Religious Commitment and the Benefits of Cognitive Diversity: a Reply to Trakakis
Metaphilosophical discussions about the philosophy of religion are increasingly common. In a recent article in Sophia, N.N. Trakakis (56:605–630, 2017) advances the view that Christian Philosophy is closer to ideology than philosophy. This is because philosophy conducted in the Socratic tradition tends to emphasize values antithetical to religious faith such as independence of thought, rationality, empiricism, and doubt. A philosopher must be able to follow the arguments wherever they lead, something that the religious believer cannot do. I argue that there are two main problems with this view. First, Takakis faces an unpalatable dilemma. It is possible his view recommends a rejection of itself, making it self-referentially incoherent. If it does not recommend such a rejection, then Trakakis’s preferred method is not necessary for genuine philosophical inquiry. Second, Trakakis makes numerous knowledge claims about the psychological motivation of religious philosophers but never offers evidence for these claims. Third, Trakakis never considers that the existence of cognitive diversity is truth conducive. Even if devout religious believers cannot conduct genuine philosophical inquiry, unless Trakakis thinks we should ignore all works by religious believers, then it is irrelevant whether they are genuine philosophy.
KeywordsChristian philosophy Ideology Cognitive diversity Trakakis
I am grateful to anonymous referees for helpful feedback on this project. This paper was made possible, in part, by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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