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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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Believing by Faith: A Jamesian Position

Believing by Faith: A Jamesian Position

Chapter:
(p.122) 6 Believing by Faith: A Jamesian Position
Source:
Believing by Faith
Author(s):

John Bishop (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205547.003.0006

Following James — and using his notion of a ‘genuine option’ — it is proposed that doxastic ventures are permissible provided the issue is ‘forced’, of sufficient importance, and essentially evidentially undecidable. This Jamesian fideism is supra-evidential and contrasts with irrationalist fideism. A ‘degrees of belief’ challenge is considered: practical reasoning never presents a forced choice, since propositions may be given partial belief according to the extent to which the evidence renders their truth probable. In response, it is suggested that theistic framework principles may be of highest-order, and thus present options that are forced and persistently and necessarily unable to be settled by external evidence. Pace logical positivism, such principles may nevertheless be genuinely assertoric. The chapter concludes by formulating a restricted fideist thesis about the permissibility of faith-ventures, i.e., commitments under evidential ambiguity to faith propositions of the kind involved in theistic religion and relevantly similar contexts.

Keywords:   doxastic frameworks, doxastic venture, genuine option, evidential undecidability, framework principles, irrationalist fideism, partial beliefs, practical reasoning, supra-evidential fideism, William James

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