"In Abundance of Counsellors there Is Victory": Reasoning about Public Policy from a Religious Worldview

In Peter Jonkers Wiertz & Oliver J. (eds.), Religious Truth and Identity in an Age of Plurality. New York City, New York, Vereinigte Staaten: pp. 162-181 (2020)
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Some religious communities argue that public policy is best decided by their own members, on the grounds that collaborating with those reasoning from secular or “worldly” perspectives will only foment error about how society should be run. But I argue that epistemology instead recommends fostering disagreement among a plurality of religious and secular worldviews. Inter-worldview disagreement over public policy can challenge our unquestioned assumptions, deliver evidence we would likely have missed, and expose us to new epistemic alternatives; when done respectfully, it can also combat epistemically problematic biases and groupthink. I address two objections that members of a politically active religious community might raise: one that inter-worldview disagreement about public policy is not needed because one’s own beliefs are already true, and another that it is not needed because one’s own beliefforming processes are divinely guided.

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Katherine Dormandy
University of Innsbruck


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