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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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The Epistemic Justifiability of Faith‐beliefs: An Ambiguity Thesis

The Epistemic Justifiability of Faith‐beliefs: An Ambiguity Thesis

Chapter:
(p.53) 3 The Epistemic Justifiability of Faith‐beliefs: An Ambiguity Thesis
Source:
Believing by Faith
Author(s):

John Bishop (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205547.003.0003

It is initially plausible that people are morally entitled to take faith-beliefs to be true only when held on the basis of adequate evidential support. This moral evidentialism is parsed into (1) the claim that moral entitlement to a faith-belief requires epistemic entitlement, and (2) epistemic evidentialism, which holds that epistemic entitlement requires the belief to be held on the basis of adequate evidential support. Epistemic evidentialism is defended, while conceding to epistemological externalism that beliefs may have epistemic worth without being supported by evidence accessible to the believer. Despite the force of the arguments of natural theology and atheological arguments such as the Argument from Evil, it is argued that it is plausible enough that theistic beliefs are evidentially ambiguous. Any defence of theistic faith-commitment would then need to repudiate moral evidentialism and embrace some form of fideism.

Keywords:   Argument from Evil, epistemic justification, epistemological externalism, evidentialism, evidential ambiguity, moral evidentialism, natural theology

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