John Bishop's Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics PDF

By John Bishop

ISBN-10: 019920554X

ISBN-13: 9780199205547

Can or not it's justifiable to dedicate oneself 'by religion' to a spiritual declare while its fact lacks enough help from one's overall on hand facts? In Believing by way of religion, John Bishop defends a model of fideism encouraged through William James's 1896 lecture 'The Will to Believe'. via critiquing either 'isolationist' (Wittgensteinian) and Reformed epistemologies of non secular trust, Bishop argues that anybody who accepts that our publicly on hand facts is both open to theistic and naturalist/atheistic interpretations might want to shield a modest fideist place. This modest fideism is familiar with theistic dedication as related to 'doxastic enterprise' - useful dedication to propositions held to be real via 'passional' factors (causes except the popularity of facts of or for his or her truth). whereas Bishop argues that crisis concerning the justifiability of spiritual doxastic enterprise is finally ethical main issue, he accepts that faith-ventures may be morally justifiable provided that they're in accord with the right kind workout of our rational epistemic capacities. valid faith-ventures could therefore by no means be counter-evidential, and, moreover, will be made supra-evidentially basically whilst the reality of the faith-proposition involved inevitably can't be settled at the foundation of facts. Bishop extends this Jamesian account through requiring that justifiable faith-ventures must also be morally appropriate either in motivation and content material. Hard-line evidentialists, although, insist that every one spiritual faith-ventures are morally fallacious. Bishop therefore conducts a longer debate among fideists and hard-line evidentialists, arguing that neither facet can achieve setting up the irrationality of its competition. He concludes by way of suggesting that fideism could however be morally most desirable, as a much less dogmatic, extra self-accepting, even a extra loving, place than its evidentialist rival.

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Additional info for Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief

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Introduction: towards an acceptable fideism 21 evidential justification People hold the belief that p with evidential justification (= are evidentially justified in holding that p) if and only if they hold p to be true on the basis of adequate evidential support for p’s truth. evidential practice An evidential practice is a practice that accepts certain norms for judging the degree of evidential support enjoyed by a given proposition. A given evidential practice will (implicitly) specify inter alia logical norms governing the inferential transfer of evidential support, and norms specifying categories of propositions whose truth may be taken (under canonical conditions) to be non-inferentially or basically evident.

Belief is thus, I shall say, a state of holding true. Beliefs understood as ‘holdings-true’ are responsive attitudes, and, as such, are neither formed nor revised under the direct control of the will. One cannot simply ‘decide’ to believe; one cannot form any particular belief just ‘at will’. Whether this is a conceptual or merely psychological impossibility may perhaps be disputed. ⁸ The nub of his argument comes, I think, to this: to want to believe is to want to believe what is true; yet, if we did (per impossibile) have the capacity to believe directly at will, we would realize that exercising that capacity would yield the desired belief whether it was true or not, thereby frustrating our desire.

Holding true and taking to be true are connected (at least) thus: the belief-state of holding a proposition true is a disposition to take that proposition to be true, whenever salient, in one’s reasoning. Both holdings-true and takings-to-be-true may be either conscious or unconscious. Conscious holding true involves the characteristic, responsive, ‘cognitive feeling’ that the proposition concerned is true. But one may, of course, hold many propositions to be true without any such conscious feeling.

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Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief by John Bishop


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