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Knowledge, Action, Pluralism

Contemporary Perspectives in Philosophy of Religion

Edited By Sebastian Kolodziejczyk and Janusz Salamon

In this book, an international team of scholars from leading American, British and Continental European universities, led by Richard Swinburne, Eleonore Stump, William Wainwright and Linda Zagzebski, presents original ideas about three currently discussed topics in the philosophy of religion: religious epistemology, the philosophy of God’s action in the world, including the problem of evil and Divine Providence, and the philosophical challenge of religious diversity. The book contains echoes of all four main strands of the late 20th century philosophy of religion: Richard Swinburne’s philosophical theology, Alvin Plantinga’s reformed epistemology, John Hick’s theory of religious pluralism, and the philosophy of religion inspired by the work of the later Wittgenstein. One of the distinguishing features of this volume is that it mirrors a new trend towards philosophical cooperation across the so-called continental/analytic divide.
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First Person and Third Person Reasons and Religious Epistemology


Linda Zagzebski

I. The Distinction between First Person and Third Person Reasons


I assume that believing p is a state in which I have settled for myself whether p. An epistemic reason is something on the basis of which I can settle for myself whether p in so far as my goal is truth, not benefit or some other practical or moral aim. I want to argue that there are two kinds of epistemic reasons, one irreducibly first personal, the other third personal, and that attending to the distinction illuminates a host of philosophical problems, including several that have special importance for philosophy of religion.

What I mean by theoretical reasons for believing p are facts that are logically or probabilistically connected to the truth of p. They are facts (or propositions) about states of the world or experiences which, taken together, give a cumulative case for or against the fact that p (or the truth of p).1 They are not intrinsically connected to believing. We call them reasons because a reasonable person who comes to believe them and grasps their logical relations to p will see them as reasons for p. They can be shared with others – laid out on the table, so they are third personal. They are relevant from anyone’s point of view. In fact, they do not require a point of view to be reasons. The connections between theoretical reasons and what they are...

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