Chapter

Phenomenal Conservatism and Evidentialism in Religious Epistemology

Chris Tucker

in Evidence and Religious Belief

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603718
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729287 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603718.003.0005
Phenomenal Conservatism and Evidentialism in Religious Epistemology

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Phenomenal conservatism, as it is discussed in this chapter, is a theory of evidence possession. It holds that if it seems to a subject that P, then the subject possesses evidence which supports P. This chapter applies phenomenal conservatism to religious belief with the aim of securing two theses. First, phenomenal conservatism is better suited than is proper functionalism to explain how a particular type of religious belief formation can lead to non-inferentially justified religious beliefs. Second, phenomenal conservatism makes evidence so easy to obtain that the truth of evidentialism wouldn’t be much of an obstacle to justified religious belief. It is natural to object that phenomenal conservatism makes evidence absurdly easy to obtain, but this objection ultimately fails.

Keywords: phenomenal conservatism; Plantinga; proper functionalism; evidentialism; religious epistemology; seemings; evidence; Wykstra; religious experience

Chapter.  10943 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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