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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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Arguments for Supra‐evidential Fideism

Arguments for Supra‐evidential Fideism

Chapter:
(p.174) 8 Arguments for Supra‐evidential Fideism
Source:
Believing by Faith
Author(s):

John Bishop (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205547.003.0008

This chapter considers three strategies: assimilation to cases of inter-personal trust; appeal to consequentialism (on which Pascal's Wager bears), and a ‘tu quoque’, which maintains that everyone unavoidably makes faith-ventures, including evidentialists. Yet evidentialism need not be self-undermining, since evidentialists may accept that just one faith-venture is required in order to exclude all others. The evidentialists' key factual claim is that passional doxastic inclinations cannot function as guides to truth even when the truth is essentially evidentially undecidable. This claim may be challenged by appeal to epistemological externalism, and by arguing that passionally motivated faith-ventures (compare this with in relation to evaluative beliefs) can have epistemically rational aspects. The evidentialists' key claim may perhaps be supported by the evolutionary psychology of religious beliefs — but only granted prior faith-commitment to naturalism. Since faith-venture seems to meet fideist requirements, the debate appears to end in impasse.

Keywords:   consequentialism, epistemic rationality, epistemological externalism, evaluative beliefs, evidentialism, evolutionary psychology, naturalism, Pascal's Wager, passions, trust

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