The epistemology of religion

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)
Contemporary epistemology of religion may conveniently be treated as adebate over whether evidentialism applies to thebelief-component of religious faith, or whether we should insteadadopt a more permissive epistemology. Here evidentialism is theinitially plausible position that a belief is justified only if``it is proportioned to the evidence''. For example, supposea local weather forecaster has noticed that over the two hundred yearssince records began a wetter than average Winter is followed in 85% ofcases by a hotter than average Summer. Then, assuming for simplicitythat the records are reliable, the forecaster is justified in believingwith less than full confidence that this Winter, which is wetter thanaverage, will be followed by a hotter than average Summer. Butevidentialism implies that it would not be justified to have fullbelief, that is belief with 100% confidence. Again, consider someonewho has a hunch that this Summer will be hotter than averagebut cannot justify that hunch further. Hunches are not consideredevidence, so the belief is not considered justified. If, however, thehuncher can cite a good track record of hunches about the weather thathave turned out correct then the belief would be consideredjustified. For although hunches are not considered evidence, memoriesabout past hunches are, as are the observations that corroborated thepast hunches
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