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Believing by FaithAn Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief$
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John Bishop

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199205547

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205547.001.0001

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Introduction: Towards an Acceptable Fideism

Introduction: Towards an Acceptable Fideism

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction: Towards an Acceptable Fideism
Source:
Believing by Faith
Author(s):

John Bishop (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205547.003.0001

The question whether religious beliefs can be justifiable is typically taken to be about whether they can be epistemically justified, and hence, justified on the evidence. Fideism holds that religious beliefs may be justifiable even though not held on the basis of evidence, which affords their truth adequate support. But such believing by faith initially seems unjustifiable, epistemically and perhaps also morally, even if evidentialism does not apply absolutely. This chapter introduces the central thesis of the book: a modest fideism that extends William James's ‘justification of faith’ in The Will to Believe can be defended against the hard line evidentialist rejection of religious faith-commitments. The argument begins with the metaquestion: when reflective believers come to be concerned about the justifiability of their faith-beliefs, what notion of ‘justifiability’ is at issue? The chapter concludes with an overview of the argument to come and a glossary of terms.

Keywords:   evidentialism, justifiability, reflective believers, will to believe, William James

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