Do religious beliefs have a place within an 'epistemically naturalized' cognitive system?
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-19, 09:39 authored by Graham WoodGraham Wood
This paper offers an account of religious belief using the resources available within naturalized epistemology. The account accepts the basic architecture of an individual’s ‘web of belief’ as articulated by Quine and Ullian, and explores some of the further details of the Quinean account of naturalised epistemology. The paper then updates that account drawing on recent work in psychology and cognitive science. The paper also considers the purpose of an individual’s web of belief. Quine’s web of belief has a very tightly constrained purpose, namely, the prediction of future experience in the light of past experience. But, drawing lessons from the feminist critique of analytic epistemology and the philosophy of science, this paper considers the consequences if the purposes of a web of belief are wider than simply predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Drawing on work from the cognitive science of religion the paper suggests a wider set of purposes could result in religious beliefs existing in a web of belief, even when that web of belief is understood purely from the perspective of naturalised epistemology.
Department/SchoolSchool of Humanities
Place of publicationNetherlands
Rights statementCopyright 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Sophia. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11841-016-0567-4