About this topic
Summary This category is about probabilistic issues that arise in philosophical examinations of religion. Examples include Pascal's wager, the fining tuning argument, Hume's argument against miracles, and the evidential problem of evil. Another topic of recent interest is the relationship between credences (i.e. subjective probabilities) and faith, religious disagreement, and other topics in religious epistemology. 
Key works Chandler & Harrison 2012 is collection of key articles on this topic.
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66 found
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Probability in the Philosophy of Religion, Misc
  1. Divine Hiddenness and Other Evidence.Charity Anderson & Jeffrey Sanford Russell - forthcoming - In Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.
    Many people do not know or believe there is a God, and many experience a sense of divine absence. Are these (and other) “divine hiddenness” facts evidence against the existence of God? Using Bayesian tools, we investigate *evidential arguments from divine hiddenness*, and respond to two objections to such arguments. The first objection says that the problem of hiddenness is just a special case of the problem of evil, and so if one has responded to the problem of evil then (...)
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  2. The Intrinsic Probability of Grand Explanatory Theories.Ted Poston - 2020 - Faith and Philosophy 37 (4):401-420.
    This paper articulates a way to ground a relatively high prior probability for grand explanatory theories apart from an appeal to simplicity. I explore the possibility of enumerating the space of plausible grand theories of the universe by using the explanatory properties of possible views to limit the number of plausible theories. I motivate this alternative grounding by showing that Swinburne’s appeal to simplicity is problematic along several dimensions. I then argue that there are three plausible grand views—theism, atheism, and (...)
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  3. On the Plausibility of the Papacy: Scaling the Walls of Contemporary Criticisms.Joseph E. Blado - 2019 - Heythrop Journal.
    Recently, there has been a resurgence of scholarly criticisms regarding the plausibility of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Papacy. Broadly speaking, these problems include scholarly criticisms of the scriptural passages which Roman Catholic theologians claim support the papacy, historical discrepancies regarding apostolic succession from the Apostle Peter, and a priori intuitions about the moral nature of those who attain Papal Status. In this paper, I respond to these objections by utilizing Swinburne’s C-inductive strategy (Bayesian Confirmation Theory) – found in (...)
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  4. Mark C. Murphy, God’s Own Ethics: Norms of Divine Agency and the Argument From Evil. [REVIEW]Nevin Climenhaga - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5):587-590.
  5. In Algorithms We Trust: Magical Thinking, Superintelligent Ai and Quantum Computing.Nathan Schradle - 2020 - Zygon 55 (3):733-747.
  6. Rahner’s “Liturgy of the World” as Hermeneutics of Another World That Is Possible.David A. Stosur - 2019 - Philosophy and Theology 31 (1):199-222.
    This article explores Karl Rahner’s conception of the “Liturgy of the World” in light of the theme for the 2019 Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America, “Another World is Possible: Violence, Resistance and Transformation.” Employing Rahner’s hermeneutics of worship, violence can be conceived as a denial of this cosmic liturgy, transformation as conversion to it, and resistance as the stance opposing the denial. Resistance entails solidarity with all humanity in liturgical participation and in action for social justice. (...)
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  7. Classical theism and the multiverse.Katherin A. Rogers - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 88 (1):23-39.
    Some analytic philosophers of religion argue that theists should embrace the hypothesis of the multiverse to address the problem of evil and make the concept of a “best possible creation” plausible. I discuss what classical theists, such as Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas, might make of the multiverse hypothesis including issues such as: the principle of plenitude, what a classical theist multiverse could look like, and how a classical theist multiverse could deal with the problem of evil and the question of (...)
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  8. Quantum Psychoid Freewill ? Excerpt By.Donato Santarcangelo - 2014 - Milano MI, Italia: By: T. Cantalupi, D. Santarcangelo, Psiche e Realtà - Tecniche Nuove.
    What we've considered so far about the epistemology of human sciences comes up again as to the concept of "destiny''and human free will: who "must" tell us if we are destined or not? Either Neuroscientists or sociologists? Either Philosophers or biochemists? Has psychology anything to say? Do we need a pool to gather them all? Many other questions come up: what determines us and how much? ls there any sense in talking about destiny? We are a complex system and our (...)
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  9. The Implausibility and Low Explanatory Power of the Resurrection Hypothesis—With a Rejoinder to Stephen T. Davis.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2020 - Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 2 (1):37-94.
