Full text Read free See used
Buchak, Lara, , . Can it be Rational to Have Faith?
2012, in Jake Chandler & Victoria Harrison (eds.) Probability in the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press: 225-247.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper provides an account of what it is to have faith in a proposition p, in both religious and mundane contexts. It is argued that faith in p doesn’t require adopting a degree of belief that isn’t supported by one’s evidence but rather it requires terminating one’s search for further evidence and acting on the supposition that p. It is then shown, by responding to a formal result due to I.J. Good, that doing so can be rational in a number of circumstances. If expected utility theory is the correct account of practical rationality, then having faith can be both epistemically and practically rational if the costs associated with gathering further evidence or postponing the decision are high. If a more permissive framework is adopted, then having faith can be rational even when there are no costs associated with gathering further evidence

Comment: A great paper for an intermediate philosophy of religion course, especially because many arguments from students are to the contrary: it’s irrational to believe in God when we don’t have satisfactory evidence. It could be nice to set up a debate centering around this paper. It could work particularly well towards the end of the course.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Buchak, Lara, , . Faith and Steadfastness in the face of Counter-Evidence
2017, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81(1-2): 113-133.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: It is sometimes said that faith is recalcitrant in the face of new evidence, but it is puzzling how such recalcitrance could be rational or laudable. I explain this aspect of faith and why faith is not only rational, but in addition serves an important purpose in human life. Because faith requires maintaining a commitment to act on the claim one has faith in, even in the face of counter-evidence, faith allows us to carry out long-term, risky projects that we might otherwise abandon. Thus, faith allows us to maintain integrity over time.

Comment: This would be a great paper to set for further reading, with Buchak’s ‘Can it be Rational to Have Faith’? as a primary reading. It could alternatively be a primary reading, but in a more specialised Philosophy of Religion course – for instance, one that is specifically on Religious Epistemology or on Faith and Reason.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Buchak, Lara, , . Rational Faith and Justified Belief
2014, in Laura Frances Callahan & Timothy O’Connor (eds.) Reigious Faith and Intellectual Virtue. Oxford University Press: 49-73.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: In ‘Can it be rational to have faith?’, it was argued that to have faith in some proposition consists, roughly speaking, in stopping one’s search for evidence and committing to act on that proposition without further evidence. That paper also outlined when and why stopping the search for evidence and acting is rationally required. Because the framework of that paper was that of formal decision theory, it primarily considered the relationship between faith and degrees of belief, rather than between faith and belief full stop. This paper explores the relationship between rational faith and justified belief, by considering four prominent proposals about the relationship between belief and degrees of belief, and by examining what follows about faith and belief according to each of these proposals. It is argued that we cannot reach consensus concerning the relationship between faith and belief at present because of the more general epistemological lack of consensus over how belief relates to rationality: in particular, over how belief relates to the degrees of belief it is rational to have given one’s evidence.

Comment: This could be a great paper to set for further reading, with Buchak’s ‘Can it be Rational to Have Faith?’ as a primary reading. If being discussed as a primary reading, it would be good to get very clear on Buchak’s four candidates for the relationship between belief and degrees of belief: perhaps by splitting the room into four groups, and getting each group to discuss one proposal – as well as what follows about the relationship between faith and belief according to that proposal.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Fricker, Elizabeth, , . Epistemic Trust in Oneself and Others – and Argument from Analogy?
2014, in Laura Frances Callahan & Timothy O’Connor (eds.) Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue. Oxford University Press.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Richard Foley and others have recently argued that there is an a priori connection between rational trust in one’s own faculties to rational trust of other human persons. This chapter argues, to the contrary, that we must instead establish through empirical observation which others are to be trusted and under which circumstances – there is no rational presumption of the trustworthiness of others. Hence, insofar as one’s religious beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others, rationality requires that one assess the credentials of those whom one trusts.

Comment: A great primary reading for a religious epistemology course, or otherwise a great secondary reading for a more general philosophy of religion course, for a unit on Faith. If being used as a primary reading, it could be good to ask students to explain whether and why they agree that religious beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others – and, if they do agree, whether this is problematic? What other (non-religious) cases can they think of where our beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others?

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Preston-Roedder, Ryan, , . Faith in Humanity
2013, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87(3): 664-687.
Expand entry
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: History and literature provide striking examples of people who are morally admirable, in part, because of their profound faith in people’s decency. But moral philosophers have largely ignored this trait, and I suspect that many philosophers would view such faith with suspicion, dismissing it as a form of naïvete or as some other objectionable form of irrationality. I argue that such suspicion is misplaced, and that having a certain kind of faith in people’s decency, which I call faith in humanity, is a centrally important moral virtue. In order to make this view intuitively more plausible, I discuss two moral exemplars – one historical and the other literary – whose lives vividly exhibit such faith. Then I provide a rationale for the view that having such faith is morally admirable. Finally, I discuss cases in which someone’s faith in humanity can lead her to make judgments that are, to some degree, epistemically irrational. I argue that the existence of such cases does not pose a serious objection to the view that having faith in humanity is a moral virtue. Rather, it makes salient important limits on the role that epistemic, as opposed to practical, rationality should occupy in our ideals of how to live.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options