David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 76:89-101 (2002)
In this paper, I will analyze Charles S. Peirce’s “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God.” I want to argue for two conclusions: 1) that Peirce’s conception of spontaneous conjectures of instinctive reason allows for a rationally justified belief in the reality of God; and 2) that this belief is not the result of a sound argument or even a complete argument and thus is not a secure belief. This paper is divided into three parts. First, I will explain some Peircean philosophical notions that are essential background information for a genuine understanding of the neglected argument. Second, I will present a sketch of Peirce’s three stages of inquiry and explain each stage’s relevance to the neglected argument. Finally, I will analyze Peirce’s first stage of inquiry, also known as the humble argument for the reality of God, and show how this incomplete argument can provide a rationally justified belief in the reality of God
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