Faith Reason Skepticism

Faith Reason Skepticism

WILLIAM P. ALSTON
ROBERT AUDI
TERENCE PENELHUM
RICHARD H. POPKIN
Edited and with an Introduction by MARCUS HESTER
Copyright Date: 1992
Published by: Temple University Press
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14bt7pd
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  • Book Info
    Faith Reason Skepticism
    Book Description:

    This book of original essays provides a dialogue between four of the most distinguished scholars now working on problems of faith, reason, and skepticism. In their essays, William P. Alston, Robert Audi, Terence Penelhum, and Richard H. Popkin address both the corrosive and the constructive influences of skepticism on Christian and Jewish concepts of faith. The authors treat questions of perennial interest in philosophy of religion: the bases of human knowledge of God, the place of reason in religious belief, the difference between religious beliefs and those based on common sense, and the reconcilability of skepticism with religious belief. In terms of current epistemology, Alston explores the implications of reliabilism for Christian knowledge of God. Audi develops a concept of non-doxastic faith, which contrasts with flat-out beliefs, arguing that such faith can support a full range of Christian attitudes and ethics. Penelhum contends that religious beliefs cannot be defended in the same way as beliefs of common sense, and thus natural theology is essential. Popkin demonstrates, in a richly historical study, that Jewish skepticism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was used and can be used to neutralize questionable metaphysical theology while leaving a mysticism and spirituality without creed or institution. The essays are preceded by an Editor's Introduction and the volume concludes with a unifying dialogue between the four authors.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0129-8
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-5)
    Marcus Hester

    William Alston opens this dialogue on faith, reason, and skepticism by arguing that if the belief-forming processes of a typical Christian are reliable, one canknowparticular religious claims such as that Jesus was the incarnation of Cod. Particular religious claims differ from knowledge of the general claims of natural theology such as that God exists, and Alston’s investigation necessarily involves traditional and recent concepts of epistemology. Much of this tradition has centered on the view that knowledge is justified true belief, and Alston’s analysis centers on the nature of this justification.

    A view of justification especially prominent since Descartes...

  4. 1 KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
    (pp. 6-49)
    William P. Alston

    In this essay I shall explore the possibilities for knowledge of God that are opened up by recent developments in epistemology that go under the titleexiernalism;more specifically, I shall be concerned with the version of externalism known asreliabilism. I shall set this up with a consideration of how those possibilities look from a more internalist epistemological stance. I shall be working from within the Christian tradition, though I take my remarks to have a wider bearing.

    It is a familiar view that knowledge of God—His nature, doings, and purposes—is either nonexistent or very restricted, and...

  5. 2 RATIONALITY AND RELIGIOUS COMMITMENT
    (pp. 50-97)
    Robert Audi

    Philosophical discussions of faith and reason must avoid at least two quite natural mistakes. One mistake is to draw a naive contrast that puts faith and reason on opposite sides in human life. People sometimes express this polarity when they say, of a position for which they think there is no significant evidence, that it must simply be believed “on faith.” The second mistake—or so I shall argue—is the attempt to reconcile faith and reason by assimilating faith, or at least any kind of faith regarded as consonant with reason, to rational belief. It is this second mistake...

  6. 3 PARITY IS NOT ENOUGH
    (pp. 98-120)
    Terence Penelhum

    In this essay I want to look at an influential argument that has been offered recently in favor of the rationality of belief in God. I want to look at it in two ways: I shall comment on its philosophical and apologetic merits and shortcomings, and I shall compare it with arguments for and against its conclusion that can be found in ancient, and particularly in early modern, philosophers. It is easier to do the one or the other separately, but I hope some useful instruction can come from the attempt to combine them here. I have a strong preference...

  7. 4 FIDEISM, QUIETISM, AND UNBELIEF: SKEPTICISM FOR AND AGAINST RELIGION IN THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES
    (pp. 121-154)
    Richard H. Popkin

    In the forty years that I have been researching and writing on the history of skepticism, I have been interested in the role that skepticism and skeptical arguments have played as a purported basis for religious belief from the time of Erasmus and Montaigne and the Counter-Reformers to Kierkegaard and the Russian Orthodox theologians of the twentieth century. I have had a growing interest during the last twenty years or so in the way skepticism and skeptical arguments have been applied to religious issues by seventeenth-century Bible scholars, religious reformers, deists, and nonbelievers to create modern irreligion from the time...

  8. CONCLUDING REACTIONS
    (pp. 155-174)
    William P. Alston

    First, I want to thank my fellow contributors for their penetrating contributions to the topic. I have, I hope and trust, learned from them.

    I will concentrate my remarks on the essays of Audi and Penelhum. That by no means implies any derogation of Popkin’s illuminating exploration of the religious and antireligious uses of skepticism in the modern period. Quite the contrary. I very much appreciate his insights. It is just that, lacking any strong temptations to skepticism, I am able to make less use of his work in my own thinking than is the case with the other participants....

  9. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
    (pp. 175-176)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 177-180)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 181-181)