On Cognitive Validity of Religious Experience

Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 9 (1):7-22 (1970)
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Does the alleged religious experience of a mystic constitute a reliable source of knowledge about the object of his or her experience? Or does it rationally justify a move from such experience to meaningful beliefs about God or the Absolute which is supposed to be the object of that experience? And are religious beliefs in need of being grounded in religious experience in order to be rationally justified? Although it seems pretty obvious that a great many adherents of all religions find reasons for their beliefs in their religious traditions rather than in their personal religious experiences, one could note that usually these traditions present religious experiences of their founder figures as constituting evidence for their authenticity and truthfulness ; the supposed mystical experiences of some adherents of a given religious tradition are often treated by their co-believers as an important evidence which increases credibility of their own religious convictions.



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Janusz Salamon
Charles University, Prague

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