Disbelief in belief: On the cognitive status of supernatural beliefs

Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):601-615 (2016)
Abstract
Religious people seem to believe things that range from the somewhat peculiar to the utterly bizarre. Or do they? According to a new paper by Neil Van Leeuwen, religious “credence” is nothing like mundane factual belief. It has, he claims, more in common with fictional imaginings. Religious folk do not really “believe”—in the ordinary sense of the word—what they profess to believe. Like fictional imaginings, but unlike factual beliefs, religious credences are activated only within specific settings. We argue that Van Leeuwen’s thesis contradicts a wealth of data on religiously motivated behavior. By and large, the faithful genuinely believe what they profess to believe. Although many religions openly embrace a sense of mystery, in general this does not prevent the attribution of beliefs to religious people. Many of the features of religious belief that Van Leeuwen alludes to, like invulnerability to refutation and incoherence, are characteristic of irrational beliefs in general and actually betray...
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DOI 10.1080/09515089.2015.1110852
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You Meta Believe It.Neil Levy - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.

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