Call for proposals: Special issue on Doxastic Partiality and Faith for Australasian Philosophical Review

Submission deadline: June 15, 2020

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We are solliciting proposals for commenting on a target article by Katherine Dormandy, entitled True Faith: Against Doxastic Partiality about Faith (in God and Religious Communities) and in Favor of Evidentialism, to appear in the Australasian Philosophical Review.

Abstract below.

The full paper can be accessed if you register via the AAP website listed below

The invited commentaries are by Eva Schmidt, Blake McAllister, and Samuel Lebens

The panel consists of Helen De Cruz, Alexandra Romanyshyn, and Ian Kidd

Doxastic partialists claim that excellent faith involves striving to form positive beliefs about the object of your faith. If the object is God, this means striving to believe that he exists or is perfectly good, and if it is a religious community, that its members are trustworthy or morally upright. This paper argues against doxastic partiality, and in favor of evidentialism – the view that you should strive for true beliefs about the object of your faith, be they positive or negative.

I distinguish two forms of doxastic partiality. Anti-epistemological partiality, championed e.g. by Kierkegaard, says that excellent faith involves positive beliefs even if these violate epistemic norms. Epistemological partiality, defended e.g. by Reformed epistemologists, says that excellent faith is compatible with obeying epistemic norms, but construes these leniently to make positive beliefs easy to come by. Both forms of doxastic partiality, I argue, promote an epistemically and spiritually dangerous noetic entrenchment – even if the positive beliefs are broadly true. Each view does so by working from its own, problematic, notion of faith.

The view I defend, evidentialism, says that excellent faith does not involve partial belief, but instead respect for evidence – where this is construed strictly enough to not facilitate positive belief. I defend evidentialism with an account of faith as a relationship of trust that also involves faithfulness, where you can best be faithful to someone by knowing what she is like, for better or worse.      

I address various objections to the effect that evidentialism fosters disloyalty to the object of your faith – not least because it risks losing your faith altogether. One aspect of my response is that evidentialist faith can involve struggle, but the point of the struggle is to foster understanding, honesty (with oneself, others, and God), and personal and spiritual fortitude. 

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