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

By John Bishop

Can it's justifiable to dedicate oneself 'by religion' to a non secular declare whilst its fact lacks sufficient help from one's overall on hand proof? In Believing via religion, John Bishop defends a model of fideism encouraged by means of William James's 1896 lecture 'The Will to Believe'. by way of critiquing either 'isolationist' (Wittgensteinian) and Reformed epistemologies of non secular trust, Bishop argues that any one 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 aware theistic dedication as regarding 'doxastic enterprise' - useful dedication to propositions held to be precise via 'passional' motives (causes except the popularity of facts of or for his or her truth). whereas Bishop argues that main issue concerning the justifiability of non secular doxastic enterprise is eventually ethical predicament, he accepts that faith-ventures should be morally justifiable provided that they're in accord with the right kind workout of our rational epistemic capacities. valid faith-ventures may possibly therefore by no means be counter-evidential, and, additionally, should be made supra-evidentially purely while the reality of the faith-proposition involved unavoidably can't be settled at the foundation of proof. Bishop extends this Jamesian account through requiring that justifiable faith-ventures must also be morally applicable either in motivation and content material. Hard-line evidentialists, despite the fact that, insist that every one spiritual faith-ventures are morally mistaken. Bishop hence conducts a longer debate among fideists and hard-line evidentialists, arguing that neither aspect can achieve setting up the irrationality of its competition. He concludes by means of suggesting that fideism could however be morally finest, 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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According to this standard view, then, our responsibilities on questions of faith amount just to an application of our doxastic responsibilities generally: we should, that is, seek out, attend to, and assess relevant evidence in such a way that the faith-beliefs we thereby form have the kind of evidential support that confers epistemic justification. In exercising our doxastic responsibilities, we need to respect the virtues and norms of critical rational inquiry that govern attempts to settle the truth on the basis of argument and evidence—and it is, of course, a major project to determine exactly what these norms and virtues are.

In considering this possibility, I shall do no more than canvas some moral considerations that appear to favour the fideist side—including the suggestion that evidentialists lack self-acceptance and that they are too dogmatically attached to a naturalist world-view (even to the extent of failing thereby in love towards others). I will also suggest that an evidentialist prohibition on those religious faith-ventures whose content affirms that the world is a moral order in which the pursuit of the good is not ultimately pointless will sit uncomfortably with any acknowledgment that basic moral truth-claims can themselves be accepted only through passionally motivated doxastic venture.

When, for example, people reject traditional Christian beliefs as ‘unjustifiable’, yet hope to retain a revised core of Christian belief to which they may be ‘justifiably’ committed, what notion or notions of justifiability matter to them? And how does such concern arise? Is this a kind of concern that people ought to have about their various religious (and similar) faith-beliefs, and, if so, why? A standard view: the concern is for epistemic justifiability I begin with a standard answer to the metaquestions just raised: I will then explain how I believe this standard answer needs to be reassessed.

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