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Can it be Rational to have Faith?

In Jake Chandler & Victoria Harrison (eds.), Probability in the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 225 (2012)

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  1. Faith, Belief, and Control.Lindsay Rettler - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):95-109.
    In this paper, I solve a puzzle generated by three conflicting claims about the relationship between faith, belief, and control: according to the Identity Thesis, faith is a type of belief, and according to Fideistic Voluntarism, we sometimes have control over whether or not we have faith, but according to Doxastic Involuntarism, we never have control over what we believe. To solve the puzzle, I argue that the Identity Thesis is true, but that either Fideistic Voluntarism or Doxastic Voluntarism is (...)
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  • The Non-Remedial Value of Dependence on Moral Testimony.Paddy Jane McShane - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):629-647.
    In this paper I defend dependence on moral testimony. I show how going defenses of dependence on moral testimony have portrayed it as second-best by centering on how and why it is an important means to overcoming our defects. I argue that once we consider the pervasiveness of moral testimony in the context of intimate relationships, we can see that the value of dependence on moral testimony goes beyond this: it is not only our flaws and limitations that justify our (...)
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  • Belief, Credence, and Faith.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Religious Studies 55 (2):153-168.
    In this article, I argue that faith’s going beyond the evidence need not compromise faith’s epistemic rationality. First, I explain how some of the recent literature on belief and credence points to a distinction between what I call B-evidence and C-evidence. Then, I apply this distinction to rational faith. I argue that if faith is more sensitive to B-evidence than to C-evidence, faith can go beyond the evidence and still be epistemically rational.
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  • Diachronic Dutch Books and Evidential Import.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):49-80.
    A handful of well-known arguments (the 'diachronic Dutch book arguments') rely upon theorems establishing that, in certain circumstances, you are immune from sure monetary loss (you are not 'diachronically Dutch bookable') if and only if you adopt the strategy of conditionalizing (or Jeffrey conditionalizing) on whatever evidence you happen to receive. These theorems require non-trivial assumptions about which evidence you might acquire---in the case of conditionalization, the assumption is that, if you might learn that e, then it is not the (...)
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  • The Moral and Evidential Requirements of Faith.Finlay Malcolm - forthcoming - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
    What is the relationship between faith and evidence? It is often claimed that faith requires going beyond evidence. In this paper, I reject this claim by showing how the moral demands to have faith warrant a person in maintaining faith in the face of counter-evidence, and by showing how the moral demands to have faith, and the moral constraints of evidentialism, are in clear tension with going beyond evidence. In arguing for these views, I develop a taxonomy of different ways (...)
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  • Authentic Faith and Acknowledged Risk: Dissolving the Problem of Faith and Reason.Daniel J. Mckaughan - 2013 - Religious Studies 49 (1):101-124.
    One challenge to the rationality of religious commitment has it that faith is unreasonable because it involves believing on insufficient evidence. However, this challenge and influential attempts to reply depend on assumptions about what it is to have faith that are open to question. I distinguish between three conceptions of faith each of which can claim some plausible grounding in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Questions about the rationality or justification of religious commitment and the extent of compatibility with doubt look different (...)
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  • Faith and Epistemology.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2018 - Episteme:1-20.
    I offer an epistemic framework for theorising about faith. I suggest that epistemic faith is a disposition to believe or infer according to particular methods, despite a kind of tendency to perceive an epistemic shortcoming in that method. Faith is unjustified, and issues into unjustified beliefs, when the apparent epistemic shortcomings are actual; it is justified when the epistemic worries are unfounded. -/- Virtuous faith is central to a great deal of epistemology. A rational agent will manifest faith in their (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Religion.Martin Smith - 2014 - Analysis 74 (1):135-147.
    The epistemology of religion is the branch of epistemology concerned with the rationality, the justificatory status and the knowledge status of religious beliefs – most often the belief in the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and loving God as conceived by the major monotheistic religions. While other sorts of religious beliefs – such as belief in an afterlife or in disembodied spirits or in the occurrence of miracles – have also been the focus of considerable attention from epistemologists, I shall (...)
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  • Faith, Belief and Fictionalism.Finlay Malcolm & Michael Scott - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):257-274.
    Is propositional religious faith constituted by belief? Recent debate has focussed on whether faith may be constituted by a positive non-doxastic cognitive state, which can stand in place of belief. This paper sets out and defends the doxastic theory. We consider and reject three arguments commonly used in favour of non-doxastic theories of faith: (1) the argument from religious doubt; (2) the use of ‘faith’ in linguistic utterances; and (3) the possibility of pragmatic faith. We argue that belief is required (...)
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  • Markan Faith.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (1-2):31-60.
    According to many accounts of faith—where faith is thought of as something psychological, e.g., an attitude, state, or trait—one cannot have faith without belief of the relevant propositions. According to other accounts of faith, one can have faith without belief of the relevant propositions. Call the first sort of account doxasticism since it insists that faith requires belief; call the second nondoxasticism since it allows faith without belief. The New Testament may seem to favor doxasticism over nondoxasticism. For it may (...)
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  • Action-Centered Faith, Doubt, and Rationality.Daniel J. McKaughan - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Research 41:71-90.
    Popular discussions of faith often assume that having faith is a form of believing on insufficient evidence and that having faith is therefore in some way rationally defective. Here I offer a characterization of action-centered faith and show that action-centered faith can be both epistemically and practically rational even under a wide variety of subpar evidential circumstances.
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  • Know How and Acts of Faith.Paulina Sliwa - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 246-263.
    My topic in this paper is the nature of faith. Much of the discussion concerning the nature of faith proceeds by focussing on the relationship between faith and belief. In this paper, I explore a different approach. I suggest that we approach the question of what faith involves by focussing on the relationship between faith and action. When we have faith, we generally manifest it in how we act; we perform acts of faith: we share our secrets, rely on other’s (...)
