Taking the Curse Off Language-Games: A Realist Account of Doxastic Practices
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I have been asked to write on the topic: ‘Religious Belief and Language-Games — The Right Stopping Place?’. In asking where, if at all, to find a stopping place, it makes a great difference what process we are thinking of (possibly) stopping at some point. I will take it that the process in question here is that of justification — of bringing out reasons, evidence, bases, grounds for believing something; of seeking to show that something is the case, or that it is justifiable, rational or acceptable.1 At least that is the understanding of the topic on which I shall be proceeding. When we are concerned with a particular range of beliefs, this amounts to an aspect of the epistemology of that range of beliefs. It is by no means the whole story. In developing the epistemology of beliefs about people’s motives for doing what they do, or of theoretical beliefs in science, or of perceptual beliefs about the physical environment, or of religious beliefs, our main task is to bring out the support relations that provide the epistemological structure of that domain. What sort of sensory experience provides an adequate ground for the judgement that this is an olive tree, and under what conditions it will do so?
KeywordsReligious Belief Epistemic Status Perceptual Belief Epistemic Standard Natural Theology
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