Disagreement and Faith: Ockham on Faith as an Intellectual Virtue


Abstract
At the beginning of Chapter III, Book VI of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle lists five intellectual virtues or veridical habits: art, scientific knowledge, prudence, intellectual intuition, and wisdom. The intellectual virtues are habitual powers of the mind to act that promote certainty and true belief, and Aristotle distinguishes them from opinion, in which “we may be mistaken”. Unlike beliefs attributable to the veridical habits, which altogether exclude falsity and doubt, it is recognized even by those who hold them that opinions are less than certain, and that they could be either true or false. Regarding faith, however, it is unclear from Aristotle`s discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics whether it is opinion or veridical habit. Beliefs held on the basis of faith, such as my belief about who my parents are, have the unwavering certainty that mere opinions lack, yet they lack the evidence that would rule out error and make for knowledge. Should faith be considered an intellectual virtue or a species of opinion? Or, is faith a category unto itself? This paper examines a late-medieval debate about the position of faith in the framework of the veridical habits. William of Ockham makes faith an intellectual virtue on par with the other five. While we cannot have evident knowledge on the basis of faith in the way that we can through the other five veridical habits, beliefs held through faith are nevertheless certain and true. For this reason faith should be considered a veridical habit distinguishable from opinion. Ockham’s confrère and student, Adam Wodeham, rejects faith as a veridical habit. If faith were a veridical habit, then an increase in degree should eliminate disagreement. But an equal increase in faith on both sides of a dispute does not reduce disagreement. If anything, it intensifies it. So faith cannot be a veridical habit. Several counter-arguments in support of Ockham’s position that stem from his epistemological externalism are also discussed, but I claim that in the final analysis Wodeham is correct. According to Ockham’s own epistemology and psychology faith cannot be an intellectual virtue.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,984
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Basic Works of Aristotle.W. D. Ross (ed.) - 1941 - Random House.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Realist Epistemology of Faith.Paul A. Macdonald - 2005 - Religious Studies 41 (4):373 - 393.
A Realist Epistemology of Faith.Paul A. Macdonald - 2005 - Religious Studies 41 (4):373-393.
Faith, Faithfulness, and Virtue.Robert Audi - 2011 - Faith and Philosophy 28 (3):294-309.
Rational Faith and Justified Belief.Lara Buchak - 2014 - In Timothy O'Connor & Laura Frances Callahan (eds.), Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue. Oxford University Press. pp. 49-73.
Faith as a Passion and Virtue.Ryan West - 2013 - Res Philosophica 90 (4):565-587.
How to Make Faith a Virtue.J. L. Schellenberg - 2014 - In Timothy O'Connor Laura Goins (ed.), Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue. Oxford University Press.
The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in Thomas Aquinas.Creighton J. Rosental - 2004 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Reason and Faith—II.Roger Trigg - 1992 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 31:33-43.
Leibniz, Bayle, and Locke on Faith and Reason.Paul Lodge & Ben Crowe - 2002 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 76 (4):575-600.
Aquinas on Blameworthiness and the Virtue of Faith.Timothy Pawl - 2005 - Journal of Postgraduates in Wuhan University 21 (4):21-26.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-04-02

Total views
5 ( #868,430 of 2,319,635 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #807,847 of 2,319,635 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature