematic than arguing from the "bottom up" that the most fundamental constituents of matter have simple experiential aspects that somehow combine into our more complex, but unified, individual consciousnesses. The discussion then turns to Goff's take on the (classic, Plato-inspired) divine command theory of ethics, fine-tuning arguments, whether there's a middle way between traditional omni-God theism and traditional atheism that may be more attractive than either of those binary choices, whether libertarian free will exists given the possibility of determinism, and how his broader philosophical views impact the question of life's meaning. Check out this wide-ranging interview with a renowned philosopher of mind who has become increasingly prominent in public debates about these issues over the last several years!

Interview with Bill Gaede & Jason Thibodeau on Human Extinction

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this hour-and-a-quarter interview with Rational Science podcaster and ex-Cuban-spy Bill Gaede and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau on the future of humankind. First they canvas the possibility that all mass extinctions on Earth have been the result of an ecological pyramid overturning (the population pyramid overturning for plants and the ecological pyramid overturning for animals), and the extrapolation from this pattern that human beings are unable to stop this overturning in their own case. Human beings were put on track in 1963 for zero population growth by mid-21st-century, Gaede argues, and rely on an artificial construct of money to secure the food that we need to survive, but that construct is divorced from the actual growth of resources necessary for the sort of economic system that human civilization has developed. A critical discussion ensues about the so-called "Alvarez hypothesis" that an asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs, if unprecedented economic collapse leading to the arrest of food production entails full-blown human extinction rather than simply a precipitous drop in population, the upper bounds of when human extinction might take place, and much more. Tune in for a fascinating—if sobering—discussion about the future of our own species!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on Whether Theism is Necessary for Morality

Check out this nearly 90-minute debate preparation between host Edouard Tahmizian and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau about the ways in which some apologists might argue that belief in God is necessary for morality, and how opponents might respond to those arguments. Thibodeau proposes that they first break down the issue into smaller, more digestible slices on central concerns, starting with the meaning of should/ought in the sense raised in David Hume's is/ought distinction (i.e., that one ought to do what one is morally obligated to do). Moral philosophers widely agree that its meaning has something to do with at least having reasons for acting, and more importantly for morality, having an all-things-considered reason for acting in particular instances. Thibodeau proposes starting with a simple version of a moral argument for the existence of God: that moral obligation could only exist if God existed, it does, and therefore so does God. If the argument were reasonable, then there would have to be some specific aspect of moral obligation that's difficult to account for on the assumption that God doesn't exist—but then what aspect could be proffered that has that feature? There would also have to be some way in which positing God's existence would clearly account for the existence of this feature. After recounting a list of features that Christian apologist Matt Flanagan has said are central to the concept of moral obligation (like reasons for acting being authoritative and categorical, or failing to act in a certain way being blameworthy), Thibodeau goes on to consider how any of them could be problematic on the assumption that God not exist, or how positing God's existence could even possibly explain their existence. To get a feel for the angles that a Christian apologist might try to exploit to force some sort of necessary connection between morality and religion, look no further than this multiperspectival discussion!

Interview with Bill Gaede & Jason Thibodeau on Mathematical Physics

Join Freethinker Podcast host Edouard Tahmizian in this one-and-a-quarter hour interview with Rational Science podcaster Bill Gaede and Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they explore what physical meaning, if any, can be derived from idealized mathematical physics. Gaede first outlines the difference between qualitative physics, whose three spatial dimensions (e.g., length, width, and height) are underwritten by genuine physical concepts like directions at 90° degree angles to each other, and mathematical physics, whose dimensions are underwritten purely by numerical magnitudes like the number of points necessary to locate an object within a coordinate system (e.g., latitude, longitude, and altitude). While genuine physics deals with perpendicularly defined dimensions (direction and orthogonality), mathematical physics only deals with number lines (with magnitudes) defined in relation to some locational reference point. The discussion then turns to whether it's possible for there to be additional spatial dimensions to the length, width, and height dimensions that we're all familiar with, what exists inside a black hole, whether the universe started with a Big Bang, how we should understand the nature of light and the nature of time, and much more! Check out this fascinating discussion about conceptual misunderstandings within even a hard science like physics!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on Biblical Determinism

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this over one-hour interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they deconstruct John Kearney’s defense of Adam’s accountability for the first sin (rather than God’s). Kearney’s defense centers around the idea that although Adam was not born with an ingrained disposition to sin, he nevertheless developed such a disposition when tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. For according to Kearney, God was under no obligation to create creatures for which committing sin was impossible, and indeed it would be better for them to have to earn moral righteousness by being tempted to sin and not succumb to that temptation. Kearney provides little in the way of an actual argument for this claim, and regardless, the interlocutors show that this maneuver would entail that God had actually created Adam with a positive inclination to sin, bringing us back to the question of why in the world a morally perfect God would ever do that. Check out this in-depth analysis of another failed attempt to resolve an irresolvable theological contradiction!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on 4-D Cubes

