Book

The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

Caroline Franks Davis

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198250012
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681233 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250012.001.0001
The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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This book provides an assessment of the value of religious experiences as evidence for religious beliefs. Going further than an ‘argument from religious experience’, the inquiry systematically addresses underlying philosophical issues such as the role of interpretation in experience, the function of models and metaphors in religious language, and the way perceptual experiences in general are used as evidence for claims about the world. The book examines several arguments from religious experience and, using contemporary and classic sources from the world religions, gives an account of the different types of experience. To meet sceptical challenges to religious experience, the book draws extensively on psychological and sociological as well as philosophical and religious literature, probing deeply into questions such as whether religious experiences are merely a matter of interpretation, whether there is irreducible conflict among religious experiences, and whether psychological and other reductionist explanations of religious experience are satisfactory. The book concludes that religious experiences, like most experiences, are most effective as evidence within a cumulative style of argument which combines evidence from a wide range of sources.

Keywords: religious experience; religious beliefs; role of interpretation; models; metaphors; religious language

Book.  280 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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Some Presuppositions in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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Religious Experience in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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Arguments from Religious Experience in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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A Cumulative Case in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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Challenges to Religious Experience in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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Experience and Interpretation in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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The Conflicting Claims Challenge in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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The Reductionist Challenge in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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Towards A Cumulative Case for Theism in The Evidential Force of Religious Experience

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