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Knowledge, Belief, and GodNew Insights in Religious Epistemology$
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Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne, and Dani Rabinowitz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798705

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798705.001.0001

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Testimony amidst Diversity

Testimony amidst Diversity

Chapter:
(p.183) 9 Testimony amidst Diversity
Source:
Knowledge, Belief, and God
Author(s):

Max Baker-Hytch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198798705.003.0010

This chapter takes up the question of what (if anything) might be wrong with religious beliefs that are held primarily on the basis of testimony, in light of the facts of religious diversity. The chapter first considers whether religious diversity entails that a religious believer’s testimony-based beliefs are not formed in a suitably epistemically reliable manner even conditional upon the truth of her religion. After casting doubt on this thought the chapter turns to look at the idea that testimony-based beliefs are subject to defeaters in light of awareness of religious diversity, and suggests that many such beliefs are not obviously so. According to the author’s diagnosis the problem, rather, is that believers who base their religious beliefs just on testimony will be very unlikely to have reflective (that is, second-order) knowledge even if they possess first-order knowledge, and the author explains why this is a notable shortcoming.

Keywords:   epistemology of testimony, religious belief, religious diversity, reliability, knowledge

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