Faith and traditions

Noûs 57 (3):740-759 (2023)
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One phenomenon arising in epistemic life is allegiance to, and break from, a tradition. This phenomenon has three central features. First, individuals who adhere to a tradition seem to respond dogmatically to evidence against their tradition. Second, individuals from different traditions appear to see the same evidence differently. And third, conversion from one tradition to another appears to be different in kind from ordinary belief shift. This paper uses recent work on the nature and rationality of faith to show that these features can all emerge from individuals acting rationally—in particular, from individuals rationally having faith in the core assumptions of their traditions. One upshot is that we don't need to employ the idea of incommensurability to explain these features.

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Lara Buchak
Princeton University


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