Conciliationism and Religious Disagreement

In Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (eds.), Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution. Oxford University Press. pp. 80-97 (2014)
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Many have maintained that the nature and extent of religious disagreement ought to shake our confidence in our religious or explicitly irreligious beliefs, leading us to be religious skeptics. This chapter argues that the most plausible ‘conciliatory’ view of disagreement does not lend support to religious skepticism. ‘Strong’ conciliatory views that say that one’s response to a disagreement should always be entirely determined by dispute-independent reasons are implausible. The only plausible conciliationism is a moderate version that holds that one’s partisan reasoning about a disagreement is undermined only when one has sufficiently strong dispute-independent reasons for trusting the views of one’s disputants. But systems of religious belief often have certain features that make it unlikely that this moderate conciliationism will require a significant degree of conciliation when it is applied to religious disputes



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John Pittard
Yale University

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