    We respond to Stephen T. Davis’ criticism of our earlier essay, “Assessing the Resurrection Hypothesis.” We argue that the Standard Model of physics is relevant and decisive in establishing the implausibility and low explanatory power of the Resurrection hypothesis. We also argue that the laws of physics have entailments regarding God and the supernatural and, against Alvin Plantinga, that these same laws lack the proviso “no agent supernaturally interferes.” Finally, we offer Bayesian arguments for the Legend hypothesis and against the (...)
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  10. The Open Theistic Multiverse.Timothy Blank - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (2):429-441.
    Recently, some analytic philosophers of religion have argued that if God exists, it is likely that He would create a multitude of universes. This view is called the Theistic Multiverse. More specifically, the view claims that each possible universe has an axiological status and all and only those universes above an objective axiological threshold are created by God and included in the Theistic Multiverse. I point out that in this model of divine creation there is the implicit assumption that Molinism (...)
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  11. Is the God Hypothesis Improbable? A Response to Dawkins.Logan Paul Gage - 2020 - In Kevin Vallier & Joshua Rasmussen (eds.), A New Theist Response to the New Atheists. New York: Routledge. pp. 59-76.
    In this chapter, Logan Paul Gage examines the only real attempt to disprove God’s existence by a New Atheist: Richard Dawkins’s “Ultimate 747 Gambit.” Central to Dawkins’s argument is the claim that God is more complex than what he is invoked to explain. Gage evaluates this claim using the main extant notions of simplicity in the literature. Gage concludes that on no reading does this claim survive scrutiny. Along the way, Dawkins claims that there are no good positive arguments for (...)
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  12. Piotr Warzoszczak. Fikcjonalizm Modalny [Modal Fictionalism]. [REVIEW]Jakub Pruś - 2018 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 23 (2):352-355.
  13. Skeptical Theism and Morriston’s Humean Argument From Evil.Timothy Perrine - 2019 - Sophia 58 (2):115-135.
    There’s a growing sense among philosophers of religion that Humean arguments from evil are some of the most formidable arguments against theism, and skeptical theism fails to undermine those arguments because they fail to make the inferences skeptical theists criticize. In line with this trend, Wes Morriston has recently formulated a Humean argument from evil, and his chief defense of it is that skeptical theism is irrelevant to it. Here I argue that skeptical theism is relevant to Humean arguments. To (...)
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  14. Mary and Fátima: A Modest C-Inductive Argument for Catholicism.Tyler Dalton Mcnabb & Joseph E. Blado - 2020 - Perichoresis 18 (5):55-65.
    C-Inductive arguments are arguments that increase the probability of a hypothesis. This can be contrasted with what is called a P-Inductive argument. A P-inductive argument is an argument that shows the overall probability of a hypothesis to be more probable than not. In this paper, we put forth a C-inductive argument for the truth of the Catholic hypothesis (CH). Roughly, we take CH to be the hypothesis that the core creedal beliefs found within the Catholic Tradition are true. Specifically, we (...)
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  15. Assessing the Resurrection Hypothesis: Problems with Craig's Inference to the Best Explanation.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):205-228.
    The hypothesis that God supernaturally raised Jesus from the dead is argued by William Lane Craig to be the best explanation for the empty tomb and postmortem appearances of Jesus because it satisfies seven criteria of adequacy better than rival naturalistic hypotheses. We identify problems with Craig’s criteria-based approach and show, most significantly, that the Resurrection hypothesis fails to fulfill any but the first of his criteria—especially explanatory scope and plausibility.
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  16. Salvaging Pascal’s Wager.Elizabeth Jackson & Andrew Rogers - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):59-84.
    Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning succeeds, giving us a (...)
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  17. God and the Bayesian Conception of Evidence.David Manley - forthcoming - Religious Studies.
    Contemporary arguments for and against the existence of God are often formulated within a broadly Bayesian framework. Arguments of this sort focus on a specific feature of the world that is taken to provide probabilistic evidence for or against the existence of God: the existence of life in a ‘fine-tuned’ universe, the magnitude of suffering, divine hiddenness, etc. In each case, the idea is that things were more likely to be this way if God existed than if God did not (...)
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  18. What Are the Odds That Everyone is Depraved?Scott Hill - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (3):299-308.
    Why does God allow evil? One hypothesis is that God desires the existence and activity of free creatures but He was unable to create a world with such creatures and such activity without also allowing evil. If Molinism is true, what probability should be assigned to this hypothesis? Some philosophers claim that a low probability should be assigned because there are an infinite number of possible people and because we have no reason to suppose that such creatures will choose one (...)
