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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 94, Issue 1, Winter 2020

The Philosophical Legacy of John Henry Newman

Frederick D. Aquino
Pages 125-139

Towards a Broader Construal of Evidence
A Constructive Look at John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman’s philosophical reflection on the nature of faith and its relation to evidence is fascinating, complex, and slightly misleading; yet it shows constructive promise. In particular, I argue that his broader construal of reason should concomitantly play out in a broader construal of evidence. Accordingly, I show how Newman’s distinction between different modes of reasoning informs his understanding of the relationship between faith and evidence. I conclude with three areas that deserve further epistemological attention and development: namely, a more expansive construal of evidence in light of Newman’s broader account of reason, a more constructive understanding of the relationship between his cumulative, though informal, approach and natural theology, and whether his account of faith and evidence operates with a kind of phenomenal conservatism.

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