Proper Basicality and the Evidential Significance of Internalist Defeat: A Proposal for Revising Classical Evidentialism

  • Michael Czapkay Sudduth
Part of the Studies in Philosophy and Religion book series (STPAR, volume 19)


Several recent contributions in Anglo-American philosophy of religion continue to address questions in the ongoing dialogue between evidentialist and Reformed epistemologies of religious belief. These questions typically focus on the claim of the Reformed epistemologist that theistic belief is, at least for some people under some circumstances, properly basic (i.e., rational, justified, or warranted in the absence of propositional evidence). In this paper I propose an argument for the compatibility of these prima facie opposed stances on the positive epistemic status of theistic and Christian belief.1 My argument focuses on the evidential significance and implications of defeating conditions construed in an internalist sense. I argue that internalist defeaters provide a framework for revising classical evidentialism and fine-tuning the Reformed epistemologist’s account of the conditions under which theistic belief is properly basic. My defeater based evidentialism involves an evidentialist requirement that avoids several of the shortcomings of the classical evidentialist requirement, and it is logically consistent with the idea of properly basic theistic belief, even where the proper basicality thesis is developed along externalist lines.


Natural Theology Christian Belief Proper BASICALITY Reflective Rationality Theistic Belief 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

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  • Michael Czapkay Sudduth

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