Can it be Rational to have Faith?

In Jake Chandler & Victoria Harrison (eds.), Probability in the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 225 (2012)
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Abstract

This paper provides an account of what it is to have faith in a proposition p, in both religious and mundane contexts. It is argued that faith in p doesn’t require adopting a degree of belief that isn’t supported by one’s evidence but rather it requires terminating one’s search for further evidence and acting on the supposition that p. It is then shown, by responding to a formal result due to I.J. Good, that doing so can be rational in a number of circumstances. If expected utility theory is the correct account of practical rationality, then having faith can be both epistemically and practically rational if the costs associated with gathering further evidence or postponing the decision are high. If a more permissive framework is adopted, then having faith can be rational even when there are no costs associated with gathering further evidence

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Lara Buchak
Princeton University

Citations of this work

A Faithful Response to Disagreement.Lara Buchak - 2021 - The Philosophical Review 130 (2):191-226.
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References found in this work

Risk and Rationality.Lara Buchak - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
The Will to believe and other Essays in popular philosophy.William James - 1899 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 47:223-228.
On the Principle of Total Evidence.I. J. Good - 1966 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 17 (4):319-321.
Concluding Unscientific Postscript.Søren Kierkegaard - 2019 - Princeton University Press.

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