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this about 30-minute interview with returning Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they outline the fascinating properties of a 4-dimensional spatial cube, or tesseract, by first considering how a creature living in Flatland, a 2-dimensional universe consisting of only length and width, would react to an intersection with that universe by a 3rd-dimensional object or entity. With this analogy to higher-dimensional space in mind, the interlocutors consider how we 3-Drs would react to the intervention of an 4-D being into our 3-D universe. Carl Sagan had suggested that although a Flatlander would not be able to perceive the 3-dimensional height of a 3-D creature, Flatlanders might be able to perceive its 2-dimensional shadow. The discussion turns to whether or not Sagan was right about this: would a 2-D creature actually be able to perceive anything from a 3-D object or entity? If so, what would it be able to perceive? Would it even be conceptually possible for a 3-Dr to exist in a 2-D space, or for a 4-Dr to exist in a 3-D space? If not a 4th spatial dimension, what is it that massive objects curve when they curve spacetime, according to Einstein's theory of general relativity Check out this mind-blowing discussion of modality, conceivability, and possibility!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on the Moral Argument

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this half-hour follow-up interview with Cypress College philosophy professor Jason Thibodeau as they survey various moral arguments for the existence of God and explain how arguments that chief features of morality point to the divine fall flat. First, Thibodeau notes that the argument that the existence of moral value presupposes the existence of God misfires. Next, he points out out that arguments that we cannot have knowledge of (presumed nonnatural) moral properties without divine assistance simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Finally, he considers a kind of Kantian moral argument that behaving morally only makes sense if good people are rewarded and evil ones are punished in a divinely organized afterlife. Both interlocutors agree that there has to be some independent standard of goodness, otherwise anyone could just define whatever one's nature happens to be as good, no matter how harmful that nature. Thibodeau then tries to flesh out this first kind of moral argument by suggesting that the 'odd' feature of morality that it exploits is that moral obligations are in authoritative, but notes that inserting God anywhere in the discussion does not provide the needed authoritativeness of morality. Both interlocutors then go on to note the ways in which all roads lead to moral subjectivism if God taken to be the source of morality. Tune in for this wide-ranging interview on the nature of morality!

Interview with Jason Thibodeau on the Euthyphro Dilemma

Join host Edouard Tahmizian in this nearly one hour interview with Jason Thibodeau, a philosophy professor at Cypress College who's on the board of directors of Internet Infidels, about Plato's famous Euthyphro dilemma to the classic divine command theory of ethics, in which morally right actions are identified with those actions that are commanded (or otherwise approved) by God. After briefly stating a simple version of the Euthyphro dilemma and explaining its history, Thibodeau discusses the difference between (deontic) moral rightness and (axiological) moral goodness, how Robert M. Adams defended a deontic, but not axiological, kind of divine command theory, how the arbitrariness objection to divine command theory arises, and the sophisticated (but unsuccessful) attempts by Edward Wierenga and William Lane Craig to forge a middle way between the two mutually exclusive options of the traditional Euthyphro dilemma (which boil down to whether or not God has reasons for his commands). The discussion then turns to the implausibility of libertarian free will, whether a person who has no knowledge of good and evil can, in that state of ignorance, commit sin, whether a being that is admittedly causally responsible for giving human beings an inclination to sin is in any way morally responsible for their sinful behavior, and whether a being (any being) simply telling someone not to do something can ever really make a forbidden action morally wrong. Check out this wide-ranging yet deep interview!

Euthyphro Dilemma: Why There is No Third Option

William Lane Craig has frequently claimed that the Euthyphro dilemma is a false dilemma because there is a third option. In this video, I explain why Craig is wrong about this. I explain the dilemma, explain why it is a dilemma, and show that Craig's alleged third option is not an option at all.

The Euthyphro Dilemma: Matt Flannagan vs. Jason Thibodeau (Capturing Christianity)

The Euthyphro dilemma says that either God has reasons for his commands, or He doesn’t. Take the second option. God has no reasons for His commands. Well, then God’s commands are arbitrary; but morality can’t be arbitrary. Now take the first option. God has reasons for His commands. Well, then these reasons themselves are sufficient to give us moral obligations. No need for God. The Euthyphro dilemma is meant to show that grounding morality in God is misguided. Jason Thibodeau argues that the Euthyphro dilemma is sound, whereas Matt Flannagan argues that it is not.

Common Myths About Morality

In this presentation from the 2017 Cypress College World Philosophy Day event, Jason Thibodeau discusses four common myths about morality: that (1) morality depends on God; (2) morality is subjective; (3) morality is relative; and (4) morality does not fit into a material world.