Evidentialism and Faith: Believing in Order to Know

Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:185-200 (2006)
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Abstract

Evidentialism is generally taken to be a position which is not friendly to a religious epistemology. However, in this paper, I will argue for a religious epistemology which is compatible with fundamental tenets of an evidentialist position on epistemic justification. It is a position which entails both a “will to believe” which goes beyond the standard evidentialist principles governing the appropriate doxastic attitude towards a proposition, but nonetheless satisfies epistemic principles at the basis of an evidentialist position on justification. If my argument is successful, a proponent of a conception of religious faith may be able to have her cake and eat it too: namely, she may be able to fundamentally accept both the evidentialist demand that epistemically rational belief fit, or be supported by evidence as well as the position that rational faith is willing belief beyond what one’s evidence strictly demands

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John Zeis
Canisius College

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