The Nature and Rationality of Faith

In Joshua Rasmussen & Kevin Vallier (eds.), A New Theist Response to the New Atheists. New York: Routledge. pp. 77-92 (2020)
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Abstract

A popular objection to theistic commitment involves the idea that faith is irrational.  Specifically, some seem to put forth something like the following argument: (P1) Everyone (or almost everyone) who has faith is epistemically irrational, (P2) All theistic believers have faith, thus (C) All (or most) theistic believers are epistemically irrational.  In this paper, I argue that this line of reasoning fails. I do so by considering a number of candidates for what faith might be.  I argue that, for each candidate, either (P1) is false or (P2) is false.  Then, I make two positive suggestions for how faith can be epistemically rational but nonetheless have a unique relationship to evidence: one, that Jamesian self-justifying attitudes describe a distinctive kind of faith in oneself and others, and two, that faith is not solely based on empirical evidence.

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Author's Profile

Elizabeth Jackson
Ryerson University

Citations of this work

Faith.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Belief and Credence: A Defense of Dualism.Elizabeth Jackson - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
Faith and Reason.Elizabeth Jackson - 2022 - In Mark A. Lamport (ed.), The Handbook of Philosophy and Religion. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 167-177.
Faith, Hope, and Justification.Elizabeth Jackson - 2022 - In Luis R. G. Oliveira & Paul Silva Jr (eds.), Propositional and Doxastic Justification. New York: Routledge. pp. 201–216.

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References found in this work

Warrant and Proper Function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - Oxford University Press USA.
Evidentialism.Richard Feldman & Earl Conee - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 48 (1):15 - 34.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.David L. Hull - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):435-438.
The Uniqueness Thesis.Matthew Kopec & Michael G. Titelbaum - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (4):189-200.

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