Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Is the fact that other people believe in God a reason to believe? Remarks on the consensus gentium argument.

Marek Dobrzeniecki

Abstract

According to The Consensus Gentium Argument from the premise: “Everyone believes that God exists” one can conclude that God does exist. In my paper I analyze two ways of defending the claim that somebody’s belief in God is a prima facie reason to believe. Kelly takes the fact of the commonness of the belief in God as a datum to explain and argues that the best explanation has to indicate the truthfulness of the theistic belief. Trinkaus Zagzebski grounds her defence on rationality of epistemic trust in others. In the paper I argue that the second line of reasoning is more promising and I propose its improved version.

Keywords

Consensus gentium argument, common consent argument, epistemic trust, epistemic authority, Thomas Kelly, Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

Full Text:

PDF

References

Adler, Johnathan. 2015. “Epistemological Problems of Testimony”. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/testimony-episprob/.

Alston, William P. 2005. Beyond 'Justification': Dimensions of Epistemic Evaluation. Ithaca, N.Y., Bristol: Cornell University Press.

Barth, Karl. 2001. “The Revelation of God as the Abolition of Religion”. In Christianity and other religions: Selected readings, edited by John Hick and Brian Hebblethwaite, 5–18. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Cicero. 1933. On the Nature of the Gods. Edited by H. Rackham. Loeb Classical Library 268. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Clark, Kelly J., and Raymond J. Vanarragon, eds. 2011. Evidence and Religious Belief. Oxford University Press.

Comte-Sponville, André. 2006. L'esprit de l'athéisme: Introduction à une spiritualité sans Dieu. Paris: Albin Michel.

Cook, John, Dana Nuccitelli, Sarah A. Green, Mark Richardson, Bärbel Winkler, Rob Painting, Robert Way, Peter Jacobs, and Andrew Skuce. 2013. “Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature”. Environmental Research Letters 8, no. 2: 1–7. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024.

Dennett, D. C. 2007. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. New York: Penguin Books.

Dworkin, Ronald. 2013. Religion without God. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Univ. Press.

Foley, Richard. 2001. Intellectual Trust in Oneself and Others. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fricker, Elizabeth. 2006. “Testimony and Epistemic Autonomy”. In The Epistemology of Testimony, edited by Jennifer Lackey and Ernest Sosa, 225–45. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276011.003.0011.

Hick, John H. 1993 [1973]. God and the Universe of Faiths: Essays in the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford: Oneworld.

Kelly, T. 2011. “Consensus Gentium”. Reflections on the “Common Consent””. In Evidence and Religious Belief, edited by Kelly J. Clark and Raymond J. Vanarragon, 135–57. Oxford University Press.

Rahner, Karl. 1975. “Anonymer und expliziter Glaube”. In Theologie aus Erfahrung des Geistes. Zürich, Einsiedeln, Köln: Benzinger Verlag.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 2009. Philosophical Investigations. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe, Peter Hacker, and Joachim Schulte. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Zagzebski, Linda T. 2011. “Epistemic Self-Trust and the “Consensus Gentium” Argument”. In Evidence and Religious Belief, edited by Kelly J. Clark and Raymond J. Vanarragon, 22–36. Oxford University Press.

———. 2012. Epistemic Authority. Oxford University Press.

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.