Religious Epistemology and Dialectic

Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 21 (3):43-58 (2019)
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Abstract

Much recent discussion of the epistemology of religious belief has focused on justification of belief in the existence of God. Religious belief, however, includes much more than belief in God. In this paper, it is argued that the justification of belief in God is best seen in the context of other interrelated religious beliefs and practices. Philosophers of religion argue about whether religious belief requires evidence and on the sorts of arguments that have been presented. In this paper, a dialectical approach to the justification of religious belief is suggested that draws upon Hegel, Peirce, and W. E. Hocking. Rational reflection on the nature of experience that provides the solution to the problems of skepticism and solipsism in the Hegelian tradition, a tradition self-consciously developed by both Peirce and Hocking. If reason itself is only manifest in social exchanges, then the rationality of religious belief cannot be a private affair restricted to the subject of experience; rather it is the process of communicative interactions in accord with the overlapping norms of those who participate in them. Finally, some implications of this approach for the problem of religious diversity are sketched. * Professor of Philosophy, The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qom, Iran

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Muhammad Legenhausen
The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute

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