Faculty Profile

Steve Layman

C. Stephen Layman

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy

Email: clayman@spu.edu

Education: BA, Calvin College, 1977; PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983. At SPU 1986–2016. Emeritus since 2016.

Dr. Steve Layman taught philosophy at SPU from 1986-2016, and also served as chair of the philosophy department for much of that time. His main research interests are in philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and logic. 


God: Eight Enduring Questions

South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 2022

This book explores a wide range of philosophical issues in their connection with theism, including views of free will, ethical theories, theories of mind, naturalism, and karma-plus-reincarnation. In this clear and logical guide, C. Stephen Layman takes up eight important philosophical questions about God: Does God exist? Why does God permit evil? Why think God is good? Why is God hidden? What is God’s relationship to ethics? Is divine foreknowledge compatible with human free will? Do humans have souls? Does reincarnation provide the best explanation of suffering? Based on more than thirty years of experience in teaching undergraduates and in leading philosophical discussions related to God, Layman has arranged the text to deal with each of these eight questions in one or two chapters apiece.

Philosophical Approaches to the Atonement, Incarnation, and the Trinity

Palgrave Macmillan, 2016

This book explores the philosophical issues arising from the distinctively Christian doctrines of the atonement, incarnation, and Trinity. To many philosophers and theologians, these doctrines raise considerable philosophical quandaries. In this volume, C. Stephen Layman explores such questions as: Why do these doctrines matter? Do they make sense? Do the historically influential theories about them hold up under scrutiny? To what extent do recent contributions by philosophers (e.g., Richard Swinburne, Thomas V. Morris, Stephen T. Davis, Brian Leftow, and Peter van Inwagen) shed light on these doctrines? This philosophical investigation illuminates how religious questions can be addressed with philosophical seriousness.

Letters to Doubting Thomas: A Case for the Existence of God

Oxford University Press, 2006

Arguments for or against God's existence can be intense, complex, and disconcerting; in fact, they often raise more questions than they answer. In Letters to Doubting Thomas: A Case for the Existence of God, C. Stephen Layman offers an innovative approach to the debate--a way to organize a seeming multitude of related claims and ideas--bringing clarity to a discussion that is often mired in confusion.Letters to Doubting Thomas explores the evidence for the existence of God through an exchange of fictionalized letters between two characters--Zachary, a philosopher (and believer), and Thomas, a layperson (and doubter) who appeals to Zachary for help in sorting out his own thoughts about God. Point by point, Zachary leads Thomas through a highly readable comparison of Naturalism (the belief that there is no God and that ultimate reality is physical reality) and Theism (the idea that there is an almighty, perfectly good God). Incorporating recent developments in philosophy, each exchange of letters addresses one complex philosophical issue, breaking it down into manageable units. Topics covered include free will, religious experience, the cosmological argument, the fine-tuning design argument, the problem of evil, divine foreknowledge and human freedom, the ontological argument, the divine command theory of ethics, and a moral argument for God's existence. As the dialogue proceeds, Zachary develops a cogent, cumulative case for Theism over Naturalism, while Thomas raises critical questions all along the way.

The Power of Logic

McGraw Hill, 2005 (3rd edition); 2002 (2nd edn.); 1999 (1st edn.)

This introductory level text carries the conviction that logic is the most important course that college students take. The Power of Logic provides balanced coverage of informal logic, traditional categorical logic, and modern symbolic logic, while its companion online supplement, Logic Tutor, offers a wealth of applications for the concepts discussed. Layman's direct and accessible writing style, along with his plentiful examples and imaginative exercises, make this the best text for today's logic classes.


Please see Dr. Layman’s CV (.doc) for a list of his publications.