The Concept of a Natural Sign

C. Stephen Evans

in Natural Signs and Knowledge of God

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199217168
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191712401 | DOI:
The Concept of a Natural Sign

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This chapter explicates the concept of a natural sign. The original Reidian concept of a natural sign is either a sensation or a perception that is causally linked “upstream” to what the sign signifies and “downstream” to the generation of a characteristic judgment. The author extends Reid's work to consider the idea of a “theistic natural sign.” A theistic natural sign ought to be something that is connected both to God and to a human disposition to believe in God. He argues that both widespread belief in God and current cognitive science are consistent with the claim that theistic signs exist. Finally, he argues that theistic natural signs might be understood as either (a) non‐propositional grounds on which belief in God is warranted, or (b) non‐propositional (or, perhaps, even propositional) evidence for the fact of God's existence. He remains neutral between these competing views.

Keywords: Thomas Reid; natural signs; spandrel; Daniel Dennett; perception; sensation; Paul Moser; reformed epistemology

Chapter.  8346 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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