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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Trent Dougherty Introduction: Special Issue on Religious Epistemology
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Katherine Dormandy Evidence-Seeking as an Expression of Faith
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Faith is often regarded as having a fraught relationship with evidence. Lara Buchak even argues that it entails foregoing evidence, at least when this evidence would influence your decision to act on the proposition in which you have faith. I present a counterexample inspired by the book of Job, in which seeking evidence for the sake of deciding whether to worship God is not only compatible with faith, but is in fact an expression of great faith. One might still think that foregoing evidence may make faith more praiseworthy than otherwise; but I argue against this claim too, once more drawing on Job. A faith that expresses itself by a search for evidence can be more praiseworthy than a faith that sits passively in the face of epistemic adversity.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Amir Saemi The Morally Difficult Notion of Heaven: A Critique of the Faith-Based Ethics of Avicenna and Aquinas
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I will argue that Avicenna’s and Aquinas’s faith-based virtue ethics are crucially different from Aristotle’s virtue ethics, in that their ethics hinges on the theological notion of heaven, which is constitutively independent of the ethical life of the agent. As a result, their faith-based virtue ethics is objectionable. Moreover, I will also argue that the notion of heaven that Avicenna and Aquinas deploy in their moral philosophy is problematic; for it can rationally permit believers to commit morally horrendous actions. Finally, I will present a Kantian notion of heaven which is immune to the aforementioned moral objection. The Kantian notion of heaven, nevertheless, cannot ground any view of ethics as it is constitutively dependent on the ethical life of the agent.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Andrew James Komasinski Faith, Recognition, and Community: Abraham and “Faith-In” in Hegel and Kierkegaard
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This article looks at “faith-in” and what Jonathan Kvanvig calls the “belittler objection” by comparing Hegel and Kierkegaard’s interpretations of Abram (later known as Abraham). I first argue that Hegel’s treatment of Abram in Spirit of Christianity and its Fate is an objection to faith-in. Building on this from additional Hegelian texts, I argue that Hegel’s objection arises from his social command account of morality. I then turn to Johannes de Silentio’s treatments of Abraham in Fear and Trembling and Søren Kierkegaard’s Works of Love to argue that Kierkegaard defends faith-in as part of a moderate divine command account of moral knowledge. Finally, this article concludes that the belittler objection is ultimately an objection to faith-in as a divine command source of moral knowledge or obligation rather than a social command source.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Zachary M. Mabee Become What You Receive: A Eucharistic Approach to Faith
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Much work in the philosophy of religion has been devoted to exploring the virtue of faith. Very little of it, however, has done so from the perspective of Christian worship and liturgical practice. In this essay, I explore the virtue of faith, articulated in a traditionally Catholic manner, as it is practiced, engaged, and deepened through participation in the Eucharist. I begin by emphasizing both the cognitive and the volitional dimensions of a robust conception of the virtue of faith and then show how devout Eucharistic practice confirms and strengthens them, affording believers a unique opportunity to deepen their belief and concretely strengthen their trust in God. I conclude by noting how a Eucharistic approach to faith can avoid a common criticism—that faith is exceedingly passive—and also help us to understand why faith and religious practice can so easily become stagnant.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Joe Milburn Faith and Reason in the Oxford University Sermons: John Henry Newman and the Legacy of English Deism
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I argue that we can understand John Henry Newman as defending the Principle of Faith throughout the University Sermons. According to the Principle of Faith, belief in the Christian message is in itself a good act of the mind, and it has moral significance. I argue that Newman’s developed account of faith and its relation to reason in Sermons 10 through 12 are designed to defend the Principle of Faith. Finally, I argue that we can understand Newman’s defense of the Principle of Faith as a reaction against criticisms dating back to the English Deists.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Jonathan Matheson Gritty Faith
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Recently there has been renewed philosophical interest in both the nature and value of faith. A central issue in this literature is whether faith requires belief. Non-doxastic accounts of faith maintain that having faith that p does not require believing that p. In this paper I connect the literature on non-doxastic accounts of faith to the empirical literature on grit. Grit is passionate perseverance to obtain long term goals, and it has been found to be an excellent predictor of success. I argue that the motivations for non-doxastic accounts of faith support conceiving of faith as grit. I also argue that conceiving of faith as grit comes with a number of advantages. In particular, such a move shows how faith can be voluntary, rational, and valuable.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 3
Blake McAllister The Perspective of Faith: Its Nature and Epistemic Implications
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A number of philosophers, going back at least to Kierkegaard, argue that to have faith in something is, in part, to have a passion for that thing—to possess a lasting, formative disposition to feel certain positive patterns of emotion towards the object of faith. I propose that (at least some of) the intellectual dimensions of faith can be modeled in much the same way. Having faith in a person involves taking a certain perspective towards the object of faith—in possessing a lasting, formative disposition for things to seem as though the object of faith is worthy of one’s trust. After developing the view, I briefly discuss its epistemic implications. I suggest that, by systematically reorienting how one experiences the world, faith can actually change one’s total body of evidence (or perhaps even how one weighs that evidence), thereby altering what one is justified in believing about the object of faith.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Beau Branson Ahistoricity in Analytic Theology
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Analytic theology has sometimes been criticized as ahistorical. But what this means, and why it is problematic, have often been left unclear. This essay explicates and supports one way of making that charge while simultaneously showing this ahistoricity, although widespread within analytic theology, is not essential to it. Specifically, some analytic theologians treat problematic doctrines as metaphysical puzzles, constructing speculative accounts of phenomena such as the Trinity or Incarnation and taking the theoretical virtues of such accounts to be sufficient in themselves to defend traditional doctrines with no need for additional, historical premises. But due to the different epistemic structures of metaphysical and theological puzzles, I argue that importing this methodology into philosophical theology results in invalid or question-begging arguments, and it is unclear how a virtue-centric methodology could be repaired without collapsing into a more historical methodology, which some of the best (but unfortunately not all) analytic theologians follow.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 92 > Issue: 2
Brian T. Carl The Transcendentals and the Divine Names in Thomas Aquinas
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Interpreters of Aquinas tend to posit a seamless transition from knowledge of the transcendentals in the abstract to naming God as one, true, and good. Some even suggest that the convertibility of the transcendentals with being implies the unity, truth, and goodness of esse divinum. Others hold simply that the meaning and order of these divine names is founded upon the meaning of the transcendentals. This study: (1) explains why Aquinas avoids “transcendental arguments” for these divine names; (2) argues that truth and goodness, as divine names, are derived not only from the transcendental meanings of these terms but also from specific perfections: namely, truth of intellect and moral goodness; (3) shows that the order of these divine names in the two Summae (being, good, one, true) better reflects the order of the transcendentals as received perfections than their more familiar order in the abstract (being, one, true, good).