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  19. Of Generic Gods and Generic Men: The Limits of Armchair Philosophy of Religion.Lydia McGrew - 2018 - Journal of Analytic Theology 6:183-203.
    Thomas Crisp has attempted to revive something akin to Alvin Plantinga’s Principle of Dwindling Probabilities to argue that the historical case for the resurrection of Jesus does not make the posterior probability of the resurrection very high. I argue that Crisp’s argument fails because he is attempting to evaluate a concrete argument in an a priori manner. I show that the same moves he uses would be absurd in other contexts, as applied both to our acquaintance with human beings and (...)
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  20. Belief, Credence, and Faith.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Religious Studies 55 (2):153-168.
    In this article, I argue that faith’s going beyond the evidence need not compromise faith’s epistemic rationality. First, I explain how some of the recent literature on belief and credence points to a distinction between what I call B-evidence and C-evidence. Then, I apply this distinction to rational faith. I argue that if faith is more sensitive to B-evidence than to C-evidence, faith can go beyond the evidence and still be epistemically rational.
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  21. "Utilité de la théologie naturelle pour la connaissance de Dieu aujourd’hui" [Usefulness of Natural Theology for God's Knowledge Today].Philippe Gagnon - 2017 - Connaître : Cahiers de l'Association Foi Et Culture Scientifique (48):83-92.
    In this public debate with Philippe Deterre (research director in immunology at the CNRS) – held at l'Enclos Rey in Paris' 15th district during the biennial Conference of the Réseau Blaise Pascal in March 2017 –, I defended the usefulness of natural theology. I first clarify theology's nature and understanding, then I speak about a tradition that upheld the public and exterior knowledge of God, and make an effort to show the presence of a theme reminiscent of natural theology behind (...)
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  22. Divine Hiddenness: Defeated Evidence.Charity Anderson - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 81:119-132.
    This paper challenges a common assumption in the literature concerning the problem of divine hiddenness, namely, that the following are inconsistent: God's making available adequate evidence for belief that he exists and the existence of non-culpable nonbelievers. It draws on the notions of defeated evidence and glimpses to depict the complexity of our evidential situation with respect to God's existence.
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  23. Fine-Tuning Fine-Tuning.John Hawthorne & Yoaav Isaacs - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 136-168.
  24. A Theological Critique of the Fine-Tuning Argument.Hans Halvorson - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 122-135.
    According to the premises of the fine-tuning argument, most nomologically possible universes lack intelligent life; and the fact that ours has intelligent life is best explained by supposing it was created. However, if our universe was created, then the creator chose the laws of nature, and hence chose in favor of lifeless universes. In other words, the fine-tuning argument shows that God prefers universes without intelligent life; and the fact that our universe has intelligent life provides no new evidence for (...)
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  25. What Can God Explain?: Gerard J. Hughes.Gerard J. Hughes - 2011 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 68:51-65.
    In this paper, I shall be arguing for what I hope is a modern version of a very traditional view, which is that God can explain two very basic phenomena: the first is the existence of the universe as we know it: the second is the particular way in which the universe is organised. I shall also, though briefly, try to counter the view that the totally unwelcome features of our universe make it impossible to reconcile the universe as it (...)
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  26. God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science. [REVIEW]David A. Pailin - 2004 - Religious Studies 40 (3):386-388.
  27. Mellor's ‘Bridge–Hand’ Argument: B. L. HEBBLETHWAITE.B. L. Hebblethwaite - 1986 - Religious Studies 22 (3-4):473-479.
    In his article ‘God and Probability’, 1 Hugh Mellor introduced the notion of the ‘bridge-hand fallacy’, allegedly committed by those who think they can appeal to probabilities in arguments for design. I should like to give this notion another airing, partly because of its recent criticism in two interesting books - R. G. Swinburne' The Existence of God and D. J. Bartholomew's God of Chance - and partly because it seems worth asking how it fares in relation to the most (...)
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  28. Is Hume Really a Reductivist?Michael Welbourne - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (2):407-423.
    Coady misrepresents Hume as a reductivist about testimony. Hume occasionally writes carelessly as if what goes for beliefs based on induction will also go for beliefs obtained from testimony. But, in fact, he has no theory of testimony at all, though in his more considered remarks he rightly thinks, as does Reid, that the natural response to a bit of testimony is simply to accept the information which it contains. The sense in which we owe the beliefs we get from (...)
