Religious disagreement: An empirical study among academic philosophers

Episteme 14 (1) (2017)
Authors
Helen De Cruz
Oxford Brookes University
Abstract
Religious disagreement is an emerging topic of interest in social epistemology. Little is known about how philosophers react to religious disagreements in a professional context, or how they think one should respond to disagreement. This paper presents results of an empirical study on religious disagreement among philosophers. Results indicate that personal religious beliefs, philosophical training, and recent changes in religious outlook have a significant impact on philosophers' assessments of religious disagreement. They regard peer disagreement about religion as common, and most surveyed participants assume one should accord weight to the other's opinion. Theists and agnostics are less likely to assume they are in a better epistemic position than their interlocutors about religious questions compared with atheists, but this pattern only holds for participants who are not philosophers of religion. Continental philosophers think religious beliefs are more like preferences than analytic philosophers, who regard religious beliefs as fact-like.
Keywords disagreeement  conciliationism  experimental philosophy
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DOI 10.1017/epi.2015.50
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