Rational Fundamentalism? An Explanatory Model of Fundamentalist Beliefs

Episteme 4 (2):150-166 (2007)
Abstract The article sketches a theoretical model which explains how it is possible that fundamentalist beliefs can emerge as a result of an individual rational adaptation to the context of special living conditions. The model is based on the insight that most of our knowledge is acquired by trusting the testimony of some kind of authority. If a social group is characterized by a high degree of mistrust towards the outer society or other groups, then the members of this group will rely solely on the authorities of their own group for their acquisition of knowledge. In this way they can adopt a corpus of beliefs which may seem absurd from an external point of view. However, they may be locked in a “fundamentalist equilibrium” in which particularistic trust, common sense plausibility, epistemic seclusion, social isolation and fundamentalist beliefs are mutually reinforcing - and in which individuals who adopt the “fundamentalist truths” of their group do not behave more irrationally than individuals in an open society who accept the “enlightened” worldview of their culture
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3366/epi.2007.4.2.150
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,974
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Elizabeth Fricker (1994). Against Gullibility. In A. Chakrabarti & B. K. Matilal (eds.), Knowing from Words. Kluwer
Alvin I. Goldman (2001). Experts: Which Ones Should You Trust? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):85-110.
Keith Lehrer (1994). Testimony and Coherence. In A. Chakrabarti & B. K. Matilal (eds.), Knowing From Words. Kluwer

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

16 ( #164,320 of 1,725,863 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #210,647 of 1,725,863 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.