A Decision-Theoretic Analysis of Faith

Philo 5 (2):174-195 (2002)
New definitions of theism and of faith are offered that are consistent with low degrees of belief in a god. Theism and atheism are as much differences of desire as of belief. The argument depends on a new conception of knowledge. I use decision theory to reconstruct the Kantian distinction between speculative reason and practical reason, but I make the distinction in a non-Kantian way. The former, which is knowledge, is characterized in terms of an effect in probability theory---what I call diachronic bootstrapping---which distinguishes our knowledge from the corpus of beliefs that guide our actions. The latter can include theism, even when the former does not
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DOI 10.5840/philo20025211
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