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Evidence and Religious Belief$
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Kelly James Clark and Raymond J. VanArragon

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199603718

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603718.001.0001

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Phenomenal Conservatism and Evidentialism in Religious Epistemology

Phenomenal Conservatism and Evidentialism in Religious Epistemology

(p.52) 4 Phenomenal Conservatism and Evidentialism in Religious Epistemology
Evidence and Religious Belief

Chris Tucker

Oxford University Press

Phenomenal conservatism, as it is discussed in this chapter, is a theory of evidence possession. It holds that if it seems to a subject that P, then the subject possesses evidence which supports P. This chapter applies phenomenal conservatism to religious belief with the aim of securing two theses. First, phenomenal conservatism is better suited than is proper functionalism to explain how a particular type of religious belief formation can lead to non-inferentially justified religious beliefs. Second, phenomenal conservatism makes evidence so easy to obtain that the truth of evidentialism wouldn’t be much of an obstacle to justified religious belief. It is natural to object that phenomenal conservatism makes evidence absurdly easy to obtain, but this objection ultimately fails.

Keywords:   phenomenal conservatism, Plantinga, proper functionalism, evidentialism, religious epistemology, seemings, evidence, Wykstra, religious experience

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