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  • On the Socratic Injunction to Follow the Argument Where It Leads.Jason Marsh - 2017 - In Paul Draper & J. L. Schellenberg (eds.), Renewing Philosophy of Religion: Exploratory Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 187-207.
    This chapter examines a common objection to the philosophy of religion, namely, that it has not sufficiently embraced the injunction of Socrates to follow the argument where it leads. Although a general version of this charge is unfair, one emerging view in the field, which I call religious Mooreanism, nonetheless risks running contrary to the Socratic injunction. According to this view, many people can quickly, easily, and reasonably deflect all known philosophical challenges to their core religious outlooks, including arguments from (...)
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  • Analysis of Faith.Bradley Rettler - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12517.
    In recent years, many philosophers of religion have turned their attention to the topic of faith. Given the ubiquity of the word “faith” both in and out of religious contexts, many of them have chosen to begin their forays by offering an analysis of faith. But it seems that there are many kinds of faith: religious faith, non‐religious faith, interpersonal faith, and propositional faith, to name a few. In this article, I discuss analyses of faith that have been offered and (...)
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  • Equal Opportunity and Newcomb’s Problem.Ian Wells - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):429-457.
    The 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument for one-boxing in Newcomb's problem allegedly vindicates evidential decision theory and undermines causal decision theory. But there is a good response to the argument on behalf of causal decision theory. I develop this response. Then I pose a new problem and use it to give a new 'Why ain'cha rich?' argument. Unlike the old argument, the new argument targets evidential decision theory. And unlike the old argument, the new argument is sound.
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  • Can Fictionalists Have Faith? It All Depends.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2019 - Religious Studies 55:1-22.
    Can fictionalists have faith? It all depends on how we disambiguate ‘fictionalists’ and on what faith is. I consider the matter in light of my own theory. After clarifying its central terms, I distinguish two fictionalists – atheistic and agnostic – and I argue that, even though no atheistic fictionalist can have faith on my theory, agnostic fictionalists arguably can. After rejecting Finlay Malcolm's reasons for thinking this is a problem, I use his paradigmatic agnostic fictionalist as a foil to (...)
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  • Faith and Steadfastness in the Face of Counter-Evidence.Lara Buchak - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (1-2):113-133.
    It is sometimes said that faith is recalcitrant in the face of new evidence, but it is puzzling how such recalcitrance could be rational or laudable. I explain this aspect of faith and why faith is not only rational, but in addition serves an important purpose in human life. Because faith requires maintaining a commitment to act on the claim one has faith in, even in the face of counter-evidence, faith allows us to carry out long-term, risky projects that we (...)
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  • Can Fictionalists Have Faith?Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (2):215-232.
    According to non-doxastic theories of propositional faith, belief that p is not necessary for faith that p. Rather, propositional faith merely requires a ‘positive cognitive attitude’. This broad condition, however, can be satisfied by several pragmatic approaches to a domain, including fictionalism. This paper shows precisely how fictionalists can have faith given non-doxastic theory, and explains why this is problematic. It then explores one means of separating the two theories, in virtue of the fact that the truth of the propositions (...)
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  • Belief and Credence: A Defense of Dualism.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    Belief is a familiar attitude: taking something to be the case or regarding it as true. But we are more confident in some of our beliefs than in others. For this reason, many epistemologists appeal to a second attitude, called credence, similar to a degree of confidence. This raises the question: how do belief and credence relate to each other? On a belief-first view, beliefs are more fundamental and credences are a species of beliefs, e.g. beliefs about probabilities. On a (...)
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  • The Most Agreeable of All Vices: Nietzsche as Virtue Epistemologist.Mark Alfano - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):767-790.
    It’s been argued with some justice by commentators from Walter Kaufmann to Thomas Hurka that Nietzsche’s positive ethical position is best understood as a variety of virtue theory – in particular, as a brand of perfectionism. For Nietzsche, value flows from character. Less attention has been paid, however, to the details of the virtues he identifies for himself and his type. This neglect, along with Nietzsche’s frequent irony and non-standard usage, has obscured the fact that almost all the virtues he (...)
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  • Religious Fictionalism.Michael Scott & Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (3):1-11.
    Religious fictionalism is the theory that it is morally and intellectually legitimate to affirm religious sentences and to engage in public and private religious practices, without believing the content of religious claims. This article discusses the main features of fictionalism, contrasts hermeneutic, and revolutionary kinds of fictionalism and explores possible historical and recent examples of religious fictionalism. Such examples are found in recent theories of faith, pragmatic approaches to religion, and mystical traditions in religious theology.
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  • Does Hope Morally Vindicate Faith?Anne Jeffrey - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (1-2):193-211.
    Much attention in philosophy of religion has been devoted to the question of whether faith is epistemically rational. But is it morally and practically permissible? This paper explores a response to a family of arguments that Christian faith is morally impermissible or practically irrational, even if epistemically justified. After articulating the arguments, I consider how they would fare if they took seriously the traditional notion that genuine faith is always accompanied by Christian hope. I show how the norms of hope (...)
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  • Affective Theism and People of Faith.Jonathan L. Kvanvig - 2013 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 37 (1):109-128.
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  • The Rationality of Faith and the Benefits of Religion.Brian Ballard - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (1-2):213-227.
    Religions don’t simply make claims about the world; they also offer existential resources, resources for dealing with basic human problems, such as the need for meaning, love, identity, and personal growth. For instance, a Buddhist’s resources for addressing these existential needs are different than a Christian’s. Now, imagine someone who is agnostic but who is deciding whether to put faith in religion A or religion B. Suppose she thinks A and B are evidentially on par, but she regards A as (...)
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