The rationality of science and the rationality of faith

Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):19-42 (2001)
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Why is science so rare and faith so common in human history? Traditional cultures persist because it is subjectively rational for each maturing child to defer to the unanimous beliefs of his elders, regardless of any personal doubts. Science is possible only when individuals promote new theories (which will probably be proven false) and forgo the epistemic advantages of accepting established views (which are more likely to be true). Hence, progressive science must rely upon the epistemic altruism of experimental thinkers, while traditions of faith depend on the epistemic self-interest of their followers.

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Ted Everett
State University of New York at Geneseo


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