There Is No Sensus Divinitatis


Inspired by Alvin Plantinga, many philosophers of religion accept the existence of a sensus divinitatis, a cognitive mechanism that produces religious beliefs. In this paper I will argue that there are no good reasons to accept the existence of a sensus divinitatis and hence its existence should not be affirmed. Plantinga gives two arguments for its existence, one empirical and one from the nature of God. I will argue that the first argument fails because God’s nature makes it more likely that he lets himself be known through other means. In order to criticize the second argument I rely on recent empirical data on religious cognition and argue that it does not lend support to accepting the existence of a sensus divinitatis or a similar cognitive mechanism.

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References found in this work

The Modularity of Mind. [REVIEW]Robert Cummins - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101-108.
Direct Perception in the Intersubjective Context.Shaun Gallagher - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (2):535-543.
Reason and Belief in God.Alvin Plantinga - 1983 - In Alvin Plantinga & Nicholas Wolterstorff (eds.), Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God. University of Notre Dame Press. pp. 16-93.
Why Santa Claus is Not a God.Justin Barrett - 2008 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (1-2):149-161.

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