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Religion and Arguments from Silence

Zachary Milstead

Abstract

Arguments from Silence have been used many times in attempts to discredit the foundations of religions. In this project, I demonstrate how one might judge the epistemic value of such arguments. To begin, I lay out for examination a specific argument from silence given by Walter Richard Cassels in his work Supernatural Religion.  I then discuss a recently developed Bayesian approach for dealing with arguments from silence. Finally, using Cassels’s work and the work of some of the critics who replied to his argument, I argue for what probabilities might be applied in the use of the Bayesian method for testing the epistemic value Cassels’s argument and demonstrate how one might respond to similar arguments.

Keywords

Arguments from Silence, Confirmation Theory

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References

Cassels, Walter Richard. Supernatural Religion: An Inquiry Into the Reality of Divine Revelation. Fourth. Vol. I. II vols. London: Longmans, Green & Company, 1874.

———. Supernatural Religion: An Inquiry Into the Reality of Divine Revelation. Fourth. Vol. II. II vols. London: Longmans, Green & Company, 1874.

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