Communities of Informed Judgment

Communities of Informed Judgment: Newman's Illative Sense and Accounts of Rationality

Frederick D. Aquino
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 195
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  • Book Info
    Communities of Informed Judgment
    Book Description:

    An original contribution to Newman studies, the book has an interdisciplinary focus, drawing from recent work in social epistemology, virtue epistemology, and cognitive science. It also takes up issues relevant to the philosophy of religion, epistemology of religious belief, systematic theology, ecumenical dialogue, and studies in John Henry Newman.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1583-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Re-reading Newman
    (pp. 1-13)

    Under what conditions is it appropriate to think of Christian belief as rationally acceptable? Recent scholarly developments furnish new resources for tackling this important question. Such efforts do not suggest dissatisfaction with the process of human rational reflection itself, but they reveal a growing dissatisfaction with scholarly treatments of the nature and scope of human cognition. There has been a tendency, for example, to think of Christian belief either as based on canons of strictly deductive and inductive logic or as based on faith.¹ Recent accounts of rationality, however, expand options for understanding the process of belief-formation. The aim is...

  5. 2 University Sermons: A Preliminary Investigation
    (pp. 14-47)

    The Oxford University Sermons offer a preliminary investigation of the conditions under which Christian belief can be considered rationally acceptable. Newman rethinks the process of belief-formation, stressing an integral balance of subjective and objective dimensions of Christian belief. Both dimensions play a distinct, but compatible, role in the life of Christian faith. Accounts of belief-formation that neglect one or the other dimension tend to reduce Christian belief either to a religion of sentiment (subjective) or to a religion of evidences (objective). However, some insights in the University Sermons warrant further development. Therefore, I conclude with a discussion of three unresolved...

  6. 3 Cultivating Personal Judgment: A Methodological Dilemma
    (pp. 48-94)

    How can Christians justify ordinary beliefs, the vast majority of which lack demonstrative proof? What role does judgment play in solving this epistemic concern? For Newman, the search for a reliable process of belief-formation ends with the discovery of the illative sense, a non-rule-governed process of reasoning, which accumulates probabilities and renders informed assessment about concrete matters. Discussion of the illative sense takes place in part two of the Grammar. Yet, the reader needs a basic understanding of the argument in part one to follow the development of the illative sense. Consequently, I discuss the purpose of the Grammar and...

  7. 4 A Social Epistemology of Informed Judgment
    (pp. 95-146)

    A solution to the problem of common measure presupposes an internalist framework of knowledge—cognitive access to how the mind justifies knowledge. The problem, however, cannot be solved by reference to a common measure independent of communal instantiations of the illative sense. There is no appeal beyond cognitive practices to which people find themselves “fully committed.”¹ People deem beliefs to be true because a reliable belief-forming process produces them or, as I intend to show, proper exercise of the illative sense produces them. The illative sense transposes the problem of common measure into the problem of trusting a belief-forming process....

  8. 5 Shaping Communities of Theological Judgment
    (pp. 147-164)

    How does a social epistemology of informed judgment shape the formation of theological judgment? What role does theological reflection as a mature reflection of informed judgment play in shaping ecclesial life? What are some implications for contemporary theology? The result of such inquiry is a richer understanding of how informed judgment shapes theological reflection.

    The capacity to connect knowledge of God and ecclesial context requires informed judgment. As an acquired skill, informed judgment aptly assesses and applies theological ideas to particular situations. It is indispensable for thinking proficiently in ecclesial, social, academic, and other contexts. In this chapter, I offer...

  9. References
    (pp. 165-176)
  10. Index
    (pp. 177-182)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 183-184)