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The Moral and Evidential Requirements of Faith

Finlay Malcolm

Abstract

What is the relationship between faith and evidence? It is often claimed that faith requires going beyond evidence. In this paper, I reject this claim by showing how the moral demands to have faith warrant a person in maintaining faith in the face of counter-evidence, and by showing how the moral demands to have faith, and the moral constraints of evidentialism, are in clear tension with going beyond evidence. In arguing for these views, I develop a taxonomy of different ways of irrationally going beyond evidence and contrast this with rational ways of going against evidence. I then defend instances of having a moral demand to have faith, explore how this stands in tension with going beyond and against evidence, and develop an argument for the claim that faith involves a disposition to go against, but not beyond evidence.

Keywords

Faith; belief; action; going beyond evidence; moral demands.

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