In Matthew A. Benton & Jonathan L. Kvanvig (eds.), Religious Disagreement and Pluralism. Oxford, UK: (forthcoming)

Joshua Blanchard
Oakland University
L. A. Paul
Yale University
Peer disagreement presents religious believers, agnostics, and skeptics alike with an epistemological problem: how can confidence in any religious claims (including their negations) be epistemically justified? There seem to be rational, well-informed adherents among a variety of mutually incompatible religious and non-religious perspectives, and so the problem of disagreement arises acutely in the religious domain. In this paper, we show that the transformative nature of religious experience and identity poses more than just this traditional, epistemic problem of conflicting religious beliefs. In encountering one another, believers, agnostics, and skeptics confront not just different beliefs, but different ways of being a person. To transition between religious belief and skepticism is not just to adopt a different set of beliefs, but to transform into a different version of oneself. We argue that the transformative nature of religious identity intensifies the problem of pluralism by adding a new dimension to religious disagreement, for there are principled reasons to think we can lack epistemic and affective access to our potential religious, agnostic, or skeptical selves. Yet, access to these selves seems to be required for the purposes of decision-making that is to be both rational and authentic. Finally, we reflect on the relationship between the transformative problem of religious disagreement and what it shows about the epistemic status of religious conversion and de-conversion, in which one disagrees with one’s own (transformed) self.
Keywords transformative experience  religious disagreement  religious pluralism  conversion  peer disagreement
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Transformative Experience.L. A. Paul - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
What You Can't Expect When You're Expecting'.L. A. Paul - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):1-23.
Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - Philosophia Christi 3 (2):327-328.
Pensées.Blaise Pascal - 1670 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger. London: Blackwell. pp. 111-112.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Religious Disagreement Is Not Unique.Margaret Greta Turnbull - forthcoming - In Matthew A. Benton & Jonathan L. Kvanvig (eds.), Religious Disagreement and Pluralism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Religious Diversity and Disagreement.Matthew A. Benton - 2019 - In Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson & Nikolaj Pedersen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 185-195.
Hold on Loosely, But Don’T Let Go.John M. DePoe - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (1):253-264.
Conciliationism and Religious Disagreement.John Pittard - 2014 - In Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (eds.), Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution. Oxford University Press. pp. 80-97.
Religious Disagreement.Helen De Cruz - 2019 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Religious Disagreement and Epistemic Intuitions.Michael Bergmann - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 81:19-43.
Religious Disagreement and Pluralism.Matthew A. Benton & Jonathan L. Kvanvig (eds.) - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Religious Disagreement: Internal and External. [REVIEW]Dennis Potter - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (1):21-31.
Disagreement, Religious.John Pittard - 2015 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


Added to PP index

Total views
206 ( #50,975 of 2,455,354 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
52 ( #15,030 of 2,455,354 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes