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Finlay Malcolm
University of Manchester
  1. Faith, Belief and Fictionalism.Finlay Malcolm & Michael Scott - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):257-274.
    Is propositional religious faith constituted by belief? Recent debate has focussed on whether faith may be constituted by a positive non-doxastic cognitive state, which can stand in place of belief. This paper sets out and defends the doxastic theory. We consider and reject three arguments commonly used in favour of non-doxastic theories of faith: (1) the argument from religious doubt; (2) the use of ‘faith’ in linguistic utterances; and (3) the possibility of pragmatic faith. We argue that belief is required (...)
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  2. Can Fictionalists Have Faith?Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (2):215-232.
    According to non-doxastic theories of propositional faith, belief that p is not necessary for faith that p. Rather, propositional faith merely requires a ‘positive cognitive attitude’. This broad condition, however, can be satisfied by several pragmatic approaches to a domain, including fictionalism. This paper shows precisely how fictionalists can have faith given non-doxastic theory, and explains why this is problematic. It then explores one means of separating the two theories, in virtue of the fact that the truth of the propositions (...)
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  3. Religious fictionalism.Michael Scott & Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (3):1-11.
    Religious fictionalism is the theory that it is morally and intellectually legitimate to affirm religious sentences and to engage in public and private religious practices, without believing the content of religious claims. This article discusses the main features of fictionalism, contrasts hermeneutic, and revolutionary kinds of fictionalism and explores possible historical and recent examples of religious fictionalism. Such examples are found in recent theories of faith, pragmatic approaches to religion, and mystical traditions in religious theology.
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  4. The Purpose and Limits of Electoral Accountability.Finlay Malcolm - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 24 (2).
    The standard theory of electoral accountability treats the electorate as an appraiser of government performance on a range of complex issues, which re-elects or de-elects depending on its evaluation of that performance. This paper draws from studies on voter knowledge and behaviour to present a dilemma for the standard theory: either voters do not know how well their rulers have performed, or if they do, they do not base their votes on that knowledge. It is shown that, on either horn (...)
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  5. Epistocracy and Public Interests.Finlay Malcolm - 2021 - Res Publica 28 (1):173-192.
    Epistocratic systems of government have received renewed attention, and considerable opposition, in recent political philosophy. Although they vary significantly in form, epistocracies generally reject universal suffrage. But can they maintain the advantages of universal suffrage despite rejecting it? This paper develops an argument for a significant instrumental advantage of universal suffrage: that governments must take into account the interests of all of those enfranchised in their policy decisions or else risk losing power. This is called ‘the Interests Argument’. One problem (...)
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  6. The Moral and Evidential Requirements of Faith.Finlay Malcolm - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (1):117-142.
    What is the relationship between faith and evidence? It is often claimed that faith requires going beyond evidence. In this paper, I reject this claim by showing how the moral demands to have faith warrant a person in maintaining faith in the face of counter-evidence, and by showing how the moral demands to have faith, and the moral constraints of evidentialism, are in clear tension with going beyond evidence. In arguing for these views, I develop a taxonomy of different ways (...)
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  7. The Rationality of Fundamentalist Belief.Finlay Malcolm - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 54 (1):94-113.
    Religious fundamentalism remains a significant force in global politics and religion. Despite a range of problems arising from fundamentalism, the beliefs fundamentalists hold can seem quite reasonable. This paper considers whether, in fact, fundamentalist beliefs are rational by drawing on recent ideas in contemporary epistemology. The paper presents a general theory of fundamentalist beliefs in terms of their propositional content and the high credence levels attributed to them. It then explores the way these beliefs are both acquired and retained by (...)
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  8. Extreme beliefs and Echo chambers.Finlay Malcolm & Christopher Ranalli - forthcoming - In Rik Peels & John Horgan (eds.), Mapping the Terrain of Extreme Belief and Behavior. Oxford University Press.
    Are extreme beliefs constitutive of echo chambers, or only typically caused by them? Or are many echo chambers unproblematic, amplifying relatively benign beliefs? This paper details the conceptual relations between echo chambers and extreme beliefs, showing how different conceptual choice-points in how we understand both echo chambers and extreme beliefs affects how we should evaluate, study, and engage with echo chambering groups. We also explore how our theories of extreme beliefs and echo chambers shape social scientific research and contribute in (...)
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  9.  31
    A Philosophy of Faith: Belief, Truth and Varieties of Commitment.Finlay Malcolm & Michael Scott - 2022 - New York, NY: Routledge. Edited by Michael Scott.
    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, (...)
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  10. True Grit and the Positivity of Faith.Finlay Malcolm & Michael Scott - 2021 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 17 (1):(A1)5-32.
    Most contemporary accounts of the nature of faith explicitly defend what we call ‘the positivity theory of faith’ – the theory that faith must be accompanied by a favourable evaluative belief, or a desire towards the object of faith. This paper examines the different varieties of the positivity theory and the arguments used to support it. Whilst initially plausible, we find that the theory faces numerous problematic counterexamples, and show that weaker versions of the positivity theory are ultimately implausible. We (...)
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  11.  4
    Faith, Belief and Fictionalism.Michael Scott & Finlay Malcolm - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2):257-274.
    Is propositional religious faith constituted by belief? Recent debate has focussed on whether faith may be constituted by a positive non‐doxastic cognitive state, which can stand in place of belief. This article sets out and defends the doxastic theory. We consider and reject three arguments commonly used in favour of non‐doxastic theories of faith: (1) the argument from religious doubt; (2) the use of ‘faith’ in linguistic utterances; and (3) the possibility of pragmatic faith. We argue that belief is required (...)
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  12. How to insult and compliment a testifier.Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Episteme 15 (1):50-64.
    Do we insult, offend or slight a speaker when we refuse her testimony? Do we compliment, commend or extol a speaker when we accept her testimony? I argue that the answer to both of these questions is “yes”, but only in some instances, since these respective insults and compliments track the reasons a hearer has for rejecting or accepting testimony. When disbelieving a speaker, a hearer may insult her because she judges the speaker to be either incompetent as a knower (...)
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  13. Testimony, Faith and Humility.Finlay Malcolm - 2021 - Religious Studies 57 (3):466-483.
    It is sometimes claimed that faith is a virtue. To what extent faith is a virtue depends on what faith is. One construal of faith, which has been popular in both recent and historical work on faith, is that faith is a matter of taking oneself to have been spoken to by God and of trusting this purported divine testimony. In this paper, I argue that when faith is understood in this way, for faith to be virtuous then it must (...)
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  14.  18
    Analysing Extremism.Finlay Malcolm - 2023 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 26 (2):321-327.
    What is extremism, and how can it be countered? According to a recent account by (Cassam, 2021), there are three kinds of extremism: ideological, methodological, and psychological. The psychological kind – what Cassam calls ‘mindset extremism’ – is used by Cassam to explain what leads individuals to resort to extreme methods. From there we can say that methods extremism can be countered by preventing people from becoming mindset extremists. This paper outlines Cassam’s overall theory, and challenges it in two respects. (...)
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  15. Testimonial Insult: A Moral Reason for Belief?Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Logos and Episteme (1):27-48.
    When you don’t believe a speaker’s testimony for reasons that call into question the speaker’s credibility, it seems that this is an insult against the speaker. There also appears to be moral reasons that count in favour of refraining from insulting someone. When taken together, these two plausible claims entail that we have a moral reason to refrain from insulting speakers with our lack of belief, and hence, sometimes, a moral reason to believe the testimony of speakers. Reasons for belief (...)
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  16. Democratic Legitimacy and the Competence Obligation.Finlay Malcolm - 2021 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 8 (1):109-130.
    What obligations are there on voters? This paper argues that voters should make their electoral decision competently, and does so by developing on a recent proposal for democratic legitimacy. It then explores three problems arising from this ‘competency obligation’. First, how should voters be competent? I propose three conditions required for voter competence. Second, how competent should voters be? I argue that the competency required tracks the significance of the consequences of the vote. Third, if the electorate are unlikely to (...)
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  17. Silencing and Freedom of Speech in UK Higher Education.Finlay Malcolm - 2021 - British Educational Research Journal 47 (3):520-538.
    Freedom of speech in universities is currently an issue of widespread concern and debate. Recent empirical findings in the UK shed some light on whether speech is unduly restricted in the university, but it suffers from two limitations. First, the results appear contradictory. Some studies show that the issue of free speech is overblown by media reportage, whilst others track serious concerns about free speech arising from certain university policies. Second, the findings exclude important issues concerning restrictions to speech on (...)
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  18. Evidence Thresholds and the Partiality of Relational Faith.Finlay Malcolm - 2021 - Australasian Philosophical Review 5 (1):86-91.
    ABSTRACT This commentary shows how Dormandy’s ‘Partiality Norm of Belief for Faith’ can be made compatible with ‘Evidentialism about Faith’. Dormandy takes partiality to involve disrespect toward evidence—where evidence we are partial toward is given undue weight. I propose an alternative where partiality is to require more or less evidence for believing a proposition given the benefits or harms of holding the belief. Rather than disrespecting evidence, this partiality is simply to have variable ‘evidence thresholds’ that are partly set by (...)
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  19. Cultivating Intellectual Humility in Political Philosophy Seminars.Finlay Malcolm - 2019 - Blended Learning in Practice.
    The cultivation of intellectual character is an important goal within university education. This article focusses on cultivating intellectual humility. It first explores an account of intellectual humility from recent literature on the intellectual virtues. Then, it considers one recent pedagogical approach – Making Thinking Visible – as a means of teaching intellectual virtue. It assesses one particular technique for cultivating intellectual humility arising from this pedagogical literature, and applies it to the teaching of political philosophy. Finally, there is a discussion (...)
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  20.  7
    Global Faith, Trust and Hope.Finlay Malcolm - 2023 - The Monist 106 (1):94-103.
    This paper develops an account of faith as a global trait of character, and explores how it relates to trust and hope. This account is developed in terms of the functional role faith occupies: what it is that global faith does in our lives. Global faith is taken to be a disposition to persevere in seeing the good in situations, events, circumstances, and people. This trait is explored through real and fictionalised situations of difficulty and strife, and when looking back (...)
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  21. A Radical Pluralist Philosophy of Religion, Mikel Burley [Review]. [REVIEW]Finlay Malcolm - forthcoming - Religious Studies.