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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 15, Issue 2, Autumn 2010

Michael Polyard
Pages 355-365

Philosophical Implications of Naturalizing Religion

This paper deals with Daniel Dennett’s argument regarding the nature of belief in contrast to belief in belief. The idea that the value of the first order belief in the existence of a precept is entirely irrelevant because it is indistinguishable from the second-order belief; that the belief in something is a good thing. That is to say it doesn’t matter if I believe something inasmuch as if I believe that the belief is a good thing (i.e.: beneficial to the individual, etc). Dennett’s approach particularly regards an analysis of religion from this point, and suggests that it is entirely impossible to determine if an individual believes in God, or simply believes that the belief in God is a good thing. More importantly, Dennett argues that the individual themselves cannot make this distinction.

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