A Philosophy of Faith: Belief, Truth and Varieties of Commitment

Routledge (forthcoming)

Finlay Malcolm
University of Hertfordshire
Michael Scott
University of Manchester
Faith occupies an important place in human lives in both religious and secular contexts: faith may be directed towards God, friends, governments, political systems and football teams. It is said to help people through crises and motivate people to achieve life goals. But what is faith? Philosophers and theologians have for centuries been concerned with questions about the rationality of faith, but more recently, have focussed on what kind of psychological attitude faith is. We bring together, for the first time, the different elements of this recent debate, staking out the different positions and arguments, and defend a novel 'true grit' theory of faith, from which we assess questions about the rationality of faith from a fresh perspective. The book engages with a range of questions about the nature of faith, including: Does faith require belief? How is faith expressed in language? Is faith motivational? What is the relationship between faith and cognate attitudes, such as trust and hope? What is the role of faith in our long-term plans? And, in what sense is faith steadfast, resilient or constant, as is commonly supposed? This last issue leads us to additional literature from the social sciences, and we defend a distinctive conception of faith as resistance to practical, psychological and epistemic challenges, that forms the basis of the true grit theory defended in the book.
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