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  29. Evidence, Miracles, and the Existence of Jesus: Comments on Stephen Law.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2014 - Faith and Philosophy 31 (2):204-216.
    We use Bayesian tools to assess Law’s skeptical argument against the historicity of Jesus. We clarify and endorse his sub-argument for the conclusion that there is good reason to be skeptical about the miracle claims of the New Testament. However, we dispute Law’s contamination principle that he claims entails that we should be skeptical about the existence of Jesus. There are problems with Law’s defense of his principle, and we show, more importantly, that it is not supported by Bayesian considerations. (...)
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  30. Hume and Newton: The Philosophical Discussion of a Scientific Paradigm.Jaime de Salas - 1991 - Philosophy and Theology 6 (1):21-38.
    I argue that, while Hume’s approach to Newton is sometimes critical and sometimes not, Hume’s position with regard to newtonian method is coherent overall. Rather than speaking of two Humes, from an humean perspective we should rather speak of two Newtons: the positivist and the theologian.
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  31. Jesuit Civil Wars: Theology, Politics and Government Under Tirso González. [REVIEW]Thomas McCoog - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (3):517-518.
  32. One Book, the Whole Universe: Plato’s Timaeus Today, Eds. Richard D. Mohr and Barbara M. Sattler. [REVIEW]Jason W. Carter - 2012 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):170-173.
  33. Is Hume's Critique of Induction Self‐Defeating?Charles Cassini - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 60 (2).
  34. Probability and Evolution. Why the Probability Argument of Creationists is Wrong.Josef Schurz - 2007 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (1):163-165.
    Evolution is a time process. It proceeds in steps of definite length. The probability of each step is relatively high, so self organization of complex systems will be possible in finite time. Prerequisite for such a process is a selection rule, which certainly exists in evolution. Therefore, it would be wrong to calculate the probability of the formation of a complex system solely on the basis of the number of its components and as a momentary event.
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  35. Is Christianity Probable? Swinburne's Apologetic Programme.William Hasker - 2002 - Religious Studies 38 (3):253-264.
    Richard Swinburne's tetralogy on Christian doctrine, together with his earlier trilogy on the philosophy of theism, is one of the most important apologetic projects of recent times. This paper focuses on some difficulties with this project that stem from Swinburne's use of confirmation theory. Arguably, the problem of dwindling probabilities, pointed out by Plantinga, has not been solved. The paper is principally focused, however, on the ways in which Swinburne's confirmation theory contributes to his comparative neglect of the personal, existential (...)
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  36. Miracles; An Exercise in Logical Mapwork.Ian T. Ramsey - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4 (16):349-350.
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  37. Fine Tuning and the Varieties of Naturalism.Gregory E. Ganssle - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (1):59-71.
    Naturalism has been characterized both as a claim about what exists and as a commitment to a certain methodology . The fine-tuning argument for God's existence presents a significant challenge to each way of characterizing naturalism. The claim naturalist faces the fact that the best response to the fine-tuning argument requires the existence of many universes that are not clearly naturalistic themselves. Method naturalism faces the challenge that it does not have the resources to ground the preference of the many-world (...)
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  38. Is the No-Minimum Claim True? Reply to Cullison: Jeff Jordan.Jeff Jordan - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (1):125-127.
    Is the no-minimum claim true? I have argued that it is not. Andrew Cullison contends that my argument fails, since human sentience is variable; while Michael Schrynemakers has contended that the failure is my neglect of vagueness. Both, I argue, are wrong.
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  39. THOMAS, E. E. -The Non-Rational Character of Faith. [REVIEW]J. Laird - 1926 - Mind 35:394.
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  40. William Wood: Blaise Pascal on Duplicity, Sin, and the Fall: The Secret Instinct: Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013, Viii + 226 Pages, $125.00.Jeff Jordan - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 (3):331-334.
    William Wood’s study, Blaise Pascal on duplicity, sin, and the fall, is an in-depth exploration of Pascal’s views of sin, human fallenness, and self-deception. While Wood is a tutorial fellow in Theology at Oriel College, Oxford University, his book engages work in analytic philosophy, as well as historical theology. Concisely put, according to Pascal, sin is a kind of idolatry, with some created thing replacing God as the sinner’s highest good. This replacement involves a turning away from the truth, as (...)
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  41. The Decision of Faith: Can Christian Beliefs Be Freely Chosen?Kevin Kinghorn - 2005 - T & T Clark.
    Christian theologians have historically described a 'saving faith in God' as containing a fundamental element of 'belief'. However, philosophers present strong arguments exist that we are not capable of freely deciding which beliefs we will hold. Rather, we simply find ourselves believing things as the evidence before us seems to dictate. So, if belief is indeed involuntary, and if certain beliefs are requisite for Christian faith, then how can the matter of one's salvation rest on whether one has freely put (...)
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  42. Is Petitionary Prayer Superfluous?Isaac Choi - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 7:32-62.
    Why would God institute the practice of efficacious petitionary prayer? Why would God not simply give us what we need before we ask? I examine recently proposed solutions to this puzzle and argue that they are inadequate to explain why an omniscient and perfectly good God would act differently in response to prayer. I propose that God has reasons to not always maximize a creature’s good, even in a sinless world, and that petitionary prayer functions as a means to reward (...)
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  43. Evil and Evidence.Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Yoaav Isaacs - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 7:1-31.
    The problem of evil is the most prominent argument against the existence of God. Skeptical theists contend that it is not a good argument. Their reasons for this contention vary widely, involving such notions as CORNEA, epistemic appearances, 'gratuitous' evils, 'levering' evidence, and the representativeness of goods. We aim to dispel some confusions about these notions, in particular by clarifying their roles within a probabilistic epistemology. In addition, we develop new responses to the problem of evil from both the phenomenal (...)
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  44. Search, Rest, and Grace in Pascal.Jennifer L. Soerensen - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 (1):19-40.
    For Pascal, how are human beings related, or how do they relate themselves, to the summum bonum in this life? In what sense do they share in it, and how do they come to share in it? These are questions that emerge in many ways in Pascal’s writing, significantly in his concept of repos. To answer these questions, especially by elucidating what repos is for human beings in this life, I would like to begin with Graeme Hunter’s “Motion and Rest (...)
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  45. The Believing Primate.E. J. Lowe - 2012 - Faith and Philosophy 29 (2):243-247.
  46. The No-Minimum Argument, Satisficing, and No-Best-World: A Reply to Jeff Jordan.Chris Dragos - 2013 - Religious Studies 49 (3):421-429.
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  47. Zu Bolzanos Wahrscheinlichkeitslehre.Georg J. W. Dorn - 1987 - Philosophia Naturalis 24 (4):423–441.
    Bolzano hat seine Wahrscheinlichkeitslehre in 15 Punkten im § 14 des zweiten Teils seiner Religionswissenschaft sowie in 20 Punkten im § 161 des zweiten Bandes seiner Wissenschaftslehre niedergelegt. (Ich verweise auf die Religionswissenschaft mit 'RW II', auf die Wissenschaftslehre mit 'WL II'.) In der RW II (vgl. p. 37) ist seine Wahrscheinlichkeitslehre eingebettet in seine Ausführungen "Über die Natur der historischen Erkenntniß, besonders in Hinsicht auf Wunder", und die Lehrsätze, die er dort zusammenstellt, dienen dem ausdrücklichen Zweck, mit mathematischem Rüstzeug (...)
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  48. Probability in the Philosophy of Religion.Jake Chandler & Victoria S. Harrison (eds.) - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    Probability theory promises to deliver an exact and unified foundation for inquiry in epistemology and philosophy of science. But philosophy of religion is also fertile ground for the application of probabilistic thinking. This volume presents original contributions from twelve contemporary researchers, both established and emerging, to offer a representative sample of the work currently being carried out in this potentially rich field of inquiry. Grouped into five parts, the chapters span a broad range of traditional issues in religious epistemology. The (...)
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  49. Believing in God.Robin Attfield - 1972 - Sophia 11 (2):1-4.
  50. Learning Not to Be Naïve: A Comment on the Exchange Between Perrine/Wykstra and Draper.Lara Buchak - 2014 - In Trent Dougherty & Justin McBrayer (eds.), Skeptical Theism: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Does postulating skeptical theism undermine the claim that evil strongly confirms atheism over theism? According to Perrine and Wykstra, it does undermine the claim, because evil is no more likely on atheism than on skeptical theism. According to Draper, it does not undermine the claim, because evil is much more likely on atheism than on theism in general. I show that the probability facts alone do not resolve their disagreement, which ultimately rests on which updating procedure – conditionalizing or updating (...)
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