Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief

Philosophical Review 118 (2):250-253 (2009)
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Preface ix Acknowledgements xi 1 Introduction: towards an acceptable fideism 1 The metaquestion: what is the issue about the ‘justifiability’ of religious belief? 4 Faith-beliefs 6 Overview of the argument 8 Glossary of special terms 18 2 The ‘justifiability’ of faith-beliefs: an ultimately moral issue 26 A standard view: the concern is for epistemic justifiability 26 The problem of doxastic control 28 The impossibility of believing at will 29 Indirect control over beliefs 30 ‘Holding true’ and ‘taking to be true’ 33 A second—direct—locus of doxastic control 35 Moral doxastic responsibilities 41 The moral significance of faith-beliefs 47 Linking moral to epistemic justifiability: reinstating the standard view? 48 3 The epistemic justifiability of faith-beliefs: an ambiguity thesis 53 Plausibility of requiring epistemic for moral justifiability under a realist interpretation of faith-beliefs 53 Interpreting the link principle: epistemic entitlement as requiring evidential justification 55 Evidentialist requirements specified by an implicit evidential practice 65 Rational empiricist evidential practice 66 Applying rational empiricist evidential practice to theistic faith-beliefs: an ambiguity thesis 68 vi contents 4 Responses to evidential ambiguity: isolationist and Reformed epistemologies 77 Two strategies for defending the moral probity of theistic faith-belief in the face of evidential ambiguity 78 Appealing to a special theistic evidential practice/improved epistemologies 79 An isolationist epistemology 79 Reformed epistemology 86 Conclusion: the need for a fideist response to ambiguity 99 5 Faith as doxastic venture 101 Agenda for a defence of doxastic venture 102 The nature of theistic faith 103 The doxastic venture model 106 The psychological possibility of doxastic venture 111 A Jamesian account 112 ‘Passionally’ caused beliefs 113 6 Believing by faith: a Jamesian position 122 An initial hypothesis for a Jamesian thesis on permissible doxastic venture 123 The notion of a ‘genuine option’ 125 A ‘degrees of belief ’ challenge 128 Evidentially undecidable forced options 129 Permissible doxastic venture: supra- not counter-evidential 135 How theistic religion could present essentially evidentially undecidable genuine options: the notion of a highest-order framing principle 137 Restricting thesis ( Ji) to faith-propositions: thesis ( J) 145 7 Integrationist values: limiting permissible doxastic venture 151 Can counter-evidential fideism be non-arbitrarily excluded? 151 A coherence requirement and integrationist values 155 Moral integration of faith-commitments 163 Implications for reflective faith-believers 167 Coda: A reflection on Abraham as forebear in faith 170 contents vii 8 Arguments for supra-evidential fideism 174 The importance of defending the epistemic permissibility of faith-ventures 176 Strategies for supporting fideism 178 An ‘assimilation to personal relations cases’ strategy: experimental ventures in interpersonal trust 180 The ‘assimilation to personal relations cases’ strategy: cases where ‘faith in a fact can help create a fact’ 182 A consequentialist strategy 185 A note on Pascal’s Wager 187 The tu quoque strategy 189 Is hard-line evidentialism self-undermining? 190 Attitudes to passional doxastic inclinations 194 Epistemological externalism again: a presumption in favour of fideism? 196 Scepticism about passional doxastic inclinations as guides to truth: how passions may be schooled 197 The significance of scientific theories of passional motivations for faith-commitment 204 An impasse? 206 9 A moral preference for modest fideism? 208 Implications of accepting ( J+) for orthodox and revisionary theistic faith-ventures 209 The apparent fideist/evidentialist impasse and its implications 211 Beyond impasse? Direct moral evaluation of the fideist/evidentialist debate 215 Self-acceptance and authenticity 216 Hard-line evidentialism as grounded in doctrinaire naturalism 220 Coherence amongst moral and religious passional commitments 225 Conclusion 227 Bibliography 230 Index 237



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Does conceivability entail possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
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On The Plurality of Worlds.Graeme Forbes - 1988 - Philosophical Quarterly 38 (151):222-240.

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