First Person and Third Person Reasons in Religious Epistemology

Linda Zagzebski

Abstract

In this paper I argue that there are two kinds of epistemic reasons. One kind is irreducibly first personal – what I call deliberative reasons. The other kind is third personal – what I call theoretical reasons. I argue that attending to this distinction illuminates a host of problems in epistemology in general and in religious epistemology in particular. These problems include (a) the way religious experience operates as a reason for religious belief, (b) how we ought to understand religious testimony, (c) how religious authority can be justified, (d) the problem of religious disagreement, and (e) the reasonableness of religious conversion.

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